KLPGA Championship underway
UNDATED (AP) – Golf has joined baseball and soccer as sports in South Korea that are back in action.
The women’s KLPGA Championship started Thursday with Bae Seon-woo, Kim Char-young2 and Hyun Se-lin tied at the top of the leaderboard at 5-under 67. Three more players were a shot behind. The tournament is being played without fans and with players using hand sanitizers and following social-distancing rules.
Caddies wore masks on the course and players were allowed to play without them. Defending champion Choi Hye-jin was two strokes back after a 69.
In other developments related to the coronavirus pandemic:
– A Turkish soccer club says eight people have tested positive for the coronavirus and training has been suspended. The club, Besiktas, says its president and a player were among those who tested positive. Turkish teams have resumed limited training sessions following the federation’s decision to restart matches in empty stadiums on June 12.
– Germany’s Bundesliga (BOON’-dehsh-lee-guh) soccer clubs will be allowed to use five substitutions per game when the season resumes on Saturday. The clubs in the top two German divisions have decided to accept the rule change allowed last week by the International Football Association Board. The change is meant to reduce the workload on players as the leagues pack their schedules to complete the season. Teams can make substitutions only at three breaks in the game and the league recommends making only two substitutions at once.
– The German Football League has relaxed its stance on finishing the season by June 30, when some players’ contracts expire. Games could continue into July if the alternative is leaving the season unfinished at the end of June, it said in a statement. Some games could be moved to neutral venues if they can’t be played at the original stadium because of infection risks locally. The league delayed a decision on how to decide final standings if the season can’t be finished.
– The Italian soccer federation has set up a pool of inspectors to check that teams comply with new health protocols and government decrees issued during the coronavirus pandemic. Serie A teams were permitted to resume individual training on May 4 while full team training can restart Monday. Lazio has reportedly already been training in groups of three players. The federation says inspectors will verify that practices are held according to the rules. The league said on Wednesday that it hopes to resume playing games on June 13 but the government has not approved a restart yet.
– The three leading women’s pole vaulters get their turn to compete on Saturday in the second edition of the Ultimate Garden Clash. Katerina Stefanidi of Greece, Katie Nageotte (nah-JAHT’) of the United States and Alysha Newman of Canada will participate in the event but won’t be competing in their backyards because they don’t have the equipment at home. They will instead be at nearby training facilities. The winner will be the vaulter who clears the bar at 4 meters the most times in 30 minutes. The top men’s pole vaulters competed in the Ultimate Garden Clash at their homes earlier this month.
Extra innings: Baseball head pitches Olympics to MLB, again
ROME (AP) – The president of the World Baseball Softball Confederation is making one final pitch to Major League Baseball to send its top stars to the Tokyo Olympics.
Riccardo Fraccari sees the one-year postponement of the games as a new opportunity for MLB. He tells The Associated Press that because of the damages from the coronavirus “baseball needs the Olympics now more than ever to boost the sport’s globalization, expansion and mass appeal.”
MLB and its players’ association have so far only agreed to allow players not on 26-man active rosters or injured lists to take part in Olympic qualifying. The only MLB players permitted to play in the Premier12 tournament last year were those not on 40-man rosters. Not surprisingly considering the rules, the United States finished fourth and failed at its first chance to qualify for the Olympics.
Besides Japan, which qualifies as the host nation, only three other teams have secured places in the baseball tournament. Israel was the surprise winner of the Africa/Europe qualifying event, while South Korea and Mexico earned spots during the Premier12. The last two nations in the six-team tournament will come from the Americas tournament and a final qualifying event in Taiwan.
Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Mexico and the United States qualified for the softball tournament.
PGA Championship returns to Charlotte’s Quail Hollow in 2025
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (AP) – The PGA Championship will return to Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, in May 2025.
In its announcement Thursday the PGA of America did not release the exact dates of the tournament.
Quail Hollow hosted the PGA Championship in 2017, when a 24-year-old Justin Thomas defeated Francesco Molinari, Louis Oosthuizen (WUHST’-hy-zehn) and Patrick Reed by two shots to claim his first major championship.
The announcement comes on the same day that Thomas was revealed as making the cover of the “PGA Tour 2K21” video game.
PGA officials raved about the 2017 event and strongly hinted at the time they’d like to see the PGA Championship return to Charlotte due to strong attendance numbers.
Brooks Koepka (KEHP’-kuh) is the two-time defending champion after winning last May at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, New York. This year’s PGA Championship was rescheduled for Aug. 3-9 at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Sainz Jr. joining Ferrari and Ricciardo is going to McLaren
PARIS (AP) – Carlos Sainz Jr. will drive for Formula One team Ferrari next season and Daniel Ricciardo will replace the Spaniard at McLaren.
The 25-year-old Sainz Jr. will join Ferrari on a two-year deal starting next year. The Italian team made the announcement Thursday, shortly after McLaren announced Ricciardo’s arrival from Renault.
Sainz Jr., the son of two-time world rally champion Carlos Sainz, will replace Sebastian Vettel. The four-time F1 champion is leaving Ferrari at the end of his contract.
The first 10 races of the F1 season have either been postponed or canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic.