Masters: Singh ‘entitled to play’ despite dope claim

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COLIN Montgomerie has expressed surprise over the failure of the PGA Tour to come to a decision on its review of Vijay Singh’s alleged use of a banned substance before the first major of the season.

As a former winner – the Fijian had Scottish caddie Dave Renwick on his bag when he claimed the Green Jacket in 2000 – Singh is in the field for this week’s Masters despite a cloud hanging over him.

In January, the three-time major champion admitted to taking deer-antler spray, which is reported to contain a banned substance, IGF-1.

The PGA Tour is reviewing the matter and whether Singh should be suspended for violating the Tour’s drug policy but, as that takes place, he’s been allowed to keep playing without offering any comment on the matter.

“I thought a decision would have been made by now, before we get to this stage of a major championship,” said Montgomerie, who is working as an analyst at Augusta for Sky Sports. “This tournament is different to a regular event because he is an addition as a past winner – it doesn’t affect the situation that happens on the PGA Tour whereby he is keeping somebody out of the event.

“Every tournament he plays in right now is a little bit controversial in many ways because people are whispering and people are talking. But, at the same time, if he’s legal to play, he’s entitled to do so, so I can’t say anything against that until the powers that be make a decision.

“It’s not up to us to say yay or nay about him teeing up in events like these but, if he is proven guilty then, of course, there is an issue, yes.”

“He’s admitted taking the stuff and it’s all up in the air right now. The view taken by (PGA Tour commissioner) Tim Finchem is the view that has to be. If Tim Finchem suspends Vijay Singh, he wouldn’t be able to play, so it’s still under negotiation and, as a past winner of the event he’s entitled to play under those circumstances.”