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Deer Antler Spray Panic: Vijay Singh Is Dumb, But He's Not A Doper

Illustration for article titled Deer Antler Spray Panic: Vijay Singh Is Dumb, But Hes Not A Doper

Vijay Singh admitted to using deer antler spray, a "supplement" containing the banned substance IGF-1. But deer antler spray is so ineffective at delivering IGF-1 that the PGA tour has decided not to punish him. This is almost more embarrassing for Singh: he may not be suspended, but he did get scammed.


You do remember deer antler spray, right? Sports Illustrated did a whole blowout on the "scandal," and stupidly, it became the main story of Super Bowl week since Ray Lewis was accused of using it. But the SI story was a remarkable reach that failed at both science and reporting: the growth hormone IGF-1 cannot be delivered orally. SI's story implicated no one, and served as a massive press release for the spray's manufacturer, a half-crazy, self-promoting huckster named Mitch Ross. (With the publicity, the spray flew off the shelves.)


In that SI piece, golfer Vijay Singh admitted to using the deer antler spray. That's a violation of the tour's rules, and Singh was sanctioned in February. He quickly appealed, and yesterday was informed that the PGA has dropped its case against him.

"Based on this new information, and given WADA's lead role in interpreting the prohibited list, the Tour deemed it only fair to no longer treat Mr. Singh's use of deer-antler spray as a violation of the Tour's anti-doping program,'' Finchem said.

This is pretty much the height of absurdity. In only took three months for WADA and the PGA Tour to determine what doctors were saying days after SI's story: deer antler spray doesn't work. IGF-1, a hormone that mimics insulin, has to be injected to have an effect. (Like insulin!) Singh, and all the other athletes and marks that bought deer antler spray, were getting about as much of the banned substance as they would from a glass of milk.

If Singh or any other golfer tests positive for IGF-1, they'll be suspended. But as Finchem and the PGA Tour finally realized, "it's not possible" to get enough IGF-1 from deer antler spray to register a positive test, let alone to actually get any health benefits. Athletes are dumb, and shouldn't be punished for being dumb. But at least those titanium bracelets will still totally align their chakra.

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