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Vijay Singh needs to take a break
Question of the Day
Every now and then, the tour will warn the players of a substance that could get them into trouble, which is what it did in the fall of 2011.
Singh said he reviewed the list of ingredients on the antler spray and did not see any banned substances.
That’s not being very vigilant. And it’s not much of an excuse.
If he’s spending $9,000 on products, does he not become suspicious enough to run this by the tour? Even a change in their nutrient program should be enough for players to ask questions. One player told a story Tuesday of getting a prescription for a new eye medicine. His first call was to the tour to make sure it was OK. The prescription cost $10.
Just as much is at stake for the integrity of the tour.
Doug Barron is the only player who has been suspended under the anti-doping policy, which didn’t cause too much of a ripple because only the hard-core golf fans had even heard of him. Singh is a Hall of Famer. The longer this drags on, the more speculation that the tour treats stars differently.
What hurts the tour in this case is its longtime lack of transparency.
Finchem has decided that no news is the best news when it comes to player discipline. The tour does not disclose fines or suspensions for conduct. No one can say for certainty that Woods has ever been fined for his course language, or if Mickelson was fined last year for using his cell phone in the middle of a round at the Memorial to complain about too many cell phones in the gallery.
We know John Daly was suspended, but only because he called The Associated Press to refute rumors he had been suspended for life (it was only six months).
Players suspect that at least two of their colleagues have been suspended from testing positive for recreational drugs. If true, the tour won’t say.
Golfers are not choir boys.
Finchem wants to protect the image of golf, which is one reason he refuses to publicize their indiscretions, however large or small. That image is not derived exclusively from clean living, but from the very nature of the sport. It’s a congenial game, and the vast majority of the pros are respectful of the sport and those who play it. That’s why golf has such a good image, and is so appealing to the corporate world.
Under the anti-doping policy, the tour is required to disclose the name, confirm the violation and declare the penalty.
So far, there has been silence.
This is not a call for the tour to rush to judgment. Singh’s case is muddled. Yes, a player who admits to using a banned substance is the same as a player testing positive. But is there evidence that IGF-1 was in the spray that Singh was using? More than one doctor has said it’s impossible for IGF-1 to enter the blood system through a spray. And the tour does not have a blood test, anyway.
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