BEARNo animal in the forest ignites the imagination like the bear. Many Native American tribes considered the bear their “brother,” while European settlers considered them dangerous and went about the process of eradicating them. They nearly succeeded here in the Southeast. By the 1900s, black bear—the only species of bear native to our region—were only found in the most remote mountains and coastal swamps. To reverse the downward spiraling bear population, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) began severely regulating bear hunting in the 1960s and established massive bear sanctuaries throughout the region. Black bear populations have been on the rebound ever since.“We all grow up thinking bear are ferocious. I know I did. But once I got to know their language, I found out that these supposedly ferocious animals were actually intelligent and timid,” says Dr. Lynn Rogers, director of the Wildlife Research Institute. Rogers has spent the past 42 years living with and studying black bears in the wild.Rogers says the way bears are portrayed in the media has led to a society that simply does not understand wild bears. From sensational magazine covers that portray bears attacking humans, to the obsessive coverage of rare bear attacks, Rogers says black bears have been given a bad rap.“Only one black bear out of every million kills someone. In contrast, one out of every 18,000 people kills someone in the U.S.,” Rogers says. “For every death by a bear, there are 13 deaths by snakes, 45 by dogs, 120 by bees, 250 by lightning, and 60,000 by homicide.”Development and sprawl in the Southern Appalachians are pushing bears out of their natural habitat and increasing the number of nuisance bear encounters. Of particular concern are the many second home developments that are gobbling up steep mountain slopes.QUICK FACTSBlack bear are omnivores, so they eat a little bit of everything, but their diet consists mostly of plants, berries, nuts, and grasses.The coat of a black bear can range in color from black to brown or cinnamon.Average adult black bears are 4-7 feet long and weigh between 150 and 300 pounds.Roughly 300,000 black bear live in 40 states throughout the U.S.Black bear are typically solitary animals and forage alone, with the exception of mothers and cubs.WHERE TO GO: Great Smoky Mountains National ParkOver 2,000 black bears live inside the 500,000-acre national park. A number of factors have contributed to the park’s higher density bear population—location, availability of food—but none have contributed more than the fact that there is no bear hunting allowed inside the park, which gives female bear more time to raise their cubs.“Your chances of seeing a black bear in the wild are as good here as anywhere else on public land,” says Kim DeLozier, supervisory wildlife biologist for Great Smoky Mountains National Park.Even with the higher density of bears in the Smokies, your odds of seeing a bear are slim. But you can increase your chances by following two simple rules.“Be very quiet, and go where the food is,” Dr. Rogers says.Black bear have a varied diet, but they primarily spend their time foraging for berries and acorns. Rogers suggests looking for stands of white oak, which shed acorns during the fall and are common throughout the park. Also look for thickets of blackberry, blueberry, and huckleberry during the summer. High-elevation balds are often adorned with berry shrubs.Try the Gregory Ridge and Gregory Bald trails, which lead to Gregory Bald, a grassy bald bordered by blueberry bushes. Go early in the morning or late in the evening, as bears tend to avoid foraging for food during the heat of the day.DID YOU KNOW?While black bears don’t hibernate in the traditional sense, they do go into a dormant state during the winter months. In fact, black bear can go 100 days without eating, drinking, or taking bathroom breaks. During this lazy time, a black bear’s heartbeat can slow into the single digits per minute.Bear AwareNumber one rule: Don’t feed the bears.Habituating bears to human food and activity can have severe negative affects on the individual bear and the population in general. It’s also against park regulations to approach a bear within 50 yards, so keeping your distance is key to a good bear encounter. What should you do if the bear approaches you? Follow these simple rules to ease yourself out of a sticky situation.Give it the right of way and hope it changes directions.If that doesn’t work, start talking in a low tone and slowly back away.If the bear persists, get to higher ground: Stand on a rock or a log and speak more authoritatively, establishing your dominance over the bear.If the bear still comes at you, separate yourself from your food. If you have a backpack with granola bars, take it off and throw it away from you.On the rare occasion that the bear attacks, fight back. This is your only chance for survival.ELKOnly a few hundred years ago, massive elk roamed the Southeastern United States, much as they roam the Rocky Mountains today. The behemoth, reindeer-like animals moved in herds from the forest to open grasslands, but their relatively predictable habits made them easy prey for hunters. By the early 1800s, most of the elk were extirpated from the Southeast.Our region stayed elk-free for roughly two centuries. But in 1997, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife teamed up to reintroduce elk into the South. They imported 1,500 elk over a five-year span. Today, there are an estimated 7,000 elk living wild in Kentucky. The herds are doing so well that they’ve migrated into southwestern Virginia. And in 2001, 27 elk were imported from Kentucky into Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where they have become a popular tourist draw.QUICK FACTSElk, moose, caribou, and white-tailed deer all belong to the same family of ungulates.As dedicated herbivores, the elk diet consists mostly of grasses, shrubs, and bark.Elk are herd animals, which enhances their chances of survival. While elk eat, at least one animal is always on the lookout for predators.Antlers, which elk grow and shed in cyclical patterns, grow faster than any other kind of bone known to man.An average elk bull weighs 700 pounds and stands five feet at the shoulder. Elk cows weigh 500 pounds and stand a little shorter. Calves are about 35 pounds when they’re born.WHERE TO GO: Daniel Boone National Forest or Great Smoky Mountains National Park“Thousands of elk run all over eastern Kentucky. It’s something you’d expect to see out West, but not here,” says Don Wackerman, Kentucky representative for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. “And when you see them, they take your breath away.”The elk were originally established on reclaimed coal mine sites, which have been rehabilitated into grasslands, but as the herds have expanded, they’ve established home ranges throughout the public and private lands of Southeastern Kentucky. Several state parks operate guided tours, and the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area manages a controlled herd that’s gated and accessible by vehicle.For a more primitive experience, hike into the Redbird Wildlife Management Area, a 25,000-acre refuge sitting inside Daniel Boone National Forest. Redbird is popular with hunters, but it also has 25 miles of hiking trails and 100 acres of open grasslands, which the elk love. The Redbird Crest Trail is a 65-mile multi-use trail that loops through the area, providing access to other hiking trails and wildlife openings.In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you have two options for seeing elk in their natural habitat. Roughly 90 elk are spread within three herds, one of which has moved beyond park boundaries into private land. But two herds live inside the park, the largest of which grazes in the fields throughout the Cataloochee Valley. The other has taken to the grasslands of the Oconaluftee Valley.The Cataloochee Road bisects the grassy Cataloochee Valley, but several hiking trails traverse the mountains surrounding the valley, offering glimpses of the elk as they graze as well as the rare treat of seeing the massive beasts in the thick forest. Check out the Boogerman Trail for an 11-mile loop. To witness the smaller herd of elk in the Oconaluftee Valley, walk the well-maintained 1.5-mile Oconaluftee River Trail, which follows the river through the valley into Cherokee.Timing is everything when looking for elk. They graze in the fields early in the morning and late in the afternoon, just before dark. And if you really want to see elk at their finest, plan your trip for the fall, during “the rut.” From September to October, dominant bulls gather and breed with harems of up to 20 cows. The bulls spar with each other to establish dominance, knocking and locking antlers, and you’ll be able to hear their distinctive “bugle,” which is a loud call meant to attract females.DID YOU KNOW?Kentucky elk are actually larger than the elk found in Western states, the result of the warmer winters and a lack of natural predators in the region.Bull elk shed their antlers in March and immediately begin growing them back again. By September, during “the rut,” their antlers are full-grown and can be five feet wide.RED WOLFThe red wolf used to roam freely from Florida up to Pennsylvania, but unregulated hunting and overdevelopment of their natural habitat decimated wolf populations in the Southeast. By 1967, when the red wolf was listed as a federally protected endangered species, there were fewer than 20 of them living in the wild. The wolves were captured and bred in captivity by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service until their numbers were large enough to release a number of them into the wild.Today, more than 100 red wolves roam 1.7 million acres of the Albermarle Peninsula in Northeastern North Carolina. It’s the only place in the world where you can see these animals in the wild—a fact that comforts many who harbor misconceptions about the wolf.“Mention the word ‘wolf’ and people get nervous,” says Kim Wheeler, executive director for the Red Wolf Coalition. “The wolf conjures up myths like Little Red Riding Hood and missing babies. But it’s a reputation that’s completely unfounded.”The red wolf is a lot more afraid of us. In the Albermarle Peninsula, the greatest threat to the red wolf is hunting. Hunters often mistake the red wolf for the coyote. As a result, gunshot is now the leading cause of red wolf mortality.QUICK FACTSThe adult red wolf averages 45 to 80 pounds and reaches 26 inches tall and four feet long.They live in packs of 5 to 8 and prey on raccoon, rabbit, deer, and rodents.A red wolf will live for 5 to 8 years in the wild, twice that long in captivity.WHERE TO GO: Alligator River National Wildlife RefugeYour chances of seeing a red wolf in the wild are slim. The Albermarle Peninsula is the only location where they currently live in the wild, and a scant 100 of them are scattered across 1.7-million acres. Plus, they’re wary of humans and predominantly nocturnal.“It’s common to see tracts and scat, and you might hear them howling, but you probably won’t actually see one,” says Bonnie Shawser, a ranger with the Alligator National Wildlife Refuge. “I’ve been working here for 30 years, and I’ve seen wolves in the wild maybe a dozen times.”Still, there are ways you can maximize your chances. First, head into the Alligator River Wildlife Refuge, the first location the wolves were released into the wild and the current home of several packs of wolves. Fifteen miles of kayak trails traverse the refuge—which is a mix of blackwater swamp, reclaimed cropland, and maritime forest—but stick to dry land if you want to see wolves.“You won’t see a wolf from the canoe trails. The forest is too thick,” Shawser says.Instead, head to the edges of the forest, where the trees give way to grasslands. The refuge houses 5,300 acres of reclaimed farmland, which serves as a popular hunting ground for the wolves. Wildlife Drive circumnavigates much of these grassy fields. Show up late in the evening when the wolves are beginning to get restless, and you might have some luck.“If you stop by the edges of the forests, and sit with binoculars, you might see one,” Shawser says.If you want to increase your chances of witnessing wolf activity, join one of the Red Wolf Coalition’s Howling Safaris (redwolves.com). You’ll be guided into the refuge after dark where biologists will attempt to entice captive and wild wolves to howl for the audience.ALLIGATORFor sheer drama, you can’t beat the American alligator. Weighing in at 1,000 pounds, and stretching 10 to 15 feet in length with thick skin covered in ridges from the head to the tip of the tail, the alligator is the dominant predator in its habitat. Gators are like mini-dinosaurs, and there are millions of them living in the Southeast, making them one of the most successful wildlife rehabilitation stories in American history. The reptiles were hunted to the brink of extinction in the early half of the 20th century, and finally listed as endangered in 1967. Alligator populations recovered under the severe hunting regulations and aggressive habitat protection set forth by the Endangered Species Act.Today, gator habitat runs from the Florida Everglades up the Eastern seaboard into North Carolina. They thrive in swamps, marshlands, rivers, and small ponds. They have a primarily carnivorous diet that consists of turtle, fish, snakes, waterfowl, and raccoons. The alligator is the top of its food chain—a fact that worries most people who enter their swampy dens.“Is it safe to paddle and camp with alligators? That’s the most common question I get,” says Chip Campbell, owner of Okefenokee Adventures, a guide service running kayak and canoe tours throughout the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. “These are big, powerful, predatory animals, but they act like giant turtles. They don’t want to be crowded any more than you do. As long as you don’t feed them and keep your distance, you’re perfectly safe.”Surprisingly, there have been very few dangerous encounters between alligators and humans, even in a place like the Okefenokee where gators are plentiful and humans are curious.“The few cases of alligators attacking humans usually involve neighborhood gators, animals that have become habituated to people,” Campbell says. “A wild alligator left to its own devices is nothing to fear.”The greatest threat to the alligator today is the destruction of habitat, which is caused by the logging of cypress, mismanagement of water systems, and increased levels of mercury and dioxins in the water.QUICK FACTSAlligators have been roaming the Southeast for 180 million years.Male alligators rule a home range of two miles, while female gators stick to a smaller range.In areas where the water level fluctuates like the Okefenokee, alligators dig themselves into hollows in the mud, which fill with water. These tunnels are often as long as 65 feet and provide protection during extreme hot or cold weather.Alligators can live up to 50 years in the wild.WHERE TO GO: Okefenokee National Wildlife RefugeThe Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is a 400,000-acre swamp and federally designated Wilderness area with more than 120 miles of well-marked canoe trails, overnight camping platforms, and about 12,000 alligators. It’s an enticing prospect if you want to see one of the wildest creatures in the Southeast in its natural environment.“There are few places that rival the Okefenokee for seeing alligator,” Campbell says.Paddling the Okefenokee’s canoe trails is the only way you can venture into the depths of the swamp. A handful of color-coded trails weave in and out of cypress knees, and according to Campbell, any one of them will take you into gator country.“Gators are pretty evenly dispersed throughout the swamp, so it doesn’t matter which trail you take. And several shelters are built very close to resident gator holes,” Campbell says.Improve your chances of seeing gators by visiting Okefenokee in the spring or fall. Gators are dormant during the colder winter days and will feed at night during the hotter summer days. During the spring and fall, however, they’ll “haul out” and bask in the sun. You’ll also increase your chances of gator sightings if you hit the swamp when the water is low.And skip the nature walks at the park entrance. The deeper into the swamp you go, the wilder and safer the gators become because they’re less accustomed to humans.Alligator SafetyDon’t feed the gators.Don’t try to swim with the gators.If you see a gator, try to maintain at least 10 feet of distance.Don’t strike the gator with your paddle or slap the water with your paddle, which gators interpret as a challenge. Instead, raise your paddle in the air, giving the appearance that you’re a large animal and reestablishing your dominance over the gator. The Southeast is the most biologically diverse region in the United States. What does that mean? In layman’s terms, our forests are full of really, really cool animals—squirrels that fly, elk that spar, bears that growl, alligators that smile, and even fireflies that can keep time. Use this guide to find out where the wild things are, and how you can improve your chances of seeing them.
—The short-handed Mavericks rallied from a 22-point deficit in the second half to stun the Jazz 122-114. Tim Hardaway Jr. led the Mavericks with 27 points and Seth Curry added 22. The Mavericks’ biggest comeback since 2016 means they still have a slim shot at earning the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.NHL-PANTHERS-TALLON OUTTallon, Panthers part waysUNDATED (AP) — The Florida Panthers will have a new general manager next season, making the announcement that Dale Tallon is leaving the franchise after 10 years.Tallon’s contract as president of hockey operations and general manager expired July 1. It was extended by Panthers owner Vincent Viola to get through the remainder of a season that was stretched out by the coronavirus pandemic. Associated Press — Diamondbacks ace Madison Bumgarner has been placed on the 10-day injured list with a mid-back strain. The left-hander allowed six runs on five hits in two innings against the Padres on Sunday to remain winless since signing a five-year, $85 million deal. The four-time All-Star has a 9.35 ERA after Sunday’s start.— Indians starter Mike Clevinger will be quarantined and undergo testing after violating COVID-19 protocols during the team’s weekend trip to Chicago. On Sunday, Indians right-hander Zach Plesac (PLEE’-sak) was sent home from Chicago in a rental car after he went out with friends following his start on Saturday, a violation of the team’s code of conduct.— The Rays have placed right-hander Charlie Morton on the 10-day injured list due to inflammation in his pitching shoulder. The move comes one day after Morton was removed from a start against the New York Yankees in the third inning. Morton is 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in four starts this season. — Mets hurler Marcus Stroman has opted out of the rest of the season due to concerns over the pandemic. Stroman was recovering from a torn calf muscle and was in line to possibly make his season debut next week against the Marlins in Miami. He is scheduled to become a free agent after the season and is the second Met to opt out of the season, joining outfielder Yoenis Cespedes (yoh-EH’-nehs SEHS’-peh-dehs).— Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly has been placed on the 10-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation. Kelly hasn’t allowed a run over 6 1/3 innings in seven games this season, allowing five hits and five walks. Lefty Adam Kolarek was recalled from the alternate training site to replace Kelly. The Mountain West has become the second FBS conference to postpone its football season, punting on the fall with an eye toward playing in the spring.A person involved in the decision told The Associated Press the Mountain West would not play any sports in the fall. The 12-team Mountain West joins the Mid-American Conference as leagues from the highest tier of NCAA Division I football to bail on the fall season and hope to make a go of it in the spring. The Mountain West features Boise State, Air Force and San Diego State, each of which were ranked at some point last year.A Big Ten spokesman said no votes on fall sports had been taken by its presidents and chancellors as of Monday afternoon, and the powerful Southeastern Conference made clear it was not yet ready to shutter its fall season. However, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey posted on Twitter that he doesn’t know if college football can be played during the COVID-19 pandemic. In other college sports developments: Update on the latest sports Phoenix was 26-39 when the season was halted by the coronavirus pandemic. The Suns now find themselves within 1 1/2 games of a Western Conference playoff berth.In Monday’s other NBA action:— Chris Boucher scored a career-high 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to help the Raptors defeat the Bucks, 114-106. Rookie Matt Thomas scored a season-high 22 points and Norman Powell added 21 for Toronto. Bucks forward and reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo (YAH’-nihs an-teh-toh-KOON’-poh) missed the game after undergoing oral surgery. — The Lakers’ three-game losing streak is over after Kyle Kuzma (KOOZ’-muh) drained a 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds in a 124-121 thriller over the Nuggets. LeBron James pumped in 29 points, dished out 12 assists and hit two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. Anthony Davis had 27 points and Kuzma 25 for Los Angeles.— Jimmy Butler returned from a foot injury and contributed 19 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and four steals in guiding the Heat to a 114-92 romp over the Pacers. Derrick Jones scored 18 off the Miami bench and the Heat kept T.J. Warren to 12 points on 5 for 14 shooting in 29 minutes. — President Donald Trump has joined Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse (sas) and a number of coaches in the push to save the college football season from a pandemic-forced shutdown. A growing number of athletes have spoken out in support of saving the season. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh says the Wolverines have shown players can be safe after they return to school. Sasse wrote a letter to Big Ten school presidents and chancellors saying that players will likely be safer with football than without, because of the “structure and discipline of football programs.”— Old Dominion is canceling its fall sports season because of the coronavirus pandemic. President John Broderick said he knows student-athletes and fans will be disappointed, but playing “posed too great a risk.” MLB-SCHEDULENats batter Matz and MetsUNDATED (AP) — The Washington Nationals entered Monday’s action with a .236 batting average and were ranked next-to-last in the majors with 10 home runs. The defending World Series champs broke out in a big way by pummeling Steven Matz and the New York Mets. Elsewhere around the majors:— Lance McCullers carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning of the Astros’ 6-4 win over the Giants. The no-hit bid ended when Donovan Solano hit a two-out double to run his hitting streak to 15 games. Michael Brantley laced a two-run double, Carlos Correa drove in a pair and Martin Maldonado (mahr-TEEN’ mal-doh-NAH’-doh) smacked a solo homer for Houston.— Six pitchers combined on a four-hitter to carry the Padres past the Dodgers, 2-1. Austin Hedges tied it with a fifth-inning homer and Eric Hosmer singled home the go-ahead run in the sixth.— Didi Gregorius (greh-GOHR’-ee-uhs) launched a grand slam and Bryce Harper blasted a three-run shot in the Phillies’ 13-8 pounding of the Braves. Aaon Nola allowed one run and two hits while striking out 10 in eight innings of his first victory since last August.— Kole Calhoun cracked a solo homer and had three RBIs as part of the Diamondbacks’ 12-8 pounding of the Rockies. Ketel (keh-TEHL’) Marte and David Peralta (peh-RAHL’-tah) each had four of Arizona’s 18 hits. August 10, 2020 More cancellations for the CardinalsST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals continue to have their schedule altered after eight players tested positive for the coronavirus.Major League Baseball has announced that the Cardinals’ scheduled Thursday doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers has been postponed. MLB and the Cards believe it is prudent to continue additional testing while players and staff are quarantined before the team returns to play. MLB has seen 29 games postponed by the coronavirus, 15 involving the Cardinals. All-Star catcher Yadier (YAH’-dee-ehr) Molina is among the Redbirds who have tested positive for COVID-19.MLB-INDIANS-FRANCONA Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditVIRUS OUTBREAK-COLLEGE SPORTSMountain West delays football seasonUNDATED (AP) — Will there be any college football this season? Francona returns to Indians bench TuesdayUNDATED (AP) — Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona will return to the team Tuesday against the Cubs after missing more than a week so he could deal with a gastrointestinal condition. Francona has missed Cleveland’s past eight games with the gastrointestinal issue, which has bothered him since spring training. The 61-year-old skipped the Indians’ weekend trip to Chicago to get extra rest. In other MLB news:— Athletics outfielder Ramon Laureano says Astros hitting coach Álex Cintrón made a crude remark about his mother that prompted a benches-clearing incident Sunday. Laureano said Cintrón began jawing at him when Laureano reacted angrily after being hit by a pitch from Houston rookie Humberto Castellanos. Athletics manager Bob Melvin wants Cintrón punished harshly by Major League Baseball. — Nico Goodrum was 4-for-4 with a solo homer and two runs scored in the Tigers’ fourth consecutive win, 5-1 against the White Sox. JaCoby Jones smacked a two-run, inside-the-park homer in the seventh to cap the scoring.— Kevin Kiermaier hit a tiebreaking, two-run double in the seventh inning and Manuel Margot (mahn-WEHL’ mahr-GOH’) had four of the Rays’ 16 hits in an 8-7 decision over the Red Sox. Kiermaier had three RBIs as Tampa Bay won for the fourth time in five games.— Eddie Rosario belted a grand slam in the third inning and the Twins stopped a four-game skid by downing the Brewers, 4-2. Randy Dobnak allowed a run and four hits over five innings to move to 3-1.— The Mariners rolled to a 10-2 win at Texas as Kyle Seager crushed a grand slam and Kyle Lewis added a three-run shot. Dylan Moore added a solo shot and three RBIs to back winning pitcher Justin Dunn, who gave up two runs over six innings.MLB-CARDINALS POSTPONEMENTS The Panthers were eliminated from the playoffs on Friday, falling to the New York Islanders in four games. In other NHL news:— The Rangers won the second phase of the NHL draft lottery and will have the first overall pick, giving them a shot at selecting Alexis Lafreniere. The Rangers were among eight teams that lost in the qualifying round of the playoffs with a chance to claim quite a consolation prize. The league’s bottom seven teams ended up not winning the first phase of the lottery in June. — The Hockey Hall of Fame has postponed its 2020 induction because of the pandemic. The ceremony was to have taken place Nov. 16 in Toronto. The 2020 class was announced in June and featured forward Jarome Iginla, winger Marian Hossa (HOH’-sah), defensemen Kevin Lowe and Doug Wilson, Canadian women’s goaltender Kim St. Pierre and longtime general manager Ken Holland.TENNIS-US OPEN WITHDRAWALS Asdrubal (as-DROO’-bul) Cabrera homered twice as part of the Nats’ 17-hit attack in a 16-4 thrashing of the Mets. Cabrera was 4-for-4 with five RBIs and three runs scored for the Nationals, who had scored just four runs in dropping their previous three completed games.Trea Turner and Juan Soto also homered for Washington.Matz was reached for eight runs over 4 1/3 innings, six days after the Nats tagged him for five runs in just three innings.Winning pitcher Patrick Corbin held New York to one earned run over six innings.Mets infielder Luis Guillorme (gee-OHR’-may) worked a perfect ninth. NBA-SCHEDULEBooker’s 35 help Suns top Thunder, remain perfect in restartLAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — The Phoenix Suns have continued their stunning winning streak since the NBA restart.The Suns are 6-0 at Lake Buena Vista following a convincing 128-101 thumping of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Devin Booker dropped in 35 points and Phoenix center Deandre Ayton finished with 10 points and six rebounds in just over 17 minutes. Ayton sat out the first quarter after missing his coronavirus test on Sunday. He tested negative on Monday and helped the Suns dominate after they carried a 37-23 deficit into the second quarter. Former champ pulls out of US OpenNEW YORK (AP) — 2004 U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova is adding her name to the growing group of players withdrawing from the Grand Slam tennis tournament because of the coronavirus pandemic.Three of the top seven women in the rankings, including No. 1 Ash Barty, have pulled out of the U.S. Open. So has defending men’s champion Rafael Nadal.PRESIDENTS CUPRoyal Montreal Golf Club to host 2024 Presidents Cup. MONTREAL (AP) — The oldest golf club in North America will host the 2024 Presidents Cup.Royal Montreal Golf Club was founded in 1873 and held the Presidents Cup in 2007. The U.S. won that edition in which Canada’s Mike Weir beat Tiger Woods in a Sunday singles match.Royal Montreal will become the second international venue to host the Presidents Cup more than once, joining The Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia.