Before taking even a multivitamin from Whole Foods, Joe Ogilvie will phone the PGA Tour to make sure he’s not ingesting a banned substance. Because of the threat of cross-contamination, he keeps the multivitamin container until he passes the drug test. Many players follow the same protocol.
“It’s impossible to know everything on the banned list,” Ogilvie, a member of the PGA Tour Player Advisory Council, said Wednesday on “Morning Drive.” “When you take something, you call the Tour and you say, ‘Is this OK?’ They say yay or nay. It’s like calling a rules official. I know most of the rules in golf, but not all of them. When the cameras are on me, I call for backup. If I take a multivitamin, I’m going to call for backup.”
Vijay Singh, a player who has been praised over the years for his tireless work ethic and great success into his 40s, admitted in a Sports Illustrated article that he is currently taking a substance that is banned by the PGA Tour.
“I’m shocked that deer-antler spray can help you,” Ogilvie said. “Now, if I go out and win the Waste Management Phoenix Open and go into the press room, and they say what turned around for you this week and I say, ‘Well, I’m kind of embarrassed, but I rubbed rat turds on my biceps before I teed off every morning,’ I guarantee there will be a market for rat turds on Monday morning. Everybody is going to do something.
“Athletes in general are going to look for something that’s going to help them,” he continued. “When you start turning to body-enhancing things or recovery things, you start to break the rules. As our prize money has gone up, it has done two things: One, it’s made the PGA Tour players wealthier. It’s also brought the ability to hang out with other athletes, because we couldn’t afford the neighborhoods before. Naturally, you say, ‘What are you doing? What do your workouts look like?’
“Unfortunately, that brings a whole new conversation. That’s why you implement drug testing, and you do it to the best of the ability and the best that science has to offer at the time. We don’t have the ability to test for HGH. If you’re an athlete, that’s what you’re going to take.”