Charlotte, NC – PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem announced on Tuesday that the tour has dropped its case against Vijay Singh, meaning the player will not be suspended.
Singh had admitted to using deer antler spray in a "Sports Illustrated" story in January. By admitting to the use, the tour considered the admission a violation of its' Anti-Doping Policy, even though there was no positive test.
Deer antler spray is known to contain IGF-1, a growth factor listed on both the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and PGA Tour Prohibitive Lists, which the tour warned players about in August 2011.
The PGA Tour had issued a sanction against Singh, and he later appealed the sanction. The three-time major champion would have been suspended from the PGA and Champions Tours, had the sanctions held.
"Vijay wasn't assessed this action because he was negligent, he wasn't assessed because he made a mistake, he was assessed it because he violated the doping code," Finchem said. "And the doping code is predicated on a list of substances, and we're now finding from WADA that that substance doesn't trigger a positive test or admission so we have to respect that."
The tour had been in contact with WADA through the process. On April 30, WADA provided this statement to the tour, "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-1) is not considered prohibited."
WADA's statement went on to say, "On the other hand, it should be known that deer antler spray contains small amounts of IGF-1 that may affect anti-doping tests."
The tour concluded that given the new information from WADA, that it is "only fair to no longer treat Mr. Singh's use of deer antler spray as a violation of the Tour's Anti-Doping Policy."
Finchem read the tour's statement, which added that, "Mr. Singh should have contacted the PGA Tour Anti-Doping Program Administrator or other resources readily available to players in order to verify that the product Mr. Singh was about to utilize did not contain any prohibited substances, especially in light of the warning issued in August 2011 in relation to deer antler spray."
According to Finchem, the use of deer antler spray resulted in infinitesimal amounts (of IGF-1) actually being taken into the recipients body. Amounts that couldn't be distinguished even if you had an accurate test with the amounts that you may take into your body with milk, et cetera."
Finchem would not announce what Singh's sanctions would have been, but reiterated that if Singh had been guilty, the terms of the sanctions would have been laid out in detail.
"Under our doping code, if you admit it, it is tantamount to a positive test," Finchem said. "We felt obligated to bring the action because it is technically a violation, or was at that time No. 1, and No. 2 we had heard anecdotally from the medical community that these are small amounts, the fact of the matter is we want players to check before they put a substance in their body. This is one of the reasons you follow the book when it comes to doping."
Singh, 50, withdrew Wednesday from the Wells Fargo Championship. He was replaced in the field by Andrew Svoboda.