9th May, 2013
Fijian golfer, Vijay Singh has sued the US PGA Tour, claiming the tour damaged his reputation with an “unwarranted” pursuit of an anti-doping case against him that was dropped last week.
“I am proud of my achievements, my work ethic, and the way I live my life,” Singh said in a statement issued through is attorney, Peter R. Ginsberg. “The PGA Tour not only treated me unfairly, but displayed a lack of professionalism that should concern every professional golfer and fan of the game.”
The lawsuit, filed in the New York state supreme court, charges the tour with violating its duty of care and good faith in failing to determine that Singh had, in fact, not violated the tour’s anti-doping policy with his use of deer antler spray, which he acknowledged in a Sports Illustrated article published in January.
Analysis showed the spray contained the hormone IGF-1, a substance listed on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and PGA Tour prohibited lists and one the tour had warned players against using in August of 2011.
However, the lawsuit contends that the IGF-1 contained in the spray was inactive, and could not have affected Singh’s performance in any way — and that tour officials could have ascertained that before proceeding against the three-time major champion.
Court documents show that the lawsuit also says that other players who admitted using the spray were not sanctioned, and that the case against Singh — during which his earnings were held in escrow — affected his focus and play.
Tour commissioner Tim Finchem announced on April 30 that Singh would not be suspended, after WADA had informed the tour that the world anti-doping body no longer considered using the deer antler spray to be prohibited unless it resulted in a positive test, which never happened in Singh’s case.
“After exposing Singh, one of the PGA Tour’s most respected and hardest working golfers, to public humiliation and ridicule for months, and forcing Singh to perform the type of scientific analysis and review that the PGA Tour was responsible for performing, the PGA Tour finally admitted that the grounds on which it sought to impose discipline were specious and unsupportable,” the lawsuit says.
Singh has won three major titles — the 2000 Masters and the 1998 and 2004 PGA Championship.