PGA Tour canceled in latest of suspended sporting events

Changes for NASCAR, MLS, college tourneys

(AP) - The PGA Tour first said there would be no fans. Now there will be no players.

In a late night decision, the PGA Tour canceled the rest of The Players Championship and said it would not play the next three weeks. Commissioner Jay Monahan had said earlier Thursday he was comfortable with the tournaments going on without fans because it’s an outdoor sport.

He said Thursday night the new coronavirus situation is changing rapidly and the right thing for the PGA Tour to do is to pause. The next scheduled event would be the Masters.

Major League Baseball is delaying the start of its season by at least two weeks because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Opening day had been scheduled for March 26. MLB also has suspended the rest of its spring training game schedule.

MLB had continued to play into Thursday but changed course after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he strongly recommended to local authorities and organizers that they limit all mass gatherings.

The March 26 start had been baseball’s earliest scheduled opening other than for international games. MLB had not had a mass postponement of openers since 1995, when the season was shortened from 162 games to 144 after a strike.

The NHL announced Thursday that it was suspending play effective immediately.

The hockey league joins the NBA in stropping games amid concerns over the novel coronavirus COVID-19.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman says the league is “pausing” its season. The NHL has not said any player has tested positive for the virus.

The NHL is halting play with 189 games left in the regular season and sparking uncertainty about how many more if any could be go on before the playoffs. A handful of European hockey leagues have already called off the remainder of their seasons.

They join the NBA, MLS and major college events in stopping play to help stop the spread of the respiratory virus. NASCAR also announced it will hold its races at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway without fans in attendance.

“These events will be restricted to competitors, crews, officials and other necessary personnel to conduct the race,” NASCAR said in a statement. “We will work with public health officials as we determine future scheduling beyond these events."

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell became the second NBA All-Star on the Utah Jazz to test positive for the coronavirus, he stated Thursday on Instagram.

Rudy Gobert became NBA’s Patient Zero for the virus after testing positive the day before.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday that the league’s hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic will likely last at least a month, or roughly what would have been the remainder of an uninterrupted regular season.

It was Silver’s first public comments since the league suspended play Wednesday after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus, or COVID-19.

A second Jazz player, Donovan Mitchell, said Thursday that he has also tested positive.

The 30-day minimum hiatus would mean no games until at least April 10. The regular season was to end April 15.

The Wizards and Raptors, who recently played Gobert and the Jazz, said Thursday they are self-quarantining.

All of the shutdowns could cost teams well into the hundreds of millions of dollars collectively, depending on how long they last.

Other organizations are limiting attendance or calling off games. All major conference basketball tournaments were canceled Thursday, including the SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac 12, ACC and Big East.

Other tournaments stopped included the Atlantic 10, AAC, MAC, Big Sky, Big South, WAC, Big West, Conference USA, Sun Belt and Southland. The Ivy League had previously canceled its games as well.

In addition, the SEC said Thursday that all team sports activities would be put on hold until March 30. It exempted teams that may compete in the NCAA competition, which would include the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

Soccer league MLS said its season is on hold until further notice. In Europe, Manchester City’s Champions League match against Real Madrid also was postponed because of coronavirus.

International soccer star Christiano Ronaldo said he is under self-quarantine after one of his Juventus teammates tested positive.

The ATP has suspended all men’s professional tennis tournaments for six weeks because of the coronavirus outbreak. No ATP Tour or ATP Challenger Tour events will take place through the week of April 20.

The next Grand Slam tournament, the French Open, is still scheduled to be held in Paris beginning May 24.

Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved. Gray Media Group, Inc., contributed to this report.