What Would Have Been: Another PGA major, Triple Crown race

Published 1:03 pm Monday, May 11, 2020

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While NASCAR will resume its season with live racing and the world’s No. 1-ranked golfer is part of a televised charity skins match, the sports calendar still remains mostly on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Associated Press takes a look at some of the live sporting events that had been scheduled the week of May 11-17:


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Pimlico is getting a much-needed facelift and will remain the home of the Preakness, the second leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown that is usually run on the third Saturday of May. War of Will won at the Maryland track last year. There is still no new date for this year’s Preakness. The Kentucky Derby was pushed back from the first Saturday in May to Labor Day weekend in September.


Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson, major champions who have reached No. 1 in the world, will be part of a $3 million charity skins match on Sunday when the final round of the PGA Championship in San Francisco was supposed to be played. Brooks Koepka won his second PGA Championship in a row last year, holding on after nearly losing his record seven-shot lead at Bethpage Black. He will get a chance for three in a row Aug. 6-9.


Only one golfer other than Koepka has won the PGA Championship in back-to-back years since the tournament became a stroke-play event in 1958. Who was the other golfer who accomplished that feat? (Answer at bottom).


Gerrit Cole won 35 games and had 602 strikeouts the past two seasons for the Houston Astros before a record $324 million, nine-year free-agent deal with the Yankees. New York was scheduled next weekend to be in Houston for the first time since last season’s AL Championship Series. Cole was second in the AL Cy Young voting last season, behind then-Astros teammate Justin Verlander.


This was supposed to be the week of NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Instead, the series is resuming its season after a two-month hiatus with a Cup Series race Sunday at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina, and then another one three nights later.


The second round of the playoffs would have been winding down and moving into the conference finals.


The final four teams would still be playing, with the conference finals in full swing.


The Italian Open would have been the last significant clay-court tuneup ahead of the French Open, which has been postponed until September. Rafael Nadal won his ninth trophy in Italy a year ago, before going on to claim his record-extending 12th championship in Paris. Serena Williams has won the Italian Open four times but withdrew in 2019 before she was supposed to face her older sister, Venus, in the second round, citing an injured left knee.


Tiger Woods won the PGA Championship back-to-back in 2006 and 2007, after also doing so in 1999 and 2000.