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McIlroy: Golf needs stronger drug testing

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TROON, Scotland – Rory McIlroy says golf still lags behind other sports when it comes to drug testing, even as it returns to the Olympics for the first time in more than a century.

Speaking Tuesday at Royal Troon, McIlroy called for stronger doping tests, including blood testing, to ensure that the sport is clean.

“I think blood testing is something that needs to happen in golf just to make sure that it is a clean sport going forward,” he said. “I think if golf is in the Olympics and golf wants to be seen as a mainstream sport, it has to get in line with the other sports that test more rigorously.”

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Athletes in the Olympic testing pool are subject to more stringent testing than anti-doping protocols used by the PGA Tour. McIlroy said that he’s been tested only once for the Olympics, on Friday of U.S. Open week, and it was a urine test. He has not yet been tested by blood.

Though McIlroy said the threat of performance-enhancing drugs is still low in golf – “I don’t know of a banned substance that could help a golfer across the board, with driving, with putting, with concentration” – it’s still too easy for cheaters to beat the system. Human growth hormone, for example, can be detected only via blood testing.

“I could use HGH and get away with it,” he said, before adding: “If golf wants to stay in the Olympics and wants to be part of the Olympic movement, it has to get in line with the rest of the sports.”