Vijay Singh, US PGA Tour settle deer-antler doping dispute

The issue began with comments Vijay Singh made five years ago to Sports Illustrated for a story about steroid alternatives, the Fijian saying that he had used deer antler spray.

The PGA Tour suspended Vijay Singh after finding the spray contained IGF-1, a banned substance under the tour's anti-doping rules. (File Photo)   -  AFP

Three-time major champion Vijay Singh of Fiji and the US PGA Tour announced on Tuesday that they have reached a settlement deal over a 2013 doping dispute over deer-antler spray.

The issue began with comments Singh made five years ago to Sports Illustrated for a story about steroid alternatives, the Fijian saying that he had used deer antler spray.

The PGA Tour suspended Singh after finding the spray contained IGF-1, a banned substance under the tour's anti-doping rules.

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Singh appealed the 90-day suspension and while the case was considered, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) ruled it no longer considered using the spray a doping violation unless there was a failed drug test involved. That was not the case in Singh's situation, so the ban was revoked.

Singh, however, sued the tour later in 2013, saying that he was treated unfairly in how the doping violation was handled, causing unfair harm to his reputation. It was this suit that was settled on Tuesday.

“The PGA TOUR and Vijay Singh are pleased to announce that we have resolved our prior dispute,” the statement said.

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“The settlement reflects our mutual commitment to look to the future as we put this matter behind us. The PGA TOUR fully supports Vijay as he continues to be a true champion on the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions."

“The PGA Tour recognizes that Vijay is one of the hardest working golfers ever to play the game and does not believe that he intended to gain an unfair advantage over his fellow competitors in this matter."

“Vijay fully supports the PGA Tour's Anti-Doping Program and all efforts to protect the integrity of the game that he loves so much. The parties will make no statement concerning the settlement terms resolving this matter.”

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Singh won the 2000 Masters and 1998 and 2004 PGA Championships. He was also a 2003 British Open runner-up and shared third at the 1999 US Open.

Former world number one Singh, 55, played 10 PGA events this past season, his best finish a share of 49th at the Masters.

On the 50-and-over PGA Tour Champions, Singh won three times this year, including this month's Schwab Cup Championship, thanks to a final-round 61.

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Singh's most recent PGA title came at the 2008 Deutsche Bank Championship when he won the season money crown for the third time in six seasons.

His 34 career PGA titles, the most by any player from outside the United States, included 22 beyond the age of 40, breaking Sam Snead's 40-and-over career win mark.

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