LITTLE ROCK —Two solid rounds of golf, including one with an extremely positive asterisk, plus a venue with fond memories do not add up to Tiger Woods’ 15th major tournament title next week.

LITTLE ROCK —Two solid rounds of golf, including one with an extremely positive asterisk, plus a venue with fond memories do not add up to Tiger Woods’ 15th major tournament title next week.

What he did at the Greenbrier Classic was encouraging, but nothing more than baby steps.

The 39-year-old is not going to make the leap from the worse score of his career to playing decently and finishing tied for 32nd in West Virginia to winning the British Open at St. Andrews in a six-week period.

The next step is for Woods to put together four rounds and finish in the top 10 in a tournament or two, maybe get in contention and see how his swing holds up on a Sunday.

Woods finished the Greenbrier with a solid 67, his first 18 holes without a bogey in his last 55 competitive rounds. He said the round could have been special, adding that it was the best he had hit the ball in a very long time.

Granted, but Woods started the final round trailing almost four dozen players, a no-pressure situation that frees up the swing. Also, keep in mind that low scores were available all week and that more than 20 players finished at least 10-under par, three shots better than Woods. Because of those circumstances, don’t get giddy over Woods’ chances at St. Andrews where he won in 2000 and 2005.

In 2000, Woods did not hit a fairway bunker all week, shot 19-under-par, and prevailed by eight.

If he takes the same angles off the tee 15 years later, will he feel the need to amp up his swing to carry the same bunkers? That question is asked after watching golf analyst and instructor Peter Kostis provide a simple explanation of Woods’ problems with his driver.

Kostis did not talk takeaway, spine angle, lag, or hip turn; he simply showed a side-by-side of Woods swinging driver on the practice range and on the golf course. Clearly, his swing was faster when it mattered — weekend hackers know the feeling — and his head dipped several more inches, resulting in another errant tee shot.

Woods is such an enigma that his round on Thursday almost qualified as breaking news. In one roundup, Woods’ 66 and Scott Langley’s tournament-leading 62 were mentioned in the second paragraph and the next dozen paragraphs were all about Woods.

On Friday, when Woods was one of 78 players who made the 36-hole cut, some began talkingabout him making a run at the championship. Admittedly, he was within three shots of the lead at one point on Saturday, but a way-right tee shot caromed out of bounds and somebody at The Golf Channel unearthed that the Greenbrier was the 11th consecutive non-major in which Woods had a double bogey or worse.

Often, big numbers start with his driver.

Woods will never get back to being the dominant player, but his grit keeps me from writing off his chances of winning somewhere down the line.


Indifferent about soccer except when a precious 12-year-old relative is playing, I tried a different take on scoring in the world’s most popular game.

Instead of the U.S. women 2, Germany 0 in the World Cup semifinals, my final was 14-0. In the other semifinal, Japan 14, England 7 sounds like much more offense than 2-1.

In the World Cup final, the U.S. opened a 4-0 lead over Japan in the first 16 minutes — the equivalent of 28-0 in 11 minutes of football. The Razorbacks did something similar to Nicholls State last year, scoring four touchdowns in the first quarter.

The Sunday night final was a comfortable three goals or 21 points.

Watching teams score on something other than penalty kicks was refreshing — the U.S. goal off a corner kick was well executed and Carli Lloyd’s 50-something-yard boot made Japan’s goalkeeper look like a retreating safety who had been sucked in by play action.

Harry King is sports columnist for GateHouse Media’s Arkansas News Bureau. Email: