Vijay Singh vs. PGA Tour is now heading to trial.
After nearly eight months, New York Supreme Court justice Eileen Bransten ruled May 12 there is reason for the case to move to trial. Bransten issued her opinion on several motions filed in the case, which Singh starting by filing the suit in May 2013 against the Tour over its handling of his admission to Sports Illustrated that he used a substance called deer-antler spray.
Under the Tour's Anti-Doping Program, an admission of taking a banned substance is considered as a positive test. Deer-antler spray is said to contain an ingredient, IGF-1, which is the banned ingredient appearing on the Tour's list, which parallels that of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). However, deer-antler spray is ingested orally. IGF-1 is only absorbed by the body in the blood stream. That meant, Singh contended, that, without a test, there's no way to know if he actually violated the Program.
However, the PGA Tour announced a suspension for Singh, which it then rescinded after consulting with WADA, which outlined its views and scientific research on deer-antler spray and IGF-1.
The resulting fallout led to a lawsuit during the week of the 2013 Players. Four years later, thousands of billable hours and hundreds of motions culminated in Judge Bransten's ruling that, at least one on particular point, a jury should hear the arguments of both sides on a trial. The particular issue at hand is if the PGA Tour should have consulted with WADA before issuing Singh's suspension instead of afterward.
“It is up to a jury to determine whether [the Tour’s] decision to not consult WADA and/or ignore WADA studies and findings issued prior to [Singh’s] suspension concerning deer-antler spray constitute an ‘appropriate’ investigation,” Bransten wrote.
Two other issues are if Singh was damaged personally and financially because of the news coverage of his initial suspension and his case, and if PGA Tour vice-president Ty Votaw violated the good-faith covenant between the Tour and Singh, as a member, by speaking publicly about the suspension.
No trial date has been set.