The World Anti-Doping Agency has advised the PGA Tour to update its drugs policy after it was confirmed golfers playing on the U.S. circuit do not face sanctions for testing positive for meldonium, the drug in the headlines this week after tennis star Maria Sharapova admitted to using it.
Meldonium became a substance banned by WADA on Jan. 1, but it is not yet on the PGA Tour's prohibited list, meaning a player using the drug, which Sharapova said she had taken to deal with an irregular heartbeat but also has endurance benefits, at next month's Masters will not be sanctioned.
The European Tour confirmed to ESPN on Thursday that, as it has adopted WADA's guidelines, meldonium is not allowed to be used by its players. Any golfer in contention for this summer's Olympics in Rio will also be subject to WADA rules from May 6.
Andy Levinson, executive director of policy administration for the PGA Tour, had told the Golf Channel it won't ban any more drugs until October. "We revise our prohibited-substance list on a seasonal basis in early fall and at that time meldonium was not prohibited by WADA," he said. "When our next revision takes place at the end of the 2015-16 season it will be put on the list."
But WADA president Sir Craig Reedie hopes the PGA Tour put it into action far sooner.
"Let's hope that the experience golf has over its Olympic inclusion helps persuade them," he told The Times.
"If I was a golfer I would prefer to be tested under one system, not two, and preferably the tougher system as then people would know I was clean."
Last year, three-time PGA Tour champion Scott Stallings became the third player to be suspended for using performance-enhancing drugs since the policy was introduced to golf in 2008.