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All evacuees test clear of virus& mdash;DOH

Not a single evacuee tested positive for COVID-19 so far, the Department of Health said on Wednesday......»»

Category: newsSource: thestandard thestandardNov 18th, 2020

5 players withdraw, 1 tests positive, nerves frayed on virus

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer Brooks Koepka and Webb Simpson were among five players who withdrew from the Travelers Championship, four of them out of a chain-reaction abundance of caution over the coronavirus that put the PGA Tour on notice. “The snowball is getting a little bit bigger,” Graeme McDowell told The Associated Press after withdrawing Wednesday because his longtime caddie, Ken Comboy, tested positive for the virus. The tour released results that showed three positive tests at the TPC River Highlands in Connecticut — Cameron Champ and the caddies for Koepka and McDowell. There were no positive tests on the Korn Ferry Tour event in Utah. As it enters the third week in its return from the COVID-19 pandemic that shut down golf for three months, the tour has administered 2,757 tests at PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour events in five states, with seven positive results. On the PGA Tour alone, there have been 1,382 tests and four positive results. “It's a low number on a percentage basis, but every number hurts,” PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said. “I think we all need to remind ourselves that we're all learning to live with this virus. "It's pretty clear that this virus isn't going anywhere.” Nick Watney was the first player to test positive last week at the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, which was teeming with people on summer vacation. Champ tested positive on Tuesday at the Travelers and immediately withdrew. Four more players withdrew even with negative test results. Koepka said his caddie, Ricky Elliott, tested positive and then took another test that came back negative. No matter. He chose to withdraw, and was especially gutted that his younger brother, Chase Koepka, withdrew after earning a rare chance to play through a Monday qualifier. When his brother made it, Koepka arranged a house for him to stay in starting Tuesday, so he had his brother stay with him in the meantime. Then, the brothers played a practice round with McDowell and British Open champion Shane Lowry. Both Koepkas said they felt they should withdraw because they were in close contact with someone who tested positive. “I feel terrible for Chase,” Koepka said. “This course is made for him, he's playing as good as I've ever seen him. And I put him in that situation. It's one thing if I withdraw. He doesn't get this opportunity very often.” Simpson, who won the RBC Heritage last week with a record score that moved him to No. 5 in the world, withdrew when he learned a family member had tested positive. Monahan said the tour would continue, and that there was no set number of positive tests that would lead to golf shutting down again. “We feel like we're on a path that's going to allow us to continue to sustain our return to golf,” Monahan said. “But rest assured, there won't be many sleepless nights. When you're working in a world of uncertainty, these are the things you worry about.” Monahan sent a memo to players that outlined increased measures in its health and safety protocols. Those include testing players before and after they take charter flights. Swing coaches now face mandatory testing each week and will be considered part of the bubble, and the fitness trailer will be at tournaments to keep players from going to gyms. He also said the tour will no longer pay for players or caddies to be in self-isolation for positive tests if they have not followed the health and safety plan. “All of us have an extraordinary responsibility to follow these protocols,” Monahan said, adding he has been guilty at times as he adjusts to a new way of living. “For any individual that does not, there will be serious repercussions.” He did not say what the punishment would be. The tour does not publicize disciplinary actions or fines. McDowell says his caddie flew on a commercial flight that was packed from Dallas to Orlando, Florida, after he missed the cut at Colonial. That Monday, they went to a memorial service — along with Elliott, who grew up with McDowell in Northern Ireland, and McDowell's trainer — and then they all drove six hours to Hilton Head. “The problem is, people are out here passing tests when they could still have the virus,” McDowell said. “That’s what we’re learning. Ricky passed a test on Monday and he just failed it this morning.” The PGA Tour's return to tournaments started with a perfect record — 487 tests for players arriving at Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas; 98 players on the charter flight to South Carolina; 369 tests at Hilton Head Island. All came back negative. But there now has been four positive tests in the last six days, and Monahan said no one should be surprised if there are more next week in Detroit, or the following two weeks in Ohio. “I think this is the reality of what we're all living under,” he said. “We are doing everything we can to make that not be the case. But I don’t think anybody should be surprised. I’m certainly hopeful we won’t. But to be able to say that we’re going to not have any cases ... would be disingenuous because we're all learning as we're going.” McDowell said he would take two weeks off and hoped to return in July for the first of two weeks in Ohio. So much depends on the virus and whether it reaches a level that it's not prudent for golf to continue. “Do we shut down, start up in a month's time, two months' time? You come back and what's changed?” McDowell said. “I think the tour is doing a pretty good job. It's just so difficult to control everybody outside the gates. “We have to get through to the other side of this.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 25th, 2020

British Open canceled, Masters to November in major rescheduling

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer The Masters goes from that annual rite of spring to two weeks before Thanksgiving. The U.S. Open now is scheduled in September for the first time since amateur Francis Ouimet took down Britain’s best at Brookline in 1913 to put golf on the map in America. And the oldest championship of them all won’t even be played. Golf organizations tried to salvage a season unlike any other Monday with a series of changes, starting with the British Open being canceled for the first time since 1945. The PGA Championship, which last year moved to May, would go back to August. That would be followed by the PGA Tour’s postseason, the U.S. Open and Ryder Cup in consecutive weeks, and then the Masters on Nov. 12-15. “Any Masters is better than no Masters,” Augusta native Charles Howell III said. Still to be determined was when — or even if — golf could resume because of the COVID-19 pandemic that has shut down sports worldwide. Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley said the Masters identified November as “intended dates.” CEO Seth Waugh said the PGA of America was “holding” Aug. 6-9 as dates for the PGA Championship at Harding Park in San Francisco. USGA chief Mike Davis said moving from June to September was the best chance to mitigate health and safety concerns — Winged Foot is 5 miles from New Rochelle, New York, a virus hot spot — to have “the best opportunity” of staging the U.S. Open. The British Open effectively is pushing its schedule back one year, saying the 149th Open still is set for Royal St. George’s on July 15-18, leaving the 150th Open for St. Andrews the following year. “I can assure everyone that we have explored every option for playing The Open this year, but it is not going to be possible,” R&A chief Martin Slumbers said. Golf’s major organizations, starting with the PGA Tour and its calendar filled with tournaments, have been trying to piece together a puzzle for the last three weeks. Each agreed to announce their plans together in a show of collaboration. Still missing is the starting line, along with some details on what could be the most hectic pace golf has ever known. “We hope the anticipation of staging the Masters Tournament in the fall brings a moment of joy to the Augusta community and all those who love the sport,” Ridley said. “We want to emphasize that our future plans are incumbent upon favorable counsel and direction from health officials.” Augusta National closed early this year because of the coronavirus and does not open until October. The bloom of dogwoods and azaleas will give way to fall foliage. Instead of being the second full week in April, it will compete against football. “It feels like in these extraordinary times, we need to do extraordinary things,” said Kevin Kisner, who grew up 20 miles away in Aiken, South Carolina. “We can sacrifice a little bit of our life being perfect.” The PGA Tour has tentatively planned to complete its FedEx Cup season close to schedule, with the Tour Championship finishing on Labor Day. It is contemplating putting tournaments in dates that previously belonged to the U.S. Open, British Open and Olympics. “It’s a complex situation, and we want to balance the commitments to our various partners with playing opportunities for our members — while providing compelling competition to our fans,” PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said. “But all of that must be done while navigating the unprecedented global crisis that is impacting every single one of us.” The new schedule: — Aug. 6-9: PGA Championship. — Aug. 13-16: End of PGA Tour regular season at Wyndham Championship. — Aug. 20-23: Start of FedEx Cup playoffs at The Northern Trust. — Aug. 27-30: BMW Championship, second playoff event. — Sept. 4-7: Tour Championship for the FedEx Cup. — Sept. 17-20: U.S. Open at Winged Foot. — Sept. 25-27: Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits. It was not immediately clear how the teams from Europe and the United States would be determined for the Ryder Cup, although European captain Padraig Harrington has said he would not be opposed to picking all 12 players. For the 24 players, that means going from what long has been regarded as the toughest test in golf to what has become the most tiresome three days in golf. “It’s definitely better than leaving the Tour Championship and going to France, or leaving the Bahamas to go to Australia,” said Patrick Cantlay, referring to the Americans' most recent Ryder and Presidents cup itineraries. Like everything else, so much remains up in the air until golf get the signal to resume. Gian Paolo Montali, the general director for the 2022 Ryder Cup, said on Italian radio Monday that officials faced a May deadline to postpone the Ryder Cup to odd-numbered years (as it was before the matches were postponed by the Sept. 11 attacks). He described the chances as 50-50. Montali also said players already have vetoed a Ryder Cup without its raucous fans. Other details must be sorted out, such as U.S. Open qualifying. The next tournament on the PGA Tour schedule is Colonial on May 21-24, though that appears unlikely. Ridley said every player who has received invitations to play the Masters in April will stay on the list. He said the Augusta National Women’s Amateur was canceled, and every player can keep their spots for next year provided they don’t turn pro. The U.S. Senior Open at Newport Country Club in Rhode Island and the U.S. Senior Women’s Open at Brooklawn Country Club in Connecticut have been canceled. As for the British Open, Shane Lowry gets to keep the claret jug longer than anyone since Dick Burton, who won in 1939 at St. Andrews in the last Open before World War II. Burton went from “champion golfer of the year” to member of the Royal Air Force. Lowry said in a video tweet he understood and supported the R&A’s decision. “You can trust me when I say the claret jug is going to be in safe hands for another year,” Lowry said. ___ AP Sports Writer Andrew Dampf in Italy contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 7th, 2020

North Korea to defy coronavirus with huge parade

Nuclear-armed North Korea is expected to parade its latest and most advanced weapons through the streets of Pyongyang on Saturday, as the coronavirus-barricaded country celebrates the 75th anniversary of leader Kim Jong Un’s ruling party. Saturday is expected to see thousands of goose-stepping soldiers packed into Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Square, named for North Korea’s founder, under the gaze of his grandson Kim Jong Un ED JONES AFP/ MANILA BULLETIN South Korea’s unification minister told parliament on Thursday that a “large-scale parade” was anticipated, and satellite imagery on the respected 38North website has also suggested the cavalcade could be huge. The anniversary comes during a difficult year for North Korea as the coronavirus pandemic and recent storms add pressure to the heavily sanctioned country.  Pyongyang closed its borders eight months ago to try to protect itself from the virus — which first emerged in neighbouring China — and has still to confirm a single case of infection. Last month, troops from the North shot dead a South Korean fisheries official who had drifted into its waters, apparently as a precaution against the disease, prompting fury in Seoul and a rare apology from Kim. Nevertheless, Saturday is expected to see thousands of goose-stepping soldiers packed into Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Square, named for North Korea’s founder, under the gaze of his grandson, the third member of the family to rule the country. A procession of progressively larger armoured vehicles and tanks is likely to follow, culminating with whatever missiles Pyongyang wants to put on show. The North is widely believed to have continued to develop its arsenal — which it says it needs to protect itself from a US invasion — throughout nuclear negotiations with Washington, deadlocked since the collapse of a summit in Hanoi in February last year. Now analysts expect a new submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) or an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the US mainland to appear — maybe even one with multiple re-entry vehicle capabilities that could allow it to evade US defence systems. The anniversary of the Workers’ Party means North Korea “has a political and strategic need to do something bigger”, said Sung-yoon Lee, a Korean studies professor at Tufts University in the United States. Showcasing its most advanced weapons “will signal a big step forward in Pyongyang’s credible threat capabilities”, he said. But unlike on many previous occasions, no international media have been allowed in to watch the parade, and with many foreign embassies in Pyongyang closing their doors in the face of coronavirus restrictions, few outside observers will be present. It is not clear whether state broadcaster KCTV will air the event live — some past parades have not appeared on television until the following day. But the South’s government has detected signs that Kim is to give a speech at the parade, Yonhap News Agency reported Friday citing unnamed sources.  – Masks and missiles? –  At the end of December, Kim threatened to demonstrate a “new strategic weapon”, but analysts say Pyongyang will still tread carefully to avoid jeopardising its chances with Washington ahead of next month’s presidential elections. Showing off its strategic weapons in a military parade “would be consistent with what Kim Jong Un promised”, while “not provoking the US as much as a test-launch of a strategic weapon”, said former US government North Korea analyst Rachel Lee. The messaging of the parade “will be heavily domestic — on party accomplishments, unity around the leader, and improving the economy before the Eighth Party Congress”, she added, referring to a meeting of the Workers’ Party due to take place in January. But Harry Kazianis of the Center for the National Interest warned that with thousands of people involved, it could turn into a “deadly superspreader-like event” unless “extreme precautions” were used. The impoverished nation’s crumbling health system would struggle to cope with a major virus outbreak, and he added that such protective measures seemed “pretty unlikely”. “Clearly masks and missiles don’t mix.”.....»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsOct 9th, 2020

PBA targets September to start scrimmages

PBA teams are all set to finally begin training following their COVID-19 swab tests last week. Up first will be teams doing workouts by batches under the prescribed health protocols. If things go well, the PBA should be able to conduct scrimmages by September, a huge step on their way to a true restart. "Sana payagan din tayo, pero lahat na yan siguro depende kung nasaan na tayo dito sa virus," Commissioner Willie Marcial said. "Kung tumataas pa rin ang mga kaso nandyan pa rin posibilidad na tumaas ulit ang quarantine level. Pero kung steady lang ang number o mas maganda bumaba, malamang payagan tayo. Sana," he added. After Metro Manila returned to a more relaxed community quarantine level last week, the PBA wasted little time in having its teams undergo swab tests. The league has implemented a "no test, no practice" policy and with favorable results, players can finally hit the court in this upcoming week. It will be a welcome development after the PBA encountered delays brought about by upgraded quarantine protocols back in early August. "Okay na rin, kasi na-refine natin, nagdagdag ng ibang protocols," Marcial said. "Nag-wo-workout naman ang mga yan [players] sa bahay pero hinabaan natin ang workouts para kapag nagkaroon na ng scrimmages mababa posibilidad ng injuries," he added as the PBA gears up for team practices.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 23rd, 2020

PSC OIC Fernandez, national boxers undergo COVID-19 swab tests

Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Commissioner and newly appointed Officer-In-Charge Ramon Fernandez led the coronavirus (COVID-19) swab testing on Thursday at the PhilSports Complex in Pasig City. Fernandez was accompanied by his wife Karla Kintanar-Fernandez and is expected to complete the 14-day quarantine while doing his OIC functions until July 17. “We will comply with the standard procedures to ensure that we are helping in curbing the spread of the virus,” shared Fernandez. Aside from Fernandez, national boxers from Baguio City, including 2021 Tokyo Olympics qualifier Irish Magno and 2019 AIBA Women’s World Champion Nesthy Petecio with 10 more boxers - six males and four females - and one coach, also went through swab testing. Athletes residing in Philsports from boxing and fencing, and para-athletes from athletics, wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, table tennis, and chess also underwent swab tests.  The boxers who are coming off a training camp in Baguio City are on a 14-day quarantine and are under observation until their test results are out. They will be provided with food, shelter, and necessary assistance from the PSC staff. “Hindi muna sila pinalalabas ng assigned rooms nila. Until lumabas swab test results nila, hinahatiran sila food,” shared Philsports Dormitory manager Roselle Destura. “Kung may ipapabili, ipapa-withdraw, at ipapadala sa pamilya, pinapaiwan namin sila ng note sa harap ng room nila and then kami na gagawa for them,” she added. The PSC will also assist the athletes in securing their travel passes going back to their hometowns once their results turn out clear and flights become available......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 2nd, 2020

3 NBA Pelican players test positive for coronavirus

New York—The NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans have had three players test positive for COVID-19 while three members of the Denver Nuggets organization also contracted the virus, according to ESPN reports Tuesday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsJul 2nd, 2020

Berger a winner at Colonial, and PGA Tour feels like it, too

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — The PGA Tour spent two months learning about the COVID-19 pandemic and trying to develop a safe plan to return, followed by another month hoping for the best. Commissioner Jay Monahan said his confidence in the plan came with a dose of uncertainty. “If we ... got into a situation where we were dealing with a number of positive tests, that's something — candidly — that I lost a lot of sleep over in the weeks that preceded coming,” Monahan said. Monahan felt every bit a winner as Daniel Berger at the Charles Schwab Challenge. The tour administered 487 tests for the new coronavirus at Colonial, and the results on all of them came back negative. On the golf course, a dozen of some of golf's best players — from Rory McIlroy to Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele to Jordan Spieth — all had a chance going into the final round. “Listen, there is more work to be done,” Monahan said. “But this is a phenomenal start to our return.” It was a healthy return, except for a somewhat sickly finish. Berger made a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole and heard the deafening silence of a big moment with no spectators allowed at Colonial. He got into a playoff when Collin Morikawa missed a 6-foot birdie putt for the win and Xander Schauffele missed his try from 25 feet. The playoff was held on the 17th hole, another reminder of how this week was different. Playoffs always start on the 18th hole because that's where the gallery is packed into the grandstands. With no fans allowed, and with the 17th tee right next to the clubhouse, off they went. Morikawa hit a deft chip to 3 feet. Berger chipped even closer from behind the green and rapped in his par. They presumably were headed to the 18th tee until Morikawa's 3-footer spun out, and Berger was the winner. Schauffele should have been in the playoff, but his 3-footer for par on the 17th in regulation dipped in the right side of the cup and spun out of the left side. Talk about a horrible horseshoe. “If there are fans and everything with the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs,’ I’d probably be a little more (ticked) off,” Schauffele said. “Maybe that’s a good thing for me right now. But it was definitely weird." Justin Rose had an 18-foot birdie putt on the 18th that looked good all the way until it wasn't. He finished one behind along with Bryson DeChambeau and Jason Kokrak, who also missed birdie chances on the last hole. This isn't the first time Rose or anyone else has missed a big putt. It wasn't the first time Rose let out a gutteral moan from missing. It was just the first time he actually heard it. “If the crowd are there, their groans or cries, whatever it may be, would have drowned me out,” Rose said. “You suddenly realize you actually do make some noise sometimes yourself. And it surprised me a little bit there on 18.” There were reminders all week of no fans, but rarely why golf had been shut down since March 12 because of the rapid spread of COVID-19, a pandemic that canceled one major (British Open) and postponed the others until later in the year. “The only time I thought about it was when I was having to take the tests, and that was really it,” Keith Mitchell said. “Hopefully, nobody comes down with it and we can keep on playing.” Players on the charter to the next stop — Hilton Head on the South Carolina shore — had to swing by the pool area at Colonial after the third round for a saliva test. If negative, they board the plane and don't have to be tested at Hilton Head. Everyone else driving, flying commercial or flying private face another test when they arrive. Tony Finau learned a new skill beyond chipping and putting. He learned to spit for his test. “You just kind of roll your tongue around inside your mouth, and it seems to bring a little bit more, and also if you just lean your face down, it seems to come out a little easier,” he said. So few talking about the virus was an indication of how safe it felt. In this case, the week doesn't end until the next tournament begins. “I was asked, ‘What’s a successful week look like?' It means us getting to the RBC Heritage and having another successful week,” he said. “I feel very good about the setup there, and we're ready to go again." Monahan had said as the tour prepared to return that it was critical not to fall into a trap that all is well. He said he wouldn't feel comfortable until told he could be comfortable, and likely would mean a vaccine. Morikawa said being back to golf and being back to normal were different matters. “Just because we played one week doesn’t mean we can go party and go do everything else like we used to,” Morikawa said. “We still have to follow these guidelines and maintain safety and strict rules with how far we stay from each other because it’s still out there. “We just have to be cognizant of what’s around us and where we put ourselves, because we want the tour to keep playing......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 15th, 2020

Schauffele leads Colonial over host of stars in tour return

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — The PGA Tour went three months without playing. It took three days to show fans what they were missing, even if all they could do was watch on TV. Eight players had at least a share of the lead at some point Saturday in the Charles Schwab Challenge. When the third round at Colonial ended, 14 players were separated by three shots. And not just anybody. Xander Schauffele, among the growing roster of young stars in golf, finished off his six-birdie round with a 12-footer on the last hole for a 4-under 66. The six players one shot behind included Jordan Spieth, whose short game helped him navigate some early trouble and nerves. He had the lead until going not making a birdie on the back nine. Still, his 68 gave him his best 54-hole position since Colonial a year ago as he tries to end three years without winning. Also one shot behind was Justin Thomas (66) and U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland, who quickly got into the mix with birdies on his last two holes for a 66. Rory McIlroy (69) and Justin Rose (68) were among those three shots behind. Patrick Reed, who had to birdie three of his last six holes Friday to make the cut with one shot to spare, shot 63 and was three back. All this with hardly any noise. “I don’t have like a huge effect on the crowd I’d say, so not having fans isn’t the craziest thing to me,” Schauffele said. “It just does feel like I’m playing at home with some of my buddies. It’s quiet. You make three birdies in a row, you can kind of give yourself a pat on the back.” This wasn't entirely a TV show. A few houses in the Colonial neighborhood put up their own hospitality tents to see limited golf, the rowdiest behind the 16th tee and another down the 15th fairway. Fans gathered on the balcony of an apartment complex along the 14th, which also brought ou the first, “Get in the hole!” since the PGA Tour returned for the first since since March 12 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. On the course, there were no bursts of cheers as Spieth rammed in a 40-foot putt on the eighth hole or stuffed his approach to 3 feet on No. 9 to take the lead. A few dozen of the essential personnel — broadcast crews, volunteers for scoring — were around when Schauffele made his birdie for the lead at 13-under 197. But there are leaderboards that show only the score — no need for updates on FedEx Cup leaders or statistical data for each player as he prepares a shot because that's for the fans, and there are none. That will be the only way anyone knows where they stand in what figures to be a wild chase to the finish. “When you have spectators and things, you get on a roll, and most of the time you feed off of that,” said Branden Grace, whose third straight 66 left him one shot behind. “I remember when I won Hilton Head and played well in the majors, the crowd started getting behind you and you start feeling like you can’t do anything wrong. At the moment, it’s just you and your caddie out there.” Colonial is the first of five tournaments in the return to golf that doesn't allow spectators. Players have had three days to adjust to the lack of sound. Sunday is different, everyone trying to generate their own momentum without the energy typically delivered from outside the ropes. “When you get into contention and have a chance to win a golf tournament, that adrenaline starts pumping,” Woodland said. “It’s been a little different. The first two days there wasn’t too much adrenaline. There will be adrenaline going, which you have with fans or without fans. Tomorrow should be fun.” Spieth passed a big test, with another to come as he tries to end nearly three years without a victory. Five times last year, he started a tournament with two rounds in the 60s and was left behind when he couldn't break par on Saturday. There were a few anxious moments for him, such as an iron off the fifth tee that would have finished on the practice range if not for a fence in place for the tournament. He got up-and-down from short of the green to escape with birdie. His next tee shot was right and banged off a cart — one the loudest sounds of the day — leaving him blocked by a tree. He punched it low into a back bunker and saved par. But he didn't make a birdie over the final nine holes, and the 15th cost him when he decided to wait for the players to hit on the 16th tee and started thinking too much about an 81-yard wedge. He hit it fat and made bogey. “ I feel comfortable going into tomorrow that I can shoot a good score,” Spieth said. “If it happens, it happens, and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. But I learned a bit about what was going on when I really felt kind of the nerves kick in today, and hopefully compensate for that tomorrow and hit some better shots.” The field was the strongest Colonial has seen, not surprising because so many players stuck at home for the last three months were eager for competition. And this week has made clear that so many of them came to play......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 14th, 2020

Golf makes a conservative return with an eye on the long run

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan went from wondering if any golf would be played this year to a schedule that resumes next week with a calendar filled through Thanksgiving. What hasn't changed is his belief that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic isn't over just because golf is back. “I don't think it's over," Monahan said Friday in a telephone interview. “I'm really confident in the plan. But you spend a lot of your time, given the uncertainty, thinking through scenarios that could play out. That's what we'll continue to do. We won't be comfortable until we're told we can be comfortable. That will be when we have a vaccine and there's no risk.” Golf is the second major sports league to return behind NASCAR, which began racing three weeks ago and ran nine national series races in a span of 14 days. The Charles Schwab Challenge next week in Fort Worth, Texas, has one of the strongest fields in Colonial's rich history, starting with the top five players from the world ranking. There will be no spectators for at least a month, even though Texas Gov. Greg Abbott this week moved the state to Phase III in the recovery that allows outdoor events at 50% capacity. “We've developed a safety plan that doesn't include spectators. That's what we stand by,” Monahan said. “We want to have a sustained return. If you think about a run to go through the FedEx Cup, we want to make sure week to week we're not taking on unnecessary risk.” Monahan said he is “not the arbiter of confidence,” rather it comes from guidance of health experts at all levels and a plan that involves testing players, caddies and essential personnel as much as twice a week — trying to create a bubble for the traveling circus that is golf. Players were mailed a test kit and were recommended to use it before they travel. They will be tested when they arrive at tournaments and before they leave if they're on charter flights the tour has arranged, and then the process is repeated at the next tournament. Thermal readings and health surveys are required daily, along with sanitizing and social distancing. “It's the only manner we could return,” he said. The tour added another layer this week in a deal with South Dakota-based Sanford Health to have mobile labs at every tournament, with capacity to get results in a matter of hours without taking away resources from the markets where they play. Monahan said CBS Sports is creating its own bubble for the telecast, with Jim Nantz the only person in the booth and other analysts working remotely. Ninety days will have passed from the opening round of The Players Championship, which was canceled the next day, until the first tee shot at Colonial. “We all went home dealing with the same questions,” he said. “How do I get a complete understanding of where we are with the virus and all the elements? How do we recognize that we're turning off (canceling) 11 events? How do you think about resumption and at the same time develop a safety and testing program, not our area of expertise?" The reset began with the majors picking new dates — the British Open was canceled — with the PGA Championship in San Francisco moving to Aug. 6-9, the U.S. Open in New York on Sept. 17-20, and the Masters on Nov. 12-15. “At that time it was very unclear where we would be with safety and testing,” Monahan said. “It could have been earlier than we are, it could have been through points of next year. Information was changing by the minute.” Now that golf is returning, Monahan couldn't predict when spectators would return. He said the tour has worked with tournaments the last several years on building a reserve fund for a crisis such as this. “If you’re not selling tickets, and there’s not hospitality, you don’t have the pro-am experience or the honorary observer program for the sponsor ... that’s a significant financial impact on those tournaments, and the impact on the way tournaments connect with their communities,” he said. Tournaments and their title sponsors still have managed to raise money for their local charities. The Zurich Classic matched last year's donation of $1.5 million to a children's services foundation. The John Deere Classic expects $10 million in donations, even though it canceled its July event. The pandemic is not the only talking point as golf tries to get back on track. The tour on Friday posted Monahan's letter to staff and players on the nation's civil unrest, which the AP first reported on Tuesday. He had a 10-minute video conversation with Harold Varner III, one of three PGA Tour members of black heritage, who wrote passionately on social media on George Floyd, killed when a white police officer held a knee to the back of Floyd's neck while the black man was handcuffed. The conversation was scheduled before the protests began, and Varner was chosen because he's on the Player Advisory Council and golf was ready to resume. “We'll be talking about COVID and civil and social unrest for some time,” Monahan said. “Next week will not be an exception on that front.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 6th, 2020

PBA: Road Warriors test negative for COVID-19

After San Miguel Beer, Ginebra, and Magnolia, NLEX becomes the fourth PBA team to get their results from COVID-19 testing. The Road Warriors all tested negative. Players, coaches, and officials of the Road Warriors took their rapid COVID-19 tests Thursday at the NLEX Balintawak compound. PBA Press Corps President Gerry Ramos of Spin.ph was first to report that team members tested negative. "All NLEX Road Warriors players, coaches, and staff, including utilities and ballboys tested negative for the virus," the team said in a statement. [Related: PBA: Beermen, Gin Kings, and Hotshots test negative for COVID-19] Aside from NLEX, Meralco also had took their COVID-19 tests earlier this week while the TNT KaTropa will have their turn next week. The PBA earlier said that testing will be a must as the league prepares for a possible comeback. [Related: "No test, no practice" for PBA teams] Following a PBA Board meeting Wednesday, the league will implement a "no test, no practice" scheme to all 12 teams. — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 5th, 2020

Grieving the noble

These past two weeks we heard about the death of at least 11 doctors who had succumbed to COVID-19. While some have recovered, countless others are ill—either aware that they have contracted the virus, or still waiting for their test results. Alas, we must prepare to hear of more such deaths in the coming days......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsMar 29th, 2020

Runners still finding release on the road during coronavirus

By JOHN ZENOR AP Sports Writer Henry Ton was looking for a way to help himself and neighbors stay fit and active after his gym closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. The 46-year-old software engineer in suburban Phoenix organized a small running group he jokingly calls his “Social Distance Distance Running Club.” Runners across the country are still hitting the pavement and the trails, singly and in small groups. It’s a way to get in their workouts, reduce the sense of isolation and work off some stress with gyms closed amid the coronavirus. “Everybody's probably like me, just sitting around in my house eating all day,” Ton quipped. “This is a way to get out, get some fresh air, sweat a little.” For some, running also provides a social outlet in a time when officials are encouraging social distancing and limiting the size of gatherings to 10 or fewer. Many have given up that aspect of it too, yielding to the safety of solo runs. Elite distance runner Kaitlin Gregg Goodman is among those urging people to run alone. Goodman posted on Twitter: “QUIT RUNNING IN GROUPS." For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. Sports cardiologist Benjamin Levine said continuing to run has physical and psychological benefits. But he also suggests those running with others should likely double the recommended six feet of social distancing because of the increase in the amount of air they’re breathing in and out. “I think it’s preserving both your physical and your mental health,” said Levine, who is a professor of medicine at UT Southwestern and Texas Health Presbyterian in Dallas. “I think it’s critical. But that’s not just psychological. That’s biological. I think exercise is one of the few things we can do that has a very, very clear and manifest positive mental health benefit.” But Levine, the director of the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine, said people need to observe guidelines. “It’s not the time to be running hand in hand,” he said. In Montgomery, Alabama, Marsha Trotter and members of her running group still gather four mornings a week for runs. They split up into smaller groups for different workouts, as usual, but are more conscious of keeping their distance. They spread out for post-run photos to post on their Facebook page instead of standing side by side. “It’s a normalcy,” said Trotter, a 45-year-old registered nurse. “Obviously people are not going to come out if they’re running a fever or have a cough or feel sick. That’s normal all year round anyway. But I think runners are crazy enough anyway so that nothing really scares them, so they’re going to come out and run and then go home.” Runners keep lacing up and heading out even while most races are canceled or postponed, including the Boston Marathon. Gail Nestor, a 52-year-old from Johns Creek, Georgia, had qualified for Boston, which has been postponed until Sept. 14. Nestor has kept logging about 75 miles a week, first enjoying the social aspect and “running just for running’s sake.” She said it helps her cope and she has more time these days, too. “We joke about how we’re helping our immune system," Nestor said. “We’re like, We need a support group, Runners Without Races.” The rapidly changing dynamics of this pandemic have changed the running habits of Nestor, who has finished Boston twice among her 19 marathons. Nestor originally was still running with one or two other people, though they tried their best to stay at least 6 feet away from one another at all times. She noted Wednesday that she’s now running on her own to protect herself from the virus as much as possible. Like Nestor, other runners have opted to mostly go solo. Aidan Walsh, founder of Racefaster in New Jersey, advises his runners to run alone these days. The 39-year-old former Fairleigh Dickinson runner said many are logging more miles with their social and perhaps professional lives restricted to varying degrees. “I would venture to say they’re doing more than they ever did simply because they have less going on in their lives and also there’s really nothing else to do," said Walsh, who started the retail stores and serves as a running coach and race director. “They can’t go to work, they can’t go to the gym. They can’t go swimming." But people can run — even in virtual races. For those Harry Potter enthusiasts, there's this: A virtual running group that's "changing the muggle world — one mile at a time." The Potterhead Running Club is the brainchild of Brian Biggs, a big Harry Potter fan who caught the running bug six years ago. He started the club with participants completing a distance that’s chosen along with an individualized theme. They can walk, bike, swim and lift weights to complete their goals. “Everyone is welcome in our community, and every skill level can do a virtual run. Because you don't have to actually run," said Biggs, an reserve officer in the U.S. Air Force. He is currently assigned as an emergency preparedness officer for the state of Vermont and lives in Connecticut. “You can walk, you can bike, you can swim. You can sashay or meander. We like to say, 'It's your race, your pace at your place.'” So far, the Harry Potter group has logged more than 12 million miles and earned more than $2,200,000 for nonprofit charities around the world. Another Georgia runner, Susan Camp, founded the Decatur branch of Moms Run This Town. Camp said her group generally had 12-15 runners for their Saturday morning outings. When the coronavirus threat first hit, they discussed doing group runs with staggered starts. That changed as the virus spread. By Monday, her chapter decided not to organize any group runs during this period of social distancing. “I had some women chime in and thank us for making that call because it was making them nervous, seeing people organizing group runs and asking for people to run with them,” the 40-year-old Camp said. Camp acknowledged that she would miss the connection, friendship and support that often comes from running with others. One member established a Facebook page that gave them a place on social media to discuss the running and wellness goals they otherwise might have shared during their group runs. “We just get so much out of running together,” Camp said. “You can ask anybody, it’s for our mental health.” ___ AP Sports Writers Steve Megargee in Milwaukee, David Brandt in Phoenix and Pat Graham in Denver contributed to this report.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 29th, 2020

Donovan Mitchell s father negative for coronavirus

NEW YORK (AP) — Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell's father, who works for the New York Mets, tested negative for the coronavirus. Donovan Mitchell Sr. is the Mets’ director of player relations and community outreach. The younger Mitchell confirmed Thursday he tested positive for the virus after Jazz teammate Rudy Gobert became the first NBA player to test positive, with Gobert's result prompting the league to suspend the season. The elder Mitchell was tested Thursday and a negative result was received Friday night, the Mets said in a statement. After learning of the Jazz situation Wednesday night, the Mets advised Mitchell Sr. not to report to the team facility Thursday morning. After finding out Thursday that Mitchell Jr. tested positive, the Mets’ medical staff recommended his father be tested as a precaution. Major League Baseball canceled the rest of the spring training schedule Thursday amid the novel coronavirus outbreak and postponed opening day by at least two weeks to no sooner than April 9. MLB decided Friday to suspend spring training camps as well, and players were told they could remain at camp, report to their team's home city or go to their own home. The Mets planned to make general manager Brodie Van Wagenen available to reporters on a conference call Saturday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 14th, 2020

Scrubbed: March Madness leads long list of canceled sports

By EDDIE PELLS AP National Writer The world's sports schedule cratered at warp speed Thursday, with one of the biggest events on the U.S. calendar, the fun-filled and colorful college basketball tournament known as March Madness, becoming the first mega-event to be scrubbed due to fear of the spread of the coronavirus. Leaders at all levels of sports, including the NCAA, NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball, tennis and soccer, decided the risk of playing games with the threat of the virus hanging over them was too great despite the billions of dollars — to say nothing of the trophies, pride and once-in-a-lifetime experiences — hanging in the balance. By late in the afternoon of an extraordinary, headline-a-minute day across a pandemic-rattled globe, the NCAA, which regulates March Madness and virtually all major U.S. college sports, basically had no choice. With conferences and individual teams calling off their basketball seasons at breakneck pace, the NCAA followed suit. They scrapped all college winter and spring championships, the highlight of which is the men's basketball tournament — a three-week extravaganza that stands as the biggest event this side of the Super Bowl on the U.S. sports calendar. The cancellation leaves a massive hole in American sports — from campuses across the country, to a growing passel of sports-betting businesses that rely on college hoops money, to say nothing of the hearts of players who were poised to get their first, or last, or only chance to shine on the big stage. All of it was to be covered by CBS and its partners; about 80 percent of the NCAA's $1.05 billion annual budget is bankrolled by the money the networks pay to present the 68-team tournament over the air, on cable and online. “This is bigger than a sport or championship,” said Kansas University coach Bill Self, whose team would've been the likely favorite to win it all. Hours earlier, Kansas and Duke had each taken matters into their own hands, announcing they wouldn't be sending any of their teams to games, no matter the stakes. It wasn't even the most jaw-dropping moment of the morning. That came, fittingly, at one of the world's most renowned sports venues — Madison Square Garden — where at halftime of a Big East Conference tournament game, the PA announcer came on and said the tournament had been called. By then, every major conference, and virtually all of the minor ones, had done the same thing. They were prompted in part by the NCAA's decision a day earlier to hold all its tournament games — which had been scheduled to start next week in nine cities and close April 6 at a 71,000-seat stadium in Atlanta — in front of friends and family and limited “essential” personnel. Only 24 hours later, with the stock market tanking, mixed messages coming out of Washington and no promise of quick relief being offered by world health experts, it became even more clear that gatherings involving thousands of people were hard to justify. Also clear: The NCAA would have trouble assembling an equitable bracket for its tournament, given that most games designed to suss out the most-deserving teams and automatic qualifiers had already been scrubbed. “I’m not a researcher in immunology or infectious disease, but those who are engaged at the NCAA level provided some stark information yesterday,” said Greg Sankey, the commissioner of the Southeastern Conference. The March Madness news meant it will be a world free of basketball for the foreseeable future. A day after the NBA put its season on temporary hiatus, a second member of the Utah Jazz — Donovan Mitchell — tested positive for the coronavirus. The league said its suspension would last for at least 30 days — possibly a conservative guess, as teams undertake the task of identifying any player or referee who has had recent contact with the Jazz, then putting them into isolation for the required two weeks. “What would kill the NBA season is if more players catch it,” Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said in an interview on CNBC. He called the hiatus a matter of “us being vigilant, as all businesses should be. Businesses are going to have to be incredibly vigilant, and that's hard.” The NHL also suspended its season, though it did not report any positives for COVID-19. Major League Baseball scrapped spring training and postponed the start of its season, currently scheduled for March 26, for at least two weeks. Before the start of one of the biggest golf tournaments on the calendar, the PGA Tour announced that the last three rounds of The Players Championship, best known for the rowdy gatherings around the island green on the 17th hole, would be played without fans. The same goes for the three events that follow, all of which lead into the Masters, which was, for the time being, slated to go on as scheduled the week of April 6. The LPGA postponed three tournaments, beginning next week, including its first major of the season. Tennis will also be canceling events. The ATP called off men's tournaments for the next six weeks; the WTA said its tournament in South Carolina, set for April 6-12, would not be held as scheduled, with decisions about the rest of the season to come in the next week. NASCAR announced it would race the next two weekends, in Atlanta and Miami, without fans, and IndyCar made the same decision for its race this weekend in St. Petersburg, Florida. Horse races were going on in several states, though without fans in the stands — leaving the parimutuel wagers to be made online; organizers of the Kentucky Derby were moving forward with plans for the May 2 race. The NFL, never off the radar even in the depths of the offseason, announced a number of changes and cancellations on its schedule of meetings, fan fest and scouting trips — all related to coronavirus. The U.S.-based Major League Soccer said it would shut down for a target period of 30 days. Earlier in the day, soccer leagues and teams scrambled to make changes: —Belgium's soccer league backpedaled on an earlier decision, and decided to close stadiums to fans. —A Champions League game involving Real Madrid was postponed after the Spanish team puts its players in quarantine. —Dutch soccer authorities canceled all matches through the end of the month, including friendlies against the United States and Spain. —Also, a second player from Italy's top soccer division tested positive. All sports in that hard-hit country have been suspended through April 3. For once, there were no major announcements coming out of Tokyo, where conflicting messages about the status of this summer's Olympics have come out of the country, and the IOC, for weeks. Instead, the IOC went ahead with its ceremonial lighting of the Olympic flame, an event held in front of the ruined Temple of Hera in Ancient Olympia. "We are strengthened ... by the many authorities and sports organizations around the world which are taking so many significant measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus,” IOC president Thomas Bach said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 13th, 2020

25 Filipino evacuees test negative for virus

25 Filipino evacuees test negative for virus.....»»

Category: entertainmentSource:  pepRelated NewsMar 6th, 2020

With virus in mind, Korea s Sungjae Im wins Honda Classic

By TIM REYNOLDS AP Sports Writer PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Moments after getting his first career PGA Tour win, Sungjae Im took a moment to reflect on what it means. Not for himself — for his homeland, and for those dealing with a virus that has the world on edge. The 21-year-old South Korean started fast and finished stronger Sunday, winning The Honda Classic by one shot over Mackenzie Hughes and two over Tommy Fleetwood for his first victory in 50 tries on tour. But before he could be whisked back to the course to collect the trophy, Im made sure to speak out about the coronavirus and tell those in South Korea — where nearly 4,000 cases have been confirmed — that he was thinking of them. “Over in Korea right now, I know a lot of people are dealing with the coronavirus," Im said. “And it's kind of a huge deal with everybody. But I'm just glad as a Korean player that I can deliver some good news to the countrymen back home ... to do something for the country and make everybody proud." Im shot a 4-under 66 on Sunday, finishing at 6 under to match the second-highest winning score since the Honda moved to PGA National in 2007. He was the tour’s rookie of the year last season, plus has played more tournaments and more rounds than anyone since the 2018-19 season began nearly a year and a half ago. And now, he’s a winner, picking up $1.26 million this week and becoming the Honda’s 10th international champion in the last 16 seasons. Im birdied four of his first five holes, then birdied two of the final four — after sticking tee shots on the tough par-3 15 and 17th holes within 8 feet both times — to finish off the victory. Hughes, a Canadian who made the cut on the number Friday, shot his second consecutive 66. Playing alongside Im, he was part of some serious fireworks on the last two holes and missed a birdie putt at the par-5 finishing hole that would have gotten him into a tie for the top spot. “I love being in the mix," Hughes said. “I love having a chance to win, and yeah, it sucks to come up one short, to fight that hard all day. I just kind of thought I was going to do it. But still proud of the way I fought this week." Fleetwood (71) was alone in third and is still seeking his first PGA Tour win. He started the day one shot clear of the field and started birdie-birdie to get to 7 under at that point — matching what was the low score in relation to par of the week. Then PGA National did what it usually does, that being not let anyone run away from the pack. Fleetwood made bogey on the par-4 6th and couldn’t get up and down from a greenside bunker on the par-4 8th, giving back what was left of his lead at that point. Fleetwood birdied the par-3 17th to get within one, but his approach at the par-5 finishing hole found the water to all but seal his fate. “I was going well," Fleetwood said. “My swing wasn't there today. It wasn't like a comfortable day ... things weren't quite there, but I hung in well." Once Fleetwood’s attempt at a miracle hole-out after a drop from 120 yards on 18 didn’t fall, Im could finally exhale as the winner. He hugged his caddie in the locker room, where he watched the last 20 minutes or so on a monitor. “I've been in this spot many times. ... I just felt like the experience really helped," Im said through a translator. Some of Im’s best moments have come when no one has been looking. He was third at the Zozo Championship in Japan last October, a finish totally overshadowed by Tiger Woods tying the PGA Tour record of 82 career victories. And in November he went 3-1-1 to tie for the best showing by a player on the International team at the Presidents Cup, but the U.S. team captained by Woods rallied in singles on the final day to win the trophy at Royal Melbourne. But this time, he was on center stage and embraced the moment. Hughes and Im went to the par-3 17th green — the end of the “Bear Trap” three-hole stretch — in wildly different spots. Im stuck his tee ball to just inside of 8 feet, while Hughes had nearly 55 feet left from above the hole. Hughes rolled in his most improbable birdie to an enormous roar, pulling into a tie with Im at 5 under. If Im was worried, it didn’t show. Im took a couple looks at his downhill line, took his putter back just a couple of inches and watched the ball roll in for a birdie that allowed him to reclaim his lead at 6 under — which, he hoped, created a bit of relief at home. “Right now, all I can do is pray for the best and just hope moving forward that not many more people get affected," Im said. “Hopefully, this virus can calm down and sort itself out very soon." DIVOTS: Honda will remain the tournament’s namesake for a 40th consecutive year in 2021, extending the longest current run of title-sponsorship on tour. ... Grayson Murray, who was 4 under on the par-3 17th in his first three rounds with an ace on Saturday, put his tee ball there in the water Sunday and made double bogey. ... For the third consecutive year, no player had four rounds in the 60s on the par-70 track......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 2nd, 2020

McLaren s failed Indy 500 effort was a comedy of errors

By Jenna Fryer, Associated Press INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The comedy of errors that doomed McLaren's disastrous return to the Indianapolis 500 began months before Fernando Alonso failed to qualify for the race. How bad was it? A week before Alonso's first test in the car, the team realized it didn't even have a steering wheel. McLaren CEO Zak Brown acknowledged Monday the team was woefully unprepared and small oversights snowballed into the final result. Bob Fernley, the head of the operation, was fired hours after Alonso missed the race and Brown returned to England to digest the embarrassment of his venture. Brown on Monday provided The Associated Press a detailed timeline of the bloopers and blunders that led to Alonso missing the race, the last piece the two-time Formula One champion needs in his quest to win motorsports' version of the Triple Crown. "I don't think we came into this arrogant, I think we were unprepared," Brown said. "We didn't deserve to be in the race and it's our own fault. It's not like we showed up and gave our best. We defeated ourselves." The path to missing the 33-driver field began when the car was not ready the moment Texas Motor Speedway opened for the April test. Brown had personally secured a steering wheel the previous week from Cosworth to use for the test, and the mistakes piled up from there. "We didn't get out until midday, our steering wheel was not done on time, that's just lack of preparation and project management organizational skills," Brown said. "That's where this whole thing fell down, in the project management. Zak Brown should not be digging around for steering wheels." A cosmetic issue at the Texas test haunted McLaren deep into last week at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. McLaren purchased a car from technical partner Carlin, and though the car was orange when McLaren received it, it was not the proper McLaren "papaya orange." It had to be repainted after the test, and that still had not been completed when Alonso crashed his McLaren-built car last Wednesday. The Carlin spare was in a paint shop 30 minutes from the track, more than a month after McLaren complained about the color, and it ultimately cost McLaren almost two full days of track time. The team looked foolish as other teams were able to move into backup cars in mere hours; James Hinchcliffe crashed in Saturday qualifying and was back on track in his spare that afternoon. Carlin was a two-car team when McLaren made its alliance but expanded to three for the Indy 500. Once Carlin took on the extra work, Brown said, the team had few resources to give McLaren. "It was clear they weren't capable of running three cars and serving us," he said. Carlin entrants Max Chilton and Patricio O'Ward were the two other drivers who failed to qualify. McLaren's poor showing is one of the biggest failures in Indy 500 history. Roger Penske missed the show with Al Unser Jr. and Emerson Fittipaldi in 1995, a year after dominating the race. Reigning CART champion Bobby Rahal missed it in 1993, and two-time Indy winner Rodger Ward never got up to speed to make the 1965 field. The McLaren budget for this Indy 500 was strong, every sponsorship opportunity had been sold and the venture was a guaranteed commercial success for McLaren. Brown was somewhat hands-off and focused on the critical rebuild of the Formula One part of the program. He now laments waiting too long to become heavily involved with the Indy 500 effort. He also believes he was too slow in assigning McLaren sporting director Gil de Ferran, a former Indy 500 winner, oversight of the program. "I should have been closer to Indy but I could never compromise Formula One," Brown said. "At 9:01 in the morning when we weren't on track at the first test, that's when we failed to qualify for the Indianapolis 500. We didn't ring the fire alarm quick enough because we could have recovered after the first test. "I am angry at myself because I was uncomfortable all the way up to the first test and I should have followed my instinct to get more involved." Many of the issues were beyond Brown's control. The car had an electrical issue in last month's test at Indy and an employee was taken off the team for the error. Alonso had another electrical issue on opening day for the 500 and the alternator and wiring loom had to be replaced. Alonso crashed on the second day, and McLaren missed all of Day 3 rebuilding the spare from Carlin that was finally the proper shade of orange. Fast Friday showed the car still needed speed, and Alonso went into qualifying on shaky ground. His first qualifying run was sabotaged by a tire puncture — which wasn't detected beforehand because Brown said the team had purchased incorrect tire sensors. Alonso wound up one of six drivers in the "Last Row Shootout" on Sunday and the panicked McLaren team begged and borrowed across the paddock for any assistance available. Alonso went out to practice Sunday with an entirely new setup, but in the frantic changeover a mistake was made in converting inches to the metric system the English team uses and the car scraped and sparked on his first lap. It had to be fixed and Alonso got in just five more laps before rain ended the session. When it came time for Alonso to make his final last-gasp qualifying attempt late Sunday afternoon, the Spaniard was given a car that Brown and de Ferran were concerned might not perform. "Gil and I went to the motorhome and told Fernando: 'We are going to try this, but this could go well or really wrong. Are you comfortable?'" Brown said. "And Fernando said, 'Let's go for it.'" Alonso agreed that he never backed away from the challenge. "We went out with an experiment that we did overnight. We changed everything on the car because we thought that maybe we need something from the mental side different to go into the race with some confidence," Alonso said. "We went out not knowing what the car will do in Turn 1, but you're still flat. So we tried." The new setup and assistance from other teams indeed got the car up to speed, but Alonso was knocked from the field by 23-year-old Kyle Kaiser of tiny Juncos Racing. McLaren discovered after the qualifying run that the car had the wrong gear ratio setup. "We actually had a 229 (mph) car but we had 227.5 gearing, so we beat ourselves again while we almost made it," Brown said. "We really did put it all on the line and you could feel the anxiety. There was some real heroism in that. I don't want the world to think McLaren is a bunch of idiots because while we did have a few, we had some real stars." Alonso has rejected an offer from the team to purchase a seat in the Indy 500 field for him. What's next is a careful lookback as Brown figures out McLaren's future at both the Indy 500 and the IndyCar Series. He still wants to field two full-time entries in the series but isn't sure yet how much of a setback this has been. He believes McLaren will be back next year at Indy for a second chance. "I feel an obligation to the fans and sponsors, we let them down. We didn't fulfill our promise and I think they need more than just an apology," Brown said. "There will be repercussions for those who don't deserve to work for a great team like McLaren. We will look at what we learned here and the list is a mile long. I hope people appreciate that we go for it, we are racers, and Fernando is a star and we are not quitters. We want to come back.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 21st, 2019

FA Cup fights for relevance as EPL gets wealthier

ROB HARRIS, AP Global Soccer Writer br /> LONDON (AP) — Within minutes of lifting the FA Cup in May, Louis van Gaal discovered how little the competition factored into the decision on his Manchester United future. United's approach for Jose Mourinho to succeed Van Gaal emerged as the Dutch coach was facing the media at Wembley Stadium straight after beating Crystal Palace. Two days later, Van Gaal was booted out of United, paying the price for failing to secure Champions League qualification by finishing in the top four. It's clear what the priority is now for English Premier League owners like the Glazers. United and the other 19 Premier League teams enter the FA Cup in the third round this weekend, knowing success in soccer's oldest knockout competition has rarely counted less. What matters is making cash through the Premier League, which has eroded the FA Cup's long-standing cherished place in the English football calendar over the last two decades. Van Gaal is one of several managers to leave their jobs despite reaching an FA Cup final. Alan Pardew, his Palace counterpart in May, was fired in December due to the London club's lowly Premier League position. Going back to 2013, Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini was turned out of his job two days after losing the final to Wigan, which was relegated in the same season. Martinez did, however, secure a move to Everton after his triumph. Roberto Di Matteo, the 2012 cup winner, was at least given until November after his May triumph before being dumped by Chelsea. Perhaps the only manager the FA Cup has mattered to in recent years was Arsene Wenger, with successes in 2014 and 2015 easing some of the heat he has faced for Arsenal's failure to win the Premier League since 2004. Wenger's last cup final victory came against Aston Villa in May 2015. Given that Villa hadn't won a major trophy since the 1996 League Cup or won the FA Cup since 1957, reaching the final was a proud day for manager Tim Sherwood. Five months later, Sherwood was dismissed and he hasn't found another job. No current manager has more experience of the FA Cup and the debate about its luster than Wenger, who has spent 21 years at Arsenal. 'I have no special solution,' the Frenchman said. 'But as well when April comes and May comes and teams go to Wembley it's something special ... it's a big priority for us. 'We have shown historically that we care about that competition and it's a massive competition for everybody.' Just less so in January. 'After the congested Christmas period it's always a tricky game the third round, and that is why I believe (it's a) mental challenge as well for the Premier League teams to prepare well, not to have a bad surprise, and especially today when you go to a Championship team it's always difficult.' Arsenal travels on Saturday to Preston, which is 11th in the 24-team second-tier League Championship. Preston North End's heyday was in the 19th century, winning the top tier twice and the FA Cup once. The northern English club's last major honor was lifting the FA Cup in 1938. Here is a look at the pick of the third-round fixtures involving Premier League teams against lower-league sides. ___ MAN UNITED-READING United's cup defense begins with a reunion as former defender Jaap Stam returns to Old Trafford. The Dutchman won the cup in United's 1998-99 treble-winning season along with the Premier League and Champions League. 'I'm not going to make a big thing of it because I'm not going to be waving,' Stam said. That's because the next time he returns to United he hopes it is because Reading, currently third in the Championship, is back in the Premier League. TOTTENHAM-ASTON VILLA Steve Bruce, whose Hull side lost the 2014 final to Arsenal, is midway through his first season at Aston Villa. There's little doubt his main task is returning the team to the Premier League but it is a place below Preston in 12th place and seven points from the playoff spots. Tottenham is likely to use the cup on Sunday as a chance to rest the key players behind the five-match league winning run, crowned by the victory over Chelsea on Wednesday that lifted Mauricio Pochettino's side to third. LIVERPOOL-PLYMOUTH It's second in the Premier League versus second in the fourth tier at Anfield on Sunday. And it's Juergen Klopp's first taste of the FA Cup, but the Liverpool manager is likely to use the game to test the depth of his squad and give game time to youngsters. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 6th, 2017

New virus strain in 6O countries & mdash; WHO

The UK coronavirus strain has spread to at least 60 countries, the World Health Organization reported Wednesday, after US President-elect Joe Biden led a moving tribute to American victims......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsJan 20th, 2021

‘8 co-passengers of 1st variant patient test positive’

Eight persons who were on the same flight as the country’s first case of the United Kingdom variant of COVID-19 were found positive for the original virus, the Philippine Red Cross reported yesterday......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 20th, 2021