British Open could be postponed
UNDATED (AP) — British Open organizers say postponement is an option for this year's tournament at Royal St. George’s.
The 149th edition of the Open Championship is scheduled to take place July 16-19. The last time the Open wasn't played was in 1945 because of World War II.
The R&A released a short statement in response to media speculation about the staging of the event. Chief executive Martin Slumbers says the “process is taking some time to resolve” because of a range of external factors.
On Wednesday, Wimbledon was canceled for the first time since World War II. The All England Club announced Wednesday after an emergency meeting that the oldest Grand Slam tournament in tennis will not be held in 2020.
In other developments related to the pandemic:
— The Senior PGA Championship in Michigan has been canceled. The PGA of America says it based its decision on Michigan’s stay-at-home order that was enacted March 23. The Senior PGA in Benton Harbor, Michigan, was to be played May 21-24. It will be held next year at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It will return to Benton Harbor the following year.
— Former baseball All-Star Jim Edmonds says he tested positive for the new coronavirus and for pneumonia. Edmonds says in a video posted on Instagram that he is symptom free now and doing “really well.” He thanked people for their well wishes. The 49-year-old played 17 major league seasons from 1993-2010, mostly for the California and Los Angeles Angels and St. Louis Cardinals. He hit 393 home runs.
— The Ottawa Senators are making temporary layoffs and salary reductions because of COVID-19. The team’s parent company says the full-time workforce will be reduced starting Sunday, when the NHL club’s season was originally scheduled to end. Those not laid off could be placed on furlough. Others could have their salaries reduced. Health benefits will continue uninterrupted.
— Anaheim Ducks owners Henry and Susan Samueli say they will pay their 2,100 part-time employees across all of their sports and event management companies through June 30 for work that was wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic. The Samuelis’ Anaheim Arena Management company operates Honda Center, the Ducks’ home rink. They also own two large ice hockey complexes in Orange County — including Great Park Ice, the massive new winter sports facility that houses the Ducks’ training complex in Irvine, California.
— Major League Soccer has extended its training moratorium through April 24 because of the coronavirus outbreak. Team facilities are closed to players and staff — except for players requiring treatment that cannot be administered at their homes. Players are expected to remain in market with their teams during the moratorium to avoid the spread of the virus. The league will consider individual requests for players to travel to another city by car. MLS teams were two games into the season when it was suspended on March 12. A Philadelphia Union player with mild symptoms recently tested positive for the virus.
— Alabama football coach Nick Saban doesn’t believe extending preseason camp for college teams around the country is necessarily the best way to get them ready for the season. Saban says that he'd prefer some “teaching sessions on the field” over the summer to prepare for camp, even if it is in shorts and T-shirts. The coronavirus pandemic led to the cancellation of spring sports, including football practices, across the nation.
— The Ivy League has decided not to allow its spring-sport athletes to have an additional year of eligibility despite having their seasons shortened by the coronavirus pandemic. The decision was consistent for the Ivy League, which hasn't allowed athletes who received medical redshirts to play for a fifth year. The NCAA Division I Council voted Monday to give spring-sport athletes a way to get back the season they lost regardless of their year in school, but it did not guarantee financial aid to the current crop of seniors if they return to play next year.
— A survey of more than 100 athletic directors across the country finds deep concern for academics and athletic department finances amid the pandemic. Some 75 percent say they are concerned about a drop in donations and nearly as many are worried about ticket sales and money that comes from games and other fan events.
— McLaren's Formula One drivers Carlos Sainz Jr. and Lando Norris have agreed to take pay cuts as part of protective cost-cutting during the coronavirus pandemic. The team is furloughing other employees. McLaren said that both drivers and senior management all agreed to voluntary pay decreases. No figure was given but McLaren said the percentage of the cut is the same figure for all employees who are not furloughed.
— The coronavirus pandemic has left rugby on its knees over the last two weeks and there is the prospect of more pain to come because of the uncertainty over whether leagues, tours and international competitions can resume or go ahead. USA Rugby has filed for bankruptcy and the Australians are facing a black hole of more than $70 million. English rugby leaders have drawn-up worst-case scenarios of an even bigger financial hit.
— The CEO of World TeamTennis says the league has sent $1,000 each to about 60 players and coaches as a "gift" to help them deal with the financial hardships presented by the coronavirus pandemic. The nine-team league was founded by Billie Jean King in the 1970s. League CEO Carlos Silva says the payments were not an advance of salary. Rather, they are a way to say thank you and to be used for rent or groceries or anything else the players might need. All professional tennis events have been postponed or canceled until early July because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
— Golden Gate Fields in the San Francisco Bay area has been closed for live racing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The Alameda County Public Health Officer ordered the track to close, which resulted in the cancellation of Thursday’s card. Santa Anita near Los Angeles has been without live racing since March 27 under a similar order from the Los Angeles County Health Department. Both tracks had been racing without fans and limiting attendance to horsemen and necessary racing and track employees.
— The California State Athletic Commission has canceled all combat sports events through May due to the coronavirus pandemic. Several dozen events were scheduled for May, mostly in Southern California.
— World Sailing has canceled the World Cup Series Final in Enoshima, Japan, in June because of the coronavirus outbreak. The regatta was to give valuable competition for the Olympic classes just over a month before the start of the Tokyo Games. The Olympics have been postponed to 2021.
— A European plan is being formed to resume soccer around July and August, with domestic leagues told Thursday not to abandon competitions yet due to the coronavirus pandemic. The aspiration was outlined in a letter that has been seen by The Associated Press and was signed by UEFA (yoo-AY’-fah), the European Club Association and European Leagues body and was being sent to their members. Competitions, including UEFA's Champions League and Europa League, were put on hold last month as the COVID-19 outbreak spread across Europe.
— Former marathon world record holder Wilson Kipsang was among 20 people arrested in Kenya for locking themselves in a bar and drinking alcohol in breach of a curfew imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Police say the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist was among those detained at a police station in Iten, one of Kenya’s famous high-altitude towns where distance runners train. They were in breach of a 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew.
— The governor of Tokyo is talking about the possibility of using the under-construction Olympic Athletes Village as a temporary hospital for coronavirus patients. The massive village on Tokyo Bay will house 11,000 Olympic and 4,400 Paralympic athletes and staff. The complex will eventually grow to 24 buildings and is expected to remain empty with the Olympics delayed for 16 months.
Henry accepts franchise tender
UNDATED (AP) — Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry has signed a franchise tender that puts him under contract for the 2020 season as the two sides work toward reaching a long-term deal with the 2019 NFL rushing leader.
The Titans gave him a franchise tag March 16, a move that means he will be paid $10.2 million in the 2020 season unless they sign him to a long-term deal by July 15.
Henry rushed for an NFL-leading 1,540 yards and averaged 4.8 yards per carry while earning his first Pro Bowl invitation last season.
In other NFL news:
— The Saints have agreed to bring back free agent cornerback P.J. Williams. Terms of the new contract haven’t been released. Williams has spent his whole career with the Saints, who selected him in the third round of the 2015 NFL draft out of Florida State. He has four interceptions in 47 career games.
— The Packers have signed wide receiver Devin Funchess as he tries to bounce back from an injury-shortened 2019 season. Funchess played for the Indianapolis Colts last year but went on injured reserve after breaking his collarbone in a season-opening 30-24 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. Funchess had his best season in 2017 with 63 catches for 840 yards and eight touchdowns.
Ohio State’s Wesson intends to enter NBA draft
UNDATED (AP) — Ohio State star Kaleb Wesson has announced in a tweet that he would forego his final year of eligibility and declare for the NBA draft.
Analysts have projected him as a second-round pick. Wesson can sign with an agent for exploratory purposes and still protect his final year of eligibility. He has until June 3 to make a decision.
Wesson averaged 14 points and 9.3 rebounds in leading Ohio State to a 21-10 record and 11-9 in the Big Ten Conference.
In other college basketball news:
— DePaul men’s basketball coach Dave Leitao (LAY’-toh) has accepted a contract extension through the 2023-24 season after a year in which the Blue Demons opened 12-1 and finished 16-16. Leitao has a 122-132 record over eight seasons and two stints at DePaul. The NCAA suspended Leitao for the first three games and placed the program on probation for three years, saying he should have done more to prevent recruiting violations by his staff.
— Gonzaga and Michigan were the standouts in a study that seeded men’s and women’s NCAA Tournament brackets based on graduation rates, academic success and diversity in the head-coaching ranks. Gonzaga was a No. 1 seed in both brackets released Thursday by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at Central Florida. Michigan was a 1-seed for the men and a 3-seed for the women. Arizona State was the only other school to appear in the top 16 of both brackets. The report focused primarily on each team’s Graduation Success Rate and Academic Progress Rate scores for seeding purposes.
— North Carolina athletics director Bubba Cunningham is joining the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee that selects the field for the 68-team NCAA Tournament. Cunningham is UNC’s first-ever appointee. He begins a five-year term in September and replaces Duke athletics director Kevin White, whose term ends Aug. 31.
COLLEGE HOCKEY-HOBEY BAKER FINALIST
Hobey Baker finalists announced
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — North Dakota forward Jordan Kawaguchi (kah-wah-GOO’-chee), Minnesota Duluth defenseman Scott Perunovich and Maine goalie Jeremy Swayman are the three finalists for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, given to the most outstanding player in college hockey.
Kawaguchi ranked second nationally with 45 points and Perunovich became the first defenseman to lead the NCHC in scoring. Swayman was 18-11-5 and the nation’s second-best save percentage at .939 despite facing the highest number of shots.
Ed Farmer, White Sox broadcaster, former pitcher, dies at 70
CHICAGO (AP) — White Sox broadcaster and former Chicago reliever Ed Farmer has died at 70.
Farmer was 30-43 with a 4.30 ERA and 75 saves while pitching for eight teams over 11 seasons. He was an All-Star for the White Sox in 1980, when he set a club record with 30 saves.
Farmer joined Chicago's radio booth on a part-time basis in 1991 and became a full-time analyst in 1992 alongside play-by-play announcer John Rooney. He assumed play-by-play duties in 2006 and completed his 29th season in 2019.
The White Sox say he died Wednesday night in Los Angeles following complications from an illness.