Tiger Woods wins PGA Championship, cements position as world's best athlete
The world’s best shortstop, quarterback, boxer, shooting guard, attacking midfielder, chess player and decathlete won another major golf tournament today.
By dominating and demoralizing the best golfers on the planet in the PGA Championship, Tiger Woods didn’t show us anything particularly new. More so, he just drove home even further the already obvious.
The 1984 super welterweight battle between Thomas Hearns and Roberto Duran is brought to mind. Regardless of any of his foibles, Duran will always be regarded by boxing historians as one of the great fighters in the annals of pugilism. But that night, he was faced with a man so superior in every aspect, the pummeling Duran received was inconceivable, up to the moment a freight-train right hand by the “Hit Man” dropped the great “Hands of Stone” on his face in round two.
What Tiger Woods has done to the PGA is like that, with the only difference being that Duran didn’t get propped up to get knocked out by Hearns again several times a year for a decade. The rest of the PGA is simply overmatched by a superior athlete.
Woods obviously doesn’t and won’t win every tournament he plays, but only the foolhardy judge a golfer by his or her last round. It’s akin to changing your mind about global warming due to a heat wave.
What is important is the body of work. And with 12 majors and 51 victories in a hair less than 10 years on the PGA Tour, and with a game that evolves and improves as he wills it, Tiger Woods has cemented his historical standing, as well as his position amongst his sporting peers. He is physically, mentally and emotionally better than any human alive who makes sport a career.
So while some will debate whether golf is a sport and golfers athletes, for Tiger Woods this discussion is moot. He is, without question, the best athlete of his generation and one of the greatest of all time.
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Tiger is the best golfer since Jack, and may be the best golfer ever. Sam and Arnold and Bobby and a number of others are still viable candidates. Maybe Michelle? Who knows.
Best current golfer? Yes. Best athlete? Possible, but doesn't seem likely.
The fight that "never happened" was Ali vs. Wilt. Wilt fought a seasoned, though unranked, heavyweight in Houston in a "smoker" venue. This was one of a number of warm-up fights Bob Arum had set up with fighters from Hugh Benbow's stable. It was a disaster for Wilt, but, on the bright side, probably kept Wilt from getting his brains scrambled by Ali.
A few months later, Ali was beaten by Fraser. Wilt's "party line" was that he would not fight Ali because Ali had lost the title. But Wilt wisely said "no mas" after the Houston smoker.
If Wilt had learned the scores of essential boxing skills, and had six to eight years of boxing experience under his belt, he'd have been hard to handle in the ring. But he had zip, zero, nada boxing experience when he decided to fight Ali. He didn't have a snowball"s chance in hell against any skilled fighter, let alone Ali.
Take the best athlete you know (who has NEVER played golf) and put him up against any competent assistant PGA pro in the country on the golf course. Who's going to win every time? Same deal in boxing.
Perhaps it was stuck in my mind that Jones lost, because he was in fact dropped, and on national TV. I do seem to recall he got the nod, but it was a debacle and he hung up his gloves.
His reputation didn't take much of a hit, if I recall, as for the most part, people will be willing to give an athlete who tries boxing respect for the effort. Kendall Gill is the latest to try, but has made it clear it's a hobby.
The only non-traditional boxer to really get grief for boxing was Mickey Rourke, who was just a hideous fighter. Really not even good as a sideshow.
I will confess that as the Wilt- Ali thing was before my time, I was unaware Chamberlain even tried to box, and would love to see if you had some type of link that had any info on that. Or was it in his book? Being a "smoker," as you say, there would obviously be no pictures or even reports of it. And, as an aside, I've always loved the term "smoker" for an unsanctioned, basically illegal fight.
Chamberlain was truly a fascinating guy, and, as we all know from the salacious parts of his book, had an ego that couldn't even fit in his massive frame.
My point, however, with Tiger is: If Earl Woods had adored baseball, football, basketball, etc., Tiger would have been a standout in any one of those sports. It doesn't take a leap of imagination to see Tiger as a QB, tailback, shortstop, etc. Truly, however, golf was the sport he was born for, as he has the perfect complement of gifts that have taken him to where he is today.
Pounded Google for a link to Wilt's first fight, but came up empty. I have heard the account from a number of boxing notables, including a close associate of Bob Arum. My understanding is that Arum viewed the fight as a multi-million dollar loss for him, and did his best to spike the story; hoping to convince Wilt to continue.
Wilt really thought he had a chance against Ali until the smoker. Once he got the message, to his credit, he wanted nothing to do with the fight or the money. Wilt was probably smart enough to know that, for Wilt's first few fights, Arum was going to wind up with the lions share (read ALL) of the money anyway.
I'll dig around some more. If I find a link I'll post it.
One of these things is not like the other...Woods, Nicklaus, Snead, Palmer, Wie...
You seem to have a "bean counter" mentality. Nothing is extraordinary until all the little beans have been counted and recounted. Others of us can see greatness in the making. We get great enjoyment out of the process of watching a brilliant talent grow. You can't see MW's brilliance? I can believe that.
People like us feel sorry for people like you.
Was Earl too smart to let that happen? Yes, of course.
What a sad comment. This discussion is between me and you, adding "us" to make your argument seem stronger is pretty pathetic. Judging by your comments, I would be willing to bet you have never been a part of any group or "us" that anybody would give a shit about. Bet it makes you feel good to sit behind your computer and tell somebody off and pretend that you are part of a group for once in your sad little life.
For the record, I never said I didn't respect or recognize Michelle Wie's talent, I simply said that she doesn't belong in a conversation with the greats of the game--Find me somebody that disagrees with that statement and I'll concede you are part of an "us", you tiny insect.
Gee, I guess I should have realized that the painfully obvious could actually sail right over your capacity to perceive.
There are two groups who gather on these blogs:
1. Wie Supporters.
2. Wie Bashers (including hypocrites who pretend to support MW - yeah, like you)
My direct quote was:
"Maybe Michelle? Who knows."
Ford, do you know what "maybe" and "who knows" means? Some of this stuff you can Google yourself.
If Michelle breaks through and wins on the men's tour at any time between now and, lets say the year 2035, then she will go down in golf history as one of golf's greats. I, and a number of other Wie Supporters, believe she may just do that.
"Maybe Michelle? Who knows."
Did you get any of that?
Oh, and the swear words? Very Manly - Most Impressive!
I think Tiger qualifies on all three counts, but the endurance is a different kind from a long distance runner or biker. While Lance has both strength and endurance, I am not sure biking requires agility. Certainly Michael J and Ali needed all three. Baseball players do not need endurance. Football players probably need strength and agility but endurance isn't needed as much as they get to rest between plays. Anyway, without clarifying what this discussion is all about the comparison between great athletes is a faulty exercise so why bother. We will never know whether Tiger could have been better than Lance, of Michael J had he taken on those sports.
(presently "Worlds Best Athlete")
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