by Jeff Skinner
Vijay Singh has released a statement saying that he was shocked that the deer antler spray was banned by the PGA Tour.
“While I have used deer antler spray, at no time was I aware that it may contain a substance that is banned under the PGA Tour Anti-Doping Policy,” he said. “In fact, when I first received the product, I reviewed the list of ingredients and did not see any prohibited substances. I am absolutely shocked that deer antler spray may contain a banned substance and am angry that I have put myself in this position.
“I have been in contact with the PGA Tour and am cooperating fully with their review of this matter. I will not be commenting further at this time.”
Unfortunately for Vijay, ignorance is no defense. Singh’s admission is a blatant violation of the PGA Tour’s Drug Policy: “Other conduct may lead to the finding of a violation and sanctions under the program, including the possession, use or attempted use of a prohibited substance or method; refusing or failing to be tested; tampering with a sample; trafficking in or administering any prohibited substance; or admitting to any conduct that violates the program.”
It goes on to say that it is the player’s responsibility to know what he puts in his body: “It is each player’s personal duty to ensure that no prohibited substance enters his body. … Accordingly, it is not necessary that intent, fault, negligence or knowing use on the player’s part be demonstrated in order to establish an anti-doping violation.”
It would appear that Singh would warrant punishment from the PGA Tour however back in 2011 Mark Calcavecchia wasn’t disciplined after he admitted use of the deer antler spray. Calcavecchia was told to stop using the substance, he did and the matter was finished.
If Singh was concerned enough to check the list of ingredients on the label of the spray he could have taken a few clicks on his computer and checked out the S.W.A.T.S. website. The front page is filled with publicity about their products. And it appears that the company is proud of all the leagues prohibiting their products as they have story after story of such actions. Included on that home page is Calcavecchia’s reprimand from the PGA Tour.
But in today’s environment and since players all would have seen the Calcavecchia incident maybe it’s time for different action.
If The PGA Tour is anything like the NFL or MLB there is a defined method of review for violations of the drug policy and Tim Finchem’s men are probably knee deep in that right now. But the “admission” by Singh is a clear violation of the policy.
Singh is scheduled to play today at The Waste Management Phoenix Open and while the Tour may not have much time to act before his tee time today it could get pretty nasty out there, especially at the riotous 16th hole.
Reports had Singh leaving the practice range yesterday to get treatment for an ailing back. It might be best for all right now if Singh withdraws and let this play out with him off the course and out of range of fifteen thousand drunk, screaming fans.
10:30am Update to this story: Vijay Singh has withdrawn from the Waste Management Phoenix Open citing a back injury.