Sunday, February 24, 2013

Miniature Golfers Have Tested Positive for Doping. Seriously.

Is there doping in professional golf? I'll repeat what I said in an earlier post: Of course there is! Any sport or game in which there is big money and big prestige on the line will have doping; there will always be some players who are willing to try PEDs (performance-enhancing drugs) just on the off chance they might help.

But miniature golf? Surely there can't be doping in miniature golf? What could doping in minigolf possibly accomplish - help you zip that orange ball past the windmill's blades? help you zero in on that clown's mouth?

But guess what: There is doping in miniature golf! Really!

A New York Times article today focuses on drug testing in little-known sports, sports that are so little-known that many sports fans are probably not aware they exist. The article focuses on ice fishing - yes, there is drug testing in ice fishing! (What are they testing for, Icy Hot? Old Bay seasoning?)

But it briefly mentions a few other sports/games/activities in which the US Anti-Doping Agency or other World Anti-Doping Agency-affiliated group has conducted drug testing:

Two minigolfers tested positive for banned substances, out of 76 tested in 2011, according to the World Anti-Doping Agency. That year, one chess player also tested positive, as did two bowlers, eight roller sport athletes and one tug-of-war competitor.

But, seriously, what could a minigolfer possibly hope to accomplish by taking a substance that is on the WADA list of banned performance-enhancing drugs? I am willing to bet these cases had something to do with calming nerves - beta blockers, maybe, something along those lines. (I am also willing to bet that there are PGA Tour pros and other professional golfers who have dabbled or are dabbling in substances they think might help with putting nerves.)

Unfortunately, there isn't a lot of news coverage of the world of professional mini-golf. But if you're one of those people who likes to believe that golf is free from doping, just remember: There's even doping in miniature golf.

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