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PGA Tour drops probe of Vijay Singh's banned deer antler spray use

Vijay Singh admitted to using a banned substance in deer antler spray in January. (Harry How/Getty Images) Vijay Singh admitted to using a banned substance in deer antler spray in January. (Harry How/Getty Images)

The PGA Tour has dropped the matter of Vijay Singh using a banned substance after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) changed its stance on the questioned substance.

Singh revealed in a Sports Illustrated article in January that he had used deer-antler spray containing IGF-1, a substance on the PGA Tour's list of banned substances and anti-doping policy.

The PGA Tour's statement includes:

There is no test for IGF-1 currently available in routine blood testing.  However, the PGA TOUR Anti-Doping Policy provides that an admission to the use of a prohibited substance is a violation of the policy even if there is no positive drug test. After confirming the presence of IGF-1 in the deer antler spray product provided to the TOUR by Mr. Singh through tests at the WADA-approved UCLA laboratory, the TOUR proceeded with the matter as a violation of the PGA TOUR Anti-Doping Policy, and a sanction was issued. Mr. Singh subsequently appealed the sanction under the PGA TOUR Anti-Doping Program guidelines. During the appeal process, PGA TOUR counsel contacted WADA to confirm a number of technical points.

At that time, WADA clarified that it no longer considers the use of deer antler spray to be prohibited unless a positive test results. Indeed, on April 30, WADA subsequently provided written confirmation to the TOUR that:

“In relation to your pending IGF-1 matter, it is the position of WADA, in applying the Prohibited List, that the use of "deer antler spray" (which is known to contain small amounts of IGF-I) is not considered prohibited.

Greg Norman pointed to the PGA Tour's lack of action in Singh's case while calling golf's anti-doping procedures "disgraceful" on Monday.

Singh issued a statement the week of the Sports Illustrated article:

“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. In fact, when I first received the product, I reviewed the list of ingredients and did not see any prohibited substances. I am absolutely shocked that deer-antler spray may contain a banned substance and am angry that I have put myself in this position. I have been in contact with the PGA Tour and am cooperating fully with their review of this matter. I will not be commenting further at this time.”

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