I have always felt and said that a man who can be a champion in one era could be a champion in any other era because he has what it takes to reach the top. BEN HOGAN
He's becoming the gift that keeps on giving!
USA Today with the first details of Vijay Singh's suit against the tour over his deer antler spray doping policy violation, which earned a "no comment" from the tour.
The Tour, the lawsuit says, 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," the suit claims. "Rather than performing its duties to golfers first, and then determining whether there had been any violation of the Anti-Doping Program, 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."
I'm out watching PAC 12 golf but I know you need an outlet to express your joy at the heartwarming news of Vijay's acquittal on admitting to having purchased a banned substance.
And the statement...
PGA TOUR Statement Regarding Vijay Singh
The PGA TOUR Anti-Doping Program, which has been in effect since July 2008, closely follows the International Anti-Doping Standard set forth by the World Anti-Doping Agency (“WADA”) particularly as it relates to the interpretation and application of the List of Prohibited Substances and Methods.
In a January 28, 2013 article that appeared on SI.com, Vijay Singh was quoted as admitting to his use of a deer antler spray supplement. Subsequently, Mr. Singh confirmed his use of deer antler spray in a statement he issued. Deer antler spray contains IGF-1, a growth factor listed on both the WADA and PGA TOUR Prohibited Lists, which the TOUR warned players about in August 2011. After the SI.com article came out, WADA also issued a warning about deer antler spray on February 5, 2013.
There is no test for IGF-1 currently available in routine blood testing. However, the PGA TOUR Anti-Doping Policy provides that an admission to the use of a prohibited substance is a violation of the policy even if there is no positive drug test. After confirming the presence of IGF-1 in the deer antler spray product provided to the TOUR by Mr. Singh through tests at the WADA-approved UCLA laboratory, the TOUR proceeded with the matter as a violation of the PGA TOUR Anti-Doping Policy, and a sanction was issued. Mr. Singh subsequently appealed the sanction under the PGA TOUR Anti-Doping Program guidelines. During the appeal process, PGA TOUR counsel contacted WADA to confirm a number of technical points. At that time, WADA clarified that it no longer considers the use of deer antler spray to be prohibited unless a positive test results. Indeed, on April 30, WADA subsequently provided written confirmation to the TOUR that:
“In relation to your pending IGF-1 matter, it is the position of WADA, in applying the Prohibited List, that the use of "deer antler spray" (which is known to contain small amounts of IGF-I) is not considered prohibited.
On the other hand it should be known that Deer Antler Spray contains small amounts of IGF-1 that may affect anti-doping tests.
Players should be warned that in the case of a positive test for IGF-1 or hGH, it would be considered an Adverse Analytical Finding.”
Based on this new information, and given WADA’s lead role in interpreting the Prohibited List, the TOUR deemed it only fair to no longer treat Mr. Singh’s use of deer antler spray as a violation of the TOUR’s anti-doping program.
Since his initial quote was made public, Mr. Singh has cooperated with the TOUR investigation and has been completely forthcoming and honest. While there was no reason to believe that Mr. Singh knowingly took a prohibited substance, the PGA TOUR Anti-Doping Program clearly states that players are responsible for use of a prohibited substance regardless of intent. In this regard, Mr. Singh should have contacted the PGA TOUR Anti-Doping Program Administrator or other resources readily available to players in order to verify that the product Mr. Singh was about to utilize did not contain any prohibited substances, especially in light of the warning issued in August 2011 in relation to deer antler spray.
Going forward, the PGA TOUR is committed to increasing its educational initiatives to remind players of the PGA TOUR Anti-Doping Program and the risk of utilizing any product without a full understanding of the ingredients contained in that product. Such educational initiatives will include reinforcing with its members the many resources available to them on a 24/7 basis to respond to any questions they may have concerning any product.
The PGA TOUR recognizes that the science of anti-doping is an ever evolving subject, and the TOUR will continue to work with its consultants and WADA to stay abreast of all current developments in this area. This will include staying abreast of developing policies and procedures, specifically with regard to testing for growth hormone and IGF-1. When fully implemented tests for those substances become available in routine blood testing, the TOUR will continue to monitor the situation and make changes to the policy as necessary or appropriate.
The Australian's Will Swanton caught up with the Shark and besides pretty much calling Vijay Singh a cheater, Greg Norman said it's time for golf's "disgraceful" testing to branch out to include blood tests.
PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem, who long opposed drug testing and who has not been in a hurry to add blood testing for stuff like HGH, probably has downgraded the Shark's buddy status to 1995ish, when the two giant (egos) of the game were less chummy.
"You have to have blood testing, simple as that. It's a pin prick for a player, and you find out what's going on. If you're the head of golf or any sport, if you're the commissioner for a sport, it's your responsibility to make sure your sport is clean. That should be your No 1 priority."
"You only have to look at what happened to Vijay Singh just recently to know the drugs issue is there," Norman told The Australian yesterday.
"We know that because Vijay Singh got caught. How deep it is, I have no idea because we only do urine analysis instead of blood testing. If you really want to be serious about it and find about what's really going on, we need to do blood testing. I think it's disgraceful, to tell you the truth. The golf associations have to get together and step it up.
Bob Harig calls the PGA Tour's deliberate handling of Vijay Singh's admission to violating the tour's doping policy "pathetic" and hopes Singh contends so that the World Golf Hall of Famer can display his grumpy attitude for all the world to see.
Singh would not even give a PGA Tour media official a few cursory comments about his round.
"No comment to you. No comment to anybody," were Singh's relayed words.
It would be great if he won the tournament and said the same thing.
It would be even better if he captured his fourth major championship at the Masters, becoming the oldest major champion in the game's long history.
Harig goes on to remind us that Commissioner Finchem said there was "no time urgency" in this case of a player admitting to violating the rules. What could possibly take so long to process that claim?
No doubt, the folks at WADA are watching this farce play out.
Ewan Murray comes to Vijay Singh's defense and gets a surprising statement from R&A chief executive Peter Dawson who also is golf's representative with the International Golf Federation, and therefore the Olympic movement.
Singh admitted using the antler spray during an interview with Sports Illustrated. The spray reportedly contains IGF-1, a substance named among those banned by the PGA Tour. Singh's subsequent statement that he did not know what the antler spray contained would represent little or no defence.
That much is straightforward but IGF-1 would be detected only by a blood test, which the Tour does not undertake and, in any case, Singh has not been tested at all.
Dawson said: "You begin to wonder if your testing regimes are right. This is going to cause a lot of soul searching and I wouldn't be surprised if there are changes to procedure."
This is an odd statement for the reason Murray noted: that Singh did not fail a test. It's also strange in that the policy specifically states that even an attempt to acquire a banned substance is a violation. So how is the testing at fault when the policy was violated by an admission of guilt under the policy guidelines?
Also, deviating from the current policy could lead to golf not being in compliance with World Anti-Doping Association guidelines, therefore jeopardizing its place in the Olympics. Some people wouldn't mind that.
ESPN.com's Bob Harig asks, "How is it that Singh is even playing?"
He's referring to admitted doping policy violator Vijay Singh, who is in the field this week at Riviera for the Northern Trust Open as some feel his situation becomes a distraction for the tour each week he plays.
Because his status is under review, Singh is permitted to play, although there is a possibility that any official earnings or world ranking points could be rescinded, depending on the outcome of Finchem's investigation.
This much is clear: If Singh took a banned substance, knowingly or not, he has to be penalized by the tour's own rules. Ignorance is not a defense, nor is the argument that deer spray or IGF-1 is ineffective; it has been on the tour's banned substance list since the drug testing program began in 2008. Players were warned in 2011 about deer-antler spray in literature and emails widely circulated.
Doug Ferguson also submits a commentary suggesting that Singh should take a leave of absense until his situation is resolved.
Under the anti-doping policy, the Tour is required to disclose the name, confirm the violation and declare the penalty.
So far, there has been silence.
This is not a call for the Tour to rush to judgment. Singh's case is muddled. Yes, a player who admits to using a banned substance is the same as a player testing positive. But is there evidence that IGF-1 was in the spray that Singh was using? More than one doctor has said it's impossible for IGF-1 to enter the blood system through a spray. And the Tour does not have a blood test, anyway.
Plus, players have the right to appeal, and the policy says a hearing must take place within 45 days.
Singh brought this mess on himself, and now is the time for him to give back to the game that has provided him with so much. Singh could eliminate this distraction by taking a leave of absence until the Tour sorts this out. The sooner the better.
**James Corrigan in the Telegraph sees it the other way, responding to much of the criticism in Europe, though this discounts the doping violation language which does not require a positive test. An admission of attempting to take a banned substance is enough.
The Tour will also know by now that minute quantities of IGF-1 may be found in milk and beef and many other products it would not think to outlaw. It will have heard the generally held view of the experts that it is impossible to absorb IGF-1 in the body if it is not injected.
Indeed, it may well prove the case that Singh was actually less ignorant than the authorities.
The lynch mob are loudly baying for Singh’s sporting life. They would presumably be satisfied with the potential scenario of a man being banished from his profession for unknowingly doing nothing wrong?
This absurdity is where hysteria has taken sport and the vigilantes’ demand for action is set to become more shrill with the revelations of widespread doping in Australia. The temptation is to declare that here is a simple case of good against evil. But it is not necessarily black and white. The Singh affair shows it can be a mess of grey.