When Lee Westwood was asked what he thought of the ‘Deer Antler Spray’ controversy he seriously thought it was something you use in waxing your car.
On a day when all but some 40 players in the 142-player field were in red figures it was revelations that three-time Major winning Vijay Singh had been using the banned substance that coloured the first round of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
Fellow Masters champion Mark O’Meara said Singh should be banned while there was a bizarre twist in the saga when former Open winner Bob Charles revealed has been using the substance for 20 years.
O’Meara, who will again join Singh at the former Masters Champions dinner at Augusta in April, says the PGA Tour should ban the Fijian from competition despite the 49-year old throwing up his hands and now agreeing to work with the Tour.
“Probably Vijay should be suspended for a couple of months, and I don’t know what the PGA Tour Commissioner is thinking, but listen people have had to pay the price before and he should be no different,” said O’Meara.
“And if that is the case then the Commissioner of the Tour feels Vijay should be suspended for an ‘x’ amount of time and Vijay’s man enough that he will accept that.”
Colin Montgomerie, who can look back to Singh’s ‘delaying’ actions down the last hole costing the Scot 2006 US Open success, said: “It seems odd as if it’s a banned substance, is ignorance to a banned substance, is that innocence?
“Vijay was obviously ignorance of the fact it was a banned substance but is ignorance innocence? So that’s for others to decide, not me.”
But then after being quizzed if he had been aware of any illegal substance taking Monty grabbed a sizeable portion of his girth saying: “I have no idea on that one. I can only speak for myself. It is not widespread in the Montgomerie family. And you can see that.”
Charles got involved in the controversy 76-year old revealed he has been taking deer antler substance tablets every day for the past two decades.
“I was totally unaware of illegal substances in the horn or the antler of the deer but then I’ve taken one or two deer velve capsules daily and have been doing so for virtually 20 years or more,” said the 1963 British Open winner.
But then it was world No. 8 Westwood who added a lighter side to the controversy when asked what he knew about deer antler spray after a round of 67 on the opening day of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
“What do I know about what?” he responded.
“Deer antler spray? It sounds like something you’d wax your car with. I’ve never heard of it.
“But then it’s happened in the past where sports people may have innocently taken something not knowing it is on a banned list.
“You just have to be very careful what you take and I try not to take anything now other than Corona and vodka, and not together (laughing), so that would be my drug of choice.”
Strangely, this week’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic has been ear-marked for random drug testing and with the Tour’s doctor singling out players following the round including last week’s Qatar Masters champion, Chris Wood.