R&A defends anti-doping measures following McIlroy claims


R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers has defended anti-doping measures in golf, following claims by Rory McIlroy that he could "get away with" using human growth hormone.

McIlroy made the comment at a news conference ahead of The Open, stating he had only been subjected to one drugs test in 2016.

But Slumbers dismissed any suggestion golf was behind the curve in the fight against drugs cheats and insisted thorough anti-doping measures would be in place for the third major of the year.

"Let's just establish for this week, one week in the golfing year, and our anti-doping policy follows that of the European Tour. The European Tour administer it and run it on our behalf," he explained. 

"For those players that are in the registered testing pool for the Olympics, in addition there is the IGF [International Golf Federation] additional testing that is being carried out during this week.

"I think the view around anything to do with doping is that when you play sport and doping comes into it, it undermines the integrity of the sport.

"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 need to [and] are privately talking about behind closed doors. It's not a matter for public discussion."

Slumbers came under fire during a news conference on Wednesday for not having specific details of the number of tests being carried out to hand, with one reporter accusing him of a "lax attitude".

"I don't think it's lax at all," Slumbers responded. "I think it's private information around players and the championship, and we're following their testing.

"There is testing going on, and there are ample amounts of testing.

"We do have those numbers and we'll supply them later. But don't underestimate the seriousness that anti-doping takes. I'll reiterate what I said: any doping undermines the integrity of sport."

The Open gets under way at Royal Troon on Thursday.