• PGA Tour

Singh faces investigation over antler spray use

ESPN staff
January 30, 2013
Vijay Singh is a three-time major winner © Getty Images

The PGA Tour has confirmed it will investigate claims that three-time major winner Vijay Singh used a banned supplement.

Singh was one of a number of athletes named in a report, published by Sports Illustrated this week, as having used so-called deer antler spray - which contains IGF-1, described as a "natural, anabolic hormone that stimulates muscle growth" by the manufacturers.

The substance is on the PGA Tour's banned list, after it introduced a more widespread doping policy four years ago. The 49-year-old Singh could now face investigation and a possible ban.

The report alleged that Singh paid $9,000 for the use of the spray and various additional extras, with the Fijian subsequently quoted as saying: "I'm looking forward to some change in my body.

"It's really hard to feel the difference if you're only doing it for a couple of months."

A PGA Tour spokesman confirmed that Singh could face a hearing, but the report would be studied fully before any decision is made.

"As we have just been made aware of the report we have not had a chance to review it in depth, but we will be looking into it," PGA Tour vice-president Ty Votaw said.

In a statement, Singh subsequently admitted to using the product - but denied knowing that it contained a banned element.

"While I have used deer antler spray, at no time was I aware that it may contain a substance that is banned under the PGA TOUR Anti-Doping Policy," Singh said in a statement. "In fact, when I first received the product, I reviewed the list of ingredients and did not see any prohibited substances.

"I am absolutely shocked that deer antler spray may contain a banned substance and am angry that I have put myself in this position. I have been in contact with the PGA Tour and am cooperating fully with their review of this matter. I will not be commenting further at this time."

There remains doubt in some quarters about whether drugs can aid golfers' performance, due to the nature of the sport - although some supplements can enable players to practise for longer and recover quicker.

Two years ago the former Open champion Mark Calcavecchia was told to stop using deer antler spray. A spokesman said at the time: "The PGA Tour regularly warns players of the risks associated with all supplements."

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