by Jeff Skinner
Vijay Singh was probably pulling for Phil Mickelson’s birdie putt for a 59 to fall more than anyone yesterday. Maybe that would have given the hall of famer a brief respite from the painfully bright spotlight of media scrutiny that Singh finds himself in.
Having admitting to taking the a banned substance Singh violated the PGA Tour Drug Policy and is subject to discipline from the tour. Singh could face a year suspension and a fine but the PGA Tour review procedure could take 45 days to complete.
But most of us don’t have to take that long to realize that Singh has forced the Tour’s hand and needs to be suspended.
Doug Barron is the only PGA Tour player to be suspended for PED’S and that was for a drug prescribed by a doctor. Now if Barron can lose a year on the tour for that Singh certainly deserves some serious time on the sidelines.
The golf media seems to think so too as many chimed in with sentiments that would have the tour suspending Singh. It does create a dilemma for the tour, suspending a member of the Hall of Fame and the man that sits third on the all time money list but if the tour believes in its policy, suspension is the only acceptable action.
Jeff Rude of Golf Week says Singh has no one to blame except himself. Singh not only violated the Tour’s anti-doping policy, he violated one of the Tour’s most important unwritten tenets: When there might be an inkling of doubt, don’t be in doubt. That applies to the Rules of Golf or the drug policy. Call an official. Ask for clarification. Get a ruling.
Bob Harig of ESPN says a suspension is warranted. The substance is not tested for because the tour says it has not come up with a reliable test. But the anti-doping policy clearly states that IGF-1 is banned; and Singh has admitted taking it, which means a suspension is warranted.
Fellow golfer Mark O’Meara thinks that Vijay wouldn’t cheat but still needs to be suspended. I was obviously a little bit surprised with what I heard, but I don’t think Vijay is a guy that would ever take advantage of anything. I know Vijay. I guess they could probably suspend him for a couple of months.
Jason Sobel says that Singh broke the rules and even though it will be tough for the tour, Singh needs to be suspended. What we do know is that Singh did use the banned substance, which is at the very least akin to grounding your putter before seeing the ball oscillate on the green.
In other words, he broke a rule. And 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. In golf, as in life, that’s what happens when you break the rules.
Rex Hoggard says that Singh has dragged the PGA Tour into the realm of suspicion and maybe Doug Barron is the most interested party in this whole mess. One can only imagine that Barron, who is the only player suspended under the Tour’s anti-doping policy for using testosterone and beta blockers that had been prescribed by his doctors for health reasons, will be paying particularly close attention. As for the rest of us, well, we’ll probably move on because we’ve learned that expecting too much out of our athletes is a recipe for disappointment. It took golf a little longer than other sports to reach this desensitized crossroads but it seems we’re finally there.