Former world No. 1 golfer Vijay Singh has admitted using deer antler spray, but says he was unaware the extract contained an insulin-like growth factor that is banned by the USPGA Tour.
Fijian Singh, a three-time major winner, has been using the spray, which is believed to speed up recovery from injury, for “a couple of months,” according to a Sports Illustrated article published online earlier this week.
The spray is produced by Sports with Alternatives to Steroids (SWATS) and contains IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor), a natural anabolic hormone that stimulates muscle growth.
“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, who has battled assorted health problems in recent years, said in a statement on Wednesday.
“In fact, when I first received the product, I reviewed the list of ingredients and did not see any prohibited substances,” he added. “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.”
USPGA Tour executive vice president of communications and international affairs Ty Votaw said the Tour was “looking into the matter.”
“The spray is not banned, but there is an ingredient in that spray, IGF-1, and that is banned under our anti-doping policy,” he said.
In August 2011, the USPGA Tour warned players about using deer antler spray with its prohibited ingredient after veteran players Mark Calcavecchia and Ken Green had both endorsed SWATS’ so-called “Ultimate Spray.”