Testing for performance-enhancing drugs in golf took too long, suggested Gary Player. Photo: Mike Segar/REUTERS

CARNOUSTIE – Dope testing is due to be introduced at The Open for the first time this week at Carnoustie but South African golfing legend Gary Player questions why it has taken so long.

The 82-year-old - one of whose nine majors came at Carnoustie in the 1968 Open - has not shied away from raising the spectre of golfers taking performance-enhancing drugs having first broached the explosive subject in 2007.

Player concedes that tennis and golf to his mind are the cleanest sports but still is not content it has taken such a long time to bring in testing, with the PGA Tour introducing blood testing last year.  

"Why so late? We are the last of all sports to do it," he told Tuesday's edition of The Times. "We have had players who have used performance-enhancing drugs.

"Are we ever going to be able to stop it? No. There's too much involved. That's the world we live in."

Why so late? We are the last of all sports to (test for performance-enhancing drugs), says Gary Player. Photo: Brian Snyder/Reuters
Why so late? We are the last of all sports to (test for performance-enhancing drugs), says Gary Player. Photo: Brian Snyder/Reuters

Player said it is nonsense to suggest doping would not aid a golfer's cause.

"It makes you stronger," he said. "You don't get injured so quickly, you can hit more balls and you can practise harder."

Player had not been the only one to raise the issue with Northern Irish star Rory McIlroy demanding more tests two years ago - golf had been revealed as the Olympic sport which tested their athletes the least by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in 2015. 

However, top English golfer Tommy Fleetwood while accepting blood testing is now part of the sport feels golf is clean.

"I'm pretty confident that it's a clean sport but the rules are rules," said the 27-year-old.

"If everybody's doing the right things then it shouldn't be a problem."

Agence France-Presse (AFP)