More than a month after the Ryder Cup matches wrapped up at Le Golf National outside of Paris, the biennial event and the goings-on that surrounded it was still the talk of the PGA Tour range last week in Las Vegas.
Golfweek.com’s Eamon Lynch wrote over the weekend that eight players were tested on Tuesday night of Ryder Cup in a surprise visit from French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) marking the first time drug testing had ever taken place at a Ryder Cup.
“I can confirm that eight golfers were tested by AFLD while in France for the Ryder Cup,” AFLD director of communications Catherine Coley told Lynch.
Four Americans and four Europeans were selected to give urine samples, with an American player rumored to have tested positive.
“In the murky uncertainty about who was tested, gossip fertilized rumors,” Lynch wrote. “On the range at last week’s PGA Tour stop in Las Vegas, speculation was rampant that a U.S. team member had tested positive. Names were whispered with a disregard for actual evidence. Within hours, that chatter had spread as far afield as Florida.”
However, Maggie Durand, a spokeswoman for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), to which the French AFLD affiliate reported its findings, debunked the rumor.
“All the results are in and there were no positive tests,” she said.
— Geoff Shackelford (@GeoffShac) November 12, 2018
According to the AFLD, WADA and the European Tour, it is up to the discretion of the athlete to confirm whether or not they were tested as well as it is up to the athlete to make public any negative tests.
Interestingly, Lynch reached out to all 24 players who participated in the Ryder Cup, asking them about the testing and whether or not they were among the eight who were required to provide samples. All but four declined to comment or didn’t respond to a request.
Representatives for Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter both confirmed that their clients were among the four European players tested, while reps for Tommy Fleetwood and Thorbjorn Olesen confirmed that their clients were not tested. The other 20 participants remained mum.
As golf continues its tenuous foray into the world of drug testing and anti-doping, this example — with its rumors and untruths — can be seen as a precursor for reporters, both erroneous and substantive, for future issues.