National Sports Briefs: Tiger makes comeback
DUBLIN, Ohio ó Two holes, two towering shots, two clutch birdies.
Just like that, Tiger Woods broke out of a four-way tie and won the Memorial on Sunday with a 7-under 65 to cap off a high-charged comeback. And just as suddenly, he silenced the skeptics who wondered if he was ready to defend his title in the U.S. Open in two weeks at Bethpage Black.
“I knew I could do this,” Woods said after birdies on the final two holes gave him a one-shot victory. “I was close to winning, but the game wasn’t quite there when I really needed it on Sunday. I rectified that.”
There were no surprises Sunday for Woods, the best sign of all.
He hit the ball where he was aiming and found every fairway in the final round, the first time he had done that on the PGA Tour in more than five years. He missed only five fairways all week, his best performance off the tee since the 1998 Masters.
“It was nice to play this well going into the U.S. Open,” Woods said. “This is how you have to hit it in order to win U.S. Opens.”
– SPRINGFIELD, Ill. ó In-Kyung Kim birdied two of the final three holes to beat Hall of Famer Se Ri Pak by a stroke in the State Farm Classic.
– LAKEWAY, Texas ó Bernhard Langer became the first three-time winner on the Champions Tour this season, closing with a 5-under 67 for a six-stroke victory over Mark O’Meara in the Triton Financial Classic.
ATLANTA ó Braves general manager Frank Wren said Sunday he had no comment on a report Tom Glavine may file a grievance against the team following his release on Wednesday.
Glavine said Friday he believes he was released for financial reasons and to clear a roster spot for Tommy Hanson, who made his major league debut Sunday against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Wren, team chairman Terry McGuirk and president John Schuerholz said Glavine was released because they did not believe the 43-year-old left-hander would make a successful return from surgery on his elbow and shoulder.
“It was purely and only on the merits of what gave us the best chance to win, no financial interest whatsoever involved,” McGuirk said.
Glavine would have received a $1 million bonus if he had been activated from the disabled list for Sunday’s start.
“I don’t believe for a minute that it was totally a performance-related issue, which I’m totally fine with, but I would have appreciated the honesty,” Glavine said.
CHICAGO ó Bob Bradley sees rusty players arrive at U.S. national team camps ahead of important games, and he isn’t pleased. Too many key Americans have been buried on the benches of their clubs.
“It’s one thing if it happens for three or four months,” the American coach said. “If it happens one year after another, then, guess what? It’s trouble.”
Halfway through the final round of qualifying in North and Central America and the Caribbean, the United States is in good position to grab its sixth straight World Cup berth. But it hasn’t been pretty.
Following a 3-1 loss in Costa Rica last Wednesday, the United States had to rally for a 2-1 victory over Honduras on Saturday night. The U.S. is second with 10 points, two behind Costa Rica (4-1) and five ahead of third-place El Salvador (1-1-2).
The three top teams qualify, and the No. 4 nation goes to a playoff against the fifth-place finisher in South America. The U.S. has home games left against El Salvador (Sept. 5 at Sandy, Utah) and Costa Rica (Oct. 14 at Washington, D.C.), plus road matches at Mexico (Aug. 12), Trinidad (Sept. 9) and Honduras (Oct. 10).
BIGFORK, Mont. ó Jim Owens, who played at Oklahoma for Bud Wilkinson and coached the University of Washington for 18 seasons, has died. He was 82.
Owens coached at Washington from 1957 until his retirement in 1974, leading a resurgence in West Coast football. He went 99-82-6 in his nearly two decades as Huskies coach, including three Rose Bowl trips.
BRISTOL, CT. ó Brett Favre recently had arthroscopic surgery on his ailing right shoulder, ESPN reported Sunday night, another indication the three-time NFL MVP is considering coming out of retirement.
ESPN, citing two anonymous sources, reported that Favre had surgery last month to repair the torn biceps tendon that bothered him late last season with the New York Jets. Favre retired in February, but the Jets released him at his request in April ó making him a free agent.