Fiji’s Vijay Singh will not be suspended by the PGA Tour for doping as a result of using a deer antler spray known to contain a prohibited growth-enhancing substance.
Tour commissioner Tim Finchem announced the decision on Tuesday after Singh had appealed a sanction brought against him by the tour after he admitted to using the deer antler spray in a January story in Sports Illustrated magazine.
The spray contained IGF-1, a substance listed on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and PGA Tour prohibitive lists and one the tour had warned players against using in August 2011.
While there is no blood test for IGF-1, PGA policy allows for a violation without a positive test if a player admits using a banned substance.
However, WADA had informed the PGA that it no longer considered using the deer antler spray to be prohibited unless it resulted in a positive test, a policy confirmed in writing to the tour on Tuesday in a letter from WADA.
“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,” WADA said. “On the other hand it should be known that deer antler spray contains small amounts of IGF-1 that may affect anti-doping tests. Players should be warned that in the case of a positive test for IGF-1 or HGH, it would be considered an Adverse Analytical Finding.”
That left Finchem to rule that Singh, 50, should not face a ban.
“Based on this new information, and given WADA’s lead role in interpreting the prohibited list, the tour deemed it only fair to no longer treat Mr Singh’s use of deer antler spray as a violation,” Finchem said in a statement.
The statement said Singh should have contacted PGA anti-doping program administrators before using the product to be certain it did not contain banned substances.