Everybody Group

Everybody in his group withdrew, but Matt Wallace played on at the Travelers Championship on the PGA Tour – ESPN

8:19 PM ET

  • Nick


    • Senior editor for college basketball
    • Joined ESPN in 2008
    • Graduate of the University of Maryland

CROMWELL, Conn. — Matt Wallace stepped out of the cart, grabbed his bag and walked the 5 feet to the first tee at TPC River Highlands. He still had six minutes before his tee time. He could have waited six hours. No one else was coming.

“It’s just me today,” he said to Ron Scheyd, the starter who announces every player’s name before they put their opening shot in the air at the Travelers Championship.

One of his playing partners, Denny McCarthy, withdrew earlier Friday.

“The corona got him,” Wallace said as he stood on the tee, by himself, waiting for his caddie as they were about to begin a quiet walk at another eerily quiet, fan-free golf course on the PGA Tour.

After McCarthy — the third player on the PGA Tour to test positive for COVID-19 — withdrew, Bud Cauley‘s name suddenly appeared with a “WD” next to it, too. Cauley had played alongside McCarthy during Thursday’s first round. According to Wallace, Cauley said he wasn’t feeling well and that’s why he decided not to tee it up Friday.

“He said that he didn’t feel good, that he didn’t feel well,” Wallace said after posting a 2-over 72. “I can understand why he wouldn’t play. I haven’t felt better myself. I’m playing with a chance to change my career if I win, so why wouldn’t I play?”

Cauley became the seventh player in this week’s Travelers Championship to withdraw because of the virus. Cameron Champ, who tested positive earlier this week, pulled out on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Graeme McDowell and Brooks Koepka withdrew after their caddies tested positive. Chase Koepka, Brooks’ brother, who earned a spot in the field as a Monday qualifier, and Webb Simpson also withdrew out of caution.

“What Denny, Bud and others are demonstrating is exactly what we asked of everyone — continue to do your part in taking this virus seriously and keeping not only your own health as a priority, but also that of your fellow competitors and those you may come in contact with,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said in a statement.

Yet there was Wallace standing on the tee at 1:30 p.m. ET. He was the third member of the group. He stood alongside McCarthy and Cauley for Thursday’s first round. They were gone from this week’s event. He played on.

“It’s black and white for me,” he said. “I tested negative. I can go play.”

But in those moments, right after his phone rang at 8 a.m. and he found out his two playing partners weren’t feeling well, he got nervous.

“We came straight up [to the golf course] and got tested,” he said. “And then stayed around here but made sure we stayed away from everyone because we knew potentially that something could happen.”

That was when his mind raced some more.

“I was scared when I heard,” he said on the first tee as players passed by, asking what happened and how he felt.

If the fear was still with him as he waited to hear his name, he hid it with a few jokes before heading off on an unusual round in a sport that has been full of them in the three weeks since the PGA Tour ‘s return after a three-month shutdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.

More players passed by. He asked them if they’d like to join.

As he got ready to hit his opening shot, he made a prediction.

“You can just mark me down for a 59.”

He waved to, well, no one after he blasted his opening tee shot 319 yards into the fairway at the downhill first hole.

After he hit, he stood there for a second, mostly out of habit. He didn’t need to; no one else was waiting to start their rounds. It was just him.

Finally, on the third hole, he heard a sound, a break from the quiet. He backed off a tee shot because a few holes ahead some people who have houses on the course at TPC River Highlands were cheering for Phil Mickelson.

Up at the green, after his birdie putt wobbled away and he tapped in for par, he fired his putter at his bag. As his caddie put the flagstick back in the hole, Wallace wandered toward the next tee mumbling to himself. After all, on this day, he didn’t have many people he could talk to, anyway.

He would have liked a playing partner alongside, and he wished the PGA Tour had adjusted a tee time for him.

“Just a bit frustrated that maybe … I don’t know what the PGA Tour might think, but would [Dustin Johnson] play on his own?” Wallace said. “Would Rory [McIlroy] play on his own? I probably doubt it. So they could have dropped one of the players back from in front or maybe from behind to go ahead and play with me. Just don’t think it was a great move to leave someone out on their own in the middle of the pack.”

But on he went for the next 4 hours, 41 minutes, just him and his caddie and a lone scorer walking along. He hit his tee shot left on No. 10, then grabbed his sandwich, just a guy having lunch by himself on the golf course.

He made two bogeys and one birdie on the back nine. As he approached the 18th green, saw his ball nestled down in the rough beside the green, he shook his head. He looked tired. He was ready for a long day to be done.

“I wouldn’t say it’s the end of the world,” he said. “It hasn’t been the best day.”

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Group Matches

BTS’ Fan ARMY Matches Group’s $1 Million Black Lives Matter Donation Within 24 Hours – Variety

Shortly after it was revealed that BTS and Big Hit Entertainment donated $1 million to Black Lives Matter, the BTS ARMY, as the group’s legion of followers are known, assembled and vowed to match the donation — which it did within 24 hours.

The feat follows a recent effort by K-pop fans to take over the hashtag #whitelivesmatter, drowning out white-supremacist messages with nonsensical or anti-racist posts, and also flooded the Dallas Police Department’s iWatch Dallas app with K-pop content in place of footage of protestors. The moves demonstrated fans’ formidable social-media power and was met with wide approval online early Wednesday morning.

Similarly, The BTS ARMY has earned its stripes as a massive global influence and its effort to match the groups $1 million donation was accomplished within a day of the news, hitting $1,026,531 with 35,609 donors. The donation project was set up by One In an Army, a group of volunteers who have come together to help organizations across the globe uniting in their love of BTS. They have been organizing monthly charity programs and were able to quickly put together a way to track donations made by everyone in efforts to #MatchAMillion.

Just like BTS, we were able to donate 1M dollars to help fund:

💠bailouts for those arrested for protesting police brutality

💠black-led advocacy orgs fighting against systemic injustice

💠support for the physical and mental health of the black commmunity

— One in an ARMY⁷ Charity Project 💜 (@OneInAnARMY) June 8, 2020

The remarkable accomplishment came immediately after BTS closed out YouTube’s “Dear Class of 2020” special, where the group, alongside the likes of Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift, was among the most featured guests on the widely-watched program. Additional guests included Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and many more. Former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama also made an appearance which marked the couples’ first time appearing together on the same virtual stage as part of a commencement ceremony.

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Blood Group

Blood group type may affect susceptibility to COVID-19 respiratory failure – News-Medical.Net

A group of over 120 researchers from various institutions across Europe has performed the first genome-wide association study to reveal host genetic factors that may contribute to respiratory failure in cases of coronavirus disease 209 (COVID-19).

The authors say the genetic variants they have identified could help guide further research into the pathophysiology of COVID-19 and aid the clinical risk profiling of patients.

A pre-print version of the paper is available on the server medRxiv*, while the article undergoes peer review.

The rapid spread of the pandemic

Since the COVID-19 outbreak began in Wuhan, China, late last year, it has rapidly become a pandemic health emergency that has now infected more than 6.39 million people worldwide and killed almost 400,000.

In Europe, Italy and Spain have been among the most severely affected countries, with epidemics peaking during the second half of February and more than 60,000 fatal cases being reported by May 28th.

Most people infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) – the causative agent of COVID-19 – only experience mild or even no symptoms.

Mortality rates are mainly driven by patients who are more susceptible to respiratory failure after becoming ill with pneumonia or respiratory distress syndrome. However, for reasons that are not properly understood, this is only the case for less than 10 percent of people who become infected with SARS-CoV-2.

Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 Colorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (pink) heavily infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (green), isolated from a patient sample. Image captured at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland. Credit: NIAID

Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 Colorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (pink) heavily infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (green), isolated from a patient sample. Image captured at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland. Credit: NIAID

Potential factors involved in respiratory failure

The development of severe disease has also been associated with the presence of comorbidities such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. However, the role these health problems play in determining the severity of disease risk is unclear.

Some observations of endothelitis and vascular complications have suggested that the disease is systemic and mainly involves the vascular endothelium. Still, these insights into the pathology of severe COVID-19 are only hypothetical.

Performing a genome-wide analysis

To investigate, Tom Karlsen (Oslo University Hospital Rikshospitalet, Norway) and colleagues in Spain, Italy, and Germany, recruited 1,980 COVID-19 patients with respiratory failure from five cities in Spain and Italy.

They conducted a genome-wide association analysis with the aim of identifying any host genetic susceptibility factors that contribute to the development of respiratory failure.

“Using a pragmatic approach with simplified inclusion criteria and a complementary team of clinicians at the European Covid-19 epicenters in Italy and Spain and available German and Norwegian scientists, we were able to perform a complete GWAS for Covid-19 respiratory failure in about two months,” say the researchers.

After considering quality control and potential outliers, the final study population included 835 patients and 1,255 controls from Italy and 775 patients and 950 controls from Spain.

A total of 8,582,968 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were analyzed, and a meta-analysis of the Italian and Spanish cohorts was conducted.

What did the study find?

The team detected a cross-replicating association between SNPs on chromosome 3 and chromosome 9 that reached genome-wide significance.

A cluster of genes that could be relevant to the development of severe COVID-19 was identified on chromosome 3p21. One of these genes – SLC6A20 – encodes a transporter protein that interacts with angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), the host cell receptor that SARS-CoV-2 uses to gain viral entry.

In the lungs, this protein, which is called Sodium/Imino-acid Transporter 1 (SIT1), is mainly expressed in pneumocytes, and the authors think these cells should be investigated for any involvement that SIT1 may have in viral entry.

A lead SNP was also identified on chromosome 9 at the ABO blood group locus, and further analysis showed that A-positive participants were at a 45% increased for respiratory failure, while individuals with blood group O were at a 35% decreased risk for respiratory failure.

The authors say that early clinical reports have suggested the ABO blood group system is involved in determining susceptibility to COVID-19 and has also been implicated in susceptibility to SARS-CoV-1.

“Our data thus aligns with the suggestions that blood group O is associated with lower risk compared with non-O blood groups whereas blood group A is associated with higher risk of acquiring Covid-19 compared with non-A blood groups,” the authors conclude.

Study: The ABO blood group locus and a chromosome 3 gene cluster associate with SARS-CoV-2 respiratory failure in an Italian-Spanish genome-wide association analysis. Image Credit: Designua

Study: The ABO blood group locus and a chromosome 3 gene cluster associate with SARS-CoV-2 respiratory failure in an Italian-Spanish genome-wide association analysis. Image Credit: Designua / Shutterstock

“Further exploration” of the findings is “now warranted”

“We herein report the first robust genetic susceptibility loci for the development of respiratory failure in Covid-19. Identified variants may help guide targeted exploration of severe Covid19 pathophysiology,” say Karlsen and team.

“Further exploration of current findings, both as to their utility in clinical risk profiling of Covid-19 patients and mechanistic understanding of the underlying pathophysiology, is now warranted,” they conclude.

*Important Notice

medRxiv publishes preliminary scientific reports that are not peer-reviewed and, therefore, should not be regarded as conclusive, guide clinical practice/health-related behavior, or treated as established information.

Journal reference:

  • Karlsen T, et al. The ABO blood group locus and a chromosome 3 gene cluster associate with SARS-CoV-2 respiratory failure in an Italian-Spanish genome-wide association analysis. medRxiv 2020. doi:

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Group Hotel

Hotel Group Will Return Tens of Millions in Small Business Loans – The New York Times

One of the biggest beneficiaries of the government’s small business lending program said on Saturday that its companies will return at least $70 million in loans received through the Paycheck Protection Program.

Ashford Inc., which oversees a tightly interwoven group of hotel and resorts, had seen its subsidiaries apply for $126 million in loans and the firm had previously said it planned to keep the money it received.

On Saturday, citing new guidelines from the Small Business Administration that restrict who can receive funding, the company said its firms will return the loans. The decision came after media outlets, including The New York Times, detailed how Ashford had benefited from a program intended to help small businesses struggling to keep workers on payroll amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Trump administration had scrambled to tighten the program’s rules after it became clear that companies like Ashford, along with other publicly-traded firms, were benefiting from a $660 billion program.

Last week, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said companies had until May 7 to voluntarily return the funds and that firms could be held “criminally liable” if they did not meet the program’s criteria. He said the United States would audit any company that received more than $2 million in loans.

The huge amount of money Ashford and its related companies applied for — more than any other known company — caught lawmaker attention. Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the minority leader, had asked for an investigation into the company’s loans, and Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for this year’s presidential race, wrote on Twitter that the firm should give the money back.

Ashford Inc. and related companies announced on Saturday that they would return the funds by the government’s May 7 deadline, saying the Small Business Administration’s rule changes, including one on April 30 that suggested that corporate groups should not have access to unlimited funding, had shaken their thinking about whether they qualified.

“While we believed then and continue to believe today that we qualify for P.P.P. loans based on the legislation and rule-making in place at the time our applications were submitted,” the company said in its statement, “continuous S.B.A. rule changes and evolving opinions by administration officials have led us to conclude that we may no longer qualify.”

The company was one of several large firms that drew public ire after receiving funding that was intended to help smaller companies — like dry cleaners, restaurants and nail salons — keep paying their employees amid the coronavirus-induced shutdowns. Ashford’s ability to receive money became a flash point in large part because the program quickly ran out of its initial $349 billion, drawing long backlogs of unfunded loans and leaving many tinier companies without relief. Congress has since allocated another $310 billion to the program but that money is also expected to be quickly depleted.

Ashford Inc. “could not have known that congressional appropriations for the program would be insufficient to cover the needs of all other businesses in the nation that have suffered similar harm,” it said in its statement.

Ashford is headed by Monty Bennett, a conservative who has donated heavily to Republicans, including supporting Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign and directly providing more than $150,000 so far to his re-election bid. He had joined the broader hotel and restaurant industry in lobbying for a carve-out that allowed individual properties to apply for help if they employed fewer than 500 people “per physical location.”

For a time, he and his companies remained determined to hold onto the funding even as other businesses — like Shake Shack and the Los Angeles Lakers — announced that they would return the money. Mr. Bennett had complained that no other government relief was available for the hospitality industry, which has been hit hard by the virus as travelers cancel vacations and business trips.

“We call on Congress, the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve to provide assistance to the hotel industry to protect jobs and asset values that have been severely impaired as a result of the pandemic and the government’s actions that have followed,” Mr. Bennett said in Ashford’s Saturday statement.

Mr. Bennett’s hospitality empire is one of several big companies that qualified for the program thanks to an intentional loophole that came after a lobbying push. Ashford pushed back on the idea that it was a “loophole” in its Saturday statement.

“Congress designed the P.P.P. to specifically allow companies that own multiple hotel properties to obtain separate loans for each property as a means to prevent the economic collapse of the hospitality industry,” it said.

  • Updated April 11, 2020

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

    • When will this end?

      This is a difficult question, because a lot depends on how well the virus is contained. A better question might be: “How will we know when to reopen the country?” In an American Enterprise Institute report, Scott Gottlieb, Caitlin Rivers, Mark B. McClellan, Lauren Silvis and Crystal Watson staked out four goal posts for recovery: Hospitals in the state must be able to safely treat all patients requiring hospitalization, without resorting to crisis standards of care; the state needs to be able to at least test everyone who has symptoms; the state is able to conduct monitoring of confirmed cases and contacts; and there must be a sustained reduction in cases for at least 14 days.

    • Should I wear a mask?

      The C.D.C. has recommended that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting new concerns that the coronavirus is being spread by infected people who have no symptoms. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don’t need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don’t replace hand washing and social distancing.

    • How does coronavirus spread?

      It seems to spread very easily from person to person, especially in homes, hospitals and other confined spaces. The pathogen can be carried on tiny respiratory droplets that fall as they are coughed or sneezed out. It may also be transmitted when we touch a contaminated surface and then touch our face.

    • Is there a vaccine yet?

      No. Clinical trials are underway in the United States, China and Europe. But American officials and pharmaceutical executives have said that a vaccine remains at least 12 to 18 months away.

    • What makes this outbreak so different?

      Unlike the flu, there is no known treatment or vaccine, and little is known about this particular virus so far. It seems to be more lethal than the flu, but the numbers are still uncertain. And it hits the elderly and those with underlying conditions — not just those with respiratory diseases — particularly hard.

    • What if somebody in my family gets sick?

      If the family member doesn’t need hospitalization and can be cared for at home, you should help him or her with basic needs and monitor the symptoms, while also keeping as much distance as possible, according to guidelines issued by the C.D.C. If there’s space, the sick family member should stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom. If masks are available, both the sick person and the caregiver should wear them when the caregiver enters the room. Make sure not to share any dishes or other household items and to regularly clean surfaces like counters, doorknobs, toilets and tables. Don’t forget to wash your hands frequently.

    • Should I stock up on groceries?

      Plan two weeks of meals if possible. But people should not hoard food or supplies. Despite the empty shelves, the supply chain remains strong. And remember to wipe the handle of the grocery cart with a disinfecting wipe and wash your hands as soon as you get home.

    • Should I pull my money from the markets?

      That’s not a good idea. Even if you’re retired, having a balanced portfolio of stocks and bonds so that your money keeps up with inflation, or even grows, makes sense. But retirees may want to think about having enough cash set aside for a year’s worth of living expenses and big payments needed over the next five years.

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Football Group

New NCAA Football Game Unlikely As NCAA Working Group Deems Group Licenses “Unworkable in College Athletics� – Eleven Warriors

Student-athletes may soon be paid for their name, image and likeness, but that alone won’t bring back the NCAA Football video game.

Talks of changes to the NCAA’s name, image and likeness rules brought renewed hope that we’d soon see a return of the NCAA Football Video game, but it seems that hope was misguided.

Despite the NCAA Board of Governors’ support for rule changes that would allow student-athletes to be paid for their name, image and likeness (NIL), a college football video game does not appear to be in the cards anytime soon as an NCAA working group determined that group licenses for video games are “unworkable in college sports.”

“It was the group’s conclusion that group licenses which would combine school trademarks with student-athlete NIL and products like video games, replica jerseys and trading card collections are unworkable in college sports, largely because of the absence of a recognized bargaining agent to manage the terms of group NIL use on behalf of the student-athletes,” said Big East commissioner Val Ackerman, co-chair of NCAA’s working group for NIL.

The NCAA working group did not recommend any changes to rules that would allow group licenses, citing “legal hurdles”

“At this time, the working group is also not recommending any changes to NCAA rules to permit group licenses of student-athlete NIL in what are characterized as group products (like video games),” stated the NCAA working group’s report. “There are legal hurdles to such activity that preclude it as a realistic option for implementation at this time.”

However, the working group did recommend that the NCAA continue to explore whether those legal hurdles can be overcome in the future, stating that “further exploration of these concepts will require clarity from Congress of the NCAA’s authority to enact rules or maintain oversight in this area.”

So hopes of NCAA video game in the future still aren’t completely dead, but it won’t be happening imminently, and likely won’t happen without intervention or clarity from Congress.

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