OT-Tiger Woods named athlete of the decade

Submitted by Dark Blue on December 16th, 2009 at 2:36 PM


The AP has name Tiger the athlete of the decade. I pretty much agree with their choice, considering that if you can stop looking at the sex scandal, he has been an absolute beast on the golf course. Does anyone in MgoBlog land have any differing opinions?



December 16th, 2009 at 2:49 PM ^

Although his indefinite leave from golf will have an effect on his career numbers...if Tiger Woods retired today he would be the #2 golfer of all time behind Jack, in my opinion. What this guy accomplished in the last decade is more beastly than any other golfer's entire career, save a few (Palmer, Player, Nicklaus, and possibly Hogan or Jones). If he is an average golfer when he returns, he will probably reach and possibly even break Jack's major record before he finishes. The only guy I would consider putting ahead of Tiger Woods would be Lance Armstrong, but cycling isn't big in America so I'm not surprised he didn't win.

Blue in Yarmouth

December 16th, 2009 at 2:52 PM ^

But you are ignoring the fact that Federer is the most dominant tennis player of all time and has been so for the entire decade.

I think it is a very close call to make, they are both deserving, but I think Federer has dominated the tennis world more than Tiger has the golf world this decade.....just my epinion.

Blue in Yarmouth

December 17th, 2009 at 8:07 AM ^

How about Mickelson, VJ, Goosen, Els, Weir.....all of these guys have won majors (as well as some more) in the past decade. Also, many have beaten Tiger in other tournaments.

I am not saying Tiger isn't the most dominant golfer on the planet, but there is no way you can say he has dominated his sport more than Federer has tennis.

In the tennis world there are two players who are in a league above the rest. Other than the French Open (which he has now won), Federer has dominated Nadal.

Long story story short is (IME) Tiger has had far more competition from his competitors over the past decade than Federer and for that reason I think he is the best of the decade.

No offense to you, but your response really makes it seem like you don't follow either sport. You simply say "Nah, Tiger has dominated more than Federer. Nobody has even remotely challenged Tiger, whereas Rafael Nadal has had Federer's number for a few years now."

If you followed either you would know that statement isn't exactly accurate.


December 17th, 2009 at 11:05 PM ^

In golf you have to beat every other competitor in a given tournament. In tennis, you just have to beat one opponent on a given day, and six different people to win a tournament. Thus I don't think the sports are comparable in the way that you state it. What I am saying is that no one has really been able to beat Tiger over a sustained period of time like Nadal has done against Federer when they are matched up with him in one of the final pairings.

I see your point. I just don't agree with it given the differences in the games and how you judge success in each. In tennis, if you win 25% of the time, you aren't good. In golf, you are a hall of famer.

That being said, I watch a lot of golf and only really watch tennis when the majors come around. So, maybe I am biased.


December 16th, 2009 at 2:45 PM ^

..that they were able to keep enough objectivity to give the "heel de jour" the award.

The award, though, was justifiably Tiger's. He dominated an individual sport in a way that maybe two or three people have in its history. That's good enough for me.


December 16th, 2009 at 2:55 PM ^

... this helps them get more readers of the article, because it's "controversial". The timing of this PR fiasco couldn't have been better for AP's announcement and the cynic in me says it actually swayed their decision to select him. My money was on Roger Federer, but that doesn't draw enough eyeballs.

EDIT: Food for thought, if Tiger was Swiss and Federer American, would that change peoples opinions as well?


December 16th, 2009 at 3:01 PM ^

Also, if Lance Armstrong wasn't American, do you think he even would have made the list? I think not. Everyone on this list is American save Federer (to my knowledge), which is a testament to his dominance especially since it's Tennis (not a ton of exposure). Still think Tiger takes the cake though.

Blue in Yarmouth

December 16th, 2009 at 2:48 PM ^

While I am glad they chose to ignore his personal life in this decision (which they should) I am of the same opinon as Jinxed. I am not sure any athlete has dominated their sport more than Federer has over the past decade.

Woods is an awesome golfer and has been dominant to be sure, but in Tennis, there is only Fderer and Nadal. Until 2 years ago, Federer dominated Nadal as well which means he was absolutely dominant for 8 out of the ten years. Couple that with his records in grand slam events and his overall record in general and I think he edges out Tiger, but only slightly.


December 16th, 2009 at 2:56 PM ^

Are you forgetting Federer's inability to win this tournament *until this year*? Tiger won every major three times each during that span. Federer has a well-known weakness that is clay, whereas Tiger arugably doesn't, other than for extremely hot women who are not his wife.

Blue in Yarmouth

December 16th, 2009 at 3:14 PM ^

I am not arguing that Tiger isn't great and has done some great things. I am saying that Federer has done more in his sport. No one has won more grand slams than Federer and the fact that he has done it without doing it at the French open speaks even more to his dominance in every other venue.

Plus, as you stated, he has now won the French as well. Look at the past (and even present) greats in tennis and none can match Federer. In golf there are those who would argue whether Tiger is the best ever, but in Tennis it is universally accepted that Federer is the best player of all time, even by Johnny MaC and that is saying something.

I'm just saying there is debate as to whether Woods is the best golfer of all time among the golfing community, but in the Tennis community there is none. Also, as I said before, other than 1 single tournament Federer has dominated his comeptition more over the past decade than any other athlete ever, let alone this single decade.

For those reasons I think he is the best in this decade and I would put Tiger second.


December 16th, 2009 at 3:22 PM ^

are you for real?

clay wasn't a weakness for Federer.. he was the undisputed #2 in the world on that surface. The problem was that you had a kid like Nadal, who's 4 years younger than Federer and groomed to play on that surface. Even Tiger has said it himself.. "Federer is probably the best athlete on the planet."

Tennis is more competitive/tougher that golf.. and the level of dominance Federer has had over the sport is equal/superior to Tiger's.


December 16th, 2009 at 3:50 PM ^

Let me be clear that I am not saying that Federer has no business being on the list. I think it's VERY close between the two, and I admittedly don't know a TON about tennis. Federer absolutely has an argument for being the guy, no doubt about that. A very good argument, indeed. I just think Tiger has been better, that's all.

The same issues always arise about athletes in different sports. How is tennis tougher and more competitive than golf? I don't mean this in an attempt to badger, just an honest question of what your opinion is on the matter.

In my opinion, golf is pretty damn competitive because in each tournament (assuming it is stroke play, as almost every PGA tournament is) you are putting your score up against 125+ players, and you have to beat every single one of those players to win a tournament. That is pretty difficult to win consistently under that format.

Not to mention Tiger's margin of victory in most of these events over the years. His scores on what were considered some of the hardest courses in the world warranted course designers to start making them harder (Tiger-proofing) because of ONE PLAYER. That's pretty incredible.


December 16th, 2009 at 4:04 PM ^

You can be a successful golfer well into your 40s and 50s.. by that time in tennis, you're probably 15-20 years into your retirement. It's THAT tough.

Plus golf isn't very accessible, that's probably why you have such a dominant figure in Tiger. The competitive pool just isn't there. Sure.. Tennis isn't much better in that respect but it's still a lot more accessible than golf.. that's why it draws players from such an international base.

And in Tennis, you have to enter a tournament with 128 other players and win 7 consecutive head to heads in order to win a grand slam tournament. Try doing that consistently at the age of 23-24(Fed's best years).

Hell.. I think Pacquiao and Mayweather have more impressive resumes than Tiger Woods. Golf isn't a very athletically demanding sport.


December 16th, 2009 at 8:16 PM ^

I sure hope you have played golf cause i tell ya, for me, its the most difficult sport i have ever played and i consider myself a decent, well coordinated athlete, who has played football, rugby, tennis, wrestled, and volleyball with much greater success than i have had with golf. To me, there is no comparison between the 2 sports in terms of difficulty - golf is simply painfully humbling.

But the argument for Tiger could possibly be the influence he has had on the game itself. It seems to me that what he has done for the sport, in terms of raising its popularity and standing in the world (look at the recent Olympic inclusion which i would argue was based in large part what Tiger has done for the game) has something to do with it.

Also, he decided to remake his game even while in the midst of his greatest successes. Tore down his swing and rebuilt it mid-stride and didn't miss a beat.

Lastly, considering the flight of tennis from the national consciousness (and its minimization as a participatory venture) over the past couple of decades, it can be speculated that, without Woods or a Woods-like figure, golf might have suffered the same bleeding out of interest.

Now, should all of this matter? Should we just focus on what the athlete did on the court/course? Perhaps, but even then it would be extremely close between Federer and Tiger, in which case the intangibles favor Tiger so much much more - in my epinion.


December 16th, 2009 at 10:35 PM ^

me competing against a professional, but rather about the general difficulty of the 2 sports. Obviously i wouldn't be able to return a 120 mph swing, but the same can be said about the rest of us hitting a golf ball a couple of feet from the cup from 200 yards away on a consistent basis, while taking into account wind, temperature, green layout, and hole trajectory all at once.

From my perspective, an average athlete is more likely to be able to do better at tennis than he/she would at golf because of the amount of skill necessary to even start as a novice in golf. And this is not even taking into account the varying aspects of the game that must be mastered (long game, approach shots, and short game) in order to become "decent" at it.

Yes, tennis demands more athleticism than golf - hands down - but golf, to me, is far more challenging.

Blue in Yarmouth

December 17th, 2009 at 8:23 AM ^

I have played both sports for most of my life and I would disagree that golf is WAY more challanging than tennis. I have been an athlete my entire life and sports just come naturally to me. It has been my experience that tennis is every bit as difficult as golf.

I believe you are right that golf isn't really easy, but from a guy has played since he was 10 I can tell you that it isn't THAT hard to be good enough to enjoy it (sorry if this means that you aren't as good an athlete as you thought, but it is the truth).

Most people, after a year of playing the sport (in combination with getting lessons) can be quite good if they allow themselves to play at least 3 times per week.

I submit that it is a very difficult sport to be great at, but it isn't that hard to be good.

I am not saying tennis is any harder, but learning all the ins and outs of tennis are very difficult as well. The top spin, slice, serve, drop shot, the power, finness....to say it isn't nearly as difficult as golf says to me that you have tried to play both, but think that in order to be good at golf you need to shoot par or better, but to be able to be good at tennis all you need to do is hit the ball over the net.....It isn't as simple as that.


December 16th, 2009 at 2:54 PM ^

I don't think very many people realize how difficult it is to service so many women in so many different cities on successive weekends, and this doesn't even take into account his wife. To say Tiger has been an absolute stud is not overstating the case at all.

Exodus Prime

December 16th, 2009 at 4:30 PM ^

Not only is Tiger the Athlete of the decade, but he's also the Pimp/Player of the decade too. And according to well established "man laws" we as men have to respect him for that.

As far as Tiger vs Federer, all i have to say is. Who gives a shit about tennis.

At the end of the day how many men secretly wish they could be Tiger Woods. The money, ho's, clothes, and the lifestyle. Be honest with yourselfs.


December 16th, 2009 at 3:01 PM ^

Winner - longest fall from grace jump
Winner - 20yd driveway dash and smash
Winner - 200mm pole hiding
Winner - $1500 call girl vault
Winner - highest alimony race (beat Jordan by a mile!)
Winner - career-is-shot put
Winner - most Discus'ed scandal
Winner - golf club tantrum throw
Winner - duck the media hurdle
Winner - bimbo greco roman wrestling


December 16th, 2009 at 3:15 PM ^

I agree with Tiger but I think the others are debatable.

In the 2-5 slots, I'd sub in:

Albert Pujols (One WS, clear #1 in stats just about EVERY year, without Bonds he would have won 5-6 MVPs)

Kobe Bryant (4 NBA championships, 1 MVP, 1 finals MVP, leader of Redeem Team, 3 time ASG MVP, multiple first team All NBA, global superstar (remember how huge he was in China during the Olympics? He rivals Yao there), transformed into a team player)

Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. Stats wise you'd go Manning but Brady has the rings. Toss up here.

I'd keep Tiger #1 and put Federer at #2. Kobe probably #3, Pujols #4 and then one of the QBs at #5.

I leave Lance off b/c of the steroid scandal and Phelps off b/c of the fact that he had a couple of SICK olympics, but it doesn't make a decade.

[Edit: I love me some Tom Brady, but he won 3 championships to Kobe's 4 over the decade (yes, the 99-00 season counts for the NBA), he didn't play in 2000, he played mediocre in 2001, he topped 4000 yards twice, and 30 TDs once. He also had Belichick. He doesn't deserve to be higher than Kobe and it's really debatable on a guy like Pujols/Manning (stats over rings? tough call). I'd still probably take him over Manning though.]


December 16th, 2009 at 3:58 PM ^

your list makes no sense. the players you took off are the best ever at their respective sports, and became so this decade. The ones you put on aren't. Kobe isn't the greatest bball player ever, pujols isn't the greatest baseball player ever, brady and manning aren't even the greatest qb's ever, let alone football players. and when there are only 2 olympics in a decade and somebody dominates both of them, it does make it a decade of domination.

You're too Americanized. The sports you took off are played at a high level of competition all over the world and throughout the years foreigners have sometimes been the best at them. 2 of the 3 sports you added are truly only american sports ( i know america lost in bball 2 olympics ago, but that doesn't count) while the other one has the dominant league in america. there are other sports out there than the ones you watch every morning on sportscenter.


December 16th, 2009 at 4:29 PM ^

I didn't neg you, but I think those speak for themselves.

Armstrong, while a great, heartwarming story - probably took PEDs. And Phelps was dominant for a combined two weeks (two Olympics) this decade. That makes him the most dominant? I can tell you I've had a few good weeks this decade as well. Does that make me businessman of the decade? No.

Also, when cycling and swimming are considered sports in which "athletes" compete in - please let me know. Yes, I know both Armstrong and Phelps are ripped up like Rambo - but please...

And possibly most importantly, since when does "greatest ever" = "best of the decade"? It doesn't. So your entire argument is bunk.


December 16th, 2009 at 4:56 PM ^

What the fuck are you talking about? When you become greatest ever in a sport largely because of what you did in this decade, how does that not make you best of the decade? You make no sense whatsoever. lets see, armstrong finished 3rd in the tour while being 40 something and not cycling competitively for 2 years, while being tested. he obviosly didn't do PEDs. you don't have to be a genius to figure it out. And lets see, in between olympics are world championships, american championships, and other meets that he swam in and won.

I would just like to say you are a fucking moron. when the word athletic is used to describe a person, it means they are an athlete. get it? athlete......athletic? Are you saying that baseball players are better athletes than someone riding a bike 3-5 hours a day up mountains? Baseball players are the least athletic of the 4 major AMERICAN sports, they don't even compare to phelps and armstrong. Phelps was ingesting 13,000 calories a day while training because of how many he was burning swimming all day. I bet your fat ass doesn't even burn 13,000 in a month.

Sgt. Wolverine

December 16th, 2009 at 5:05 PM ^

Phelps was dominant for two weeks this decade? I don't even follow swimming and I know that's hilariously inaccurate. From five minutes on google, I discovered that he's been named World Swimmer of the Year six times this decade, and he's set numerous world records while winning quite a few medals -- mostly gold medals -- in international competition. His most publicized performances may have been in the Olympics, but that's not the only time he's dominated his sport.


December 16th, 2009 at 5:08 PM ^

Also, when cycling and swimming are considered sports in which "athletes" compete in - please let me know.


The Tour de France is possibly the toughest physical challenge of any sporting event in the world. And swimming is about as good an all-around physical workout as you can find.


December 16th, 2009 at 3:29 PM ^

While I am a huge Federer fan, and do not discount his dominance from 2004 until now (15 grand slams, 5 US Opens and Wimbledon titles in a row, 23 straight semifinal appearances in grand slam tourneys, 10 straight grand slam final appearances, longest consecutive streak at number 1, etc...), I have to give the nod to Tiger only because his dominance dates back to the beginning of the decade in 2000 while Feds began in 2004. With that said, you can't go wrong with either one.