Catching up from vacation: Plenty of things happened


LITTLE ROCK — Catching up after a brief encounter in the spin cycle of a Tropical Storm Debby-induced wave, watching five days of dance competition heavy on hip hop, and an extended bout of bad golf.

Age is the all-purpose explanation for the disconnect from the boogie board, the music, and par.

That out of the way, there were happenings of note at The Olympic Club, Omaha, and Oklahoma City.

Two rounds into the U.S. Open, we were told that it would be safe to inscribe Tiger Woods’ name on the trophy for the fourth time. After all, he was tied for the lead and he had that “look.”

While he faded with 75-73 on the weekend, another former champion was in position to win. On the tee of the 70th hole, Jim Furyk snapped a tee shot that quacked like something from Stuttgart.

His reputation as a stand-up guy took a hit when he tried to blame the USGA for his amateurish shot on a hole that was shortened from 670 yards to 571 for the final round.

“I know the USGA gives us a memo saying that they play from multiple tees, but there’s no way to prepare for 100 yards,” Furyk said. “I was unprepared and didn’t know exactly where to hit the ball off the tee. And I took a little bit more of an aggressive route with that 3-wood.”

None of the players practiced from the women’s tee on No. 15, but they did not complain when the hole was shortened from 150 yards to 107 for the third round and they pummeled par.

Later, Furyk admitted that the rest of the field had to play from the up-front tee on the 16th and said, “I have no one to blame but myself.” Bogey on the hole knocked him out of the lead.

After Arizona swept South Carolina in the best-of-three in the College World Series, I wondered why the finalists in Omaha were determined by two double-elimination brackets instead of pure pool play.

Through 1987, there was one double elimination bracket to determine a champion. Then, the format changed, providing a built-in advantage to a team such as Arizona that only had to play three games to reach the finals.

South Carolina’s 2-1 loss to Arkansas in its second game forced the Gamecocks to play five games to reach the championship round.

True pool play would guarantee every team at least three games, something that the Stony Brook players had earned by winning a Super Regional at LSU.

Much like the premature coronation of Woods, Oklahoma City was declared NBA champion by some after the Thunder made it look easy with an 11-point victory over Miami in the first game of the championship series.

Oklahoma City shot 52 percent from the field that night. Miami won the next four games while the Thunder made less than 43 percent of their shots in three of those games.

LeBron James was brilliant, quieting most of his critics. Those who continue to carp will hold him up against Michael Jordan’s six NBA titles. Oddly, Jordan is never measured against Bill Russell, Sam Jones, John Havlicek, Tom Heinsohn, K.C. Jones, and Tom “Satch” Sanders, all of whom won eight or more rings when part of the Boston Celtics.

Jordan had Scottie Pippen and others and the Celtics had each other.

James can’t do it by himself and Dwayne Wade is already 30 with knee surgery on the horizon. Chris Bosh is 28 and he’s passing on the Olympics, like Wade, to recover from the abdominal strain he suffered in the second round of the playoffs.

The number of championship rings is only one measuring stick. Dan Marino was a pretty good quarterback and he never won a super Bowl.

Harry King is sports columnist for Stephens Media’s Arkansas News Bureau. His email address is hking@arkansasnews.com.