Saturday 24 February 2018

Silence on doping issue damages game

Karl MacGinty

VIJAY SINGH popped up like a ghost at Tampa Bay, declined even to say 'boo', then mercifully melted into the background!

Six weeks after the embarrassing admission that he took deer antler spray, Singh (right) remains in limbo as this 'test case' for the US Tour's anti-doping system continues in secret.

Or does it?

For all we know, proceedings may have concluded. As PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said last month: "If action is taken, it'll be reported. If no action is taken, it won't be reported and that'll be the end of that."

Did the spray Singh admitted squirting under his tongue actually contain the banned substance IGF-1?

Has the Fijian been cleared or is he currently appealing a finding by the Tour?

Amid this vacuum, the 50-year-old continues to play, with cringing consequences.

Last Thursday, when Singh's 69 was one of only 13 sub-70 scores on The Copperhead, he maintained a stoic silence, refusing even to give a Tour media official a few words about his round.

"No comment to you. No comment to anybody," he said, according to ESPN golf correspondent Bob Harig.

Thankfully, Singh faded out of the picture over the weekend.

But what if he repeats his 2007 victory at Bay Hill this week or if the Fijian next month wins the Masters once again?

The PGA Tour's Trappist silence on all matters relating to discipline, misbehaviour and slow play has for too long placed the interests of wealthy and powerful individual players before the greater good of their game.

The furtive way in which the Tour operates its anti-doping procedures is more damaging, not just to the image of golf as a sport serious about eliminating this scourge but also to the person they supposedly protect – Singh!

Irish Independent

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