Sure, he owns golf - but is Tiger Woods the greatest athlete ever?
By S. Adam Cardais,
Is it now safe, sportswriters, columnists and bloggers alike wondered, to go ahead and start calling Woods the greatest athlete of all time?
There is no consensus - yet.
Woods' victory at Medinah was his 12th major; only Jack Nicklaus has more (18). Woods' ultimate legacy will be shaped partly by whether he overtakes Nicklaus in the record books, which looks likely - but also by factors that have little to do with his performance on the course.
"In a purely athletic sense, Woods's effort in the final round [of the PGA Championship] was easily the greatest single sporting performance I have ever seen," Lawrence Donegan, a columnist for The Guardian, wrote Aug. 24. But he added, "… I still cannot comprehend the urge to anoint him as the greatest [athlete] of all time.
"That's because I have always taken the view that great athletes become truly great when they use their status to shape the society in which they live. By this measure of social involvement Woods falls short."
Clearly the bar is high, and even Woods says he has a long way to go in his career. But that's the future. Right now people are watching to see if he can lead the U.S. team to victory at the Ryder Cup Matches in Ireland Sept. 22-24, demonstrating that his greatness is of the measure to transcend even himself.
Here's what's being said about Woods in the wake of the PGA Championship and run up to the Ryder Cup.
WorldGolf.com writer Brandon Tucker chronicles Woods' 10-year rise from hyped junior to the most dominant player in golf.
WorldGolf.com Editor William K. Wolfrum says Woods' overwhelming performance in Medinah is further proof he is the greatest athlete of his generation and one of the best in history.
Not yet, The Guardian's Donegan asserts, maintaining Woods has yet to secure a legacy as the best sportsman of all time because he has not done enough to give back to society.
Tiger Woods talks about chasing Nicklaus in this WorldGolf.com interview. As Woods puts it, "18 is a pretty big number."
Speaking out during the U.S. Ryder Cup squad's two-day reconnaissance trip to event venue the K Club, team captain Tom Lehman commended Tiger's commitment to the international event, which has been questioned in the past.
Jason Gore, who was paired with Tiger at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, said during the tournament that he has the outmost respect for his old friend. "I don't ever want to say anything bad about him," Gore jokes, "because he might get upset and shoot about 53 tomorrow."
September 5, 2006
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