Phyllis George, female sportscasting pioneer, dies at 70

Phyllis George, female sportscasting pioneer, dies at 70
By BRUCE SCHREINER and JOHN RABY Associated Press
Phyllis George, the former Miss America who became a female sportscasting pioneer on CBS’s “The NFL Today” and served as the first lady of Kentucky, has died. She was 70. A family spokeswoman says George died Thursday at a Lexington, Kentucky, hospital after a long fight with a blood disorder. Miss America in 1971, George joined Brent Musburger and Irv Cross in 1975 on “The NFL Today.” She also covered horse racing, hosted the entertainment show “People” and co-anchored the “CBS Morning News.” George was briefly married to Hollywood producer Robert Evans in the mid-1970s and to John Y. Brown Jr. from 1979-98. Brown owned Kentucky Fried Chicken and the NBA’s Boston Celtics and served as the governor of Kentucky.

McIlroy delivers the winner as live golf returns to TV

McIlroy delivers the winner as live golf returns to TV
By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer
Rory McIlroy delivered the money shot in live golf’s return to television. With six skins on the line worth $1.1 million, it was decided by a closest-to-the-pin from 120 yards on the 17th hole at Seminole. Matthew Wolff was 18 feet below the hole. Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson didn’t hit the green. McIlroy was last to go and hit to 13 feet. He and Johnson won $1.85 million for the American Nurses Foundation. Fowler and Wolff won $1.15 million for the CDC Foundation. There was plenty of rust. Johnson made only one birdie. It raised more than $5 million.

Harvick wins at Darlington as NASCAR returns to racing

Harvick wins at Darlington as NASCAR returns to racing
By JENNA FRYER AP Auto Racing Writer
DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) — The grandstands were completely empty. There wasn’t a single tailgate inside the track. Everyone wore face coverings — some with the team logos, others opting for plain disposable medical masks. It was nothing close to the corporate sponsorship, pomp and patriotic traveling circus that symbolizes NASCAR. But when the engines fired at Darlington Raceway following a 10-week layoff during the coronavirus pandemic, it turned into a regular old race. Kevin Harvick beat Alex Bowman to win NASCAR’s first race back, a spectacle closely watched to see if the largest racing series in the U.S. could successfully get back to work.

Shula, Winningest Coach In Pro Football History, Dies At 90

MIAMI (AP) — Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Don Shula has died at his home in South Florida. He was 90. The Miami Dolphins say Shula died Monday morning. He won the most games of any NFL coach and led the Dolphins to the only perfect season in league history. Shula surpassed George Halas’ league-record 324 victories in 1993. He retired following the 1995 season with 347 wins, 173 losses and six ties, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1997. Shula became the only coach to guide an NFL team through a perfect season when the 1972 Dolphins went 17-0.

William Byron scores 3rd iRacing victory of NASCAR’s series

William Byron scores 3rd iRacing victory of NASCAR’s series
By JENNA FRYER AP Auto Racing Writer
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — William Byron showed he’s the sharpest gamer in NASCAR’s iRacing Series with his third victory in four events. Byron passed Timmy Hill with seven laps remaining at virtual Dover International Speedway to win yet again on the iRacing platform. The Hendrick Motorsports driver has consistently been the best of the NASCAR professionals in simulated racing. Alex Bowman won last week at Talladega Superspeedway, so Hendrick drivers have now won four consecutive iRacing events.

NASCAR to resume season May 17 with seven races in 10 days

NASCAR to resume season May 17 with seven races in 10 days
By JENNA FRYER AP Auto Racing Writer
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — NASCAR will resume its season without fans starting May 17 at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina. The premier Cup Series will then race three more times in a 10-day span, with one more at Darlington and then two at the track outside Charlotte, North Carolina. NASCAR joins the UFC as the first major sports organizations to announce specific return to play plans since the coronavirus pandemic shut down U.S. sports in mid-March.

Little League World Series canceled for first time

Little League World Series canceled for first time
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) — This year’s Little League World Series and the championship tournaments in six other Little League divisions have been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Little League President Stephen Keener says it would be “impossible” to hold the events amid ongoing restrictions on large gatherings and travel. The Little League World Series has been held every August since 1947 and had never been canceled before. But Keener said there was reason for optimism that teams could play this spring and summer, depending on restrictions in states and localities. The annual major league game held during the event in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, also has been canceled.

Secretariat is 7-2 early favorite in virtual Kentucky Derby

Secretariat is 7-2 early favorite in virtual Kentucky Derby
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Secretariat is the early 7-2 favorite for this weekend’s virtual Kentucky Derby, an animated race between all 13 Triple Crown winners. The computer-generated race will be shown on NBC on Saturday, the day the Derby would have been held before the coronavirus pandemic postponed it. The virtual Derby will use computer-generated imagery of the 13 horses running the 1 1/4-mile race at Churchill Downs. Secretariat got the No. 3 post position in a random draw. He was a two-time Horse of the Year. In 1973, he swept the Derby, Preakness and Belmont, winning the last race by a record 31 lengths.

Steelers exercise 2021 option on All-Pro LB T.J. Watt

Steelers exercise 2021 option on All-Pro LB T.J. Watt
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Steelers have picked up the fifth-year option on All-Pro outside linebacker T.J. Watt. Watt, Pittsburgh’s first-round pick in the 2017 draft, is coming off a stellar 2019 in which he had 14 1/2 sacks and was selected to the Pro Bowl for the second time. Watt finished in the top five in the NFL in five categories last year, including sacks, quarterback hits and forced fumbles. He became the first player since 1990 to have at least two interceptions, four fumble recoveries and eight forced fumbles in a season.

Pirates temporarily suspend 401k benefits amid pandemic

Pirates temporarily suspend 401k benefits amid pandemic
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Pirates are suspending retirement benefits for members of the team’s baseball operations staff in an effort to cope with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. General manager Ben Cherington says the team has been searching for ways to find savings with the 2020 season on hold indefinitely with much of the country locked down in hopes of stemming the spread of the virus. The temporary suspension of retirement benefits is part of an effort to avoid any potential personnel cutbacks.