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May 03, 2013

Players divided on Tour's failure to punish Vijay Singh

Posted at 5:21 PM by Cameron Morfit | Categories: Bubba Watson, Tommy Gainey, Vijay Singh

Vijay_ap_300Players at the Wells Fargo Championship have had mixed reactions to the PGA Tour's announcement earlier this week that it will not punish Vijay Singh for using a banned substance. Singh admitted in Sports Illustrated in January to using deer antler spray, which contains the growth factor IGF-1.

The Tour had warned players not to use deer antler spray because it contains IGF-1, which could trigger a positive test in the Tour's anti-doping program. And, according to the Tour's statement earlier this week, the Tour tried to discipline Singh, but he appealed the sanctions. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) then advised the Tour that it had removed deer antler spray from the banned list, exonerating Singh.

Well, not so fast.

According to a report by Golf Channel's Jason Sobel, Tommy Gainey is among those who wonder whether the Tour's failure to discipline Singh sets a bad precedent.

“I’ve got nothing against Vijay –- he’s done a lot; he’s a Hall of Famer – but you just don’t come out and admit that you used a banned substance, then Mr. Finchem and the Tour don’t punish him for it,” Tommy Gainey said Wednesday. "I’ve got a problem with that as a player. Because now it’s on the banned substance list, so there’s no gray area. Either he did or he didn’t. He admitted he did, but he got no punishment. I just think it’s going to open the door for a lot of bad things to happen.”

Even players who refused to come down so hard on the ruling didn't exactly sound thrilled with it.

“They decided it wasn’t banned, so it is what it is,” Gary Woodland said. “There’s nothing we can do about it. It’s good for Vijay and we’ll move on. It’s a tough one. Some guys aren’t happy about it and some don’t care. He won his appeal and we have to move on from there.”

“If they say it’s right, if they say it’s legal, then it’s legal,” Bubba Watson added. “I stand by the PGA Tour. If I had a decision that went that way, I’d have to stand by it. The law is the law. There are laws we have to follow even though we may not like it."

Photo: Vijay Singh at the 2013 Tampa Bay Championship (AP).

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