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.
— There will be a full week of the Masters on television, even though this year’s tournament has been postponed. ESPN and CBS Sports will broadcast the final rounds of some of the more significant Masters. ESPN starts it off at 3 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday with the final round from 1986. That’s arguably the most popular Masters of all, when Jack Nicklaus shot 30 on the back nine to win his sixth green jacket at age 46. On Sunday starting at 12:30 p.m., CBS will show the entire round from last year. That's when Woods completed his comeback from back surgeries to win his fifth green jacket.
— The Atlanta Braves are marking what would have been opening day at Truist Park with a virtual “At Home” opener. The team will host a 90-minute, online celebration Friday that features interviews with manager Brian Snitker, general manager Alex Anthopoulos and star first baseman Freddie Freeman as well as messages from other Braves players. The “At Home” opener will serve as a lead-in to Fox Sports South airing a replay of the Braves′ 2019 home opener against the Chicago Cubs.
— 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 New England Patriots' private team plane is returning to Boston from China carrying more than one million masks critical to health care providers fighting to control the spread of the coronavirus. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker secured the N95 masks but had no way of getting them to the U.S. Team owner Robert Kraft stepped in and offered the plane. The Boeing 767 painted in the team’s colors and logo is usually used to carry the team to and from NFL games.
— 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.
— Iowa State coaches and other athletic department staff members are getting pay cuts for one year to help offset lost revenue from the coronavirus pandemic. Athletic director Jaime Pollard wrote on the Cyclones' website that his department faces a $5 million shortfall this year because of the cancellation of the NCAA and Big 12 men's basketball tournaments. The payroll cut will save more than $3 million. There also will be a temporary suspension of bonuses for coaches totaling another $1 million.
— 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.
— 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.
— The Belgian soccer league has become the first major European competition to recommend ending its season with the current standings declared final. The league says Club Brugge would be awarded the title if the advice is confirmed at a general assembly meeting on April 15. The club would also qualify for next season's Champions League.
— The French Grand Prix scheduled for May 17 in Le Mans has been postponed, becoming the sixth MotoGP race to be called off because of the coronavirus outbreak. The motorcycling series has yet to start its season.
Saints to bring back PJ Williams
UNDATED (AP) — The New Orleans Saints have agreed to bring back free agent cornerback P.J. Williams. Terms of the new contract haven’t been released.
Williams played regularly as a nickel back and also filled in at cornerback last season. He played in 14 regular season games and started eight. His highlights included an interception and a sack. 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.
In other NFL news:
— The Green Bay 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. The 25-year-old spent his first four NFL seasons with the Carolina Panthers, who selected him out of Michigan in the second round of the 2015 draft. Funchess had his best season in 2017 with 63 catches for 840 yards and eight touchdowns.
Blackhawks agree to extensions with Highmore, Lankinen
CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Blackhawks have agreed to two-year contract extensions with forward Matthew Highmore and goaltender Kevin Lankinen. The first year of each extension is a two-way deal. Highmore's agreement has an average annual value of $725,000, and Lankinen's extension carries an average annual value of $800,000.
The 24-year-old Highmore has turned into a reliable depth forward for Chicago. He has two goals and four assists in a career-high 36 games this season. Lankinen is still looking for his NHL debut, but he could compete for the backup role with the Blackhawks next season.
The Blackhawks also announced that forwards Evan Barratt and Andrei Altybarmakyan have agreed to entry-level contracts.
Ohio State’s Wesson intends to enter NBA draft
UNDATED (AP) — Ohio State star Kaleb Wesson plans to enter the NBA draft. Wesson announced in a tweet that he would forego his final year of eligibility and declare for the 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.
In other college basketball news:
— 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 today 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.
Ed Farmer, White Sox broadcaster, former pitcher, dies at 70
CHICAGO (AP) — Ed Farmer, an All-Star reliever who spent nearly three decades as a radio broadcaster for the Chicago White Sox, has died. He was 70.
The White Sox said he died Wednesday night in Los Angeles following complications from an illness.
A native of Evergreen Park, Illinois, and a graduate of St. Rita High on Chicago's South Side, 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 saved 30 games — then a club record.
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.
Farmer called perfect games by Mark Buehrle (BUR'-lee) against Tampa Bay in 2009 and Phillip Humber at Seattle in 2012 as well as Hall of Famer Jim Thome’s (TOH'-meez) 500th homer.