Golfer Vijay Singh, who was Number 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking for 32 weeks in 2004 and 2005, has accused PGA Tour officials of subjecting him to “absurd” and “unfair” treatment by ignoring the use of deer antler spray, a controversial performance-enhancing drug, by five other professional golfers.
In a memorandum filed with the New York State Supreme Court May 30 Singh, known as “The Big Fijian’, accused the organizers of the main professional golf tours in the U.S., of ignoring the use of that spray by the five golfers playing on the PGA Tour and the Champions Tour, and then lying to the public by “characterizing Singh as a cheater who caught a break,” according to a report published last week in Golf .com and reported by other media outlets, including MSN, based on Golf.com report.
According to Singh, “discovery revealed” that five golfers, identified in the memorandum anonymously as Golfers A, B, C, D and E, admitted to the Tour as early as 2010 or 2011 that they had used the same spray as Singh but were not sanctioned under the Tour’s anti-doping program.
In 2013, the Tour announced it will suspend Singh for 90 days following his admission to Sports Illustrated that he had used the spray, which contained trace amounts of the banned growth hormone IGF-1, but quickly lifted its suspension when the World Anti-Doping Agency determined the product didn’t contain enough of the hormone to be performance-enhancing. The report said that Singh sued the Tour, contending that the announcement damaged his reputation, leading to the loss of his longtime endorsement deal with Cleveland Golf.
Singh’s lawyer, Peter Ginsberg, claimed that the Tour’s legal strategy attempts “to rewrite their rules” to cover their own tracks.
“The Tour during the course of this litigation attempted to justify its arbitrary treatment of Singh by claiming that other golfers who had used the SWATS products played on the Champions Tour and the Program does not apply to Champions Tour golfers,” Ginsberg wrote in the memorandum. Golf.com said the PGA Tour could not be reached for comment.
While the Tour contends that its officials merely followed evolving WADA guidelines, Singh accused Commissioner Tim Finchem of lying when he pinned the Tour’s decision to withdraw its anti-doping case against him on a change in WADA policy that “clarified that it no longer considers the use of deer antler spray to be prohibited unless a positive test results.” Singh contends WADA did no such thing, citing testimony from WADA’s science director that WADA’s position on deer antler spray hadn’t changed in several years.
Ginsberg told GOLF.com the Tour’s treatment of Singh was the result of organizational failure that raises questions about the way the Tour conducts its business.
“As detailed in the filing, the PGA Tour’s bogus rationalization for treating Vijay differently than it treated multiple other players, and then Commissioner Finchem’s unwillingness to remain in his deposition and explain why the PGA Tour ignored WADA’s guidance about the Spray and then misled the public, speak volumes about the golf organization’s conduct and failure to fulfill its duties and obligations. Either the PGA Tour was woefully ignorant or woefully arrogant, but, either way, it was woefully irresponsible and Vijay suffered as a result,” he was quoted as saying.