Lee Westwood withdrew from the 2018 PGA Championship because of a back injury, marking the first time he missed the tournament since 1996. He’ll miss it again in 2020...but not because of an injury.
Despite the lifting of a two-week quarantine, Westwood, a two-time PGA winner who finished tied for fourth in the 2020 Honda Classic, won’t play in next week’s WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational in Memphis or the 2020 PGA Championship in two weeks in San Francisco, saying he’s “still more concerned that America doesn’t take [COVID-19] as seriously as the rest of the world.”
“I still don’t feel comfortable and I don’t feel like it is right to jump on a plane for 12 hours,” he told The Scotsman. “I’ve felt out of my comfort zone this week, so, if I got to Memphis, I would feel uncomfortable playing golf tournaments at the moment.
“I’m 28 years of playing on Tour and this is a shock to the system, isn’t it? Whenever I come out and play the tournaments now it is almost about seeing my mates and the sociable element of it all and you’re not getting that at the moment.
"You finish playing golf and go to the range. I’ve never seen so many players on the range at 8 o’clock at night trying to avoid their hotel rooms. There is a lot of think about where to play coming up, really."
If you missed some happenings from the first full day of regular-season baseball in 10 months: First, some terrible news from the Diamondbacks’ organization … Matt Olson hit a walk-off grand slam (after the new extra-innings rule was implemented) to beat the Angels … Chris Taylor was SMOKED by Pablo Sandoval’s butt … Max Kepler hit a dinger on the first pitch...and another one in his second at-bat … Anthony Rizzo shared hand sanitizer at first base during the Cubs’ win … Bryce Harper wore Phillie Phanatic cleats … Yoenis Cespedes went yard after missing most of the last two seasons … Ender Inciarte is on his way to another Gold Glove.
Last weekend, I led Hot Clicks with notes on the NFL’s opt-out program for players who aren’t comfortable playing the season. Players have until 5 p.m. ET on Saturday, August 1, to opt out of their 2020 contract, receive $150,000 (minus any amounts already received in 2020), and have their contract reinstated in 2021.
On Friday night, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif became the first player to opt out. The Chiefs’ starting right guard “will not play this year and instead will continue to work as an orderly at a long-term care facility in Canada, helping to fight COVID-19,” Adam Schefter reported. The Quebec native, one of only four medical-school graduates to play in the NFL (and the only active) has two years remaining on a five-year, $41.25-million extension he signed in 2017. You can read his full statement here.
Odds & Ends
Incredible never-talked-about drought in college football … D.J. Fluker’s girlfriend was arrested for assault after allegedly punching him … Alex Smith was cleared to resume full football activities, nearly two years after suffering a serious leg injury … LeBron’s voting rights group will donate $100,000 to help ex-felons vote in Florida … Another reason players won’t play in the Pro Bowl: Incentive pay has been eliminated … Notre Dame may join the ACC as a full football member for 2020 … Baylor’s AD said the Big 12 is moving forward with a full 12-game schedule.
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