Expect to see fans -- and maybe a player or two -- sporting deer antlers at the wild and crazy 16th ole at TPC Scottsdale.
Bubba Watson has no idea what deer antler spray is but he knows he wants nothing to do with it and wonders about the mental health of anyone who would use the illicit substance.
The reigning Masters champ walked off the TPC Scottsdale course after Wednesday’s pro-am and into a media maelstrom involving fellow Phoenix Open competitor Vijay Singh and his admitted use of the product, which is on the PGA Tour’s banned-drug list.
Watson, recovered from the flu that knocked him out of last week’s Farmers Insurance Open, went on a riff about the obvious illegality of the extract and, without naming names, openly questioned the psychological stability of Singh for taking it.
“I think we should check [people] for mental problems if they're taking deer antler spray. Yeah, that's kind of weird,” Watson told reporters.
Watson was responding to a Sports Illustrated report that linked Singh, Baltimore Ravens star Ray Lewis, and other top athletes to a company that sells deer antler spray. The spray contains IGF-1, which SI described as a "natural, anabolic hormone that stimulates muscle growth."
Singh on Wednesday confirmed he used the substance but contended he was “shocked” to learn it was verboten. Watson was just as surprised about the revelations involving his fellow competitor and was emphatic that he would never touch the stuff.
“I know that it's obviously illegal, whatever it is. It sounds like something I would never want near me,” he told reporters. “I know somehow it's illegal, and that's all really I know of it....I don’t even know how you take deer antler spray.”
Watson said he double-checked with the tour before ingesting any medication about which he had any questions.
“I'm playing for millions of dollars. Yeah, I'm going to make sure I do everything right to be able to compete [legally],” he said. “So yeah, it is, it's going to be my responsibility because why would I not do that? Why would I not check and make sure? I'm not just going to take something and ask questions later. I'm not going to take deer antler spray and find out what it is later, no.”
About Bubba's request for ideas for what he should do or wear when he gets to the famed par-3 16th hole -- anyone have a spare rack?
“Yeah, wear deer antlers out there. That would be a good one,” he said. “I don't hunt, so I don't know where to get deer antlers.”