Vijay Singh withdraws from PGA Wells Fargo Championship

A past champion at Quail Hollow, Vijay Singh cited a sore back when he decided to withdraw from this week’s PGA Tour event, the Wells Fargo Championship.
stephen morton/associated press
A past champion at Quail Hollow, Vijay Singh cited a sore back when he decided to withdraw from this week’s PGA Tour event, the Wells Fargo Championship.

Vijay Singh withdrew from the Wells Fargo Championship because of a sore back on Wednesday, one day after the PGA Tour said it would not punish the Fijian for his admission that he used deer antler spray.

The tour said Tuesday the World Anti-Doping Agency informed it that the spray contains only small amounts of a growth hormone factor that is banned under the anti-doping policy.

The tour had been set to sanction Singh until WADA clarified its position on deer antler spray.


The 50-year-old Singh, a past champion at Quail Hollow, is among several players who have withdrawn this week.

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He declined to comment to a PGA Tour media official Tuesday after the tour dropped his case on the anti-doping violation. Singh has not spoken to reporters since he released a statement in late January that said he was shocked to learn the deer antler spray he had been taking might contain IGF-1, which is on the banned list.

Singh admitted to taking the spray in a Sports Illustrated story.

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said Tuesday that while admission is tantamount to a failed drug test, WADA informed the tour late last week that it no longer considers deer antler spray to be prohibited except for a positive test result.

The tour said it tested the spray that Singh provided, and it showed a presence of IGF-1. WADA subsequently told the tour that IGF-1 is known to contain small amounts of the hormone factor.


‘‘I don’t know of a substance or a transfer mechanism out there that can load a person to IGF levels that would get the attention of the WADA science people,’’ Finchem said Tuesday. ‘‘Clearly, this isn’t one. They’ve made that clear to us.’’

Singh’s case had the attention of PGA Tour players for the last three months, and it ended with a peculiar twist.

‘‘Clearly, it was the right decision based on the information we have today,’’ said Joe Ogilvie, a member of the Player Advisory Council. ‘‘Players just have to be very careful whenever they pay more than $3,000 a month for supplements.

‘‘I thought what Vijay was doing was on the edge.’’

Young and younger

When Ye Wo-cheng tees off at the China Open on Thursday, he’ll be the youngest player in a European Tour event at 12 years, 242 days.


He’s following in the footsteps of Guan Tianlang, who made history last month when he became the youngest to compete in the Masters at 14. He also made the cut, despite a one-stroke penalty for slow play in the second round.

The Dongguan schoolboy will be 287 days younger than Guan, who was 13 years, 177 days when he competed in last year’s China Open.

He’s the latest young Chinese player making his way to the world stage at Binhai Lake club, 65 miles south east of Beijing.

Also in the field is 14-year-old Andy Zhang, the youngest to play in the US Open last year. He’s joined by Bai Zheng-kai, 15, last year’s winner of the China Junior Matchplay Championship, Dou Ze-cheng, 16, and Jim Liu, the youngest winner of the US Junior Amateur in 2010 at 14.

Ye qualified for the China Open by rallying from a late double bogey to secure the last of four qualifying places.

‘‘Ye’s ability to listen and respond is way above the norm,’’ said his coach David Watson. ‘‘At the moment, I don’t believe that Ye has too many rivals of the same age. But at the same time, I know it is dangerous to speculate, and we must realize he is just a 12-year-old boy.’’

Caller revealed

The television viewer who reported the illegal drop Tiger Woods took during the Masters was more than just a golf fan. Sports Illustrated reports it was David Eger, a rules expert who has worked for the USGA and the PGA Tour.

Eger says he was watching the Masters when he replayed the 15th hole to see how Woods made bogey. Woods hit the pin with his third shot and it caromed back into the water. He dropped from the same area, hit to 4 feet and made bogey.

Eger told the magazine he noticed a divot, and that Woods took his drop behind it. The Champions Tour player says he contacted a PGA Tour rules official at the Masters, who relayed it to Fred Ridley, chair of the competition committees.