GOLF: Barron is first to hit O.B. on drug test

Golf has found its poster child for performance-enhancing drugs.

And he is ... Doug Barron?

Monday, Barron - a 40-year-old journeyman - was suspended for one year for failing a random drug test.

The PGA Tour implemented its steroids policy in 2008, with the intent to eliminate drugs from golf.

In keeping with its standard operating procedure, the Tour didn't reveal what Barron took.

Whether he took too much Airborne or female hormones, he's insignificant in the golf world, having played in only one PGA Tour event this season.

Baseball has recently dominated the headlines in the steroid world. Frank Robinson - special assistant to Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig - said he's happy to see other sports following suit with drug-testing policies.

"I am very pleased about it," Robinson said in a telephone interview. "It's something we have to have. We have to show fans that it's clean and being played fairly on an even playing field for everyone. Golf has that now. You have to have it nowadays and players have to understand it."

Barron has endured numerous health problems and missed the cut in his only PGA Tour appearance this year. His four other events were on the Nationwide Tour, which is akin to minor league baseball.

Before Monday, Barron earned his 15 minutes of fame in 2006 by taking off his shirt to hit out of a water hazard at the Transitions Championship in Florida.

Television announcers at the time ripped him endlessly, saying he was "obscene." They also wondered what happened to the Tour that someone looking like Barron was playing on it.

All Barron revealed was a mini-John Daly beer belly.

If Barron is doing drugs, they aren't helping.

Only a year before the shirt incident, he had two top-10 finishes.

Not bad, but he hasn't been healthy enough or good enough since to keep his Tour card.

This guy doesn't even own the Web site www.dougbarron.com. That URL belongs to a New York-based actor who's probably got more cache than the golfer. And the actor will probably endure endless ridicule from his pals, too.

Barron has endured several injuries, even chronicling them on a YouTube clip. He said he had a rib injury, a stress fracture in his foot and neck, and back injuries. It appeared to be a promotional bit for Meilus Muscular Therapy Inc.

It's possible Barron took a banned substance and didn't know it.

Think this guy has a team of people around him dissecting labels on medication? He didn't earn a dime this season, with three missed cuts and a disqualification.

"I want my fellow Tour members and the fans to know that I did not intend to gain an unfair competitive advantage or enhance my performance while on tour," Barron said in a statement released by the Tour.

He also apologized.

No one might remember Barron's name, but how many would remember that Derrick Turnbow was the first Major League Baseball player to test positive for a banned substance?

Barron's positive test might not have long-lasting effects, but it's a start.

Hall of Famer Robinson hits links for charity

Frank Robinson can still swing a golf club, especially for charity.

The 74-year-old Hall of Famer is serving as host of Friday's MLB Urban Youth Academy golf tournament at the Pacific Palms Golf Resort.

Angels general manager Tony Reagins, Rod Carew, Dusty Baker and other stars will participate in the event to help extend the impact of the academy in Compton.

"It's had a tremendous impact on young inner-city kids in L.A.," Robinson said. "It's an outlet for them to come play baseball. They have professional coaches with tremendous experience. The program has also helped them work on their academics.

"It's not just about baseball, it's about learning how to play the game. If the kids want to be groundskeepers, they'll teach them. Umpires come talk to them."

The year-round academy, part of MLB's Urban Youth Initiative, provides kids with free baseball and softball instruction and also offers clinics throughout Southern California.

Robinson is a special assistant to MLB commissioner Bud Selig and is in New York for the World Series. If there's a Game 7, he won't have much time from the final out until Friday's 10:30 a.m. shotgun start.

Robinson said he is proud to be associated with the Urban Youth Academy because of its impact on young children who otherwise might not have opportunities to play sports or begin thinking about a career.

In four years of the program, 28 players have been selected in baseball's draft. The annual golf tournament is a fund-raiser for the academy and helps provide programs and uniforms.

Robinson said he hasn't played golf in three weeks, but he's looking forward to it. Asked how long he can drive the ball, Robinson exclaimed: "I'm 74!"

"My game isn't good. I'm up and down," Robinson added. "I play in spurts. Sometimes, I have to go a long time without playing."

Etc.

Southern California's Whispering Lakes Golf Course won the McGladrey Team Championship, a best-ball amateur championship conducted by the PGA of America. The trio of Jim Erdman and Bill Minnis of Palmdale and Larry Metter of Valencia helped Whispering Lakes win last week's event at Pinehurst in North Carolina. ... The Pat Tillman Charity Invitational, hosted by Scott Medlock, is Nov. 16. The golf tournament is at Malibu Country Club with a 10 a.m. shotgun start, and a concert featuring The Doors guitarist Robby Krieger is at 6 p.m. at the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills. All proceeds benefit the Pat Tillman Foundation. For more information, go to www.pattillmanbenefit.com. ... The PGA Tour is moving the Legends Reno-Tahoe Open to the same July weekend that a nationally televised celebrity golf tournament has been played at Lake Tahoe for 20 years, much to the chagrin of tourism officials at the nearby mountain lake. The PGA event with a $3 million purse historically has been played in August at Montreux Golf & Country Club on the edge of Mount Rose between Reno and Lake Tahoe. The new dates of July 15-18 announced on Tuesday put it opposite the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course at Stateline as well as the British Open being played next summer at St. Andrews.

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