CARNOUSTIE, Scotland -- Gary Player put steroids at the
forefront of the British Open on Wednesday, saying golf has its
head buried in a bunker if it thinks the sport is clean and he
knows of one player using performance-enhancing drugs.
The nine-time major champion urged golf organizations to start
"It's absolutely essential that we do that," Player said at
Carnoustie, where he won the British Open in 1968. "We're dreaming
if we think it's not going to come into golf."
Player says it already has.
"Whether it's HGH, whether it's Creatine or whether it's
steroids, I know for a fact that some golfers are doing it," he
Asked how he knew for certain, he said one golfer told him.
"I took an oath prior to him telling me -- I won't tell you
where -- but he told me what he did, and I could see this massive
change in him," Player said. "And somebody else told me
something, that I also promised I wouldn't tell, that verified
others had done it."
The cryptic accusation put the Royal & Ancient Golf Club on the
defensive over why it does not have drug testing at the British
Open, with chief executive Peter Dawson being asked whether he was
concerned that its winner could be using steroids.
"I don't know if Gary Player is right about golfers being on
drugs, frankly, so I really can't comment," Dawson said. "One
thing I do know is that we're not drug testing here at the Open
championship this week, so just how that would be identified, I'm
The R&A and the USGA used drug testing for the first time last
November at the World Amateur Team Championship in South Africa,
where all 12 samples came back negative.
The LPGA Tour has said it will start drug testing next year and
recently disclosed a list of banned substances to its players. The
European Tour and the PGA Tour are working on drug policies, which
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said likely would lead to a
testing program, although its first step is developing a list of
drugs that would be banned.
Player did not say when this conversation with the purported
steroid user took place, nor did he say whether he shared this
information with tour officials.
"I can't speak to Gary's remarks," PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw
said. "I can't disagree and I can't agree with him. They are his
remarks that's he is free to make."
None of the top players concurred with Player.
"He knows two [players]? I know zero," six-time major winner
Nick Faldo said. "Never heard of anybody."
Tiger Woods, who last year said he would like to see the PGA
Tour begin drug testing as quickly as possible, was asked Tuesday
if he would be surprised if a golfer tested positive for drug use.
"If anything, probably out here it would be testing positive
for maybe being hung over a little bit," Woods said. "But that's
about it. I know some guys have taken Medrol packs for inflammation
in their wrists, but other than that, I really don't see anybody
doing anything, or have heard anybody doing anything."
Phil Mickelson also said he thought golfers were clean.
"I don't think there's even a remote chance that will happen,"
he said of a golfer testing positive for steroids.
The R&A and USGA are the governing bodies for golf around the
world, although both Dawson and USGA executive director David Fay
have said that leaders of the professional tours should take the
lead in developing a drug policy.
Player said he felt 50 to 60 percent of athletes in the world
are using performance-enhancing drugs. When asked for a number of
golfers, he estimated 10.
"I might be way out," Player said. "Definitely not going to
be lower, but might be a hell of a lot more."