Planet Golf — 06 February 2013 by Jim Street
Singh like a deer in headlights?

Oh, to be a fly on the wall today when PGA commissioner Tom Finchem meets with Vijay Singh regarding the golfer’s recent admission that he used the Ultimate Spray – a deer-antler extract that contains IGF-1, which is banned by every major sports league, including the PGA Tour.

Singh, who will be 50 years old on Feb. 22, has been remarkably competitive on the regular tour since turning 40 years old. He has more wins (22) in his 40s  than any golfer in PGA history — five more than Sam Snead.

Perhaps Bambi has something to do with Vijay’s success.

Regardless, based on some of his recent comments, Singh most likely will plead ignorance while sitting on the hot seat at the Pebble Beach meeting with Finchem today.  

“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,” Singh said in a recent statement. “In fact, when I first received the product, I reviewed the list of ingredients and did not see any prohibited substances. . . .”

That’s all fine and good. But what he should have been reading was the August 2011 “green sheet” released to players with the following warning:

“The PGA Tour has learned that a supplement product marketed as ‘deer-antler spray’ contains a prohibited substance under the PGA Tour anti-doping program,” the warning read.

“Deer antler contains IGF-1, which naturally occurs in the human body and is a growth factor, like human growth hormone. IGF-1 protects cartilage, promotes the growth of bone cells and facilitates recovery. It is universally banned in all sports.”

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand what that means.

The question is: how does Finchem handle this touchy situation?

According to the Tour’s policy, which was initiated in 2008, a player’s first doping violation can result in a suspension of up to one year, although Finchem “may depart from the sanction guidance … as he deems appropriate in a particular case.”

Stay tuned and here’s some advice for all professional golfers – READ THE GREEN SHEET!!!

 

 

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Jim Street

Jim’s 40-year sportswriting career started with the San Jose Mercury-News in 1970 and ended on a full-time basis on October 31, 2010 following a 10-year stint with MLB.com. He grew up in Dorris, Calif., several long drives from the nearest golf course. His first tee shot was a week before being inducted into the Army in 1968. Upon his return from Vietnam, where he was a war correspondent for the 9th Infantry Division, Jim took up golf semi-seriously while working for the Mercury-News and covered numerous tournaments, including the U.S. Open in 1982, when Tom Watson made the shot of his life on the 17th hole at Pebble Beach. Jim also covered several Bing Crosby Pro-Am tournaments, the women’s U.S. Open, and other golfing events in the San Francisco area. He has a 17-handicap, never had a hole-in-one, although once he came within two inches of an ace, and witnessed the first round Ken Griffey Jr. ever played – at Arizona State during Spring Training in 1990. Pebble Beach Golf Links, the Kapalua Plantation Course, Pinehurst No. 2, Spyglass Hill, Winged Foot, Torrey Pines, Medinah, Chambers Bay, North Berwick in Scotland, and Princeville are among the courses he has had the pleasure of playing. Hitting the ball down the middle of the fairway is not a strong part of Jim’s game, but he is known (in his own mind) as the best putter not on tour. Most of Jim’s writing career was spent covering Major League baseball, a tenure that started with the Oakland Athletics, who won 101 games in 1971, and ended with the Seattle Mariners, who lost 101 games in 2010. Symmetry is a wonderful thing. He currently lives in Seattle and vacations in Arizona (and other warm climates) as much as possible.

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