Transcript of Golf Channel Q&A with Singh lawyers

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 8, 2013, 8:30 pm

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Golf Channel's Todd Lewis and Scott Rude spoke with Vijay Singh's attorneys, Peter Ginsberg and Jeff Rosenblum Wednesday at TPC Sawgrass. Here is a transcript of their conversation.

Jeff Rosenblum: There is definition in the program manual of what is banned and it must affect muscle. Ligament, tendon growth.  There’s a technical definition there. The Tour sent Vijay a letter. You all know that. They said he was suspended effective February 4. They said, “You can continue playing. We will escrow all of your earnings, hold your FedEx points, and we will keep that.'

Peter Ginsberg: He was suspended February 4. He started hoarding his money in escrow starting February 4.  

Rosenblum: Sequentially, they wrote Vijay Singh a letter suspending him for 90 days expecting him to say, “Thank you. I won’t appeal. I’ll take this. I’m sorry.” We don’ t know what they were expecting him to do. We think they expected for him to take it. But Vijay said, “No, I want to exercise my right to appeal.' They agreed it would not be a public issue until the matter was resolved.  

Golf Channel: So, he was asked to not speak about it?

Rosenblum: No one spoke about it. He was asked to not speak about it.

Golf Channel: When was the discipline handed down?

Rosenblum: On February 19, the letter was received. The discipline was formal on February 19. Before that, Vijay Singh participated fully with the Tour and provided them with a sample of the deer antler spray, answered their questions, gave a statement to the media.  

Rosenblum: There was some correspondence between the initial meeting and the February 19 suspension letter. But they suspended him and he had the right to appeal. If he had not appealed, the suspension would had been effective February 4. It would have gone for 90 days until May 4 or May 5. But, he appealed.

Golf Channel: When were you notified by WADA?

Ginsberg: We were not notified by WADA at all. We never communicated with WADA.

Rosenblum: We were told on April 30 that the Tour was withdrawing its allegations, withdrawing its accusations from the case. And, they agreed Vijay Singh did not violate their anti-doping program.  

Golf Channel: So it (the lawsuit) is to restore Singh’s reputation but also calling the Tour to the carpet on their policy and procedure? How could they (PGA Tour) better handled the situation?

Ginsberg: During the weeks we had to prepare for arbitration, we prepared a series of scientists to do tests on deer antler spray to determine whether the substance was really banned by the PGA Tour. We did basic, elementary kinds of testing. The PGA Tour could have done the same thing and they didn’t.  

Rosenblum: That’s what we’re saying. They should have done the tests we had recognitioned.  

Golf Channel: Why did you feel you needed to run your own tests?

Rosenblum: To prove it was not a banned substance, to prove that Vijay Singh did not violate their program. The timing sequentially, they filed something on April 16 which is their written, initial submission as to why they believe Vijay Singh violated their program. Vijay responded through our efforts on April 24. On April 26, supposedly, WADA sends them a letter that he did not violate the program and his use of deer-antler spray was not a violation. A day and a half later, we filed our response at 5 p.m. Eastern Time, with the scientific test that we discussed that we believe show conclusively that there were no biologically active IGF-1 in this product.  

Golf Channel: Will you take issue with WADA?

Ginsberg: We are only focused on the PGA (Tour).

Golf Channel: How has Vijay been taking this?

Rosenblum: It’s been stressful. When you are a professional golfer, you’ve worked this hard for 30 years, develop a reputation that wants to focus on golf, play by the rules, be a good person, be a great golfer, and then someone accuses you of something. It was about his legacy. It was about his restoration of his image and who he is. He worked hard to build that reputation. It was stressful. It was hanging over his head definitely. Was he strong? Was he able to get up every morning? Sure. But it was difficult.

Golf Channel: When did he reach out to you?

Rosenblum: He got a letter from the Tour on February 19 and reached out to me shortly thereafter. I represented Doug Barron who is the only other golfer suspended or sanctioned under the anti-doping program. I know there are others who were sanctioned for other reasons. So, he reached out to me, and I reached out to Peter shortly thereafter. We have been preparing for this appeal this whole time. That’s what we are saying is irresponsible. It took the three months. And it took the work we did for them to say, “Oh, we agree.”

Golf Channel: In the recent past, the Tour has defaulted to WADA with issues related to performance enhancing drugs…

Ginsberg: All the PGA Tour had to do was reach out to the UCLA laboratory to analyze the spray is to ask UCLA to do a basic, elementary test to determine whether it contained any substance that was banned. The PGA (Tour) didn’t. They didn’t even bother. I don’t know if it was arrogance or irresponsibility. It was uneducated.

Rosenblum: This is hyper-technical, but go do your homework and read online what IGF-1 is. It’s a protein. It’s in everybody. It is in milk. There is IGF-1 in every dairy product. If you want to say if you’re ingesting IGF-1, everyone the Tour feeds a bowl of cereal the morning of a tournament, anyone who puts cream in their coffee is putting, has IGF-1 in it. So the question is, “Is this a product that has biologically active IGF-1 that meets that definition?” The answer is no. So, if you look at the science of it, you realize there were some things that should have been done, and they weren’t done. We don’t know why. We’ll see.

Getty Images

Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

Getty Images

Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

Getty Images

DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

Getty Images

LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.