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Timeline: Professional golf and drug testing

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A timeline for drug testing in relation to the PGA Tour, and golf as an Olympic sport:

March 2006: PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem says there is “no reason to jump into the testing arena.”

November 2007: The Tour announces plans to begin testing in July 2008.

February 2008: The LPGA begins a trial run of drug testing at the Fields Open.

July 2008: The Tour begins testing at the Quicken Loans National. Finchem is the first to be tested.

October 2009: The International Olympic Committee adds golf to the 2016 and 2020 Games.

November 2009: Doug Barron becomes the first player to be suspended by the Tour (one year) for violating the anti-doping policy. Barron tests positive for testosterone and beta-blockers, but is later granted a therapeutic-use exemption to use the substances.

January 2013: In a story posted on, Vijay Singh admits to using deer-antler spray which contains IGF-1, a substance banned by the Tour’s anti-doping program.

April 2013: Despite originally claiming Singh had violated the program and issuing a sanction, the Tour dismisses its case against the golfer. Finchem says, “The bottom line is that given the change by [the World Anti-Doping Agency] we are dropping the case against Mr. Singh.”

May 2013: Singh sues the Tour claiming, among other things, disparate treatment in how the circuit applies its anti-doping policy. The case is still pending in New York Supreme Court.

August 2014: A day after announcing he is taking a leave of absence from the Tour, reports Dustin Johnson has been suspended for six months after testing positive for cocaine. The Tour and Johnson deny the report, which cites an unidentified source, and he returns to the circuit in February at the Farmers Insurance Open, six months after Johnson said he took a voluntary leave of absence.

January 2015: Tour player Bhavik Patel becomes the second player suspended under the Tour’s anti-doping policy (one year). Unlike when Barron was suspended, the circuit has amended its policy since 2008 and no longer announces the substance that generated the violation.

March 2015: WADA director general David Howman criticizes the Tour’s anti-doping policy, telling “There are gaps in the program, and that means someone might not be tested or might not be detected.”

May 6, 2016: Olympic golfers will be entered into the testing pool, which means players will be subjected to more intense testing measures including blood tests, whereabouts tests and the complete WADA list of banned substances.

July 11, 2016: The 60-player men’s and women’s fields are finalized via the Olympic Golf Ranking.

Aug. 11, 2016: Round 1 of the men’s competition begins in Brazil. The women’s competition begins on Aug. 17.