Dilemma for Tour as Singh admits taking banned deer antler spray
VIJAY SINGH and PGA Tour officials find themselves on the horns of a dilemma following the Fijian's stunning revelation that he's been using a deer antler spray previously found to have contained a banned growth hormone.
Singh, 50 next month, will tee it up in today's first round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open as US PGA Tour officials investigate an article in 'Sports Illustrated' in which he frankly admitted applying the spray "every couple of hours ... every day".
According to its makers, the spray contains small amounts of deer IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1). Described as "a natural anabolic hormone that stimulates muscle growth", IGF-1 is on the list of substances banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Olympic Committee – and adopted by golf.
However, the PGA Tour have no way of determining if a player has used growth hormones, as a blood test is required, and only urine samples can be taken under the sport's current testing protocols.
Two years ago, Mark Calcavecchia was urged by the Tour to stop using a deer antler spray, and the American immediately informed the manufacturers that his name could no longer be used to endorse the controversial product.
According to 'Sports Illustrated', Singh, a member of World Golf's Hall of Fame, admitted ordering $9,000 worth of supplements and other products from SWATS (Sports With Alternatives To Steroids) last November.
Those products included a special beam-ray lightbulb; a selection of stickers for various acupuncture points on his body; a powder additive to mix in water, and the antler spray, which he squirted under his tongue frequently during the day.
The spray's main constituent is deer antler velvet, the pre-calcified cartilage extracted in a safe manner from New Zealand deer and ground up into a powder. SWATS claim deer antler velvet is "the fastest-growing substance on earth".
It is clear from Singh's comments to 'Sports Illustrated' that he had no idea the spray was banned. Speaking of his expectations from the products he bought, he said: "I'm looking forward to some change in my body."
Last night, he issued a statement insisting: "I'm absolutely shocked that deer antler spray may contain a banned substance and am angry that I've put myself in this position.
"I've been in contact with the Tour and am cooperating fully with their review of this matter."
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