The Loop

Tiger Looks Ready For Torrey

LA JOLLA, Calif. -- Tiger Woods was at Torrey Pines Sunday -- and not in a golf cart. The two-time U.S. Open champion walked the South course with swing instructor Hank Haney and caddie Steve Williams, with no signs of limping, flinching or favoring his left knee as he made his way up and down the tee boxes and ravines on the 7,643-yard layout.

Eyewitnesses described Woods "ripping" drivers and working on his sand game. Afterward, he signed autographs for a group from the First Tee and headed to the parking lot without offering comment. "Tiger is getting better every day," Haney said.

This development changes the complexion of the Open, unofficially upgrading Tiger's status from "questionable" to "probable." Woods has improved dramatically since leaving his Orlando home, where he has been rehabbing since knee surgery April 15. The six-time Buick Invitational champion played Torrey Pines June 4, but rode a cart. With Woods walking five days before the opening round, the issue now becomes how the knee holds up under competition and at least four straight days of walking -- not including practice sessions between now and Thursday.

Certainly, the Woods-Phil Mickelson-Adam Scott first-round pairing looks much better now than it did before the weekend. Scott also played the course Sunday. He is recovering from a broken pinkie finger suffered while shutting a car door at his home in Australia three weeks ago. The Australian has not played in competition since shooting 80 in the final round of the Players May 11.

Swing coach Butch Harmon told that Scott's finger, while swollen, held up hitting shots on Torrey Pines' kikuyu fairways and rough. Scott is expected to take Monday off and have light practice days Tuesday and Wednesday leading up to Thursday's 11:06 a.m. tee time. "He hadn't hit a shot until two days ago," Harmon said Sunday from his home in Las Vegas.

-- Tim Rosaforte