A Jury Will Decide Whether Pro Golfer Vijay Singh’s Case Against PGA Tour is a “Hole in One”

A New York state judge decided on Wednesday , August 30, 2017, that Vijay Singh’s four-year-old lawsuit against the PGA Tour, Inc. will be decided by a jury. Singh’s lawsuit centers on his temporary suspension by the PGA Tour for using “illicit” deer antler spray as a performance enhancing drug. The suspension was later dropped after the World Anti-Doping Agency said the spray was not banned. Singh admitted to using deer antler spray in a Sports Illustrated interview to help him treat knee and back ailments, but he never thought he would be suspended. Some health experts contend that the deer antler spray can help athletes build muscle, while others dismiss this contention as inadequate.

Whether Singh used the spray to treat an injury or to build muscle are not at issue. Singh’s suit is down to a single claim for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Singh previously said in a statement that he is acting to reclaim his reputation and said “the PGA Tour not only treated me unfairly, but displayed a lack of professionalism that should concern every professional golfer and fan of the game.”

For the breach of the implied convent of good faith and fair dealing claim, the PGA Tour moved for summary judgment. However, New York Judge Eileen Bransten refused to grant judgment stating “the court continues to find that [Singh] has made an ample showing that he may have sustained not only reputational injuries but also lost business opportunities in the form of sponsorships as a result of the [PGA Tour’s] acts.” Singh alleges that he lost a $2.5 million per year sponsorship deal with the equipment brand Cleveland Gold after being suspended by the tour. A trial date has not yet been set, but the case will be going forward to a jury.

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