The development dominated conversations at the TPC Sawgrass during the final day of practice for golf’s richest tournament. Some players thought Singh surely would be suspended, and they felt he was let off the hook on a technicality. A week later, they learned he was suing the tour.
“Everybody is shaking their heads. It’s unbelievable,” Bob Estes said. “It seems like the tour did everything it could and everything right as the process unfolded to protect him and his reputation. Everybody is in shock that he would do that. It’s not going to help his character. It’s only going to hurt it. He got the favorable ruling. It’s the week of The Players Championship. He lives here. He’s suing his own tour.”
Estes shook his head and said, “I don’t think anyone saw this coming.”
Masters champion Adam Scott said he could understand Singh filing a lawsuit “if he feels like that.”
“I would assume Vijay thinks he’s doing what’s right and the tour thinks it’s doing what’s right,” Scott said. “Overall, these situations should be managed to be avoided. We don’t need this in the game of golf. Honestly, I don’t believe there’s a real issue with performance enhancing drugs in this game. When there’s not really an issue, it’s a shame that there is.”
Peter Ginsberg, a sports law specialist and lead attorney in Singh’s lawsuit, said the tour never bothered to analyze the trace amounts of IGF-1 in the bottle.
“What the PGA Tour accused Vijay of spraying was not a banned substance,” Ginsberg said. “It was an inactive substance and could not possibly have any effect, good or bad, on Vijay. And that’s something the PGA Tour easily could have determined.”
Singh’s reputation took a beating early in his career when he was accused of changing his scorecard in Indonesia in 1985 and banned by an Asian tour. He did not play any tour until resurfacing on the European Tour in 1989. He came to PGA Tour in 1993, and since has made more than $67 million and reached No. 1 in the world.
Singh has won the Masters and the PGA Championship among his 34 tour victories. He holds the PGA Tour record with 22 wins since 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.
Singh appealed the suspension, and it was scheduled for arbitration on Tuesday. Rosenblum said his group submitted its scientific findings on April 24, and that two days later the tour said it received its new information from WADA. The tour announced it was dropping the case on the day it was required to submit its briefs for arbitration.
“If this suit is successful, what it’s going to do is make the PGA Tour more responsible in the future,” he said.
Finchem appeared on Golf Channel and said he would not comment outside of what he said last week in announcing the case was dropped. Singh, meanwhile, has not spoken to reporters about any subject since releasing a statement in February confirming that he took the deer antler spray.