Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Singh Won't Get Sanctions from Tour; Hall of Fame Golfer Had Admitted Using Deer Antler Spray

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Singh Won't Get Sanctions from Tour; Hall of Fame Golfer Had Admitted Using Deer Antler Spray

Article excerpt

Byline: Garry Smits

Vijay Singh has been saved by the very organization that determines what substances are banned in most international sports.

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem announced on Tuesday that Singh, a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame and a Ponte Vedra Beach resident since 1995, will not face sanctions from the Tour for his admitted use of "deer antler spray," which contains IGF-1 - a form of insulin that is also classified as a "growth factor" and is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The Tour had already decided on sanctions against Singh on Feb. 19, and the case was in the appeals process. But when the Tour contacted WADA to clarify "technical points," they were informed last week that the organization no longer had Deer Antler Spray on its banned list because medical evidence and testing by WADA's scientists determined that only trace amounts of IGF-1 could be passed into the body through a spray.

Since the Tour's Anti-Doping program closely follows the anti-doping policy of WADA, Finchem said Singh would not face what could have been up to a year's suspension and that the investigation is closed. Finchem would not reveal what the sanctions against Singh had been.

"We follow WADA on this stuff," Finchem said during a news conference at the Quail Hollow Club, the site of this week's Wells Fargo Championship. "We refer to them and defer to them on the science of these issues. The fact of the matter ... is that it's just not worth having [deer antler spray] on the list in that context."

Finchem told Singh, a three-time major champion who turned 50 years old in February, about the decision before his news conference. Singh, a 34-time Tour winner who entered the Hall of Fame in 2009, is in the field this week and has committed to The Players Championship next week at the TPC Sawgrass Players Stadium Course.

While Singh is off the hook, Finchem made it clear that the 29-year professional veteran indicted himself when he admitted to Sports Illustrated in January that he took deer antler spray, and that Singh was remiss in not taking advantage of several Tour resources to find out if the substance was banned. …

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