Of course the PGA Tour should suspend Vijay Singh. Singh admits he took a banned substance, albeit without realizing it. The Tour anti-doping policy is clear: Use of a banned substance, intentionally or not, will be punished by a suspension on all Tours.
Plain and simple. Cut and dried. What’s the problem?
There are those among us who think the Tour finally established an anti-doping policy about 5 years ago as a public relation move. Other sports had one. The PGA Tour desperately wants to be viewed by the public as one of the major sports and not some elitist game played by men of questionable athletic skills.
The leadership of pro golf has lived under the illusion their performers are scandal free, ignoring the problems with alcohol and illegal drugs that have been part of the Tour for decades. Many non-golfers have scoffed at the idea performance-enhancing drugs could help someone play better golf.
Bottom line: Does anyone really care that Vijay used deer antler spray?
The Tour should hope they do and prove its anti-policy policy isn’t just words on a piece of paper.
Suspending Singh would actually improve the Tour’s image and help its credibility. The only player suspended thus far under the Tour’s anti-doping policy was a journeyman pro named Doug Barron. That was three years ago. (Barron appealed to the Tour for an exemption for medical reasons. The Tour denied his appeal but Barron took the medication anyway and was suspended for a year.)
Singh is a Hall of Famer and a three-time major champion and has name recognition beyond the golf course. Suspending him would give the impression that Tour is serious about its anti-doping policy. The fact that he turns 50 next month and hasn’t won on the Tour since 2008 also means the Tour won’t take a hit in the proverbial wallet (TV rating, ticket sales). Besides, the surly Singh has never rated high in popularity among fans. It is almost the perfect scenario for the Tour.
But mainly it is the right thing to do if Commissioner Tim Finchem wants the Tour’s anti-doping and anti-drug stance to be taken seriously.
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