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Singh withdraws in Phoenix
Last updated: 31st January 2013
Former world number one Vijay Singh has pulled out of this week's Phoenix Open after admitting to using a banned growth hormone.
The 49-year-old Fijian, who insists that he was not aware the deer antler spray he used contained any banned substances, now faces the possibility of a worldwide suspension.
A statement from Singh read: "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 substance.
"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 co-operating fully with their review of this matter. I will not be commenting further at this time."
Singh was quoted in a Sports Illustrated investigation as saying he used the spray "every couple of hours... every day" and was "looking forward to some change in my body".
Two years ago, 1999 Open champion Mark Calcavecchia was advised to stop using such a spray and PGA Tour spokeswoman Laura Hill said at the time: "The PGA Tour regularly warns players of the risks associated with all supplements."
Deer antler spray is manufactured by Sports with Alternatives to Steroids (SWATS) and it has been found to contain the banned IGF-1, a natural anabolic hormone that stimulates muscle growth.
Scientific research has shown that velvet deer antler improves heart strength, stamina, joint health, muscle and strength development plus athletic performance.
Christopher Key, of SWATS, said in the Sports Illustrated article: "The antlers are the fastest-growing substance on planet Earth... because of the high concentration of IGF-1.
"We've been able to freeze dry that out, extract it, put it in a sublingual spray that you shake for 20 seconds and then spray three (times) under your tongue. This stuff has been around for almost 1,000 years."
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