AP source: former NFL player Phillip Adams killed 5, then himself
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A person briefed on a mass killing in South Carolina says the gunman who killed five people including a prominent doctor was former NFL player Phillip Adams.
The person tells The Associated Press that Adams fatally shot himself early Thursday with a .45-caliber weapon.
The source, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said Adams had been treated by Dr. Robert Lesslie, and that his parents lived near the doctor’s home in Rock Hill. The victims also included Lesslie’s wife Barbara, their grandchildren Adah and Noah, and a man working outside the doctor’s home, James Lewis.
The 33-year-old Adams played in 78 NFL games over five seasons for six teams. A safety and special teams player from South Carolina State, he joined the 49ers in 2010 as a seventh-round draft pick. Rarely a starter, Adams also was with New England, Seattle, Oakland and the New York Jets, finishing his career with the Atlanta Falcons in 2015.
Adams’ father told a Charlotte television station that he blamed football for problems that may have led his son to commit Wednesday’s violence.
Lee Elder helps open the Masters
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — The 85th Masters has started with two honorary tee shots and one former player who only had to raise his driver to make it memorable.
Lee Elder was invited to take part in the ceremonial start. The 86-year-old was the first Black golfer to compete in the Masters in 1975. Augusta National announced in November he would be joining six-time Masters champion Jack Nicklaus and three-time champion Gary Player.
Elder’s health wouldn’t allow him to take a swing. Instead, he raised his driver on a cool morning that was warmed by enormous applause from spectators that lined both sides of the tee box.
Dustin Johnson completed the shortest championship reign in Masters history when he teed off, opening with a bogey.
A repeat of Johnson’s record-shattering 20-under win is highly unlikely. Shifting last year’s tournament to November because of the pandemic resulted in softer-than-usual conditions at Augusta National that just about every golfer in the field pounced on. Conditions are very different this week, after warmer spring temperatures helped tournament officials restore the fairways and greens to their usual fast and firm conditions.
Johnson’s toughest competition is expected to come from a handful of challengers with at least one major championship already on the resume: a resurgent Spieth; muscled-up Bryson DeChambeau; recent Players champion Justin Thomas; a still-struggling McIlroy; emerging Collin Morikawa; and big-game Brooks Koepka.
French Open postponed by 1 week because of pandemic
PARIS (AP) — For the second year in a row, the traditional French Open schedule is being disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The clay-court Grand Slam tennis tournament said Thursday it will push back the start of this season’s event by one week because of surging virus cases in France. It was scheduled to start on May 23, but first-round matches will now get underway on May 30.
Last year’s tournament was pushed back to September because of the pandemic, with crowds limited to 1,000 per day. The move to delay this year’s French Open came as hospitals in the country approach saturation from virus cases. To slow down the pace of infections, new nationwide restrictions have been enforced, including a three-week school closure, a month-long domestic travel ban and the closing of non-essential shops.
The delay will have an effect on the grass-court season, but not Wimbledon. Tennis authorities lengthened the gap between the French Open final and the start of Wimbledon to three weeks in 2015, giving players extra time to get used to the fastest surface in the game. Wimbledon was canceled last year because of the pandemic, the first time since World War II that the oldest Grand Slam tennis tournament wasn’t played.
This year’s Australian Open was delayed by three weeks because of the virus, and quarantine restrictions affected the preparations of several players.
More home openers to take place in front of fans
UNDATED (AP) — Fans at Busch Stadium, Camden Yards, Citi Field and several other parks will get to see their teams play in person Thursday for the first time since 2019. The Cardinals, Orioles, Mets, Twins, Pirates, Astros, White Sox and Blue Jays will hold home openers in stadiums that didn’t permit fans last year because of COVID-19 protocols.
Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman and the Astros figure to get a more friendly reception at Minute Maid Park when Cristian Javier starts against the A’s. They were heckled and jeered in Oakland and Anaheim.
The Toronto Blue Jays will become the first team in Major League Baseball history to play home openers in three different cities over three consecutive seasons when they host the Los Angeles Angels at TD Ballpark in Dunedin (duhn-EE’-dihn), Florida, their spring training stadium. The Blue Jays played in Toronto in 2019. They held home games at their Triple-A site in Buffalo, New York, last year after the Canadian government barred them over coronavirus concerns. Thursday night they’ll play in front of a limited crowd of about 1,300 at TD Ballpark.
Also Thursday, Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodríguez makes his long-awaited return to a big league mound when he starts at Baltimore, a day after his 28th birthday. Rodríguez was scratched as Boston’s opening day starter because of a “dead arm.” He went 19-6 in 2019 and had been set to start the 2020 season opener before it was delayed by the coronavirus outbreak. Rodríguez contracted COVID-19 and related heart problems that kept him from pitching at all last season.