The PGA Tour, while the golf world was engrossed in last week’s U.S. Open, asked a New York state court to dismiss Vijay Singh’s deer antler spray lawsuit against the professional players’ association.
The tour filed its request on June 12, saying it “conducted itself reasonably and responsibly” in its treatment of Singh, according to BloombergBusinessweek. Singh, whom the tour eventually cleared of any wrongdoing for using the deer essence, which contained a formerly banned substance, sued Tim Finchem’s unit on May 8 for “reckless administration and implementation” of its drug program.
Singh, who seeks damages in his suit, admitted to using the Ultimate Spray, which contained a human growth hormone-like substance that at the time was on the tour’s proscribed substance list. The tour suspended Singh in February for 90 days, though he played while he appealed the discipline.
Despite the tour’s eventual exoneration of Singh, the three-time major winner contended, in his lawsuit, that the punishment resulted in his being “humiliated, ashamed, ridiculed, scorned and emotionally distraught.”
The tour’s countersuit said that Singh used the spray, which at the time contained an illegal substance, and that the body was within its rights to penalize the player.
“On the basis of these undisputed facts, the tour’s decisions under its own anti-doping program to impose discipline on Singh and ultimately to rescind that discipline, can hardly be described as illegal or having been taken in bad faith and accordingly, as a matter of law, should not be second-guessed by the court,” Bloomberg quoted the tour’s attorneyssaying in the filing.
Singh’s attorney, Jeffrey Rosenblum told SBNation Friday that Singh would not knuckle under to what he termed the tour’s bullying tactics.
“My interpretation of it is that they’re trying to get it dismissed because of a technicality of the contract they believe was signed by Vijay Singh,” said Rosenblum, who will respond to the tour’s dismissal request.
The contract, which Rosenblum said each PGA Tour player signed at the beginning of the season, states, according to the attorney, that “in return for us allowing you to play on the tour, you agree to abide by our anti-doping program and not to sue us for anything at all, ever, and to waive any claim that you could possibly have against the tour, Tim Finchem, and any of its employees.”
The tour, according to Rosenblum, “is essentially saying that we can do what we want to do and you can’t sue us.
“We believe that will be an unenforceable provision,” he said.
Rosenblum believed that the compact between tour and golfer does not give “somebody carte blanche to act irresponsibly and unfairly.
“When the tour wants to bully players and wants to do what they want to do, when they want to do, to who they want to do it to,” Rosenblum added, “I think it’s courageous for Vijay Singh to stand up and say, ‘No, you can’t, you need to be held accountable.”