VIJAY Singh has hit the PGA Tour with a bombshell after it emerged he is suing the circuit over the way it handled the investigation of his use of deer antler spray.
A week after being let off due to the World Anti-Doping Agency saying it no longer considered the spray a banned substance except for a positive test, the three-time major winner has decided not to let the matter lie.
In a bid to repair his reputation, which he believes has been tarnished by the affair, Singh filed a lawsuit in New York yesterday, claiming in it that the PGA Tour had planned to suspend him for 90 days.
The sensational twist was revealed in a statement issued by Singh’s attorney. It read: “Vijay Singh moved today to reclaim his reputation and hold the PGA Tour responsible for its unwarranted effort to suspend Singh for his use of deer antler spray.
“Singh today filed suit in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, charging the PGA Tour with violating its duty of care and good faith.
“As the PGA Tour could have known by conducting some basic testing and research, the product that Singh sprayed contained no active biological ingredient and could not possibly have provided any performance enhancement.
“The PGA Tour has now finally admitted that the use of deer antler spray is not prohibited.”
It added: “Rather than performing its duties to golfers first, and then determining whether there had been any violation of the Anti-Doping Programme, the PGA Tour rushed to judgment and accused one of the world’s hardest-working and most dedicated golfers of violating the rules of the game.”
The statement included a comment by former world No 1 Singh, who admitted using deer antler spray in a magazine interview published in January but insisted he was unaware it contained IGF-1, which was on the PGA Tour’s banned list. “I am proud of my achievements, my work ethic, and the way I live my life,” said the 50-year-old, a two-time USPGA champion and former Masters winner.
“The PGA Tour not only treated me unfairly but displayed a lack of professionalism that should concern every professional golfer and fan of the game.”
The lawsuit was delivered on the eve of the Players’ Championship at Sawgrass – the PGA Tour’s flagship event and widely recognised as golf’s unofficial fifth major.
Singh, a 34-time winner on the PGA Tour, is in the Florida field and is due to tee off in today’s first round at 2pm local time with Robert Garrigus and J J Henry.
In the complaint, the Tour is accused of exposing Singh “to public humiliation and ridicule for months” as the case was reviewed.
During that process, he was sanctioned only to then be cleared of any wrongdoing when WADA revealed the use of deer antler spray is no longer prohibited. According to the lawsuit, the PGA Tour was aware of other golfers, including former Open champion Mark Calcavecchia, using the same spray yet made no attempt to impose sanctions against them.
“[The Tour] did not discipline Calcavecchia, but instead merely told Calcavecchia, an admitted habitual and intentional user of the spray, to stop using the spray,” it claims. “Moreover, the PGA Tour told Calcavecchia to stop using the spray without doing any testing of the product to determine whether its use was prohibited under the Anti-Doping Programme.
“If the PGA Tour had done responsible testing of the product in 2011, it would have known that its consumption was not prohibited and Singh would have been spared this injurious treatment.”
Vice-president Ty Votaw said the PGA Tour had received Singh’s statement but added: “We will have no comment.”