VIJAY Singh has been sensationally cleared by the PGA Tour over his doping offence after the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) confirmed the deer antler spray the Fijian admitted to using was not “prohibited unless a positive test results”.
The former Masters champion has been under review by the US-based Tour since revealing in an interview with Sports Illustrated in January to using the spray.
Deer antler spray contains IGF-1, a banned performance-enhancer connected to human growth hormone. Confirming that no action would be taken against Singh yesterday, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem revealed players had been warned that deer antler spray contained a banned substance in 2011.
Singh stood by his comments in a statement but added: “At no time was I aware that it may contain a substance that is banned under the PGA Tour Anti-Doping Policy.”
As a result, he was then sanctioned – on 19 February according to Finchem – by the PGA Tour, who then contacted Wada to discuss the issue after Singh appealed.
“During the appeal process, PGA Tour counsel contacted Wada to confirm a number of technical points,” said a statement on the PGA Tour’s official website. “At that time, Wada clarified that it no longer considers the use of deer antler spray to be prohibited unless a positive test results.
“Based on this new information, and given Wada’s lead role in interpreting the Prohibited List, the Tour deemed it only fair to no longer treat Mr Singh’s use of deer antler spray as a violation of the Tour’s anti-doping program.”
IGF-1 is listed on both the WADA and PGA Tour prohibited lists, although there is currently no test available for detecting it in routine blood testing.
The PGA Tour statement added: “Since his initial quote was made public, Mr Singh has co-operated with the Tour investigation and has been completely forthcoming and honest.
“While there was no reason to believe that Mr Singh knowingly took a prohibited substance, the PGA Tour Anti-Doping Programme clearly states that players are responsible for use of a prohibited substance regardless of intent.
“In this regard, Mr Singh should have contacted the PGA Tour Anti-Doping Programme administrator or other resources readily available to players in order to verify that the product Mr Singh was about to utilise did not contain any prohibited substances, especially in light of the warning issued in August 2011 in relation to deer antler spray.