A week after admitting he used the Ultimate Spray – a deer-antler extract that contains IGF-1, which is banned by every major sports league including the PGA Tour – Vijay Singh will meet with Tour commissioner Tim Finchem on Wednesday.
Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis confirmed the meeting will take place at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Singh is scheduled to play this week’s event and hit golf balls on the practice range at Pebble Beach on Tuesday.
Last Wednesday, Singh released a statement following a Sports Illustrated report that linked him to the Ultimate Spray, which is produced by a company called S.W.A.T.S. (Sports with Alternatives to Steroids).
“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 the statement. “In fact, when I first received the product, I reviewed the list of ingredients and did not see any prohibited substances. . . . I have been in contact with the PGA Tour and am cooperating fully with their review of this matter.”
On Monday, S.W.A.T.S. founder Mitch Ross told John Maginnes on Sirus/XM Radio that, “Your body produces IGF-1 every day, it’s in food – meat and milk. You cannot ban a natural occurring substance. (Deer) antler velvet is not on any banned-substance list, NFL, baseball, but it was on the (PGA Tour green sheet, August 2011). I didn’t know this and either did Vijay.”
The August 2011 green sheet was released to players with the following warning:
“The PGA Tour has learned that a supplement product marketed as ‘deer-antler spray’ contains a prohibited substance under the PGA Tour anti-doping program,” the warning read.
“Deer antler contains IGF-1, which naturally occurs in the human body and is a growth factor, like human growth hormone. IGF-1 protects cartilage, promotes the growth of bone cells and facilitates recovery. It is universally banned in all sports.”
According to the Tour’s policy, which was initiated in 2008, a player’s first doping violation can result in a suspension of up to one year, although Tour commissioner Finchem “may depart from the sanction guidance ... as he deems appropriate in a particular case.”
Complicating matters for Finchem and the Tour is that although HGH and IGF-1 have been on the banned list since the circuit began testing, they do not test for either substance. Like most other professional sports, the Tour does not require blood tests, which is the only way to test for HGH and IGF-1.