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Hideki Matsuyama exits Rocket Mortgage Classic after positive COVID-19 test

Hideki Matsuyama had to withdraw from the Rocket Mortgage Classic after testing positive for COVID-19 on Friday, a day after he shot an even-par 72 during the first round at the Detroit Golf Club in Detroit, Michigan.Gregory Shamus/Getty

Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama has withdrawn from the Rocket Mortgage Classic after testing positive for COVID-19. The PGA Tour made the announcement Friday just before Matsuyama was scheduled to start his second round. Tour officials were unable to say whether Matsuyama has been vaccinated. The PGA Tour, though, does not test fully vaccinated players. Matsuyama shot an even-par 72 on Thursday, playing with PGA Championship winner Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler. Mickelson and Fowler were informed of Matsuyama’s positive test shortly before they began play Friday. According to the PGA Tour’s COVID-19 protocols, Mickelson and Fowler were not subject to contact tracing. At least 35 players have had to withdraw because of a positive test and Matsuyama is the fifth in the middle of a tournament since the testing program began last June. In two weeks, the world’s top golfers will no longer be required to test for COVID-19. The final PGA Tour event for testing, not including the majors, will be the Barbasol Championship on July 15-18.

Mickelson may not return to Detroit

Phil Mickelson said that he probably will not return to a PGA Tour event being held in Detroit because of a local newspaper article this week that linked him to a bookie reputed to have ties with the mafia. According to a report Tuesday by the Detroit News, Mickelson’s name emerged recently from a transcript in a 2018 court file related to the 2007 trial of Jack Giacalone, who was alleged to be an organized crime leader in Detroit. In an exchange with a witness for the prosecution, former Las Vegas casino host and bookie “Dandy” Don DeSeranno, an attorney for Giacalone got DeSeranno to admit he failed to pay Mickelson $500,000 in winnings several years earlier, after the golfer had placed a bet with him. Mickelson, 51, said Thursday that the author of the story “made an article this week that was very opportunistic and selfish, and irresponsible.”

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South Koreans opt for Olympics

Sungjae Im and Siwoo Kim have withdrawn from the British Open so they can focus on preparations for the Tokyo Olympics at the end of the month. Im and Kim are the male Olympic qualifiers for South Korea. Both are subject to mandatory military service at some point, which they can avoid only by winning an Olympic medal. The first practice round at Kasumigaseki Country Club in Japan is eight days after the British Open ends ... Joaquin Niemann and Tom Lewis topped the jam-packed leaderboard heading into the weekend in the Rocket Mortgage Classic. Niemann and Lewis each shot 3-under 69 to reach 10-under 134. Troy Merritt (68), Chris Kirk (68) and Max Homa (65) were a shot back . . . Matilda Castren shot a 5-under 66 after a six-hour storm delay to take the lead in the suspended second round of the Volunteers of America Classic.

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SOCCER

Italy and Spain to meet in semifinals

Nicolò Barella and Lorenzo Insigne scored a goal each to give Italy a 2-1 win over Belgium and a spot in the European Championship semifinals. Unai Simon made two saves and Mikel Oyarzabal scored the decisive penalty to give Spain a spot in the European Championship semifinals by beating Switzerland 3-1 in the shootout after a 1-1 draw. Italy will next play Spain in the semifinals on Tuesday at Wembley Stadium in London ... The Revolution will have a chance for revenge when they face the Crew in the first-ever game at Lower.Com Field on Saturday at 5 p.m. (ESPN) ... Defending Copa America champions Brazil advanced to the semifinals with a 1-0 win over Chile after substitute Lucas Paquetá scored the only goal of the match. Peru advanced to the semifinal after beating Paraguay on penalties 4-3 after a 3-3 score in regular time, in the most thrilling Copa America match yet. Brazil and Peru played the latest Copa America final in 2019, with the hosts winning 3-1. Monday’s encounter will be at the same Nilton Santos Stadium where Brazil beat Chile.

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CYCLING

Matej Mohoric gets first stage win

With its hilly profile, the 249-kilometer (155-mile) Stage 7 from Vierzon to Le Creusot produced a Tour de France classic as another Slovenian, Matej Mohoric, earned his first stage win on the Tour following a long breakaway. Mohoric was part of a group that formed more than 200 kilometers before the finish line. He went solo in the finale, using a tough climb to drop his remaining breakaway companions and reach the finish line alone. Mathieu van der Poel looked exhausted when he crossed 1 minute, 40 seconds behind but he kept the yellow jersey with a 30-second advantage over Van Aert,

MISCELLANY

Former Georgia and Miami football coach Mark Richt has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Richt, who guided the Bulldogs for 15 seasons and closed out his coaching career at alma mater Miami, made the announcement on Twitter ... West Virginia will retire the No. 9 jersey of quarterback Major Harris. WVU announced that it will honor Harris during the Oklahoma State football game on Nov. 6 ... MSG Networks Inc. shareholders can proceed with a vote next week on its proposed merger with Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. after a judge rejected an investor request to delay attempts by billionaire James L. Dolan to consolidate his family’s interest in the companies ... The WooSox vs Scranton game Polar Park was postponed due to rain. The game will be made up later this season ... The Portland Sea Dogs also had their doubleheader against the Fisher Cats postponed because of rain. One game will be made up Saturday as part of a doubleheader and then the other will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Sept. 1.

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