That's the question Bob Harig asks in the wake of Vijay Singh's admission to a violation of the PGA Tour doping policy.
Now what? 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.
While he maintained in his statement that he was "shocked" to learn deer-antler spray might contain a banned substance, such a defense should have no bearing.
Garry Smits points out that it was virtually impossible for a veteran like Singh not to know he was using a banned substance, including a warning announced to the players 18 months ago.
According to the PGA Tour Player Handbook, members can obtain information on the Anti-Doping Policy and view the banned substances list on a players-only web site, pgatourlinks.com; or at another password-protected site, drugfreesport.com. The Tour has made in-house legal counsel available to players for program questions.
Tim Rosaforte and Sam Weinman look back at the Mark Calcaveccia situation that prompted the tour's warning 18 months ago and note this:
Calcavecchia's decision to stop using the spray wasn't a difficult one given that he noticed little difference in the two months he did take it. When first approached, he was told the spray would help address aches in his wrist, shoulders and back. He said he thought the spray helped his wrist "a little bit," but it had no impact elsewhere.
"It didn't help my back in the least," Calcavecchia said.
Alex Miceli looks at the Vijay situation does a nice job reviewing the Doug Barron case, the only previous suspension and the tour's handling of it looks even worse for Commissioner Finchem when juxtaposed with Vijay's violation no matter what punishment is handed out.
“I felt it was very impersonal,” Barron said from his home in Memphis. “I felt like I took the test, I failed it, the commissioner put off on meeting for six weeks and he told me on the phone with my attorney in a phone conversation that I was suspended for a year, and that was it. If he would have taken the time to review my case and seen that I had low testosterone documented, then it would have been a whole different deal. I'm not going to speculate whether I was the scapegoat. . . . But I think it was not accurately done. It was just a quick judgment, in my opinion.”
Vijay's former trainer is coming to his defense, reports Cameron Morfit.
“I’m not going to just sit back and watch Vijay’s career get tarnished,” said Joey Diovisalvi, who worked with Singh for seven years and is now working with, among others, Keegan Bradley. “It’s completely approved over-the-counter; you and I can go buy it. But here’s where it gets tricky: Just because we can go buy it doesn’t mean it’s approved for golf. Vijay Singh is the real deal; I would think that he trusted somebody when he shouldn’t have.”
Here's the most problematic language for Vijay:
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;