Fri, Nov 17, 2006 - Page 21 News List

Female golfers to be drug tested starting next year

AP , WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA

Lorena Ochoa of Mexico, 2006 LPGA Player of the Year, poses for a portrait prior to the start of the ADT Championship at Trump International Golf Club on Wednesday in West Palm Beach, Florida.

PHOTO: AFP

The US LPGA Tour will test players for banned substances in 2008, making it the first golf tour to announce a drug-testing program.

Specifics of the testing plan will be worked up over the next six to nine months, US LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens said on Wednesday. The tour plans to announce the program details, including testing methods and banned substances, in the second half of next season.

"While we have no evidence to date that any of our players are using performance-enhancing drugs, we need to have a very clear policy and a program in place," Bivens said. "We want to take a proactive role."

The European Tour is working on a policy that chief executive George O'Grady said will be effective "in the near future."

The US men's tour released a statement on Wednesday afternoon that its board this week authorized the tour to develop a list of prohibited substances, and to create an education program that would inform players about banned substances; how they might get into the body; the health risks; the nature of any potential testing and possible penalties.

Some players, including world No. 1 Tiger Woods, have said there should be drug testing.

Players at last month's world amateur team championships in South Africa were tested.

The US LPGA will work to develop the new policy with the US National Center for Drug Free Sport, which also manages testing programs for US colleges and other organizations.

"We want to educate our members and we also want to promote fair and equitable competition," Bivens said.

The announcement was made on the eve of the US LPGA's season-ending ADT Championship, a 32-player event that began yesterday and carries a first prize of US$1 million, the largest in tour history.

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