Tuesday, January 29, 2013

SI Article on Quack RF Products and Deer Antler Sprays Includes Golf, Vijay Singh

A great Sports Illustrated article in this week's issue - posted online here - looks at a company that lures pro athletes into using quack products such as radio-frequency blocking hologram stickers (which don't actually work) and deer antler sprays (which don't actually work and may contained banned substances). The article's focus is mainly on football, but it includes a couple mentions of golf. I'll just pass along these teasers and urge you go read the article:

The chips and spray also had recently begun to spread through golf after a friend with whom Ross sold Christmas trees introduced him to a PGA caddie. In short order, Ross says, the caddie "was passing me around the golf world like a prostitute." As soon as the Vobora verdict landed, though, the NFL, the PGA and MLB sent notice to athletes that the S.W.A.T.S. deer-antler spray -- which had been advertised as containing the banned IGF-1, an ingredient common to all brands of deer antler spray -- had been implicated in a positive drug test.

... (Vijay Singh, however, remains a vocal supporter. In November, Singh paid Ross $9,000 for the spray, chips, beam ray and powder additive -- making him one of the few athletes who is compensating S.W.A.T.S. He says he uses the spray banned by the PGA "every couple of hours . . . every day," sleeps with the beam ray on and has put chips on his ankles, waist and shoulders. "I'm looking forward to some change in my body," Singh says. "It's really hard to feel the difference if you're only doing it for a couple of months.")

Be interesting to hear the PGA Tour's reaction to this. But don't expect golf's publication of record, Golf Digest, to take too much of an interest, given that they are in business with one of the most prominent purveyors of such flim-flam.

If you've read Golf Spelled Backwards before, you probably aren't surprised by anything in that SI report. Not even the stuff about golf. See our earlier posts:

'Magic bracelets' are back in business, with Stacy Lewis' help
Is there doping in golf? Of course there is!

Update: Kudos to Golf.com for quickly picking up on the SI piece. Golf.com adds these details:

Vijay Singh has been named as one of several athletes to use a banned substance from a two-man company called S.W.A.T.S. -- Sports with Alternatives to Steroids, according to an article from this week's Sports Illustrated. ...

The deer antler spray contains IGF-1, which SI describes as a "natural, anabolic hormone that stimulates muscle growth."

It is also a banned substance by all major pro sports leagues. ...

Players were warned about the deer antler spray back in 2011 after Mark Calcavecchia was told by the PGA Tour to stop endorsing S.W.A.T.S.'s "Ultimate Spray." Ken Green also endorsed the product.

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