Golf the No. 1 professional sport - by default
Historians will look back to July 2007 and reach a startling conclusion - golf is the greatest sport in the world. It reached that lofty height by default, of course, but there can no longer be any doubt - golf is king of all professional athletic endeavors.
Cycling, which has officially ceased being a sport and is now a pharmacy on wheels, took another hit as Tour de France leader Michael Rasmussen was tossed from his team and the race after violating Rabobank team rules. Rasmussen grows the growing list of cyclists who have at least been accused of using performance-enhancing drugs, a list that now includes everyone from Floyd Landis to Lance Armstrong to Robin Williams.
But that’s just cycling, and face it, it’s a sport that committed seppeku about this time last year with Landis. But right now is about the most miserable time in professional sports history.
The NBA is in the middle of figuring out what to do with a ref accused of fixing games. The NFL is trying to get fans to remove the image from their minds of Michael Vick slamming dogs into the ground until they’re dead. Major League Baseball is about to see its most cherished record broken by a man who once magically gained 22 pounds in head muscle over a summer vacation.
Major League Soccer could field a team of David Beckhams and not raise its popularity level past hot-dog eating contests. Auto racing is, of course, wildly popular, but if it’s a “sport” then so is picking your kids up from school.
So deal with it. Golf is now the No. 1 professional sport. What’s the competition? Boxing? Well, Bernard Hopkins and Winky Wright just fought the dullest pay-per-view fight in history, so pugilism isn’t ready for that mantle.
What’s left? Tennis is not so bad these days, I suppose. Roger Federer is an all-time great and the Williams sisters continue to dazzle when they feel up to it. But it still suffers from the fact that it’s tennis. Ultimate fighting has been on a roll, but it’s hard to imagine a sport that was invented while someone was watching a bar fight will reach too high of a position in the publics’ eye.
In the end, however, it’s golf. First of all, golf has Tiger Woods. Secondly, Padraig Harrington’s win over Sergio Garcia in the British Open grabbed enough attention to make golf No. 1. It won’t last, of course, but golf fans should enjoy the title while it lasts. Plus, it’s not overly likely that golf will turn out any officials fixing matches, or any dog torturers from their midst.
Steroids remain a possible hurdle, especially with folks like Jesper Parnevik ignorantly telling the world that performance-enhancing drugs wouldn’t enhance the performance of golfers. But it appears strides are finally being made in that direction, at least.
So there you have it. Golf is currently the best professional sport out there, whether you like it or not. At least until College Football starts up again.
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