Olympic no-show Rory McIlroy criticises golf drug testing policy

Rory McIlroy during a press conference at the Royal Troon Golf Club in Scotland on Tuesday
Picture by PA 
Carl Markham

FOUR-TIME major winner Rory McIlroy believes golf's drug testing policy has to be far more stringent if it wants to become a long-term Olympic sport.

The Holywood man thinks the threat of doping is low because he "does not know of a banned substance that could help a golfer across the board with driving, with putting, with concentration", but feels administrators have to do more to bring it into line with other sports.

McIlroy has decided not to compete in Rio, for a variety of reasons, but that does not mean he does not want the sport to succeed at that level. However, in order to do so he said it has to improve a doping policy which has seen him tested just three or four times in 2016.

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

"Obviously, I've gotten to know a lot of athletes over the years and, whether it be coming to their houses and doing blood and urine [tests], I think drug testing in golf is still quite far behind some of the other sports. I haven't been blood-tested yet. I think blood testing is something that needs to happen in golf just to make sure that it is a clean sport going forward.

"You can't really pick up HGH (human growth hormone) in a urine test, [so] I could use HGH and get away with it. 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."

The Olympics has been a thorny subject for the 27-year-old who, after initially citing the Zika virus as his main reason for pulling out, has since made his feelings abundantly clear saying, for him, the Games are not the pinnacle of the sport.

With two-time major winner Jordan Spieth the latest to withdraw from the Olympics on Monday, the tournament will be without its four top players as Jason Day and Dustin Johnson have also opted to stay at home.

Rory McIlroy says he will only watch the sports 'that matter' at this summer's Olympics 

"I don't feel like I've let the game down at all. I didn't get into golf to try and grow the game, I got into golf to win championships and win major championships," added McIlroy.

"All of a sudden, you get to this point and there is a responsibility on you to grow the game and I get that but, at the same time, that's not the reason that I got into golf. I'm very happy with the decision that I've made and I have no regrets about it.

"I'll probably watch the Olympics, probably the events like track and field, swimming, diving - the stuff that matters."


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