BMW PGA suspends play following Queen’s death

Play was suspended for the rest of the day at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth on Thursday following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the DP World Tour announced.

The world golf tour said all facilities have been closed “with immediate effect” with “further guidance” to be provided later in the day.

Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.

The palace announced she died at Balmoral Castle, her summer residence in Scotland, where members of the royal family had rushed to her side after her health took a turn for the worse.

England’s Tommy Fleetwood and Andy Sullivan are tied for the lead in the BMW PGA Championship, having completed their second round at 8 under. There were 30 golfers still on the course when play was suspended.

“We are greatly saddened to learn of the passing of Her Majesty today,” Peter Forster, the captain of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, said in a statement. “Following her accession in 1952, Her late Majesty graciously accepted the Patronage of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, as has been the custom of reigning Monarchs since HM King William IV in 1834.

“Although not a golfer, Her late Majesty’s 70-year patronage of the club was a great honour for its members. We hold His Majesty The King and all The Royal Family in our thoughts at this time of mourning.”

The Premier League had yet to announce plans for this weekend’s soccer matches, but they issued a statement on Twitter.

“The Premier League is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Her Majesty The Queen, Elizabeth II,” the statement said. “Our thoughts and condolences are with The Royal Family and everyone around the world mourning the loss of Her Majesty.”

Elsewhere on the pitch, Manchester United’s Europa League match against Real Sociedad, along with West Ham’s match in the Europa Conference League, are scheduled to go ahead Thursday with a minute’s silence held before kickoff and players wearing black armbands.

Queen Elizabeth II long had ties to the sporting community, having knighted dozens of athletes during her reign, including tennis player Andy Murray, cyclist Bradley Wiggins and long distance runner Mo Farah.

The US Open said it would hold a moment of silence on Thursday night prior to the start of the women’s semifinal match between Ons Jabeur and Caroline Garcia.

Queen Elizabeth II attended matches at Wimbledon in 1957, 1962, 1977 and made her last appearance in 2010. The queen made a personal appearance at the Opening Ceremony for the 2012 Olympics in London.

She also was a big fan of horses, owning dozens of them, and attended races regularly, including the Kentucky Derby in 2007. Horse races in at least five different countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States, are named after her.

The British Horseracing Authority announced that all racing would be suspended Thursday and Friday to remember Queen Elizabeth II’s “extraordinary life and contribution to our sport and our nation.”

“Her Majesty has been one of the greatest and most influential supporters in the history of horseracing,” a statement read. “Her passion for racing and the racehorse shone brightly throughout her life, not only through her close involvement in breeding and racing horses, but in her roles as a patron of The Jockey Club and Thoroughbred Breeders Association, and as the figurehead of Royal Ascot.

“It is right, therefore, that all racing is suspended for today and tomorrow as we begin to grieve Her Majesty’s passing and remember her extraordinary life and contribution to our sport and our nation.”

In a statement, Formula One said it sends “its deepest condolences to the Royal Family and to the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.”

With the death of the queen, her 73-year-old son Charles automatically becomes monarch, even though the coronation might not take place for months. Royal officials said he had chosen to call himself King Charles III.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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