Singh sues PGA over proposed suspension

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Vijay Singh sued the PGA Tour on Wednesday, a week after his doping case was dropped, claiming it damaged his reputation by not doing a thorough job of researching his use of deer antler spray.

“I am proud of my achievement, my work ethic and the way I live my life,” Singh said in a statement. “The PGA Tour not only treated me unfairly, but displayed a lack of professionalism that should concern every professional golfer and fan of the game.”

Singh filed the lawsuit in New York, where he had a home and the tour has an office.

The 50-year-old Fijian admitted in a Sports Illustrated article in January that used deer antler spray, which was said to include an insulin-like growth hormone that was on the tour’s list of banned substances. The tour sent a sample from Singh to be tested, and it returned small amounts of the IGF-1 chemical.

The lawsuit said the tour notified Singh on Feb. 19 that he was to be suspended for 90 days. Singh appealed. Last week, commissioner Tim Finchem said the tour was dropping its case based on new information from the World Anti-Doping Agency. He said WADA informed the tour that using deer antler spray was no longer prohibited because it contains such minimal amounts of IGF-1.

The lawsuit said the tour relied on WADA’s list of banned substances and methods without doing any of its own research, including whether such substances even provide any performance-enhancing benefits.

“We have not seen the lawsuit, just the statement,” PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw said. “We have no comment.”

The lawsuit also said the tour held Singh’s earnings in escrow during his appeal. Singh earned $99,980 from five tournaments. The suit seeks unspecified damages.

“He’s looking to reclaim his reputation and hold the tour accounting for acting irresponsible,” said Jeffrey Rosenblum, one of Singh’s lawyers. “He’s concerned about his reputation. There should never be an asterisk next to Vijay’s name.”

Singh has won the Masters and the PGA Championship among his 34 tour victories. He holds the PGA Tour record with 22 wins after turning 40. His best year was in 2004, when he won nine times. Singh has not won since the Deutsche Bank Championship in September 2008, two months after the tour’s anti-doping program was launched.

The lawsuit was filed the week of The Players Championship, the PGA Tour’s flagship event at its headquarters next to the TPC Sawgrass.

Singh is in the field. He has not spoken to reporters all year.

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