SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Vijay Singh didn't know. That's his story and he's sticking to it.
Singh issued a statement Wednesday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in response to an article published in this week's Sports Illustrated in which he was one of several athletes who admitted to using a substance that is banned.
The story sparked some controversy here Tuesday, since the substance Singh used isn't detectable by the PGA Tour's current testing methods. The substance is deer antler spray that a company called S.W.A.T.S. — Sports With Alternatives to Steroids — says helps athletes perform better. The deer antler spray contains IGF-1, which SI described as "a natural, anabolic hormone that stimulates muscle growth."
Here's what Singh said Wednesday in his statement:
"In light of the recent article on sportsillustrated.com, I want to issue the following statement:
While I have used deer antler spray, at no time was I aware that it may contain a substance that is banned under the PGA TOUR Anti-Doping Policy. In fact, when I first received the product, I reviewed the list of ingredients and did not see any prohibited substances. I am absolutely shocked that deer antler spray may contain a banned substance and am angry that I have put myself in this position. I have been in contact with the PGA TOUR and am cooperating fully with their review of this matter. I will not be commenting further at this time."
Singh was not scheduled to play in Wednesday's pro-am in Phoenix and at last check, his reserved parking spot near the clubhouse remained empty. Ty Votaw, executive vice president of communications for the PGA Tour, said Tuesday the Tour had just learned about the SI article and was looking into Singh's involvement.
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According to SI, PGA Tour players were warned about the deer antler spray back in 2011 after Mark Calcavecchia was told by the PGA Tour to stop endorsing S.W.A.T.S.'s "Ultimate Spray." Ken Green also endorsed the product. However, Singh told SI he used the deer antler spray as well as other S.W.A.T.S.'s products that the company claims enhances athletic performance:
"Vijay Singh, however, remains a vocal supporter. In November, Singh paid Ross $9,000 for the spray, chips, beam ray and powder additive — making him one of the few athletes who is compensating S.W.A.T.S. He says he uses the spray banned by the PGA "every couple of hours… every day," sleeps with the beam ray on and has put chips on his ankles, waist and shoulders. "I'm looking forward to some change in my body," Singh says. "It's really hard to feel the difference if you're only doing it for a couple of months."