By DOUG FERGUSON
Vijay Singh has settled his lawsuit against the PGA Tour over how it investigated his use of deer antler spray, ending more than five years of litigation less than a week before the case was to go to trial in New York.
Terms of the settled announced Tuesday were not disclosed.
“I’m very happy for Vijay that the matter has been resolved,” said Jeffrey Rosenblum, one of his attorneys.
Rosenblum declined further comment because of a confidentiality agreement. The PGA Tour said in a statement that the settlement reflects a mutual commitment to move forward “as we put this matter behind us.”
It ends a rough chapter in the tour’s 10 years of an anti-doping program.
Singh was approaching his 50th birthday when he said in a Sports Illustrated article at the start of 2013 that he used deer antler spray, which was said to include an insulin-growth factor that was on the tour’s list of banned substances.
The tour sent a sample from Singh to be tested, and it returned small amounts of IGF-1. Under the tour’s policy, admission of using a banned substance is a violation even without a test. The tour told him on Feb. 19, 2013, that he would be suspended for three months.
Two months later, the tour decided to drop its case. During the appeals process, then-Commissioner Tim Finchem said the World Anti-Doping Agency said it no longer considers deer antler spray prohibited except for a positive test result because it contained such a tiny amount of IGF-1.
The next week, Singh sued the tour, claiming “public humiliation and ridicule” during the 12-week investigation. Singh’s lawyers said the tour “rushed to judgment in accusing one of the hardest-working players in golf.”
Singh, who grew up in Fiji, set a PGA Tour record by winning 22 times after turning 40. He won 34 times on the PGA Tour, including three majors, reached No. 1 in the world and was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
He ended the PGA Tour Champions season a week ago by shooting 61 in the final round to win the Charles Schwab Cup Championship. At age 55, Singh still played nine times on the PGA Tour this year, though his best finish was 49th in the Masters.
The tour said in its statement that it does not believe Singh intended to gain an unfair advantage by using the deer antler spray.
“Vijay fully supports the PGA Tour’s Anti-Doping Program and all efforts to protect the integrity of the game that he loves so much,” the statement said.