GOLF

The PGA Tour is telling its players they will not have to be tested for the coronavirus if they are vaccinated, and those who aren’t will have to pay for their own tests starting this summer.

In a memo sent to players Monday, the tour strongly encouraged them to get vaccinated. It stopped short of saying it would require players to be vaccinated to compete in tournaments.

Players would be deemed inoculated 14 days after the full course of the vaccine. They would no longer be subject to testing for the coronavirus and, in accordance with CDC guidelines, would be able to gather in small groups without face coverings.

Social distancing and face coverings still would be required at tournaments. Anyone who has been vaccinated and comes in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus would need to quarantine only if they have symptoms.

Players have been subjected to testing since golf’s return last June, which was paid for by the tour. The testing operation will stop at the end of June. The tour did not specify a date. That would be after the Travelers Championship in Connecticut or the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit.

After that, the tour said players or staff wanting to take part in a tournament would be required to provide a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arriving.

The tour said it would reimburse the cost of testing for those who can’t get vaccinated because of a medical condition.

Three players, including former U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland, tested positive at the Honda Classic last month. That was the most recent positive test in the last four PGA Tour events through last week at the RBC Heritage.

U.S. OPENS: A limited number of spectators will be allowed at the U.S. Women’s Open in San Francisco and the U.S. Open in San Diego in June provided they are vaccinated or can show proof of a negative test for the coronavirus.

The USGA announced the policy Monday after consulting with California health officials.

While the U.S. Opens will not be the first majors to allow fans, they will be the first to hold spectators to a standard of health through the COVID-19 vaccine or testing.

The USGA did not indicate how many fans would be allowed at either championship.

The Masters did not require its spectators, believed to be about 8,000, to be tested two weeks ago at Augusta National. The PGA Championship on May 20-23 at Kiawah Island in South Carolina is allowing 10,000 fans a day who will not need to show proof of a negative test or vaccination.

On the LPGA Tour, the ANA Inspiration earlier this month in the California desert did not allow spectators.

The U.S. Women’s Open is June 3-6 at Olympic Club. The U.S. Open is at Torrey Pines on June 17-20.

HOCKEY

JUNIOR LEAGUES: There will be no playoffs in the Western Hockey League following the 2020-21 season and the season will conclude following the completion of the 24-game regular season due to COVID-19 concerns, the major junior league announced Monday.

The league said in a release that travel restrictions across provincial and international borders in place to try to stem the tide of the global pandemic would make it difficult to conduct a postseason. The announcement comes a week after the Canadian Hockey League, the umbrella organization for the WHL, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Ontario Hockey League, cancelled the 2021 Memorial Cup major junior championship due to COVID-19.

The QMJHL is going ahead with a modified playoff format, while the OHL has not received approval from public health authorities to commence its 2020-21 season.

SKIING

LOSSES IN VERMONT: Vermont ski resorts lost an estimated $100 million this winter during the pandemic, according to the Vermont Ski Areas Association.

State officials estimate that equates to $700 million in losses for the economy, the Rutland Herald reported.

“I think we are just beginning to see what the long-term effects of the pandemic will be,” Vermont Commissioner of Tourism and Marketing Heather Pelham told the newspaper.

Season pass holders got to the resorts more, and sales of those passes were up at some areas, but ticket-buying skier visits were down about 40% through the end February, said VSAA president Molly Mahar. Lodging revenue dropped by 60% and food and beverage revenue was down by 70%, Mahar said.

“Even on a day we had a lot of skiers, you’d go into the cafeteria and there were crickets,” Bolton Valley Resort President Lindsay DesLauriers said. “There was no way around that. There was no way around taking a hit.”

Mahar acknowledged doubts that skiers visiting from out-of-state were complying with Vermont’s quarantine rules.

“It was a difficult thing to enforce,” she said. “If I tell you I’ve quarantined, how do I prove that I have? The state chose not to put any penalties in place, and I don’t know how they would do it. … I think it set up an unfortunate us-versus-them thing with Vermonters not wanting to see out-of-state people.”

SOCCER

TOTTENHAM: If the ending came earlier than usual for Jose Mourinho, the manner of it was all too familiar. Dressing-room apathy and growing disillusionment at his tactics cost Mourinho his latest job in the English Premier League, with Tottenham firing the Portuguese coach on Monday after 17 months at the London club.

That’s Mourinho’s shortest spell at a club since he broke into the big time as a slick and self-confident coach of Porto at the start of the century. Unusually for a man who has been a serial winner of trophies ever since, Mourinho leaves north London without having captured any silverware – also a first since those days at Porto.

That could have changed on Sunday, when Tottenham plays Manchester City in the English League Cup final at Wembley Stadium. Mourinho won’t now get that chance.

“Jose and his coaching staff have been with us through some of our most challenging times as a club,” Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy said in a statement announcing the departure of Mourinho, whose contract was due to run until the end of the 2022-23 season.

POKER

WORLD SERIES OF POKER: The World Series of Poker is moving from ESPN to CBS Sports.

CBS and PokerGO announced Monday that the CBS Sports Network will be the home of World Series of Poker events, including 15 hours of the main event competition, which will take place in November in Las Vegas.

The agreement also includes 36 hours of 18 additional gold bracelet events. ESPN had televised the World Series since 2002, but CBS was the first to televise World Series events in the mid-1970s.

CBS had also done some of the gold bracelet events through its partnership with PokerGO since 2019.

“We consider this a best in class property. Everyone wants a seat at the final table and it has tremendous visibility and popularity,” said Dan Weinberg, the executive vice president of programming for CBS Sports.


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