PGA Tour: No rush to decide Vijay Singh’s deer antler spray fate

Ezra Shaw

PGA Tour commission Tim Finchem says he’ll make public “relatively soon” whatever punishment he metes out to Vijay Singh, an admitted user of deer antler spray, which contains a banned substance.

Finchem said on Sunday there was no rush to discipline Singh under the tour’s drug policy and pledged to let the public in on what he determined.

"There's no time urgency here, because if action is taken it'll be reported,” Finchem said. “If no action is taken, it won't be reported."

The essence that Singh used reportedly included an element like human growth hormone, which is outlawed by the PGA and other major sports. The three-time major champion told Sports Illustrated he had taken the spray for “a couple of months,” but he said in January he did not realize that IGF-1 was one of its ingredients.

The tour’s anti-doping policy requires Finchem to announce suspensions resulting from the use of performance-enhancing drugs “or other violations of the doping code,” the commissioner said.

“And if that is forthcoming,” he added, “we will announce it in due course.”

A month has passed since Singh said he was “absolutely shocked” to learn he had used a forbidden extract, but Finchem discounted any “perception” that the tour was dawdling on disciplining the 50-year-old golfer.

"There is a process and it's been well-reported about what he did," said Finchem. " We have got some steps and when we get done with it we’ll have it out and fully in public, fully transparent. Any action taken will be fully disclosed but I prefer to wait until we have it all done and can talk about it."

Under the tour’s drug policy, a player could receive a suspension of up to one year for his first violation, though Finchem “may depart from the sanction guidance...as he deems appropriate in a particular case.”

Since enacting its drug policy, the tour has suspended only one player, Doug Barron, in 2009. The tour banished Barron for one year for taking a PED.

Finchem made his remarks as Matt Kuchar was putting the finishing touches on his win at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. The commissioner, appearing on Golf Channel and NBC to announce the tour’s opposition to the USGA’s proposed ban on anchored putting, did his best to overshadow Kuchar’s 2-and-1 victory over last year’s match-play champ Hunter Mahan.


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