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Vijay Singh’s lawsuit caps a silly season for PGA

By Ron Green Jr.
Ron Green Jr.
Ron Green Jr., a former Observer staff writer, will write golf columns occasionally for the newspaper.

On Wednesday morning, when the last bit of polish was being applied to the Stadium Course in advance of The Players Championship, word came that Vijay Singh had filed a lawsuit against the PGA Tour.

Golf is now played outside the ropes.

A week after being cleared of violating the tour’s anti-doping policy when the World Anti-Doping Agency took deer-antler spray off its list of banned substances, Singh responded by suing the organization that has enabled him to win 34 tournaments and more than $67 million while he showed all the charm of a cactus.

Singh alleges many things in his lawsuit, which suggests the tour should have done its own independent test of deer antler spray to find out there’s not enough IGF-1, a growth hormone, to matter. The tour, like other organizations, relied on WADA, the world’s anti-doping expert instead.

The most amusing part of Singh’s suit was the charge of the tour’s intentional infliction of emotional distress, arguing that he has been ridiculed, scorned and other such hurtful things since he admitted to Sports Illustrated that he used deer antler spray. The tour, it should be noted, has steadfastly maintained its public silence on the matter.

If you’re not sure what to think of Singh’s suit, consider this:

John Daly tweeted it was a bad idea.

Long John may not be Clarence Darrow, but he’s right about this one.

Singh’s suit is the latest episode in a season speckled with controversy. The anchoring debate has pitted belly putters against traditionalists. It has put PGA of America president Ted Bishop on one side, Royal & Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson on the other, each angrily arguing their sides of the discussion.

Then there was the great Tiger Woods rules controversy, which led to a resurrection of the debate about whether television viewers should be allowed to phone in rules violations. First, there had to be a firestorm of discussion about whether Tiger was given preferential treatment, whether he should have voluntarily withdrawn and whether there should be an asterisk beside his name if he won the Masters.

Happily for everyone but Tiger, Adam Scott won the Masters but it was virtually drowned out by all the noise coming from everywhere else.

And just when it seemed the Singh issue had come to an awkward but overdue resolution, a lawsuit lands in the lap of PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem.

Let’s not even talk about slow play or the weather.

Is it over yet or is it just getting started?

It’s believed the USGA and R&A are close to announcing their decision on the proposed anchoring ban, perhaps within the next two weeks. It will be a surprise if they back down, despite opposition from the PGA Tour and the aggressive campaign waged by the PGA of America to fend off the anchoring ban.

Even Adam Scott, master wielder of the broomstick putter, said this week he’s ready for a decision and he’ll adapt to whatever the ruling bodies decide. He should prepare to adapt.

While waiting for the Singh case to reach court – imagine the cross-examination if Singh challenges the tour for damaging his reputation – there will be more rules watchers calling tournament offices to report violations real or perceived.

Here’s my question: How do these people get the phone numbers to call in violations?

I have trouble finding a number for pizza delivery.

It’s a way of life in professional golf now for better or worse.

Remember when birdies and bogeys were enough?

Ron Green Jr. is senior writer for Global Golf Post (www.globalgolfpost.com) and a contributor to the Charlotte Observer. He can be reached atrongreenjr@gmail.com.
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