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Vijay Singh sues PGA Tour after banned substance allegation

May 08, 2013|By Chuck Schilken
  • Vijay Singh is suing the PGA Tour a week after it dropped its attempt to suspend him for allegedly using a performance-enhancing substance.
Vijay Singh is suing the PGA Tour a week after it dropped its attempt to suspend… (Charles Rex Arbogast / Associated…)

Golfer Vijay Singh is suing the PGA Tour, claiming it damaged his reputation by attempting to suspend him for using a banned substance.

According to the lawsuit, filed Wednesday in New York, the tour notified the three-time major championship winner that he was to be suspended 90 days for using deer antler spray. Singh appealed, and last week the tour announced it was dropping the case after being informed by the World Anti-Doping Agency that the substance was no longer prohibited.

The suit, which seeks unspecified damages, claims that the tour did not do a thorough job researching his use of deer antler spray.

“I am proud of my achievement, my work ethic and the way I live my life,” Singh said in a statement. “The PGA Tour not only treated me unfairly, but displayed a lack of professionalism that should concern every professional golfer and fan of the game.”

Singh, 50, said in a Sports Illustrated article in January that he used deer antler spray to help with his knee and back problems. The spray is said to contain the the growth hormone IGF-1, which was on the tour's list of banned substances. A sample from Singh tested positive for small amounts of the hormone.

But the WADA later informed the tour that deer antler spray is no longer banned because it contains such a small amount of IGF-1. The lawsuit says the tour did no research of its own, including to determine whether such substances were actually performance-enhancers.

“What the PGA Tour accused Vijay of spraying was not a banned substance,” said Peter Ginsberg, a sports law specialist and lead attorney in the lawsuit. “It was an inactive substance and could not possibly have any effect, good or bad, on Vijay. And that's something the PGA Tour easily could have determined.”

Singh has not spoken to reporters all year. He will be taking part in The Players Championship, the tour's flagship event, this week.

“He's looking to reclaim his reputation and hold the tour accountable,” said Jeffrey Rosenblum, one of Singh's lawyers. “There should never be an asterisk next to Vijay's name.”

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