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« Quail Hollow's Greens Not So Green, High Profile WD's Ensue | Main | Vijay Acquitted, Share Your Resounding Joy Here »

First Reactions To Vijay's Acquittal...

So in a nutshell: Vijay Singh violated the tour doping policy, was found guilty by the tour, appealed, and in that process the World Anti-Doping Agency decided what he took was not so testable or so helpful, so he got off even though he remained guilty under tour policy whether he took the stuff or not.

Deer Antler Spray for all! Another feather in WADA's cap!

You can read Tim Finchem's press conference here and there's not as much gobbledygook as normal, just some choosing words carefully. But also several interesting points about the problems with blood testing even though the policy violation occurred before a single test was ever conducted.

Bob Harig reviews the finding and like me, seems to be stuck on this pesky fact:

The tour had warned its players about deer-antler spray in August 2011, but there is no test available in routine blood testing. At this time, the tour only conducts random urine tests. But an admission is still a violation of the policy, and Finchem said a sanction was issued to Singh on Feb. 19.

Alex Miceli also seems fixated on the same issue.

According to Section One of the PGA Tour Anti-Doping Program Manual, a player is strictly liable whenever a prohibited substance is in his body, regardless of the circumstances.

“This means that if a test indicates the presence of a prohibited substance in your test sample, you have committed a doping violation regardless of how the prohibited substance entered your body,” according to the manual. “It does not matter whether you unintentionally or unknowingly used a prohibited substance.”

Because Singh did not test positive for the banned substance, according to Section Two (D) (8) titled PGA Tour Anti-Doping Program, Prohibited Conduct, Singh’s verbal admission was treated as a positive test.

Rex Hoggard calls the PGA Tour's handling a "slam dunk" in using this "emergency exit" solution, but then writes...

It’s also worth pointing out that IGF-1 was on the banned list when Singh admitted to using it. By comparison, if someone is given a speeding ticket for going 70 mph in a 55 mph zone, but the speed limit is increased on the same stretch of byway the next day to 70 mph, was there a violation?

Randall Mell goes big picture and concludes that "Golf seems more vulnerable today to the plague that has infected so many sports" after the decision:

If the lab coats were watching Tuesday’s news conference, they must have been giddy over the opportunity the sport presents as a new market. Singh gets a reprieve, basically, because deer-antler spray isn’t as effective as he thought it was. His ignorance and carelessness saved him, but those are qualities ripe for exploitation.

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Reader Comments (20)

This shares the same DNA with the recent use of the new Tiger Rule 33-7.

Both involve high profile, high value players.

Both involve "timing"

Both involve a punishable violation.

Both players violated a rule governing play (one from the Rules of Golf and one from the WADA standards). But, because of an interim event in both cases, both were the beneficiaries of strained logic and rationale.

Vijay commits a violation. In the interim, WADA changes it standards. Vijay escapes.

Tiger commits a violation. In the interim, Fred Ridley constructs a story. Tiger escapes.

Both were guilty. Both got off on technicalities.

Shame on The Masters and the PGA Tour.
04.30.2013 | Unregistered CommenterThe Rep Monster
Vijay = "high profile, high value"? How do you figure?

He hasn't won a tourney since 2008. In the last 4 years he's only cracked the top-50 of the money list once. He's now 50 and doesn't have a top-20 in 8 events on the PGA Tour this year. The media despises him. I don't get the sense the average fan has any attachment to him. To the best of my knowledge he doesn't move the gate.

What am I missing?

Due process ran its course and the correct (and obvious) judgement was rendered.

LMAO at Dennis Pugh and Mark Roe from SkySports who pronounced Vijay's "career is over" when the story first broke! HAHAHA!
04.30.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
LMFAO at Mark Roe. Where was 33-7 when he needed it. He's no Tiger. Just a journeyman bum who landed a TV gig.

Rule 33-7 is for CLOSERS who sell tickets!
04.30.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPatriot
So Doug Barron asks for permission to use a substance prescribed by his physician for a legitimate health problem only to be denied and banned while Vijay admits to blatantly (if unintentionally) violating the drug policy only to have the tour change their policy after the fact to spare him from punishment.

Sounds like justice to me.

04.30.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKH
The rule of law making way for the rule of lawyers.
05.1.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGrant
Good thing Vijay never flashed the deer antler sign after making birdie like Josh Hamilton did in Texas after a hit.
05.1.2013 | Unregistered CommenterD. maculata
The media's hatred of VJ is the only thing that kept this story alive. Any other player--(Calc) and it is a non-story. Truth is that VJ could have mainlined the stuff and it wouldn't have saved him 1 shot.
The 'circus' moves to QH this week. Wonder what breaking news will be revealed this week? @ NLUFS&T, you are correct, Vij could have inhaled tons of this 'natural substance' and it would done more harm than good. The TOUR needs to go back to trying to administer golf tournaments. Barnum & Bailey would proud of the all the worthless news this created. A sucker born every two minutes.
I think Doug Barron did get screwed but I fail to see how his case relates to Vijay in any way.

Now Mark Calcavecchia, there's a case with a direct link to, and bearing on, Vijay's case.
05.1.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Remember: the pga tour exists to provide a comfortable living for golf writers and it is essential that the writers feel wonderful about themselves. Vijay doesn't like writers, doesn't very know that the writers are much more important than a surly three time major winner/HOFer?
As with steroids in other sports, the only people who care are the writers.
05.1.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjoe
Vijay reminds me of the guy of urban legend who paid a lot of money for a baggie full of vegetable matter back in the day (it was the 70s) and got caught by the campus gendarmes while sitting in a lawn chair in the middle of an intramural field. They had to let him go later when the stuff turned out to be oregano. I wonder if the placebo effect worked? Did he raid the 7-11 for a large bag of Doritos?

PGA TOUR reminds me of the SEC/Comptroller of the Currency/FDIC (w/o Sheila Bair)/FSLIC. Nothing to see here, move along.
05.1.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
As a general rule of thumb, rules, common sense, and logic should all line up. When they get of of whack with one another you need to choose, which is more important - strict adherence to the rules? or common sense (and in this case science)? Personally speaking, I think we tend to all be better off when common sense, logic, etc win out - as they did in Vijay's case. The product was never banned, the substance (IGF-1) is banned. IGF-1 is contained in many things, milk for instance, you cannot artificially add IGF-1 to your body through a spray (science) and therefore the fact that Deer Antler Spray contains IGF-1 shouldn't matter (logic). YMMV
05.1.2013 | Unregistered Commenterelf
elf, that makes so much sense. I know of at least 2 other people who are in complete agreement with you.
05.1.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Gee, somebody getting away with knowingly breaking the rules.

That never happens in our society does it?
05.1.2013 | Unregistered Commenterhyaucrit
Rep Monster:

Seems Ridley did not "construct a story at all." Turns out there really was a caller, and a well known one. Of course, this more than ever begs the question of why no one talked to Tiger before he signed his score card.
05.1.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSari
Sean Murphy, if you're still reading this blog, this one's for you:
05.1.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSari
Believe I'll write to the USGA, asking how a ruling could occur without invoking 34-3/9 occurring. How the committee was able to rule without 34-3/9. How the committee is able to "waive" this "rule"...then waive rule 33-1. And then specifically how RULE 20-2c/1.5 wasn't used in REVIEWING THE VIDEO. I suppose we are all to believe that 3 members of the rules committee, who are well versed in the rules (well, not really, because when you watch the video its elementary to the point that the drop was not in accordance with Rule 20-2c/1.5....and because its that obvious, we're all then suppose to believe that an actual "REVIEW" actually occurred by Fred Ridley and the other two expert rules officials) and can't ascertain by watching this video that the 911 caller in fact got it right.

Who ever the 911 caller was, I say we hire him to run the rules (competition committee) next year at Augusta National during the Masters, this guy knows the rules better than Fred Ridley for crying out loud. Poor Fred, a 911 caller gets it right while watching it live and Fred, with his minions, cant get it right after watching this video, what?? 5 - 10 times. FRED.....time to find something else to blew it big in rule 20-2c/1.5 BIG TIME.....isn't that the rule you guys go buy in ascertaining a drop under relief for 26-1a is followed closely??? Fred, all the europeans know your suppose to drop IMMEDIATELY behind your divot if you can identity where your last stroke was taken from.

Out of curiosity, did Fred ever explain why his committee thought the drop was legal during the REVIEW? A 911 caller knows the rules but Fred Ridley & Co don't??


Still sticking to the FRAUD explanation !!

Side Note: the rules of golf need clarity on whether a ruling has occurred....when the player in question,....hasn't a clue....LMAO!!

PS.....Finchem and Vijay had the same ethics professor in High School.
05.1.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSean Murphy
Sean, the caller was David Eger....I presume you are familiar with the level of rules knowledge he possesses?
05.1.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF

If David Eger called, well, that's just about proof positive they never conducted a review, much less a ruling. Rule 20-2c/ hard is it for Fred & Co NOT TO CONCLUDE that the drop was not IMMEADITLY behind his first divot, which was easily identifiable to the the video we see him take a couple steps backwards from his first divot?

For me it's always been very simple. He looked at this video and said I'm not going out there to hand him a penalty, not going to do it. And with that rational, he (Fred) is waiving rule 33-1 that says he is suppose to GET WITH THE PLAYER to gather ALL THE FACTS. Fred must be a lot smarter than the rest of us, that is until Tiger gave his post round interview.

33-7 was a flagrant example of incompetence, I guess that is an extraordinary circumstance, 3 pro rules officials can't identify where this player last played from, but David Eager can watching it live.

Dear USGA...

How can a rules committee claim its made a ruling when the player in question, is never questioned, nor contacted with the committees "DESISION" before that player enters the scoring area????? Without there being any contact, and they had over an hour to get with him thanks to Guan taking it in the shorts two holes ahead, how on earth (in the name of sportsmanship) can this committee claim it has ruled?? To me: Without any contact with the player prior to the player entering the scoring area the player is on his own under Rule 6-1 and 6-6d...and the committee because it has TRULEY FAILED TO ACT IN A TIMELY MANNER ( because let's face it, there happens to be other competitors in this tournament as well who are responsible under 6-1 & 6-6d) SHOULD NOT BE ABLE TO PULL OUT A TRUMP CARD because the committee is ignorant of the rules...Rule 33-1 needs clarity concerning when the committee itself is ignorant of the rules. This committee, as far as I'm concerned, did not act, and therefore there was no action taken. When they FAILED to gather facts under Rule 343/9....they UUummmmm, didn't have grounds to make a ruling. It's simple, you claim you took a calls testimony...the committee then has THE OBLIGATION to get the player in question testimony. When the committee failed to get his testimony, failed to get with the player before he enters the scoring area....uuummmmm 16 hours later is TO LATE. The proper ruling was to DQ this rules committee, and DQ the player in question. What we saw 16 hours later was the biggest travesty I've ever witnessed in golf, neither the rules committee or the player was going to admit that they were both ignorant of the rules, where is the sportsmanship there?? Both parties didn't have a gun to their heads, and both parties acted, outside the rules, and both parties felt no obligation to be soley responsible for there clear acts of ignorance. UUuummmm, he made some mistakes, we made some mistakes, but we've decided to allow him to keep playing, and he's decided like them to keep playing....LMAO.

After this BS....signing score cards should just go by the wayside like metal spikes, don't worry about it boys, no need to sign your scorecard today....there is no time limit to making a ruling, or if there is a time limit just make sure you hand it in tomorrow,'ve got 16 hours, take your time.
05.2.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSean Murphy
And yet, Vijay was supposed to be in this week's field. What happened? Too many questions?

He said he took the stuff,

The stuff has no stuff in it.

If he admitted to killing a guy who was already dead, would it be murder?

Don't call him a cheat. He was up front from the start.

I mean, seriously, if you admitted to eating a rum and raisin ice cream before driving home last week, would you expect to be arrested?

The wrong decision was made, and then it was overturned.

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