Vijay Singh won’t be able to use documents linking PGA Tour peers to positive drug tests to bolster his case against the Tour’s treatment of him in 2013.
New York Supreme Court justice Eileen Bransten on Thursday denied Singh’s request for access to PGA Tour documents regarding potential positive drug tests and subsequent punishment for fellow Tour players including Scott Verplank, Matt Every, Doug Barron and Dustin Johnson.
Bransten denied the request on the grounds that Singh was asking for documentation related to situations outside of the scope of his case against the PGA Tour. In other words, because these players did not test positive for, were not alleged to test positive for or admit to taking deer-antler spray, which contains a banned, insulin-like substance known as IGF-1, their adjudication under the PGA Tour’s Anti-Doping Program was ruled not pertinent to Singh’s case.
The court also denied Singh access to documents concerning the Tour’s position on colostrum, a substance that contains IGF-1 but is not banned under the Tour’s Anti-Doping Program. Again, Justice Bransten noted Singh agreed to the program’s banned substance list by retaining PGA Tour membership, leading her to rule the Tour’s position on the drug is irrelevant.
Singh was granted access to documents relating to any players who has tested positive for or admitted to taking deer-antler spray, among them Mark Calcavecchia.
In a Jan. 2013 Sports Illustrated article, Singh admitted to taking deer-antler spray. Singh was subsequently suspended under the Tour’s Anti-Doping Program as, under its guidelines, an admission of taking a banned substance is tantamount to a positive test. Singh was to be suspended for six months, pending an appeal. However, before the PGA Tour announced Singh’s suspension publicly, it consulted with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to get clarification on their stance on IGF-1 and deer-antler spray. WADA no longer considers oral ingestion of a substance containing IGF-1 — like deer-antler spray — as a violation of its anti-doping guidelines as IGF-1 must be injected into the bloodstream to have any performance-enhancing effects. Armed with this new information, the PGA Tour withdrew it suspension of Singh on April 30, 2013.
Days later, just before the 2013 Players Championship, Singh sued the PGA Tour in New York Supreme Court, claiming he was treated differently than peers who have been subject to scrutiny under the Tour’s Anti-Doping Program. The court has established Singh has a somewhat limited case against the PGA Tour.
Justice Bransten has called for the trial’s next hearing on Oct. 7.