Sports at a glance
NFL relaxing mask policy
The NFL is not requiring fully vaccinated players and staff to wear masks at team facilities following the CDC’s latest guidance regarding COVID-19.
In a memo sent to clubs on Friday and obtained by The Associated Press, the league and the NFL Players Association made the modification after consulting with their medical and scientific experts. Players and tiered staff who haven’t been fully vaccinated must continue to wear masks until they receive it, if they plan to get it.
Clubs were told to review current and local state regulations and to have the vaccine available for players and staff.
Army Wife wins Pimlico race
BALTIMORE — Army Wife pulled off a mild upset win the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes on Friday at Pimlico Race Course as embattled trainer Bob Baffert’s favored Beautiful Gift finished a well-beaten seventh.
Mike Maker, a former assistant trainer for Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, saddled the winner. Army Wife beat Willful Woman by 2§ lengths for her third victory and first in a graded stakes and Maker’s first Black-Eyed Susan.
Beautiful Gift was cleared to run less than an hour before the race after Baffert agreed to submit to additional testing and monitoring for his horses following Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit’s failed postrace drug test.
Lefty changes mind on Open
Phil Mickelson is assured at least one more crack at the major that has given him the most heartache. He accepted a special exemption Friday to play the U.S. Open.
Mickelson becomes the first player since Vijay Singh in 2010 to receive an exemption without having won the U.S. Open, and he’s not without merit. He has won five majors — all of them except the U.S. Open — to go along with his 44 wins on the PGA Tour.
He has been eligible for every U.S. Open dating to 1994, but the 50-year-old Mickelson has fallen out of the top 100 in the world ranking. He had said in February 2020, a month before golf shut down because of the pandemic, that he would not accept an exemption even if the USGA offered him one.
He was prepared to go through 36-hole qualifying on June 7, a week before the U.S. Open returns to San Diego.
Nadal ends losing streak
ROME — Rafael Nadal ended a run of three straight losses to Alexander Zverev with a convincing 6-3, 6-4 win over the German to reach the Italian Open semifinals on Friday.
Zverev beat Nadal in straight sets at the same stage in Madrid a week ago and their latest meeting was also one-sided. Nadal raced to 4-0 in the first set and saved all eight break points he faced in the second.
Nadal, aiming for a record-extending 10th Rome title, will next face big-serving American Reilly Opelka, who reached his first Masters semifinals by edging Argentine qualifier Federico Delbonis 7-5, 7-6 (2).
Novak Djokovic’s quarterfinal against Stefanos Tsitsipas was suspended due to rain with Tsitsipas ahead 6-4, 2-1 and up a break in the second. It will resume today.
The Associated Press