Journeyman golfer banned for performance-enhancing substance

Doug Barron, a 40-year-old journeyman who lost his tour card 3 years ago, became the first player to be suspended by the PGA Tour for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.

Barron was immediately suspended for 1 year, the PGA Tour said yesterday. He played eight full seasons on the tour, with his best finish a tie for third at the Byron Nelson Championship in 2006.

"I would like to apologize for any negative perception of the tour of its players resulting from my suspension," Barron said in a statement released by the tour. "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."

The tour announced the suspension about 2 hours before the World Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The tour said it would have no further comment, and Barron's agent did not immediately return a call.

Under its doping policy, the tour announces a suspension but does not disclose what substance a player used. The tour did not start random testing until July 2008, which includes its second-tier Nationwide Tour.

Barron played a full Nationwide schedule last year, making only five cuts in 17 starts to earn $33,446. He played four times on the Nationwide Tour this year, and his lone PGA Tour start came at the St. Jude Classic, where he missed the cut.

The last time Barron made news was in 2006 at what is now the Transitions Championship outside Tampa, Fla., where he removed his shirt to play a shot out of the water on the 16th hole at Innisbrook. He exposed an ample belly on television, drawing jokes from players.

Barron's most recent tournament was in September at the Mexico Open, co-sanctioned by the Nationwide Tour, where he missed the cut.


* The World Anti-Doping Agency has asked tennis to investigate Andre Agassi's admission that he took crystal meth in 1997. WADA director general David Howman would not elaborate on what he wrote in the letter sent to the ATP.

* Serena Williams has set the record for single-season prize money in women's tennis by topping $6.5 million in 2009. Williams broke the WTA mark of slightly under $5.5 million, earned by Justine Henin in 2007. She won the season-ending tour championships Sunday, beating older sister Venus in the final, and ends the year ranked No. 1. The younger Williams also won the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2009. Williams' career prize money is now at a record $28.5 million.

Sport Stops

* David Beckham will return to AC Milan on loan in January after the Italian club reached an agreement with the Los Angeles Galaxy, of Major League Soccer. The England midfielder played for Milan for 6 months in the first half of the year. He scored two goals in 18 games and has won back his place on England's national team. AC Milan and the Galaxy came to an agreement after weeks of negotiations.