The PGA Tour has announced significant changes to its anti-doping program beginning next season, including the introduction of blood testing and the public disclosure of suspensions for recreational drug violations.
The Tour currently tests players via urine, and while that will remain the "predominant method," players will also be subjected to blood testing beginning with the 2017-18 season that kicks off in October. Certain substances, including Human Growth Hormone, cannot be detected in urine but would show up in blood testing.
The Tour will also revise its list of banned substances to include "all of the substances and methods" currently prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency while adding three new categories of medication to its "therapeutic use exemption" list.
In perhaps the most notable change, the Tour is moving away from its current policy of keeping certain player suspensions confidential. Instead, beginning next season the Tour will issue a statement "once the adjudication process is completed" detailing the player's name, length of suspension and whether the violation came from a performance-enhancing drug or a "drug of abuse."
Currently the Tour only discloses suspension information for violations related to performance-enhancing drugs, while other violations related to "conduct unbecoming a professional" were handled confidentially.
"While we are extremely pleased with the implementation and results of the PGA Tour Anti-Doping Program to date, we believe that these changes to our changes are prudent in that they further our objectives of protecting the well-being of our members and better substantiate the integrity of golf as a clean sport," PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said in a statement.
The Tour's current anti-doping program has been in effect since 2008.