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Senior PGA Championship in May canceled

The Senior PGA, set to be the season’s second major on the 50-and-older Champions Tour, has been canceled outright because of coronavirus, tournament officials reported Thursday.

The Senior PGA was intended for May 21-24 at the Golf Club at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor.

“This was not an easy decision, we know how much this Championship means to our Southwest Michigan community, and the positive impact it has on our local economy, however the health and safety of our community is our priority” Jeff Fettig, chairman of the Senior PGA Championship, said in a statement. 

“We will miss the players and fans, who have all become welcomed extensions of our community over the years. While we are incredibly disappointed that the championship will not return to Benton Harbor in 2020, we know that this is the right thing to do.”

Tournament officials stated they explored the option of reprogramming, but said that cancellation was “the only option,” in the face of the coronavirus crisis. 

The season’s first major, the Tradition, was set for the week before in Alabama, and has been rescheduled for September. The tour has five majors per season.

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On the PGA Tour, the season’s first three majors, the Masters, PGA Championship and U.S. Open, have been postponed, with reports saying the final one, the British Open, is set to be canceled.

The Senior PGA has been held at Harbor Shores, a Jack Nicklaus-designed resort, every year since 2012, with champions like Colin Montgomerie, Rocco Mediate, Roger Chapman and Paul Broadhurst.

The tournament is signed on to return to Benton Harbor again in 2022 and 2024.

“We completely support the PGA … in their decision to cancel the championship, and we appreciate the diligent and thoughtful way in which they have handled this situation,” said Marcus Muhammad, the mayor of Benton Harbor, in a statement. “We take great pride in our city, and are looking forward to hosting the championship and showcasing all that Benton Harbor has to offer when the time is right.”

The cancellation will cost the Benton Harbor tens of thousands of charitable dollars. In 2018, the tournament raised about $175,000 for local organizations, including the Benton Harbor High School athletic department, as well as the First Tee of Benton Harbor, among several others.

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Ravens’ Lamar Jackson working out with Antonio Brown

Last year, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson drew attention for his offseason work with teammates Willie Snead IV and Chris Moore.

On Wednesday, his company was a little more famous.

In an afternoon session in Fort Lauderdale, Florida — county seat of his native Broward County — the NFL’s reigning Most Valuable Player worked out alongside Ravens wide receiver and close pal Marquise “Hollywood” Brown; Alabama wide receiver and future first-round pick Jerry Jeudy, another Broward County native; and, most notably, former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, a cousin of the Ravens’ Brown.

Responding to a tweet Wednesday showing Antonio Brown catching passes from Jackson, the Ravens star tagged the six-time All-Pro wide receiver and stated that they would do it again.

Brown, 31, a free agent, missed most of last campaign after two ugly departures.

The Oakland Raiders, who voided the guaranteed money in his contract after Brown missed nearly all of training camp, cut him in early September when he requested to be released.

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After quickly signing with the New England Patriots, Brown was named in a lawsuit by his former trainer, who alleged that he had sexually assaulted her on multiple occasions. Less than a week later, another woman accused him of sexual misconduct.

The Patriots cut Brown after just one game, and the NFL started an investigation into the allegations against him.

Even amid the coronavirus pandemic, Brown and Jackson have been active this week. On Tuesday, Brown appeared in social media posts alongside former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson and Antonio Brown at his cousin’s Florida gym. On Wednesday, both Brown cousins and Jackson worked out on a football field in what Jeudy told “The Rich Eisen Show” was Fort Lauderdale.

It could be their last public workout for a while. On Wednesday afternoon, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a statewide stay-at-home order to help curb the spread of COVID-19. The order will go into effect at midnight Thursday and last for at least 30 days.

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Nets now free from coronavirus symptoms after testing positive

Fifteen days after the Brooklyn Nets announced that four players had tested positive for COVID-19, general manager Sean Marks stated that Brooklyn’s roster is free from coronavirus symptoms.

Speaking to reporters during a conference call on Wednesday morning, Marks said that the Nets’ traveling party has completed a two-week quarantine and will continue to adhere to the government issued social distancing guidelines.

“As it pertains to the team,” Marks said, “I sense like all of us, like the rest of New York and really the rest of the globe, we’re trying to deal with this as best we can.”

The symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, cough, chills and extreme exhaustion.

Many people who have coronavirus do not have any symptoms at all. Three of the four Nets players to test positive were asymptomatic. Still, Marks said as of right now there is no plan for players to be retested.

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Marks said that he only foresees players being retested if it is something the government or NBA requires in order to return to playing.

The NBA campaign has been on pause since March 11 and since then, more than a dozen players and at least one team owner, the Knicks’ James Dolan, have tested positive for coronavirus. During the three week hiatus, many teams have distributed workout equipment to their players’ homes in order to keep them in shape. For the Nets, that has also meant that their injured players have had more time to heal.

Nets star Kyrie Irving had shoulder surgery in February and was expected to be out for the remainder of the 2019-20 season. Kevin Durant, who sustained an Achilles injury in the 2019 NBA Finals, had been ruled out for the entire campaign.

Marks did not definitively say how the extended postponement of the season could affect whether Durant — who tested positive for coronavirus — or Irving returns to the court this season. Marks stated that while both players are continuing their rehabilitation, the process could be slowed due to the practice facility being closed.

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Buccaneers’ Chris Godwin gives No. 12 to Tom Brady

Chris Godwin wore No. 12 in high school, college and his first campaign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His social media accounts, and ones owned by his girlfriend, reference the No. 12.

But, Tom Brady wears No. 12. And he will again.

According to the Buccaneers’ site, Godwin offered No. 12 to his new teammate Brady, who “gratefully accepted.” Godwin will wear No. 14.

Let the Brady jersey sales start, at least whenever the Bucs unveil their new uniforms.

Brady wore No. 10 in college at Michigan, but became well known for No. 12 while winning six Super Bowls with the Patriots. His nutrition company is called TB12. It’s a big deal for him.

It’s also a big deal for Godwin. Most players do get attached to their numbers. Godwin let it be known in an interview with “Bucs Beat” on the team’s Twitter page earlier this month that he wanted the number but would defer to Brady.

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“Obviously if he doesn’t want it, if he doesn’t make a big deal about it, I’m definitely going to keep it,” Godwin said. “We’ll see how that goes. Out of respect for what he’s done, what he’s accomplished and just the career he’s built for himself, you have to lean into that respect. We’ll see how that goes.”

In the end, Godwin wants the ball, and he endeared himself to his new quarterback.

There was no word if Brady gave Godwin anything for the number change, though that’s typical when a veteran asks for a younger player to change numbers.

In the story on the Buccaneers’ site, it says Godwin told team reporter Casey Phillips “there was no transaction between him and Brady as part of the switch,” though it’s unclear if that information was from the Godwin interview weeks ago before the two players had talked about the number.

Either way, Godwin wasn’t going to battle his new quarterback over a jersey number. Brady gets No. 12 and if Godwin gets plenty of catches, everyone will be happy.

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WTA considering extending Tour

The Women’s Tennis Association is working on boosting players’ earnings when the sport resumes after the coronavirus.

The WTA is also taking into account extending the 2020 season to help players in the lower tiers who have had no opportunity to earn money on the tour since the season was suspended in early March.

“The WTA is diligently working with our tournaments to maximize earning possibilities when the professional tennis circuit is able to resume and is considering an extension to the current 44-week season to enable more tournaments to take place,” the association told Reuters in a statement.

“It is our sincere hope to return to the court as soon as possible – when the health and safety or our players, fans and staff can be guaranteed, we will be back competing.”

The men’s ATP Tour and the WTA suspended all tournaments until June 7th once several countries started to close borders in an attempt to control the spread of COVID-19.

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The International Tennis Federation (ITF), the sport’s governing body, also postponed its lower-tier World Tennis Tour until June 8th.

The WTA season ending finals are scheduled from November 1-8 before the season heads into a break of eight to 10 weeks.

The WTA is well aware that without tournaments and prize money on offer, it leaves several players with financial concerns.

“We wish there was a way everyone, especially those in need the most, could be compensated at the level they were expecting, but the needs are so great and the WTA unfortunately is not in a financial position to do that,” the WTA stated.

“Professional tennis players are independent contractors and not employees of the WTA.  As a result, a player’s compensation is based on on-court competition and when tournaments are not held this puts a pause on their principal revenue flow.

“The WTA fully recognises the challenges these athletes are facing as well as those similar challenges being dealt with from millions of people around the world during this unprecedented situation.”

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Stephon Marbury trying to get masks from China for New York

Former NBA star Stephon Marbury is using his connections in China to seek to supply New York hospitals with 10 million N95 masks at a discount, according to Rich Calder of the New York Post.

Thanks to Marbury, the mask supplier in China will sell the state masks “at cost” for $2.75 each to help supply medical workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had said suppliers were trying to sell masks for $7.50 each amid the current crisis, according to Bob Ivry and Brandon Kochkodin of Bloomberg.

After learning of the shortage within New York City, Marbury reached out to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams while helping broker the deal with the new supplier.

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“At the end of the day, I am from Brooklyn,” he stated. “This is something that is close and dear to my heart as far as being able to help New York. I have family there in Coney Island, a lot of family … who are affected by this, so I know how important it is for people to have masks during this time.”

Julia Arredondo, spokeswoman for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, confirmed that Adams reached out to City Hall about the masks supplier, per the Post. 

But they have yet to iron out details, which means no purchases have been made. 

New York has been hit notably hard by COVID-19, with over 52,000 cases as of Sunday, per CNN.com. There are more than 120,000 cases nationwide.

Marbury was able to see the damage from the global pandemic even earlier from his home in Beijing, where he has been a coach in the China Basketball Association. He was a player in the CBA from 2010 to ’18 after a 13-year career in the NBA.

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Title goes to Liverpool if season over

Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan says it would only be “fair” for opponents Liverpool to be awarded the English Premier League trophy if the season cannot be completed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Gundogan told German broadcaster ZDF that Liverpool deserved to be crowned champions given their massive 25-point lead over second-placed City, the current holders, which has left them just two victories away from the title.

“For me, that would be okay, yes,” Gundogan said, on being asked whether Liverpool should be handed their first top-flight title for 30 years should the season not be completed.

“You have to be fair as a sportsperson,” he added, while conceding that it was a difficult decision for football authorities given the impact that the cancellation of the season would have at both ends of the table.

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“There are different opinions. For clubs who have had a very good season, it obviously wouldn’t be nice if it was cancelled now,” he stated.

“On the other hand, for clubs who aren’t doing as well and are maybe in the relegation places, an abandonment would obviously suit them.”

The Premier League season has been suspended until April 30th, but it is looking increasingly likely that the date may have to be pushed back further.

German international Gundogan also stated he would be open to taking a pay-cut should English clubs follow the likes of Juventus and Borussia Dortmund in asking their players to accept reduced wages so non-playing staff can be paid.

“Of course I think it’s okay, that goes without saying, (but) there’s been no discussion in England yet,” he stated.

“Perhaps that’s because the English clubs are a bit financially stronger than the clubs in Germany at the moment.

“I don’t know who has the final say in that decision. On the other hand, if a player says, ‘no, I don’t want that, I worked hard for it, I get my salary’, then it can go in the opposite direction.

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Redskins get former Eagles corner Ronald Darby

The Redskins signed former Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby to a one-year deal on Sunday.

Darby, a second-round pick by the Bills in 2015 who played college ball at Florida State, grabbed six interceptions in three years playing in Philadelphia but dealt with major injuries throughout his time there, including an ACL tear in 2018. The deal was first reported by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

Washington required to sign another cornerback after trading away disgruntled CB Quinton Dunbar last week.

With the new addition, expect the Redskins to let Kendall Fuller start on one side of the field and Darby and fourth-year pro Fabian Moreau compete for the starting spot on the other side of the defense. Jimmy Moreland projects as the inside slot corner.

The money on this deal won’t break the bank for the Redskins, but with two corners added in free agency and considerably more cash spent on Fuller, the Redskins 2020 secondary is starting to come into shape.

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Washington probably feels somewhat comfortable with Fuller, Darby, Moreau and Moreland and will likely draft another corner in April.

The team also signed Sean Davis from Pittsburgh with the intention to pair him with stalwart Landon Collins at the two safety spots.

For Redskins fans pushing for a reunion with former draft pick Bashaud Breeland, the Darby signing could end that possibility. Team sources stated for weeks that Breeland wasn’t a strong consideration anyway.

Interestingly, Washington has now signed three defensive free agents in the secondary all with local ties. Darby grew up in Oxon Hill and played at Potomac High, Fuller went to Good Counsel High School and Davis grew up in D.C.

A second-round pick of the Buffalo Bills in 2015, Darby started 29 of 32 matches during his two years with the Bills. With 21 passes defensed and a pair of interceptions, he concluded second in Defensive Rookie of the Year voting behind Marcus Peters.

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Fate of Wimbledon to be decided next week

Organisers of the Wimbledon tennis tournament will decide next week if the event will need to be postponed or cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The London-based event is one of the four major ‘Grand Slams’ in the sport and is regarded by many as the most prestigious. It is due to run June 29-July 12 this year.

All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, which runs Wimbledon, posted an update on its website informing that because preparations for the event begin next month, it needs to make a decision shortly on whether to press on with its 2020 edition.

The org said both postponement and cancellation were on the table.

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An emergency meeting of its board is scheduled for next week, and the club explained that it is working with global tennis bodies and other Grand Slams to game plan its next moves.

It added that, “the nature of our surface suggests that postponement is not without significant risk and difficulty”, denoting that a cancellation could be likely. The org also ruled out playing behind closed doors.

“The unprecedented challenge presented by the COVID-19 crisis continues to affect our way of life in ways that we could not have imagined, and our thoughts are with all those affected in the UK and around the world,” stated the club’s chief exec Richard Lewis.

“The single most important consideration is one of public health, and we are determined to act responsibly through the decisions we make. We are working hard to bring certainty to our plans for 2020 and have convened an emergency meeting of the AELTC Main Board for next week, at which a decision will be made.”

The French Open, one of the four Grand Slams, has already postponed its dates from May to September. The other two, the US Open and Australian Open, run in September (before the French’s proposed new dates) and January accordingly.

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Rangers’ Willie Calhoun cleared for activity after fastball to face

Texas Rangers outfielder Willie Calhoun has been cleared to restart regular workouts and baseball activities, he announced on Twitter on Thursday.

The 25-year-old suffered a broken jaw after he was hit in the face by a Julio Urias fastball during a spring game versus the Los Angeles Dodgers on March 8.

The left-handed hitting Calhoun was drafted by the Dodgers in 2015, and traded to Texas in July 2017 in a package for Yu Darvish.

Calhoun had a plate surgically inserted into his jaw on March 9, but recently said he planned to be ready for the regular season if it was pushed back to May.

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“I know, if this is pushed back to May, I’m going to be ready,” Calhoun stated on March 17, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. “I want so much to be ready to play on Opening Day. Getting hit and the feeling afterward that I was going to miss Opening Day was the lowest of feelings, even lower than getting sent down last year. I was so excited to have a breakout year. Everything was set up for me to take a deep breath this spring and then really step forward.”

The youngster is expected to be a big part of the Rangers’ lineup this campaign.

He had a breakout campaign in 2019, when he hit 21 home runs and posted an .848 OPS in 83 games.

He is expected to start in left field for the Rangers, who traded outfielders Delino DeShields and Nomar Mazara over the winter.

His tweet came on the same day that was scheduled to be opening day before the coronavirus pandemic indefinitely pushed back the start of the MLB season.

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