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« Vijay WD's To Spend More Time WIth His Lawyer | Main | Bo Van Pelt Fires 59... »
Wednesday
Jan302013

Vijay Roundup: "Could a Hall of Famer be suspended?"

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.”

Link to the Tour released statement for Vijay.

And a PGATour.com Q&A of doping program parameters.

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;

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Reader Comments (28)

Baldy just made some interesting comments on the Golf Channel....

Seems to me the way the Tour handled the Calcavecchia situation should be problematic, for the Tour.

According to Baldy, in 2011 when the Tour found out Calc was using the deer spray Jimmy Gabrielson, VP of Player Relations, contacted Calc and told him "you gotta get off this stuff Calc, it's not on the conforming list"....and Calc discontinued using the product.

By all appearances Calc suffered no consequences for using the product, meaning no suspension levied. If they didn't suspend Calc, how can they suspend Vijay?

I looked at Calc's schedule in 2011 and he played at least 2 events every month right up to the Sr. Tour Championship event. In 2012 he played at least 2 events every month except for January when he played 1, and September when he was off the whole month. So if there was a suspension they either delayed it until September (seems unlikely), or it was only a couple weeks.

Unless IGF-1 was only added to the banned list after the incident with Calc it sure looks like the Tour set a precedent by not suspending him for using this product.

Looks to me like Vijay is in the clear...
01.30.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
h2o-boy, based on the way the Tour handled it with Calc, there are no consequences.

You just stop using it, and that's it.
01.30.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
I wonder if Deer Antler Spray causes issues with writing down the correct score in Australia
01.30.2013 | Unregistered CommenterCarl Spachler
Carl,

As far as we know Vijay never wrote down an incorrect score in Australia.

The accusation was at the Indonesian Open.
01.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike Clayton
Vijay and suspect behavior; haven't we gone down this road before?
01.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJeff Smith
If VJ gets the Calc treatment, it looks like two sets of rules, one for major winners and one for journeymen like Barron. This one could get interesting.
Carl, Vijay rarely plays in Australia.. I've heard he dislikes playing there.
01.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterStord
@DTF - I agree, except the memo that was sent out to all in the wake of the Calc situation. Seems like that was fair warning, maybe they thought Calc didn't really get that. Vijay does not have even that lame excuse. 3 months.
01.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
Lot of guys a couple years ago used the deer antler spray, in golf and other sports - then sports world freaked out and banned it, leading to memo to Calc and rest of tour, and it being placed on banned list. It's dumb, but not the same situation.
01.31.2013 | Unregistered Commenterelf
I've used deer antler spray and I do not believe it actually works for rehab.

But I do find myself rubbing my forehead on trees, scraping the ground and peeing in it.
01.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLudell Hogwaller
Either Vijay knew he was taking a banned substance, or he was extremely stupid and naive for not knowing it was banned. I think this is likely just the tip of the iceberg and he's on all sorts of juice.
There's quite few juicers that post here and they never get suspended. Free Vijay!
01.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBobby D
Vijay had other-worldly stamina and recovery abilities back in his early 40s. The only other guy that could pound balls for 8 hours, then jump up and do it again the next morning was Tiger. Since the Tour ignored the HGH doctor in Tiger's house, they'll probably ignore deer antler gate as well.
01.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterCOB
What you talking about COB?!?
01.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterTiger Roids
wonder what else Vijay was on.
01.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie
Ludell, glad you survived the rut.
01.31.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
He just WD'd so something is up...
01.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterViz
He WD'd so he wouldn't have to face the onslaught of media hacks circling like sharks with blood in the water. Free Vijay!
01.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBobby D
couldnt happen to a nicer guy...
01.31.2013 | Unregistered Commenterchicago pt
BrianS, the tour players interviewed yesterday would not comment about Vijay specifically, but they did comment on the responsibility of the player to seek information, as well as the resources afforded him for doing so -- the consistent message, ignorance about the rule/substance is not a valid excuse. (Stewart Cink & Jason Bohn both spoke at some length)

This has not changed in the last 18-24 months.

Technically "deer spray" isn't the issue, an ingredient in it, called IGF-1, is the issue.

Here are the facts:
- deer spray from SWATS contains IGF-1 (and the term *IGF-1* is plastered all over the place)
- Calc used deer spray
- IGF-1 is on the banned substance list
- the Tour caught Calc using the product
- the burden of knowing what he was using is on Calc
- the Tour did not suspend Calc

There's not a clause in the rules that says "in the absence of a pre-existing memo" you get one free pass. As for memos on Tour, in case you haven't noticed Tour players don't read them, I know of at least one country boy with a bad back that's down one major due to ineffective memo uptake.

Imagine the exact same list of facts above with "Tiger" inserted in place of Calc....people would be calling for Tiger to be banned from the game for preferential treatment, as well as a full investigation by the FBI and the jailing of Finchem & The EVP Drones for violating our senses!

PS...wins that *count*:

Vijay 9
Calc 1
Kenny Perry 3
Rory 4
J. Daly 2
A. North 2
Tiger 41
01.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Tim Clark 1
01.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
DTF....what's with this 'wins that count' stuff?
01.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrad
Brad, a small panel of our local 'experts' have determined that wins at place like Torrey, Bay Hill, Qatar...*don't count*. They've been deemed meaningless. The experts say only majors, WGC's (most of them anyway), the playoff events (except Tour Championship), and Memorial when it suits them, actually *count*.

FYI, Mickelson clocks in at 8 wins that *count*. That's 1 less than Vijay, twice as many as Rory.
01.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Do they count at the bank?
01.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrad
DTF: Your counts sound about right to me. What does that leave Jack and Sam Snead?
01.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatt H.
Oh yeah Brad, even Chris Wood's win in Qatar counts at the bank ;0)

Matt, lemme check....
01.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
@ stating the obvious:
You're on the right track, but you missed the massive train heading right at you. The story isn't that this is the tip of an iceberg revealing that VJ is on all kinds of juice, the story is that All kinds of players are on all kinds of juices. That story isn't coming out any time soon however.
01.31.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
Press Agent, doggone it, I still like Coca Cola with a lot of ice. Not like Moe Norman, but still....
01.31.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth

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