Update on the latest sports
Ryder Cup postponed until next year at Whistling Straits
UNDATED (AP) — With no guarantee of fans, there won’t be a Ryder Cup this year. The PGA of America says the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin has been pushed back to 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The PGA Tour still hasn’t allowed spectators at its events, and no other golf tournament is dependent on partisan cheering like the Ryder Cup. After working with the PGA Tour and its Presidents Cup, the decision was reached to move the Ryder Cup to Sept. 24-26 in 2021. That means the Presidents Cup will return to even-numbered years starting in 2022 at Quail Hollow in North Carolina.
The Ryder Cup had been scheduled for Sept. 25-27 at Whistling Straits, one week after the U.S. Open.
It’s the second time in the last two decades the Ryder Cup was postponed. It was moved off the odd-numbered years in 2001 because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
In other developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic:
— NASCAR cannot meet the quarantine rules in New York and must move its August race from Watkins Glen. The event will instead be held on the road course at Daytona. It will be NASCAR’s debut on the course used by the IMSA sports car series. The Cup schedule released today covers all of August through the regularly scheduled season finale on the oval at Daytona. The Cup Series will also race doubleheaders at Michigan and Dover.
— Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson has twice tested negative for the coronavirus and will race Sunday at Kentucky Speedway. Johnson missed the first race of his Cup career when he tested positive last Friday. NASCAR confirmed Wednesday that Johnson has been cleared to return. Johnson’s streak of 663 consecutive starts — most among active drivers — was snapped when he didn’t race Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Johnson is the only NASCAR driver to test positive for the coronavirus since the series resumed racing on May 17.
— The Ivy League says will not play sports this fall because of the coronavirus pandemic. The league left open the possibility of moving some seasons to the spring if outbreak is better controlled by then. The move could have ripple effects throughout the big business of college sports. Football players in the Power Five conferences have already begun workouts for a season that starts on Aug. 29. The Ivy League decision affects not just football but soccer, field hockey, volleyball and cross country, as well as the fall portion of winter sports like basketball. The league said it has not yet determined whether fall sports can be moved to the spring.
— North Carolina says it has paused voluntary football workouts for at least a week after reporting 37 positive test results for the new coronavirus among school athletes, coaches and staff. The school announced results following 429 tests administered as they began returning to campus last month. The school didn’t specify which programs were impacted beyond announcing the pause to football workouts. Officials did say the Orange County Health Department had identified a cluster of five or more related cases. It’s unclear exactly when football workouts will resume.
— Milwaukee Bucks general manager Jon Horst says the group that travels to Florida on Thursday for the resumption of the NBA season at Walt Disney World likely won’t include the team’s entire 35-person traveling party. The Bucks closed their practice facility in Milwaukee after receiving results of their Friday coronavirus testing. Horst won’t say whether a positive test came from a Bucks player or another member of the traveling party. The Bucks owned a league-leading 53-12 record when play was halted in mid-March due to the pandemic. They return to action July 31 against the Celtics.
— As U.S. team sports prepare to resume, journalists are facing the same issues that their colleagues who cover politics and entertainment have encountered: coming up with new approaches to coverage with reduced access. Professional leagues closed media access to locker rooms and clubhouses in early March. When the games restart, that access is not going to return. Major League Baseball and the NBA will make managers and players available only via telephone or Zoom.
— The Baltimore Ravens have informed season ticket holders that their seats will not be available this year. The team says season ticket holders will be offered the same seats in 2021, and money already spent for this season can be used for next year or refunded upon request. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, NFL games this season are expected to be held without fans or in front of a greatly reduced audience. If fans are permitted to attend, seats would be sold on a game-by-game basis with season ticket holders getting the first chance to buy in advance of any public sale.
— Northwestern’s football game against Wisconsin scheduled for Nov. 7 at Wrigley Field in Chicago is being moved to Ryan Field because of uncertainties due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Northwestern announced the decision Wednesday after consulting with the Chicago Cubs, state and local authorities and the Big Ten Conference.
— Stanford is dropping 11 sports amid financial difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic for the 2020-21 academic year. Stanford also is eliminating 20 support staff positions. Stanford projected a deficit of more than $25 million in the 2021 fiscal year and a shortfall of nearly $70 million over the next three years due to the pandemic. The school estimated the cost of sustaining the 11 sports permanently would exceed $200 million.
— Wisconsin says seven athletes have tested positive for the new coronavirus since the school started testing them a month ago. School officials previously had said two tested positive out of the 117 athletes who were part of the initial group of tests. The school now has conducted 428 total tests. Wisconsin isolates those who test positive, and the athletic department’s infection response team monitors their recoveries. School officials aren’t specifying which sports are affected by the positive tests.
— Ohio State has paused voluntary workouts by athletes of seven sports on campus after getting the results of its most recent coronavirus testing. The school said in a statement Wednesday night that workouts have been paused for football, men’s and women’s basketball, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball. The university said it isn’t sharing cumulative COVID-19 information publicly to avoid identifying specific individuals and compromise medical privacy.
— Associated Press research finds that four-year U.S. colleges have eliminated 171 sports programs because of budget problems blamed on the coronavirus outbreak. About 30 percent of those are in Division I, with Stanford being the only one from a Power Five conference.
More players test positive, others return
CINCINNATI (AP) — As Major League Baseball cautiously tiptoes closer toward beginning its delayed 2020 season, several teams welcomed back players who might have been exposed to the coronavirus and the San Francisco Giants resumed workouts Wednesday after finally receiving the results of COVID-19 tests administered over the weekend. Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers worked out at Fenway Park for the first time since Boston opened its summer camp. Also, Rangers first baseman Ronald Guzman was on the field after missing the first five days of workouts. In Cleveland, outfielder Franmil Reyes was cleared to return after being isolated for attending a party over the July 4 weekend.
Elsewhere in the majors:
— Cleveland Indians outfielder Franmil Reyes (FRAHN’-meel RAY’-uhs) has been cleared by the team’s medical staff to return to the field after being isolated for attending a party over the July Fourth weekend. The team kept Reyes away from Progressive Field as a precaution after he attended a holiday gathering without wearing a mask. The Indians learned of Reyes’ off-field actions from social media. Manager Terry Francona says Reyes was re-tested for the coronavirus and may now participate in training camp. Also, Indians outfielder Delino DeShields (deh-LY’-noh deh-SHEELDZ’) Jr., who tested positive for COVID-19, is traveling to Cleveland after he had one negative test.
— Sonny Gray has been chosen to start the Cincinnati Reds’ first game back from Major League Baseball’s shutdown due to the pandemic. Gray started openers for the Athletics in 2014 and 2015, throwing a combined 14 shutout innings while getting a win and a no-decision. He’s in line to face the Detroit Tigers at Great American Ball Park on July 24 as Major League Baseball starts a season shortened because of the pandemic.
— An array of injuries was largely responsible for the blight on the first five years of Byron Buxton’s major league career. The latest setback for Minnesota’s speedy center fielder was surgery last fall to repair labrum damage in his left shoulder. Buxton worked his way onto a rehabilitation track that would have had him ready for the original season opener on March 26. Having four extra months to heal and train due to the virus outbreak sure didn’t hurt. The Twins play the Chicago White Sox on July 24 to start the 60-game season.
— The Chicago White Sox are giving fans the opportunity to purchase cardboard cutouts of themselves that will be displayed at Guaranteed Rate Field during the team’s season-opening homestand. The cutouts cost $49 and will be available while supplies last. Proceeds will benefit the team’s charitable arm. The White Sox open with a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins starting on July 24.
— The Seattle Mariners say they had three positive tests for the new coronavirus among 122 individuals that received initial intake tests before the start of summer camp workouts last week. The team has not specified whether the three that tested positive were players, coaches or staff. The Mariners say all three are asymptomatic and are currently quarantined.
How to make 1 golf course look like 2 different tournaments
DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — Muirfield Village is gearing up for the first doubleheader on the PGA Tour in 63 years.
A new tournament called the Workday Charity Open starts Thursday on the course Jack Nicklaus built. And then it’s onto the Memorial, the tournament Nicklaus created.
The goal for tour officials is to protect the condition of the course from 157 players this week and 120 players next week. They also want to try to present a different test. That means slower greens, different tees and rough that isn’t quite as high this week.
The last time the PGA Tour had back-to-back tournaments on the same golf course was in 1957, five years before Nicklaus turned pro. The All American Open and the World Championship of Golf were played at Tam O’Shanter in Illinois.
Workday is a one-time event replacing the canceled John Deere Classic.
In other Workday news:
— Three PGA Tour players who have tested positive for the coronavirus but are no longer symptomatic will play together at the Workday Charity Open. The tour announced the change Wednesday in the latest revision of its COVID-19 policies. Nick Watney will play alongside Dylan Frittelli and Denny McCarthy during the first two rounds at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio. Watney was the first tour player to test positive and reported mild symptoms. The tour said all three players continue to test positive for the virus but have met the Centers for Disease Control guidelines for return to work. Players in those circumstances will either be grouped together or play as singles.
RACING-KEENELAND BREEDER BANNED
VanMeter banned after racist Facebook post
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A prominent Kentucky horse owner and breeder has been banned from racing and sales at Keeneland Race Course after his racist post on social media. Keeneland says it is banning Tom VanMeter from the premises, including participation by his sales company, while the Lexington track further reviews circumstances related to the recent “reprehensible comments” he made online. The posting drew condemnation across the racing industry. VanMeter later said he was wrong and was disgusted by his actions.
In Facebook post last weekend on Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers’ Club president Donnie Snellings’ page that called on followers to “Re-post if you are still boycotting the NFL.” VanMeter, who is white, responded with a post that used an abbreviation of the N-word. He later posted, “Put em back in their cage!!!”