In the recent Sports Illustrated story on performance enhancing drugs, golfer Vijay Singh was mentioned in a paragraph, while the article focused primarily on football players, particularly those who might be participating in this weekend's Super Bowl. The article was on S.W.A.T.S. (Sports with Alternatives to Steroids), a company that sells products that may contain substances that are banned for use by athletes.
In the magazine and online David Epstein and George Dohrmann wrote:
What about S.W.A.T.S.'s other products? The deer-antler spray does contain IGF-1, though in small quantities, and deer IGF-1 may not even work in humans. No such thing as negatively charged water exists, according to Stephen Lower, an emeritus chemistry professor at Canada's Simon Fraser University who has lectured on the structure of water. The idea that hologram stickers or deer-antler extract will encode radio waves emitted near them defies basic physics. In tests at his lab at the NYU Polytechnic Institute, radio frequency expert and electrical engineering professor Michael Knox showed SI that the hologram chips did not alter the frequencies transmitted by a cell-phone at all. (As far as interfering with a cellphone signal, the antistatic bag that the chips came in was more effective than the chips themselves.) Knox also determined that the glue adhesive on the back of the chips acts as an insulator, preventing any transmission between the chips and the skin. His conclusion: "They appear to be just stickers."
Several paragraphs later there was a parenthetical quote from Singh:
(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.")
The PGA Tour released the following statement is from Vijay Singh:
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.
Kathy Bissell is a Golf Writer for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand or from official interview materials from the USGA, PGA Tour or PGA of America.