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January 30, 2013

Former trainer says Vijay Singh's career should not be tarnished

Posted at 1:56 PM by Cameron Morfit | Categories: Vijay Singh

Vijay-SinghVijay Singh's former trainer said that Singh shouldn't be tainted by his admitted use of a deer antler spray that contains a substance banned by the PGA Tour.

“I’m not going to just sit back and watch Vijay’s career get tarnished,” said Joey Diovisalvi, who worked with Singh for seven years and is now working with, among others, Keegan Bradley. “It’s completely approved over-the-counter; you and I can go buy it. But here’s where it gets tricky: Just because we can go buy it doesn’t mean it’s approved for golf. Vijay Singh is the real deal; I would think that he trusted somebody when he shouldn’t have.”

According to Sports Illustrated, Singh has been using a banned deer antler spray that contains IGF-1, a "natural, anabolic hormone that stimulates muscle growth." In a written statement released Wednesday, Singh admitted using the spray, but said "at no time was I aware that it may contain a substance that is banned under the PGA Tour anti-doping policy."

Singh, 49, has battled a bad back and other injuries in recent years, and hasn’t hid from his use of the deer antler spray, which he bought from a two-man company called Sports With Alternatives to Steroids (S.W.A.T.) He was quoted in the SI story as saying he uses it “every couple of hours.”

According to the SI story, the Tour told Champions tour pro Mark Calcavecchia to stop using deer antler spray in 2011. Trainer Diovisalvi says three-time major winner Singh’s candor about using the banned substance proves he didn’t know he was doing anything wrong.

“If you and I robbed a bank,” Diovisalvi said, “would we tell everybody we did it? I hope that Vijay gets in front of the media and says, ‘Yeah, I’m working with this stuff and I hope it helps me, and I didn’t know it was on the banned list.’ Ignorance is innocence. Are we going to go back and question Vijay’s entire career? Are we going to start questioning Tiger again? With the whole Lance Armstrong thing going on, this is the absolute last thing we need in golf.”

Singh is scheduled to play in this week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Among other ramifications, Singh's admitted use of a banned substance shines a light on the Tour's drug-testing program, which tests urine but not blood. Human growth hormone cannot be detected without a blood test. Golf is set to make its return as an Olympic sport in 2016.

(Photo: Kohjiro Kinno/SI)

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