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Watney first player on PGA Tour to test positive

Nick Watney withdrew from the RBC Heritage on Friday prior to the second round after testing positive for COVID-19.

According to the PGA Tour, Watney specified he had symptoms consistent with the virus. After consulting with a physician, he took a COVID-19 test which turned out to be positive.

Before hearing of the result, however, Watney went to the golf course; Si Woo Kim said he saw Watney on the range. World No. 1 Rory McIlroy said he had a chat with Watney – at a distance – before teeing off. And Brooks Koepka said he saw Watney in the parking lot.

“He feels badly that he was here today at the golf course,” McIlroy said. “I said, look, it’s fine. You never know. So I said to him, if I was in your position, I probably would have been here, too. Look, at this point, you just have to concentrate on getting better and getting healthy. “But, yeah, look, it sucks for him especially. You know, if you contract it, that’s fine, but then it’s the fact that who have you come into contact with, and who you might have exposed and stuff. Look, we’re still in the middle of a pandemic. Until this thing’s over, we all just have to stay vigilant and keep your distance and wear our masks if we’re going out in public and keep washing our hands.”

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Watney texted McIlroy to tell him he had the virus and McIlroy valued Watney’s concern.

Watney shot 74 in the first round before withdrawing on Friday. He had traveled privately to Hilton Head Island and tested negatively on Monday here on the island.

He is the first PGA Tour player to test positive for the coronavirus.

Watney will isolate for at least 10 days nearby.

“Nick will have the PGA Tour’s full support throughout his self-isolation and recovery period under CDC guidelines,” the PGA Tour said in a statement.

The PGA Tour had no additional comment.

There were 369 tests of players, caddies, and essential personnel prior to the start of the RBC Heritage. There were no positive results. Watney, 39, is a five-time winner on the PGA Tour. He shot 71-74 to miss the cut last week in the Charles Schwab Challenge, when the PGA Tour returned to action after a 13-week break due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

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Josh Gordon applies for reinstatement to NFL

The 29-year-old wide receiver has formally applied for reinstatement following his fifth league suspension last fall, according to multiple reports.

Gordon played five games for the Seattle Seahawks last season before the indefinite suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse and PED policy on Dec. 16. Gordon reportedly hopes to have his suspension lifted in time for training camp.

The eight-year NFL veteran has served repeated bans for violating the league’s substance abuse policy since joining the Cleveland Browns as a supplemental draft pick out of Baylor in 2012. Gordon also served a substance-abuse ban at Baylor.

It’s not clear what exactly triggered last season’s suspension that forced Gordon out of Seattle’s final two regular-season games and the playoffs. Gordon’s agent, Adam Kenner, told NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero that Gordon relapsed last year after his brother died.

Gordon broke out with the Cleveland Browns in 2012, but has struggled with substance abuse and mental health issues throughout his career.

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He caught 50 passes for 805 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie before being suspended for the first two games of the 2013 season. Despite the two-game ban, Gordon emerged as one of the NFL’s most dangerous weapons, tallying 89 catches for a league-leading 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns in his second campaign.

Recurring problems with substance abuse and DWI have since forced Gordon to miss large chunks of his career, including the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons.

The Browns finally cut ties with Gordon in 2018 over reported “trust” issues before the New England Patriots took a chance on him. Gordon played 17 matches with the Patriots over two seasons before New England released him after he landed on injured reserve with a knee injury last season.

He then joined and played five games with the Seahawks prior to his December ban. He tallied 27 catches for 426 yards and a touchdown over 11 games with the Patriots and Seahawks in 2019. The Seattle Times reports that there is possible mutual interest in a reunion between Gordon and the Seahawks if his ban is lifted.

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Safety Jamal Adams requests trade from Jets

Jamal Adams’ trade request escalated from a social media rant to a real-life demand.

Frustrated by slow-moving contract negotiations and without much other leverage, Adams informed the team Thursday he wants to be dealt, The Post confirmed. It sets up what could be a messy split-up because the Jets are not inclined to move on from their best player – at least not without a significant package in return.

Adams’ frequent use of social media to voice his displeasure with the two years and $13.45 million remaining on his contract – and the slow-moving negotiations on an extension – reached another level Wednesday. “Maybe it’s time to move on,” Adams wrote Wednesday in reply to a Jets fan on Instagram.

Adams’ message last week, as word leaked the Browns and defensive end Myles Garrett are in talks on an extension, was the Jets are “all talk no action.”

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Now? Adams is venting at Jets fans and bringing Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes into the conversation. Garrett (No. 1), Adams (No. 6) and Mahomes (No. 10) were picked in the 2017 NFL Draft and this is the first offseason players from that class are eligible for an extension on original deals.

“What does Pat have to do with me?” Adams replied to a fan. “Pat is about to get 40 to 60 M’s (million) a year. Well deserved. That’s my guy. But don’t compare me to QB’s if you aren’t paying me QB money.”

Running back Christian McCaffrey signed a four-year, $64 million contract with the Panthers earlier this offseason.

He was selected two picks after Adams.

So, Adams can’t figure out why the Jets are not acting like the Browns and Panthers. Adams did not participate in the Jets’ voluntary virtual offseason to send a message and it seems the two sides could be headed toward a holdout if training camps start on time July 28.

“Don’t use the pandemic excuse,” Adams wrote. “CM22 got paid not too long ago. … [I am going to] protect myself just like the organization will look out for themselves at the end of the day.”

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Love III’s return bittersweet 3 months after fire

The coronavirus pandemic has been a disruptive force across the world, made worse for Davis Love III by a March fire that devastated his home.

Love, 56, a two-time U.S. Ryder Cup team captain and member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, is returning to play for the first time since the fire at this week’s RBC Heritage, a tournament he has won five times.

He is also seeing many friends and colleagues for the first time since the March 27 incident that totaled his home in St. Simons Island, Georgia.

“Certainly [wife] Robin and I packing up to come to a golf tournament was exciting, but it was also a little emotional,” Love said Wednesday at Harbour Town Golf Club, where the tournament starts Thursday. “

We didn’t have anything to pack like we usually do.

“I’m searching for head covers, and my son gave me a ball-mark fixer. I was like, I just don’t have enough equipment to go play a PGA Tour event. So it’s been ups and downs like that.”

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Love discovered a fire in his garage shortly after 5 a.m. that day after an alarm alerted him and his wife. None of the couple’s kids or grandchildren were at the home during the fire.

After trying to get a fire extinguisher, it became apparent that the fire was too strong, Love said. The Loves called 911 and waited.

“It seemed like it took forever,” Love said recently in a Golf Digest interview. “We were standing there watching our house burn down.”

The house was 12,000 square feet and three stories, but Love said it was gone in 30 minutes.

Most of Love’s golf memorabilia was gone, including the replica Ryder Cup trophy he received in 2016. A replica of the Wanamaker Trophy he was given for winning the 1997 PGA Championship is part of his display at the World Golf Hall of Fame. The Loves recently bought another home in the same area and will take time to decide their next move.

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Raiders Allegiant stadium in Las Vegas to host 2021 NFL Pro Bowl

The NFL is taking the 2021 Pro Bowl to Allegiant Stadium, the new home of the Las Vegas Raiders.

The Pro Bowl was staged at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida, over the past four years. Peter O’Reilly, executive vice president of NFL events and club business development, confirmed to CNBC’s Jabari Young in January that a probable move was on the table. 

“It’s been a great four years,” O’Reilly said. “From our perspective, it’s looking at what are the other options.”

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy had also told reporters last August that Las Vegas and Los Angeles could be attractive candidates for the All-Star showcase. SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, is still slated for completion later this summer. The 2020 NFL draft was supposed to serve as an informal welcome for Las Vegas as the Raiders are set to embark on their first season in Sin City. However, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the league to accommodate a fully virtual draft. 

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Vegas will have to wait until 2022 to become the epicenter of the NFL’s annual draft frenzy.

Because the Pro Bowl happens well after the completion of the regular campaign, players routinely pull out of the game. Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen also explained how participating in the Pro Bowl can be a somewhat deflating distinction because it means your team didn’t make the Super Bowl.

Las Vegas isn’t as far-flung as Halawa, Hawaii, where the Pro Bowl has most commonly called home in the past. The city might be a more attractive draw than Orlando as well. Combined, the two factors could help retain some marquee stars who otherwise would’ve waffled on whether to suit up in 2021.

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Ortiz not Garcia, to headline Golden Boy return

Ryan Garcia and Oscar De La Hoya are at odds again, so Vergil Ortiz will headline Golden Boy Promotions’ first boxing card of the summer since the coronavirus pandemic struck.

Now that Top Rank has brought boxing back to television, it appears Golden Boy Promotions will follow suit, with plans to return in July.

It was once thought that the initial GBP event would be a Fourth of July card headlined by Ryan Garcia, but now it will be a card arranged for later in the month and with Vergil Ortiz in the main event. 

Oscar De La Hoya made the announcement Monday on Twitter, and the framing ruffled Garcia’s feathers. Garcia took exception to Ortiz being called the “future of boxing” and fired back in a now-deleted tweet. 

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You do realize you’re supposed to be my promoter (and) not (a) hater right?” Garcia responded. 

Golden Boy president Eric Gomez confirmed to ESPN that Ortiz will headline the first GBP card of the summer and explained why Garcia is no longer fighting on July 4.

“An offer was made to him and his team passed,” Gomez stated.

This comes not too long after Garcia said in an interview with Sports Illustrated that he felt the offer to return to the ring wasn’t to his liking.

Now, a relationship between Garcia and GBP that was once thought to be smoothed over after being frayed has again hit a snag.

The undefeated Ortiz was initially slated to face Samuel Vargas on March 28 in Los Angeles before the COVID-19 pandemic caused the card to be canceled. He will now be the first to return, versus an opponent to be decided. The location has yet to be confirmed, too, but it has been reported that the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Calif., is the likely landing spot for the fight. 

As for Garcia, it’s anyone’s guess when he will return to the ring. 

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NY Gov Cuomo gives go-ahead for US Open

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo stated Tuesday that the U.S. Open tennis tournament will be held in late August as part of the state’s reopening from shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. Tennis Association had decided to go forward with its marquee event in New York City without spectators, pending an approval from the state.

Like many sports leagues, the professional tennis tours have been suspended since March because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The U.S. Open normally is each season’s fourth and final Grand Slam tournament but would be the second of 2020, following the Australian Open, which concluded in early February.

“We’re excited about the U.S. Open, (which) is going to be held in Queens, Aug. 31 through Sept. 13. It will be held without fans, but you can watch it on TV – and I’ll take that,” Cuomo said at his daily briefing in Albany. “The tennis authorities are going to be taking extraordinary precautions, but that’s going to take place.”

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The French Open was postponed from May and currently is programed to start a week after the U.S. Open ends.

Wimbledon was canceled altogether for the first time since World War II in 1945.

Even with the go-ahead from the state, one significant question remains for the U.S. Open: Which players actually will participate?

Such top names as both No. 1-ranked players, Novak Djokovic and Ash Barty, and defending men’s champion Rafael Nadal, have expressed reservations about heading to Flushing Meadows, where an indoor tennis facility was used as a temporary home for hundreds of hospital beds at the height of the city’s coronavirus crisis.

Already ruled out, regardless: Roger Federer, who has won five of his men’s-record 20 Grand Slam singles titles at the U.S. Open but announced recently that he is out for the rest of the year after needing a second arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.

With international TV contracts – including an annual average of $70 million from ESPN alone – helping offset the loss of money from ticket sales and other onsite revenue, and facing a recession that already led to the recent elimination of more than 100 jobs at the USTA, the association’s board decided to go forward with its marquee event despite concerns about COVID-19 and international travel.

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49ers reward coach Kyle Shanahan with new 6 year deal

San Francisco is compensating head coach Kyle Shanahan with a new six-year contract that replaces the three years he had remaining on his deal and ties him to the 49ers through the 2025 season, league sources told ESPN.

The contract makes Shanahan one of the NFL’s five highest-paid head coaches. But what made this deal unique is that it was hardly a protracted negotiation between 49ers owner Jed York and Shanahan; the two men sat down and quickly figured out what each meant to the other, committing to their second six-year contract in just over three years.

Shanahan signed his first six-year contract with the 49ers in February 2017. This new six-year deal, completed recently, replaces that one. Shanahan has helped remake the franchise, leading it to an NFC championship last season. He is regarded as one of the best playcallers in the league and one of the top offensive minds in the game.

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Offensively, San Francisco averaged 29.9 points a game under Shanahan in 2019, which ranked second in the NFL.

On the defensive side of the ball, they were second in the league in points allowed at just 19.4 points per match.

Shanahan also has helped form one of the most progressive and diverse coaching staffs in the league. Of the 49ers’ 23 assistant coaches, 11 are coaches of color or women. Among them are assistant head coach Jon Embree, who is black, and defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, believed to be the league’s first Arab American coordinator when San Francisco signed him in 2017.

Shanahan spoke openly and passionately about race earlier this month, saying it is embarrassing for the NFL to have only three black head coaches and two black general managers. Shanahan, 40, is a former offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons.

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Berger wins tightly contested Colonial in playoff

Daniel Berger was playing some of the best golf that no one noticed. Three months away because of the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t slow his momentum, and he made it pay off Sunday with a triumph at Colonial.

The PGA Tour made a healthy return to golf at the Charles Schwab Challenge with a somewhat sickly finish. Berger saved par from behind the 17th green on the first playoff hole and won when Collin Morikawa missed a 3-foot par putt.

Berger closed with a 4-under 66, his 28th consecutive round at par or better dating back to Oct. 11 at the Houston Open.

Even over the final hour, a half-dozen players were still in the mix. All that was missing was the sound and energy of a gallery, with the PGA Tour not allowing fans for the opening five events in its return. Berger won for the third time — all victories during this week on the calendar, just not in circumstances like this. It was the first PGA Tour event since March 12 when the spread of the new coronavirus shut down golf and other sports.

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From no positive tests to a dynamic end at history-rich Colonial, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan sized up the week by saying, “This has been a phenomenal start to our return.”

Morikawa has been equally steady. Since graduating from Cal last year, he has won and made every cut, a streak now at 21 events, the longest streak by a newcomer since Tiger Woods.

He took a share of the lead with a 50-foot putt on the 14th hole. It was the short ones that hurt. Morikawa also missed a birdie putt from 6 feet on the 18th hole in a 67.

Berger was the only one who delivered, making a 10-foot birdie on the final hole that put him at 15-under 265. The last time Berger was in a playoff, Jordan Spieth holed a bunker shot to defeat him at the Travelers Championship. So he could feel for what Morikawa felt int he loss. “It’s going to hurt for a little while, but he’ll get over it and he’ll be winning again,” Berger said.

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Patriots RB Sony Michel recovering from foot surgery

New England Patriots running back Sony Michel underwent a minor foot surgery in May, according to ESPN’s Mike Reiss.

Michel’s surgery was “maintenance-based” and focused on minor discomforts he’s been having, according to Reiss. The Patriots will start training camp in late July and Michel’s recovery time is still up in the air. His progress will determine if he has to start training camp on the physically unable to perform list or not.

He’s heading into his third NFL season and the first two have been extremely successful. Michel had a storybook start to his career — breaking playoff records and winning a Super Bowl in his first season. Although his production slipped slightly in 2019, he still produced 912 yards on the ground and seven touchdowns. Michel only missed three matches with the Patriots, but he has dealt with multiple knee injuries throughout his short-lived NFL career. He had fluid drained from his knee ahead of his rookie season and twisted his knee again later that year.

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New England’s running back depth consists Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead, Damien Harris and Brandon Bolden. Harris was drafted in the third round last season and barely saw the field, but this could be his chance to step up.

The Patriots’ running back corps is extremely deep and will help navigate the offense without Tom Brady on the field. Michel’s health will be crucial to the success of this season, so it’s something to closely monitor.

When the Patriots chose Michel in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, there was palpable worry about his history of knee injuries coming out of Georgia.

These fears weren’t unmerited. He had fluid drained from his knee before his first game, and he underwent a knee scope in the summer of 2019.

This is the third consecutive offseason where he may not play all of training camp due to a medical issue, and the first time it isn’t his knee. On the bright side, he’s only ever missed three games due to the injury bug, and this surgery doesn’t look to risk any more.

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