PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Among the many intriguing tidbits in Vijay Singh’s lawsuit filed Wednesday against the PGA Tour to “reclaim his reputation” is the length of his original suspension prior to appeal, what happened to his earnings during the appeal process and – strange as it may sound – how a Masters title could have been taken away.
The lawsuit states: “In a letter dated February 19, 2013, the PGA Tour informed Singh of his discipline. The disciplinary aspect of the suspension letter reads: ‘The sanction imposed on you for your clear violation of the Program rules is ineligibility to participate in PGA Tour or Web.com Tour competitions and any related activities for a period of 90 days.’”
Meanwhile, during a sanction that was to begin retroactively on Feb. 4 and end on May 11, he competed in six events, making five cuts and earning $99,980. However, Singh wasn’t able to bank any of these earnings.
According to the PGA Tour’s Anti-Doping Policy: “If a player is not Provisionally Suspended after Notice provided in Section H(5) and the player chooses to continue participating in any tournaments pending the resolution of the case, then any prize money won by the player may be held in escrow pending the outcome of the case.”
This was confirmed in the lawsuit, which quotes the suspension letter as saying, “Given that your earnings have been held in escrow since your participation in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, your suspension will begin retroactively to February 4, 2013 and will conclude May 11, 2013. Your results, earnings and FedEx Cup points from both the 2013 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and the 2013 Northern Trust Open will be redistributed.”
What that means, of course, is that if Singh’s sanction had been upheld, he would have forfeited those earnings and points.
As if that scenario isn’t messy enough, the past Masters champion finished T-38 at Augusta National last month. Imagine if Singh would've won another green jacket. It wouldn't have counted as an official PGA Tour victory, but Augusta officials would have had to have made their own determination on whether he remained their Masters champion.