National Sports Briefs
OHNS CREEK, Ga. ó Even as he took the high road Wednesday in a nasty split with his longtime caddie, Tiger Woods lowered his standard of success on the eve of the PGA Championship.
It wasn’t long ago that Woods said it couldn’t be a great year without winning a major.
Now he would consider the year a success because he no longer hurts.
To be clear, he is thinking only about winning when the PGA Championship gets under way Thursday in the stifling heat at Atlanta Athletic Club. That much hasn’t changed, and probably never will.
Asked for a realistic expectation in the final major ó remember, this is only his third time teeing it up since April and he hasn’t won any tournament in 21 months ó Woods said a “W.”
“Do you want me to elaborate?” he added. “A nice W.”
But he sounded as though he were looking at the bigger picture. Success is measured differently these days because of injuries to his left knee and Achilles tendon that have made it difficult to walk, play and even practice as much as he would prefer. At least now he is able to hit balls as long as he wants after his rounds. He no longer has to put ice on his leg.
For Woods, that’s a victory in itself.
And that’s why when asked if the season could end without a win and still be a success, Woods replied, “Yeah.”
“In order to win, I had to be healthy,” he said. “That’s what we’re trying to get to. Now I can go. Now I can do the work. I can do the practice sessions, and I think that’s the only way that my game will get to where I need to get to.”
TAMPA, Fla. ó Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is making strides in his rehab program for a right knee injury as he awaits a meeting with baseball officials about his alleged involvement in high-stakes poker games.
Major League Baseball started an investigation after Star Magazine reported last month that several people saw A-Rod playing in games hosted at Hollywood hotels and residences.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Rodriguez said Wednesday. “I’m concentrating on baseball.”
No date for the meeting has been announced.
Richard Rubenstein, Rodriguez’s publicist, said in a statement last week that the Star’s story contains “numerous factual inaccuracies.”
Rodriguez completed his first week of baseball activities Wednesday in an indoor batting cage at George Steinbrenner Field because of rain. He had right knee surgery July 14.
“So far, so good,” he said.
Rodriguez, hitting .295 with 13 home runs and 52 RBIs, could play in minor league games this weekend. The Yankees expect him to rejoin the team next week.
OMAHA, Neb. ó The United Football League will go ahead with its third season, despite losing more than $100 million in its first two years.
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. ó Penn State coach Joe Paterno has returned to practice with his right arm in a sling.
A photo on the team’s web site shows a smiling Paterno on a golf cart at practice Wednesday afternoon.
The 84-year-old Hall of Famer injured his shoulder and pelvis after a receiver blindsided him during drills Sunday. He spent almost two days at a hospital before being released Tuesday, saying in a statement he wanted to shift the attention back to his team.
COLUMBUS, Ohio ó The NCAA investigation into Ohio State’s football program has cost the school’s athletic department about $800,000 so far.
NORMAN, Okla. ó Oklahoma defensive captain and leading tackler Travis Lewis will miss up to eight weeks with a broken bone in his left foot.
WINSTON-SALEM ó Melvin Tabb has been kicked off the Wake Forest basketball team, and the school says he is facing three criminal charges.
School spokesman Kevin Cox said Wednesday the university’s police department obtained a warrant this week for Tabb’s arrest on felony charges of breaking and entering and possession of stolen goods and a misdemeanor charge of obtaining property by false pretense.
RICHMOND, Va. ó Some of Virginiaís top college teams will bring their talents to the capital city to participate in the Governor’s Holiday Hoops Classic in 2012 and 2013.
Virginia Tech will play Virginia Commonwealth in the second game next December, after James Madison opens with Hampton.
KEY WEST, Fla. ó Disappointed marathon swimmer Diana Nyad gave up on any more attempts to cross from Cuba to Florida after ending her second bid mid-channel Tuesday because of wind, currents and health problems.
The 61-year-old left Cuba on Sunday but said asthma and shoulder pain contributed to ending her second try in 33 years to swim the Florida Straits.
“This was such a dream. For two years, I pictured myself walking up on that shore, and I wanted that moment badly,” Nyad said after her support boat docked in Key West.
Doctors used inhalers and various medicines to try to open up her lungs as she was swimming, but the veteran swimmer said she “was so depleted of oxygen and I was limping along.”