Doping Case Against Vijay Singh Dropped

The PGA Tour has dropped its doping case against Vijay Singh based on new information from the World Anti-Doping Agency that said using deer antler spray is no longer prohibited as it contains such small amounts of a growth hormone factor.

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said the bottom line is that given the change by WADA, we are dropping the case against Vijay Singh. Finchem added that the appeal of Singh against the sanctions imposed against him was almost over when WADA, which had warned about the spray in February, told the tour it no longer considers the use of deer antler spray to be prohibited except for a positive test result.

The Tour received a written statement from WADA that indicated the spray is known to contain small amounts of IGF-1. Reading from a statement, Finchem said the tour deemed it only fair to no longer treat Singh’s use of deer antler spray as a violation of the tour’s anti-doping program based on this new information, and given WADA’s lead role in interpreting the prohibited list.

In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Singh said he paid $9,000 last November for deer antler spray, hologram chips, and other products from Sports With Alternatives To Steroids. The deer antler spray was said to contain IGF-1, an insulin-like growth hormone that is on the list of banned substances under the tour’s anti-doping policy. The PGA Tour said the golfer provided a sample of the spray, and tests at a UCLA laboratory confirmed the presence of IGF-1. The golfer was penalized on February 19 – Tuesday of the Match Play Championship, for which the 50-year-old Fijian was not eligible – and Singh appealed a week later.

WADA provided a written statement after the tour contacted it to confirm technical points when the agency clarified its position and said we are talking about a determination that was made by scientists at WADA that relate to the consumption, through deer antler spray, of a technically violative substance, IGF-1 and the scientists looking at it concluded it resulted in infinitesimal amounts actually being taken into the recipient’s body, amounts that couldn’t be distinguished even if you had an accurate test with the amount that you might take into your body from milk, etc. Finchem added that a player taking enough IGF-1 to register a positive result is not possible because a positive reading means that you’re surpassing a certain level and there hasn’t been any level ever set.

Finchem went on to add that the fact of the matter here is – as some people in the medical community pointed out when this matter came up, and now science at WADA has looked into it and concluded on their own – it’s just not worth having it on the list in that context; he also added that he don’t know of a substance or a transfer mechanism out there that can loan a person to IGF levels that would get the attention of the WADA science people and clearly, this isn’t one and they’ve made that clear to us.

The PGA Tour commissioner said he doesn’t think you can move ahead with a prosecution on a player given this set of facts and that’s our conclusion. He also remarked Vijay wasn’t assessed this action because he was negligent and he wasn’t assessed it because he made a mistake. Vijay was assessed because he violated the doping code, and the doping code is predicated on a list of substances, Finchem remarked and added that we’re now finding from WADA that that substance doesn’t trigger a positive test to admission, so we have to respect that.

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