Just eight golfers drug tested at 2015 Open

Just eight drugs tests were conducted at last year’s Open Championship at St Andrews, the R&A has announced.

Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy’s comments on Tuesday about how the sport needs to improve its doping policy grabbed headlines on the eve of The Open at Royal Troon.

As no blood tests are taken, the Northern Irishman claimed he could take human growth hormone – undetectable in urine samples – and “get away with it” if he wanted.

The R&A, which organises the event, was challenged on this and chief executive Martin Slumbers had to admit he did not know how many tests were carried out among the 156 players over the four days of competition 12 months ago.

That number was subsequently confirmed as eight by the R&A.

“Our anti-doping policy follows that of the European Tour. The European Tour administer it and run it on our behalf,” said Slumbers.

“For those players that are in the registered testing pool for the Olympics there is the IGF (International Golf Federation) additional testing that is being carried out during this week.

“Our belief is that we should be as a sport right at the highest level of standards around anti-doping and that’s something that the tours and ourselves are privately talking about behind closed doors. It’s not a matter for public discussion.”

England’s Justin Rose, speaking before the R&A faced questions on the subject, felt the current situation was adequate.

The 2013 US Open champion will find a much more rigorous structure in place when he appears at the Olympics next month, however.

“I don’t see any way to improve it. I don’t see any reason to improve it,” Rose said after being asked for his thoughts on drug-testing procedures in golf.

“They feel comprehensive enough to me.

“I believe golf has that great image of being a clean sport and that’s obviously what the aim is of drug testing – to keep sports clean.”

Speaking on Tuesday, world number four McIlroy was critical of golf’s approach to anti-doping.

“On average I probably get tested four to five times a year, which is very little compared to the rest of the Olympic sports,” he said.

“I think drug-testing in golf is still quite far behind some of the other sports.

“If golf wants to stay in the Olympics and wants to be seen as a mainstream sport as such it has to get in line with the rest of the sports that test more rigorously.”

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