Major sporting events begin to play out after coronavirus delays

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Michael Russell

Roger Federer (shown here in a 2019 U.S. Open match) and fans will both be missing from this year’s U.S. Open Tennis Tournament

Michael Russell, Reporter

The individual sports calendar, like everything else, has been turned on its head by coronavirus pandemic.

In the coming weeks and months individual sporting events that have historically been played in the spring will be contested from late August through early November.

Due to corona restrictions no fans will be in attendance at most events.

The jumbled up schedule started to unravel itself last week with the running of the Indianapolis 500.  Auto racing’s premier annual event is normally held on Memorial Day weekend in late May.  Japan’s Takuma Sato wound up taking the checkered flag for his second Indy 500 title.

The US Tennis Open will be held in New York City, NY. Aug. 31-Sept. 13. Defending Men’s Champion Rafael Nadal will reportedly not compete this year due to coronavirus concerns.  All-time great, Roger Federer, is also missing from this year’s lineup following knee surgery earlier in the summer.  The absence of those two athletes leaves the only remaining “Big 3” member, Novak Djokovic, as the overwhelming favorite.

On the women’s side, Serena Williams, although not nearly the favorite at age 39, will be trying to get the final grand slam title she needs to tie all-time Women’s grand slam record holder, Margaret Court, with 24 titles.

NYC and Paris will trade places in the tennis spotlight, as the French Open kicks off Sept. 21 and crowns its champion on Oct. 11. Rafael Nadal has won this tournament, normally played in May, an incredible 12 times. At this year’s French Open, Nadal will be looking to tie Roger Federer’s all-time, grand slam total, at 20.

Coming up soon is horse racing’s Kentucky Derby on Saturday Sept. 5.

It is normally the first leg of the Triple Crown which usually takes place in early May. This year, it becomes the second leg. ‘Tiz the Law’ won 2020’s de facto opening leg, the Belmont Stakes, in June.  It makes him the only horse that can win this year’s Triple Crown.  At 3/5, he’s also the favorite to win the Derby.

The last leg of the Triple Crown, Preakness Stakes, will be run in Maryland on October 3.

The grueling Tour de France, cycling’s top event, was moved from May and is currently running from Aug. 29-Sept. 20.

The US Golf Open, normally played in June, will be held without fans, just north of NYC at Winged Foot Golf Club, Sept. 17-20. The ever-popular Tiger Woods, along with Phil Mickelson, 2017 and 2018 champion Brooks Koepka and current world #1, Dustin Johnson, highlight this year’s field.

Lastly, one of golf’s most traditional tournaments will have a decidedly different feel, as the Masters will be played from Nov. 12-15, in its usual location of Augusta National in Georgia. Normally played in early April, blooming dogwoods and colorful azaleas will be replaced with a Holiday feel that will cap off this potentially once-in-a-lifetime, mass alteration, of the sports calendar.