“I’m worried about living my life every day," said Brandt Jobe, 47, who is playing on a major medical exemption. “To get healthy, yyou have to do whatever you have to do to live your life. After that you have to consider, ‘If I’m going to go back and play golf on the PGA Tour, can I take these things?’ "
There is also the question of what will happen in 2016 when golf becomes part of the Olympics, whose prospective participants are subject to regular testing outside competition.
Another question: What will happen if Singh plays on the Champions Tour, the PGA Tour circuit for players age 50 and older, which has no drug testing? Ty Votaw, a PGA Tour spokesman, said any penalties Singh might receive would be upheld on the senior circuit.
The tour’s anti-doping manual states that a player who admits using a banned substance faces the same consequences as someone who fails a drug test: up to a year’s suspension and a fine up to $500,000. But what if the product that was used by Singh, a three-time major champion and member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, is found not to contain IGF-1?
“I don’t think there’s any room for gray in whether he’s guilty or not," said Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open champion and a seven-time tour winner who was paired with Singh for the first two rounds here. “I think the gray area is the punishment."
What if Singh, whose rigorous workout regimen has been lauded by Tiger Woods, another fitness fanatic, is able to prove the product he used did not contain IGF-1 or produces doctors who will testify that taking it orally does not provide any benefit because it must be injected to be effective? What if Singh ends up with no punishment?
“I don’t think that would be good," Ogilvy said. “Because a lot of the reason you have an anti-doping policy is for the public perception. I assume it’s obviously to catch people that are doing stuff they shouldn’t do, but it’s as much to maintain the image of your sport, I think. You’ve got someone who’s admitted to being guilty and not getting sanctioned; that kind of undermines the point of the whole thing."
Since the anti-doping program was instituted in 2008, only one player has been caught. In 2009, the journeyman Doug Barron tested positive for exogenous testosterone and the beta blocker propranolol, both of which he was taking under a doctor’s supervision. His one-year suspension was lifted after the tour granted him a therapeutic exemption.
Commissioner Tim Finchem has said he does not think a competitive advantage can be gained in golf by using performance-enhancing drugs, a belief that was echoed last week by Sergio Garcia, an eight-time tour winner.
“It’s not the kind of sport that needs much when it comes to enhancing drugs or whatever you want to call it, performance-enhancing drugs," Garcia said, adding: “We started testing — what was it? — 2008, I think, and nothing has really come around. So I think that speaks for itself."
Linn Goldberg, a sports medicine doctor and researcher at the Oregon Health & Science University, noted that golfers, like other athletes, lift weights and adhere to off-course conditioning regimens. “What are they working out for?" he said in a telephone interview. “To get weaker?"
Goldberg added: “People used to say that of baseball players, that it wasn’t going to help you hit if you took performance-enhancing drugs, that you’d just bulk up. Is the skill set for hitting a golf ball that different from hitting a baseball?"
Matt Every, a two-time runner-up on the tour last year, said he did not believe doping was a problem in golf, but he wondered why the players were not subjected to blood tests, which can detect human growth hormone and other sophisticated doping.
“That is what we should be testing for out here," Every said. “That is what gives people an advantage out here. And if there isn’t a test for it, then I don’t even know why we’re testing out here."
He added: “I think they’ll probably look at it and maybe change it a little bit here coming up. Hopefully, they will. I think they should."
Athletes in Olympic sports have blood testing and out-of-competition testing, and Votaw said that in 2016, golfers on the tour who are identified by their countries as potential Olympic participants will be educated on the process. “We’re confident we have a vigorous testing program," Votaw said.
People in other sports such as swimming, cycling, baseball and track and field also expressed confidence that their athletes were clean until it became painfully clear that they were not.
“If you take a look at other sports, if you go back in time, they all say the same thing, that doping would never help," Goldberg said. “It’s very curious."