In the latest move in the PGA Tour's ongoing legal battle with Vijay Singh, attorneys for the Tour are seeking documents from IMG, one of golf's largest talent management firms.
Singh sued the Tour in 2013 and alleges that he lost sponsorships and endorsements as a result of being suspended by the Tour following his admitted use of deer antler spray, which contained IGF-1, a banned substance under the Tour's Anti-Doping Program Manual. The suspension was lifted after the World Anti-Doping Agency determined the product didn't contain enough IGF-1 to trigger a positive test, but Singh claims the damage to his reputation had been done.
In an unopposed discovery motion filed before the New York Supreme Court on Nov. 12, the Tour asserts that IMG, which represents Singh, "possesses documents and information relevant to this action, including documents and communications related to IMG’s discussions with potential sponsors on behalf of Mr. Singh."
Marc Edelman, an associate professor of law at the City University of New York who specializes in sports law and business, says the burden is on Singh to show how much money he lost, so the Tour hopes these documents will show that Singh's marketability was on the decline before the suspension took place. At 51, Singh is in the twilight of his career. The three-time major winner and former World No. 1 hasn't won a Tour event since 2008.
"Any document from IMG that shows it would be difficult for Singh to renew current sponsorships or suggests sponsors were losing interest in him anyway may show that it was not primarily based on his suspension that sponsors decided to drop him, or at least that the value would have been lower even without the suspension from the Tour," said Edelman.
According to Sports Illustrated legal analyst Michael McCann, the Tour might also be trying to forecast potential damages (should Singh win the case) so that it can calculate the value of a settlement.
"If Singh's potential damages are less threatening than the Tour earlier forecasted, the Tour would have fewer incentives to try to settle the case," McCann said.