Oh, this keeps getting better! A week after the PGA Tour let Vijay Singh off the hook for doping charges, the 50-year-old Hall of Fame golfer filed suit against the Tour for damage to his reputation for failure to do a thorough job on researching his deer antler spray use, according to USA Today.
According to the lawsuit, the Tour “failed competently and responsibly to administer its own Anti-Doping Program. … As a direct and proximate result of the PGA TOUR’s actions, Singh has been humiliated, ashamed, ridiculed, scorned and emotionally distraught.”
The suit, which says that Singh was going to be suspended for 90 days, seeks damages in an “amount to be determined at trial, punitive damages and attorney’s fee, and such other relief as the Court finds proper.”
During the investigation, the suit says the Tour held Singh’s earnings in escrow. In five tournaments in 2013, Singh earned $99,980. The suit is asking for an unspecified amount in damages.
Singh admitted in an interview with Sports Illustrated back in January that he used the deer antler spray to help his back and leg pain. In other words, it supposedly helped him perform better. Deer antler spray was on the banned substance list because it’s said to produce IGF-1, an insulin-like hormone.
The sample the Tour took from Singh came back with small traces of IGF-1. However, in the Tour’s findings, the World Anti-Doping Agency ruled Singh was in the clear because deer antler spray had since been taken off the banned list because it only has minimal amounts of IGF-1 and it doesn’t show up in blood or urine tests.
According to Singh’s lawyer, Jeffrey Rosenblum, the three-time major champion is looking to reclaim his reputation and fears there will be an asterisk by his name.
“I am proud of my achievements, 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.”
So, let’s get this straight: Vijay used a substance that he didn’t know was banned — which is irrelevant because he should have known — to gain an advantage, and then he was cleared due to a technicality. Really??
Well, it seems like he doesn’t have much of a case, but then you reach the part of the suit that says the Tour has found other players, like Mark Calcavecchia, to have used the spray, but chose not to discipline him.
According to the suit, the Tour “did not discipline Calcavecchia, but instead merely told Calcavecchia, an admitted habitual and intentional user of the Spray, to stop using the Spray. Moreover, the PGA Tour told Calcavecchia to stop using the Spray without doing any testing of the product to determine whether its use was prohibited under the Anti-Doping Program. If the PGA Tour had done responsible testing of the product in 2011, it would have known that its consumption was not prohibited and Singh would have been spared this injurious treatment.”
PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem did not comment on Wednesday, but he did touch on the subject when asked in his presser on Tuesday why Vijay has refused to speak on the topic.
“If I was him, I’m not so sure I’d talk about it,” said Finchem. “I’d kind of like for it to be gone. He didn’t do what he probably should have done, what we ask our players to do, but it was all a function of his admission. I don’t know what he could add to that.
“I don’t think he’s said anything on the subject since the decision, that I’ve seen. So if he wants to be quiet about it, I’m not going to argue with him about that.”
Great start to the Players Championship, the PGA Tour’s flagship event!
(AP Photo/The Charlotte Observer, Jeff Siner)