Category: Vijay Singh


December 05, 2013

DJ dismisses Vijay: 'He's in trouble, not me'

Posted at 1:14 PM by Pete Madden
Dustin Johnson
Credit: Getty Images

 

In an interview with the Golf Channel's Jason Sobel, Dustin Johnson distanced himself from fellow Tour pro Vijay Singh, who recently requested documents related to the "actual or possible violation" of the PGA Tour's Anti-Doping Program of five current professional golfers, including DJ, during the discovery period of his suit against the PGA Tour.

"I don’t know why he would call me out," Johnson told Sobel. "Obviously, he’s in a situation where he’s looking to better himself somehow, but there’s nothing there."

Johnson, an eight-time PGA Tour winner, most recently at the HSBC Champions in November, went on to say that he's never run afoul of the Tour's drug policy.

Q: Have you ever been punished or reprimanded for any kind of violation?

A: No.

Q: Does it anger you to see your name in connection with that story?

A: Not really. I don’t care. He’s in trouble, not me.

Q: Would you consider any type of legal action for your name being used?

A: No. I’m out of it. Don’t want anything to do with it. I don’t care.

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December 04, 2013

PGA Tour won't reveal drug violators to Vijay Singh

Posted at 5:03 PM by Pete Madden
Vijay Singh
Credit: Getty Images

 

In the latest twist in Vijay Singh's case against the PGA Tour, the Tour rebuffed Singh's sweeping discovery requests, including demands for documents and communications related to the "possible or acutal violation of the [Tour's Anti-Doping] Program" of five current professional golfers: Doug Barron, Matt Every, Mark Calcavecchia, Scott Verplank and Dustin Johnson.

In a letter to Justice Eileen Bransten of the New York State Supreme Court, the Tour's attorney, Jeffrey Mishkin of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, called Singh's discovery requests "overreaching" and "irrelevant," arguing that "these individuals have nothing to do with this litigation. Mr. Singh cannot and should not be permitted, in the guise of discovery, to engage in a fishing expedition that risks further harm to the interests of these and any other third-party golfers."

Singh's lawyer, Peter Ginsberg, contends that information about the way the PGA Tour treated other golfers suspected or accused of violating the Tour's anti-doping program "will evidence the full extent of the PGA Tour's disparate treatment of Singh."

Three of the five golfers named in discovery have had previously reported run-ins with the Tour's drug policy.


Ginsberg declined to explain why the other two golfers -- five-time PGA Tour winner Verplank and eight-time winner Johnson -- were included in Singh's discovery request or whether he will be seeking information about other PGA Tour players in the future.

Documents concerning other golfers are just one of four categories of information sought by Singh and his legal team. In addition to "all documents and communications related to any positive tests by any golfer for any substance listed as a banned substance under the Program," Ginsberg also requested information concerning the structure of the Tour's anti-doping program, membership renewal forms and stance on colostrum, a substance that contains IGF-1 (the same hormone in deer antler spray) but is not banned, an all-out offensive designed to force the Tour to bring the details of its anti-doping program out of the shadows.

"Vijay alleges -- and it is historically obvious -- that the PGA Tour has administered many facets of the business in an inconsistent manner," said Ginsberg. "The PGA Tour presently is attempting to keep from disclosure evidence of the manner in which it has engaged in that type of disparate treatment of players. One goal of the discovery is to force the PGA Tour to come clean with regard to how it administers the golf business."

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November 06, 2013

Vijay's lawyer says PGA Tour selectively enforces drug policy

Posted at 12:11 PM by Pete Madden
Vijay Singh
Credit: Getty Images

 

In the undercard of the A-Rod vs. Major League Baseball fight, Vijay Singh is waging his own legal battle against the PGA Tour, and the lawyer in his corner just threw a haymaker.

According to a transcript of recent court proceedings released by the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Singh's lawyer Peter Ginsberg alleged that he has evidence that PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem has not only repeatedly exempted Tour players from drug testing but also failed to punish players for positive tests.

"[O]ne of the elements of bad faith that we are prepared to show in this case, is that the PGA (Tour) has made exception after exception after exception, both with regard to whom it was administering this drug policy, and against whom it was disciplining, violators of the drug policy,” said Ginsberg in a hearing on Oct. 24.

"[F]or some reason, the PGA (Tour) singled out Mr. Singh and treated him in a way that it has not historically or uniformly treated other PGA (Tour) members."

In a January 2013 issue of Sports Illustrated, Singh admitted that he used deer-antler spray, a substance that contains the growth factor IGF-1, which appears on the PGA Tour's Prohibited Substances List.

PGA Tour officials notified Singh of their plans to suspend him for 90 days. Singh appealed, and after the PGA Tour consulted with The World Anti-Doping Agency -- which subsequently revised its policy on deer antler spray, removing it from its list of banned substances -- Tim Finchem announced that the PGA Tour would not punish Singh.

"Vijay wasn't assessed this action because he was negligent. He wasn't assessed it because he made a mistake. He was assessed it because he violated the doping code, and the doping code is predicated on a list of substances," Finchem told the Associated Press. "And we're now finding from WADA that that substance doesn't trigger a positive test to admission, so we have to respect that."

Nevertheless, Singh filed suit against the PGA Tour in May, alleging that the Tour's "reckless administration and implementation" of its Anti-Doping Program had caused him "public humiliation."

The PGA Tour countered with a motion to dismiss the suit in June, referring to Singh's release of claims when he signed his membership renewal form to remain eligible to play on the PGA Tour in 2013.

"Because Mr. Singh has provided the Tour with an express written release of any claims arising under the Anti-Doping Program, this complaint should be dismissed," argued Jeffrey Mishkin of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom on behalf of the PGA Tour.

The dispute cuts to the heart of the question of where power lies on the PGA Tour. While the PGA Tour contends that "the players themselves govern, control the Tour," Singh's lawyer Ginsberg argues that "the PGA (Tour) is a monopoly ... It's an association made up of members who have no choice as to where they exercise his or her professional undertaking."

Singh, according to Ginsberg, had to sign on the dotted line or lose his livelihood, a so-called "adhesion contract" in which one side has all the bargaining power and uses it to his or her advantage. 

"Now, [the PGA Tour is] taking the position, it doesn't matter why, doesn't matter what we did, doesn't matter what we didn't do ... We are untouchable. We are immunized," said Ginsberg.

"You can't ask what our bad faith motive was ... whether it's because Mr. Singh isn't from the United States or Mr. Singh didn't go to the right PGA party or Mr. Singh did something that Tim Finchem didn't like.

"[W]e have the right to discover, A, why the PGA (Tour) did not responsibly turn to the scientific evidence before it disciplined Mr. Singh, and we have the right to determine why Mr. Singh was treated so differently than so many other golfers ... That's what this case is about."

Said Mishkin: "[N]o one pressured Mr. Singh to play on the PGA Tour. He wanted to play on the PGA Tour, and like every other player, he agreed to the eligibility conditions."

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May 10, 2013

John Daly gives Vijay Singh heartfelt advice

Posted at 11:54 AM by Golf.com

John Daly can't give out too many tips on the golf course -- he's missed five of seven cuts and has failed to break 80 twice this season. 

But that doesn't stop him from offering some friendly advice to Vijay Singh, his fellow pro who announced this week he was suing the PGA Tour. In the midst of updates on his swollen right elbow (Doctor said tendonitis #bummerday), Daly offered these words to Vijay -- sans punctuation.

We'll see how Vijay responds. But chances are, it won't be in a post-round interview.

May 03, 2013

Players divided on Tour's failure to punish Vijay Singh

Posted at 5:21 PM by Cameron Morfit

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).
February 11, 2013

Vijay Singh still playing despite antler spray admission

Posted at 12:13 PM by Cameron Morfit

Singh-spray_640
Vijay Singh finished T50 last week at the Pebble Beach Pro-AM (Harry How/Getty Images).

Brandt Snedeker has been the revelation of 2013, but many observers are stunned that Vijay Singh is even playing at all.

An investigative report in the Feb. 4 issue of Sports Illustrated detailed Singh's use of deer antler spray, which contains the banned substance IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor). Singh admitted to taking it in a statement released Jan. 30 and withdrew from that week's Waste Management Phoenix Open, citing an injured back. Alas, he returned quickly to Pebble Beach last week, where he tied for 50th.

Now what? The Hall of Fame golfer is said to have met with PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem at Pebble Beach, and Alex Miceli of Golfweek gives a detailed account of where Singh goes from here. He has several options, including contesting whether he ever really benefited from the spray at all. 

Even if the deer-antler spray does contain IGF-1, at least one expert said the banned substance could not enter Singh’s bloodstream and/or metabolize to provide any benefit.

Dr. Roberto Salvatori, a hormone expert at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, said oral delivery of IGF-1 by a spray could not be effective and would be digested and destroyed by the enzymes in Singh’s saliva.

“IGF-1 is a rather large protein, and there is really no way it can be absorbed in the body by just applying on the tongue or even ingesting it,” Salvatori said on a recent Sirius/XM broadcast this month. “And the only way that IGF would be present there, could be effective, would be to inject it.”

Singh did not admit to injecting the spray, which was designed to be sprayed into the mouth.

“I believe it's much ado about nothing,” Salvatori said.

Even if Salvatori is proven right, Miceli says, Singh could face a suspension and/or fine. That's because his situation has provided a public relations headache for Finchem and the Tour. 

If Singh were to be exonerated under the Anti-Doping Program and IGF-1 is not an ingredient of the deer-antler spray, Finchem nonetheless could use his authority to impose a minor sanction and cite "conduct unbecoming a PGA Tour professional."

The public nature of any violation and the negative media coverage could be enough for Finchem to discipline Singh.

February 03, 2013

They Said It! Top 10 Quotes of the Week for Phoenix Open

Posted at 12:58 AM by Mike Walker

Tiger_quote1. "It was just so friggin' slow. We played just over three hours and nine holes, and three of them are par threes. It's like, come on, you know. I started losing my patience a little bit."

--Tiger Woods on the slow pace of play in his final round Monday at Farmer Insurance Open

 

Garrigus_quote2. “I ate at the golf course with my wife and my son, the guy drove us to the private airport, took off at 1:10, flew to the Phoenix airport, got in my car, drove home, unpacked kind of, like chucked my suitcases in the closet, sat down, turned the TV on and Tiger is on 17. And I was like, ‘Wow, is he pissed right now.’”

--Robert Garrigus on playing in the Farmers Insurance Open in the morning and arriving in Phoenix before it ended

 

Vijay_quote3. “I’m guessing that Vijay Singh doesn’t know the product has been called out by the PGA Tour specifically.”

--Sports Illustrated’s David Epstein on the magazine’s story about how Singh had used deer-antler spray, which contains a substance banned by the PGA Tour.

 

Westwood_quote

 

4. “You have to be careful about what you take. I try not to take anything now, really, other than Corona and vodka.''

--Lee Westwood on Vijay Singh’s deer antler spray

 

Paddy_quote

 

5. “As much as we spend all our time trying to be consistent, it's the inconsistent wins that are probably the most important thing.”

--Padraig Harrington at the Phoenix Open

 

 

Phil_quote

 

6. “There's a big barrier, a Berlin Wall barrier, between 59 and 60.”

--Phil Mickelson after his putt for 59 just lipped out in first round of the Phoenix Open

 

 

Bones_quote

 

7. “Obviously the golf gods giveth and they taketh away, so there you have it.”

-- Jim "Bones" Mackay, Mickelson’s caddie, on the missed putt for 59

 

 

Rory_forweb

8. “Golf needs a younger and more athletic image, and Nike has always had that. I'm young enough. I'm not sure I'm athletic enough. But I'll try!"

--Rory McIlroy on his endorsement deal with Nike

 

 

Sergio_quote9. “Unfortunately, we started making birdies and eagles, and I thought, ‘Well, what do we do now?’”

 --Sergio Garcia on making four birdies and an eagle on the front nine when he was considering withdrawing from the Omega Dubai Classic with a sore shoulder

 

Lacava_quote

 

10. "I tried to get him to play."

-- Caddie Joe LaCava on his boss Tiger Woods not playing the Northern Trust Open at Riviera this year

January 30, 2013

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

Posted at 1:56 PM by Cameron Morfit

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)

Vijay Singh: I didn't know deer antler spray was banned substance

Posted at 1:29 PM by Mike Walker

Vijay Singh said in a written statement Wednesday that he used a deer antler spray reputed to help stimulate muscle growth, but that he was shocked that the spray may have contained a substance banned by the PGA Tour.

In light of the recent article on sportsillustrated.com, I want to issue the following statement:

While I have used deer antler spray, at no time was I aware that it may contain a substance that is banned under the PGA TOUR Anti-Doping Policy. In fact, when I first received the product, I reviewed the list of ingredients and did not see any prohibited substances. I am absolutely shocked that deer antler spray may contain a banned substance and am angry that I have put myself in this position. I have been in contact with the PGA TOUR and am cooperating fully with their review of this matter. I will not be commenting further at this time.

In the Sports Illustrated article, Singh was named as one of several athletes to use a banned substance from a two-man company called S.W.A.T.S. -- Sports with Alternatives to Steroids. The company sells products such as deer antler spray and hologram chips that they claim will help athletes perform better on the field. The deer antler spray contains IGF-1, which SI describes as a "natural, anabolic hormone that stimulates muscle growth." It is also a banned substance by all major pro sports leagues.

According to SI, PGA Tour players were warned about the deer antler spray back in 2011 after Mark Calcavecchia was told by the PGA Tour to stop endorsing S.W.A.T.S.'s "Ultimate Spray." Ken Green also endorsed the product. However, Singh told SI he used the deer antler spray as well as other S.W.A.T.S. products that the company claims enhances athletic performance.

Vijay Singh, however, remains a vocal supporter. In November, Singh paid Ross $9,000 for the spray, chips, beam ray and powder additive -- making him one of the few athletes who is compensating S.W.A.T.S. He says he uses the spray banned by the PGA "every couple of hours . . . every day," sleeps with the beam ray on and has put chips on his ankles, waist and shoulders. "I'm looking forward to some change in my body," Singh says. "It's really hard to feel the difference if you're only doing it for a couple of months."

On Tuesday,Ty Votaw, executive vice president of communications for the PGA Tour, said on Tuesday that the PGA Tour had just been made aware of SI's article and was looking into it.

 

January 29, 2013

Vijay Singh admits to using banned substance in Sports Illustrated article

Posted at 2:50 PM by Ryan Reiterman

SinghVijay Singh has been named as one of several athletes to use a banned substance from a two-man company called S.W.A.T.S. -- Sports with Alternatives to Steroids, according to an article from this week's Sports Illustrated.

The two men, Christopher Key and Mitch Ross, run their company from a gym in Alabama. They sell products such as deer antler spray and hologram chips that they claim will help athletes perform better on the field.

The deer antler spray contains IGF-1, which SI describes as a "natural, anabolic hormone that stimulates muscle growth."

It is also a banned substance by all major pro sports leagues.

Despite warnings from the PGA Tour that the deer antler spray was a banned substance, SI reports that Singh ordered several products from S.W.A.T.S. last November.

(Vijay Singh, however, remains a vocal supporter. In November, Singh paid Ross $9,000 for the spray, chips, beam ray and powder additive -- making him one of the few athletes who is compensating S.W.A.T.S. He says he uses the spray banned by the PGA "every couple of hours . . . every day," sleeps with the beam ray on and has put chips on his ankles, waist and shoulders. "I'm looking forward to some change in my body," Singh says. "It's really hard to feel the difference if you're only doing it for a couple of months.")

Players were warned about the deer antler spray back in 2011 after Mark Calcavecchia was told by the PGA Tour to stop endorsing S.W.A.T.S.'s "Ultimate Spray." Ken Green also endorsed the product.

According to SI, Ross had a friend who introduced him to a PGA Tour caddie. Ross told SI that the caddie was "passing me around the golf world like a prostitute."

This isn't the first time Singh has been involved with controversy. Singh continued to defend and wear the logos of Stanford Financial, even after chairman and CEO Allen Stanford was charged with running a multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme. Singh even offered to pay for Stanford's bond, but he was not allowed to since he is not a U.S. citizen. Stanford is currently serving a 110-year prison sentence.

Singh, who turns 50 next month, has long been known as one of the most fit players on Tour. But in the last few years, Singh has struggled with injuries. In 2011, Singh went to Germany for a procedure on his back. The same doctor has also treated Fred Couples. In 2009, Singh had arthroscopic surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee.

Update: Ty Votaw, executive vice president of communications for the PGA Tour, said on Tuesday that the PGA Tour had just been made aware of SI's article and was looking into it.

Update: Geoff Shackelford found this testimonial video, which shows several Champions Tour players endorsing the hologram chips sold by S.W.A.T.S. The video was posted by Mitch Ross, one of the co-founders of S.W.A.T.S.

(Photo: Robert Beck/SI)





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