Nobody likes a cheater.
People who don’t honestly record every score cards and then smirk as they carry away the most coveted prizes aren’t truly welcome. An opponent who always finds his ball in the rough, with a clear shot and a good lie isn’t a mystery.
But, is there room for tolerance, interpretation or explanation?
In the case of the PGA Tour vs. Vijay Singh, a member, one has to wonder just a tiny bit if things haven’t been mishandled.
A very long time ago, in a land far away and in a professional tournament, he was accused of posting an incorrect score. Suspicious minds have been left to draw their conclusions on that allegation.
He can be grumpy and does answer interviewers’ questions in a curt and arrogant manner, yet, without doubt, he is the epitome of a person who climbed out of nowhere through his mind-numbing dedication and hard work to become the world’s No. 1 player at one point.
In doing so, Singh knocked off the greatest poster boy of all time for the PGA Tour, Tiger Woods, during his prime in order to accomplish that feat.
Around the world, sports governing bodies are slowly catching up to guys like Lance Armstrong who used performance enhancing drugs and then miraculously covered it up over a 10-year, too-good-to-be-true career.
Baseball players have appeared before courts and testified at hearings in an effort to eliminate cheaters. Football, weight-lifting, track and field and swimming have all felt the sting of disgraced players.
They all violated at least one of three basic standards, that being they took a drug that is performance enhancing, is a health risk or violates the spirit of the competition.
The drug that Singh self-administered, by his own admission, and even reported himself to commissioner Tim Finchem, is called IGF-1 which, at the time, was banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
It is found in extremely minute quantities in a product called deer antler spray, which is used as a body healing or rejuvenating agent and, according to Singh, is commonly found in dairy products at higher levels then those found in the deer antler spray.
What I find strange is the tour proposed to suspend Vijay for 90 days. He appealed and the tour withheld over $100,000 in winnings.
Subsequently, the WADA tested Deer Antler Spray and determined the levels of IGF-1 to be insignificant, non-performance enhancing and of little if any, benefit and removed it from their list of banned substances.
The PGA Tour which doesn’t have its own list of banned substances followed the agency’s lead. I
Singh claims he was singled out as a drug cheat before the PGA Tour actually tested deer antler spray to determine whether or not they were performance enhancing.
Since Vijay’s suspension was lifted and winnings released, he is now suing the PGA Tour contending they damaged his reputation unnecessarily and without determination of the improprieties/benefits of the deer antler spray.
Furthermore, there is a precedent for non-suspension.
The PGA Tour seldom releases information concerning disciplinary action levied against one of their members;
Doug Barron, if you will recall, failed a drug test and was suspended until he won the argument that he had been prescribed certain medications by his physicians. Today, Barron is the only PGA Tour member with agreed and accepted permission to use certain drugs.
In my opinion, Vijay Singh makes an excellent case. It will be interesting reading particularly if the PGA Tour ever develops a better drug enforcement policy. Who knows what evil might lurk.