Vijay Singh and PGA Tour Finally Headed To Court

 

Vijay Singh filed a suit against the PGA Tour over four years ago, and after attempts to move the trial, motions to dismiss, etc. Vijay will get his day in court.

According to the Golf Channel, a New York Supreme Court judge ruled that his lawsuit against the PGA Tour should go to trial.

Judge Eileen Bransten ruled on a number of motions stemming from Singh’s lawsuit that was filed in May 2013 and claimed the circuit recklessly administered its anti-doping program

Singh admitted to using the spray, which contained the banned substance IGF-1, in a Sports Illustrated article and was initially suspended for violating the circuit’s performance-enhancing drug policy. It wasn’t until after his suspension was announced that the Tour consulted with WADA, which had previously ruled the use of deer-antler spray was not a violation if there had been no failed drug test. Singh’s suspension was then lifted.

“It is up to a jury to determine whether [the Tour’s] decision to not consult WADA and/or ignore WADA studies and findings issued prior to [Singh’s] suspension concerning deer-antler spray constitute an ‘appropriate’ investigation,” Bransten wrote.

Bransten also ruled that Singh’s claim that statements made to the media by then-commissioner Tim Finchem and executive vice president Ty Votaw regarding the case may be found by a jury to have been “not in good faith.”

“We are very pleased. We think this is a great victory for Vijay and all the members of the PGA Tour,” said Singh’s lawyer Jeff Rosenblum. “I think it’s a victory for all pro golfers and future pro golfers that the Tour will be held accountable for its actions when it acts unreasonably and unfairly.”

Singh’s claim that he was treated differently than other players who had also admitted to taking deer-antler spray was dismissed by Bransten who wrote, “The court does not find there to be an issue of fact raised concerning [Singh’s] alleged mistreatment in comparison to Champions Tour players as there has been no evidence presented those players used deer-antler spray while playing in PGA Tour events.”

The PGA Tour is perhaps the most secretive of any professional sport when it comes to disciplinary action toward players for drug or alcohol rules violations. For many years some players have taken sudden and unexplained time off from competition, creating speculation of possible disciplinary action by the Tour, although never made public.  And at other times, a few players suspension has been made public, such as Singh.

Attorneys expect Singh’s legal team to issue supeona’s for records of suspected suspensions of players never made public.

So far, in all the legal proceedings leading up to the trial, Singh has had more rulings in his favor than the Tour.

Former Commissioner Tim Finchum was in office when the suspension of Singh occurred but the new Commissioner Jay Monahan will now be responsible along with the Tour’s attorneys to resolve this issue that has cast a cloud on the Tour for four years.

Singh has said it is not about a monetary victory but his goal is to clear his name, which he feels has been damaged by the PGA Tour’s suspension.

When Vijay Singh spoke to Sports Illustrated about using deer antler spray, he clearly didn’t expect the PGA Tour to suspend him. After all, Mark Calcavecchia admitted to using deer antler spray in 2011 and did not face discipline from the Tour. Singh also insists the PGA Tour is aware of other golfers who use the spray and who have similarly escaped sanction.

Singh  says he has never failed a drug or substance test.

 

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