SBD/January 31, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Calls Increase For PGA Tour To Suspend Singh After Admitting To Using Banned Substance

Singh admitted taking deer-antler spray, but denied knowing it was banned
Golf HOFer Vijay Singh yesterday admitted to using "deer-antler spray," as reported in this week's SI, but he said he was "shocked" to learn it may contain a banned substance, according to John Davis of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. Singh in a statement said that he "had no idea that the product contained any such substance" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 1/31). SI's David Epstein, who co-wrote the article, said the interview he had with Singh last week was "extensive and specific" and Singh was "pretty open" about his deer-antler spray usage. Epstein said, "I'm guessing that Vijay Singh doesn't know the product has been called out by the PGA Tour specifically" ("Morning Drive," Golf Channel, 1/30). The AP's Michael Casey reports golfer Mark O'Meara "doesn't think Vijay Singh would ever try to cheat," but believes Singh "should be suspended 'for a couple of months' by the PGA Tour" for admitting to using the banned substance. O'Meara said, "People have had to pay the price before and he should be no different. If that is the case and the commissioner and tour feels he should be suspended for X amount of time, I think Vijay is man enough that he'll do that" (AP, 1/31).

SUSPENSION NECESSARY FOR CREDIBILITY: In S.F., Ron Kroichick writes under the header, "PGA Must Discipline Singh On Hormone Use." If the PGA Tour "wants its anti-doping policy to carry any credibility," it needs to "discipline Singh swiftly and publicly." He did not test positive because IGF-1, the ingredient found in deer antlers, is "only detectable through blood tests -- and the tour's drug-testing program uses urine tests." Still, the policy "specifically includes a reference to 'admitting to any conduct that violates the program.'" That is "exactly what Singh did in his statement, clearly and unequivocally" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 1/31). In N.Y., Karen Crouse writes Singh's admission "affords the tour a wide-open window to let in transparency and public accountability." The Tour said that it had "begun a review process, per its antidoping policy." But if Singh does not "end up with a suspension, what message will that send about a sport that, for integrity’s sake, expects players to call infractions on themselves?" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/31). Golf Channel’s Gary Williams said Singh has "put himself firmly in the cross hairs of a punishment, which in fact should be doled out by the PGA Tour, and it should be done expediently” ("Morning Drive," Golf Channel, 1/31). GOLFCHANNEL.com's Jason Sobel wrote as much as it may "pain the PGA Tour to punish one of its superstars for a violation without any deemed intent, the only acceptable message here is to administer the proper penalty." Sobel: "In golf, as in life, that’s what happens when you break the rules" (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 1/30). ESPN.com's Bob Harig wrote under the header, "Suspension Warranted For Vijay Singh." Harig: "Could a Hall of Famer be suspended? That is the question that comes to mind." Doug Barron, who was suspended in '10, has been the only golfer disciplined by the Tour since it enacted its current drug policy in July '08 (ESPN.com, 1/30). But GOLF.com's Gary Van Sickle asked, "Does deer antler spray help him get the ball in the hole? Does it make him shoot a lower score? Does it make him hit the fairway off the tee?" If he Singh was "taking something that he knew was on the banned list, that might be a different story" (GOLF.com, 1/30).
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