Friday, September 15, 2006
The Great Debate
Tiger is 30 years old, and he was born in Cypress, California. His birth name is Eldrick, which is one of the weirdest names I've ever heard. He turned pro in 1996.
Federer is 25 years old and was born in Basel, Switzerland. Federer turned pro in 1998.
The better tennis players in the world have about a 15-20 year window for their pro careers, while golfers tend to be able to get significantly more time out of a career. For example, Vijay Singh turned pro in 1982 and is still one of the top players in the world. So we have to make comparisons based on where they are now, rather than where they will be in the future. We'll also have to assume that each sport has the same degree of difficulty, requires the same amount of athleticism, etc. (even though fat people can play golf but not tennis).
Money/Rank: Both players lead the '06 money list rankings in their respective sports. Federer is poised to finish at the top of the list for the 4th time in 8 years (and for the 4th straight time). Tiger should finish at the top for the 7th time in 11 years. In his first 8 years, Tiger finished first 5 times, one more than Federer did in his first 8. That's a pretty even way to compare them, right? Slight edge to Tiger. It should be noted, though that Federer is probably hotter today after winning the US Open, while Tiger got bounced from Match Play in the first round.
Majors/Grand Slams: Tiger has won 12 majors (2nd all-time incl. 4 Masters, 2 US Open, 3 Open, 3 PGA) in 46 appearances (26% win rate). He finished in the top 5 20/46 times in majors. Federer has 9 Grand Slams in 30 appearances (30% win rate). As Tiger does not relinquish the lead in the final day of a tournament, Federer is just as clutch, going 9-1 in Grand Slam Finals. Edge goes to Federer because he has had 2 less pro seasons, and his success rate is slightly more watered down because of this, yet is still higher in terms of % (the first 2 years of being pro often is met with less success).
Pro Wins: Federer owns 41 singles titles, including 27 on hard courts, but just 5 on clay, Rafael "Girly Man" Nadal has dominated the clay over the past few years. Tiger has 53 career wins, and does excel on longer courses, however, does not have any real perceived weaknesses when it comes to the type of course he plays. If you projected Federer's wins over two more years, they would be almost exactly equal. The edge, however, must go to Tiger simply because the clay court specialist Nadal has kept Federer from total domination.
Federer has the third longest streak at #1 in the world...and counting. He was the first since 1988 to win 3 Slams in one year. He is the only player ever to win both the US Open and Wimbledon three consecutive times ('04-'06)...and counting. He was the youngest player ever ranked in the top 100. He is the first player ever to win 4 Masters Titles in a year. He and Agassi are the only players ever to win all 7 major hard court championships. First player ever to win a Masters Final 6-0, 6-0. Has share of record for most Grand Slam semis appearances. Tied an "open era" record by winning his first four Grand Slam Finals appearances, and then added three more to the record. He's the only player to win 10 titles in a season without losing a final. Seriously, I'm sick of reading these, check out the link at the bottom of this page for more.
Tiger is the highest paid athlete in the world. When Tiger won the Masters (his first win ever) it was by a record 12 strokes. He was atop the world rankings for a record 264 consecutive weeks and owns more weeks at the top spot than anyone ever. His win by 15 at the '00 US Open at Pebble Beach broke a nearly 150 year old record. In all four majors, Tiger has at least a share of the record low score. Broke the consecutive cuts record of 113 and extended it to 142. First player ever to win two majors in consecutive years. Again, for more check out the link at the bottom.
Really, I'm overwhelmed at this point. How can you even quantify these achievements? I can't believe how close these two are in respect to dominating their sports. I will say that Tiger has no rival, and thus may be slightly more above the competition in his sport, however, his edge over Federer is slim. Federer shows no signs of letting up, and had they experienced the same number of pro seasons so far, Federer may look even better. Final edge is to Tiger, barely.
Much of this information is courtesy of Wilkipedia: TIGER FEDERER
Please share your thoughts, tell me how little I know about golf and tennis, etc.
First, you're right when you say Tiger has no rival. But this doesn't reflect the depth of his competition; rather, it shows just how truly dominant he is. Golf's talent pool is infintely deeper than tennis'. And in a more shallow talent pool, Federer has a distinct rival in Mr. Capri Pants, who has had success against Federer on clay. That, to me, shows Tiger is more dominant in his sport.
Plus, it is immeasurably harder to win a gold tournament than it is to win a tennis tournament. In tennis, you play, what - six players? You just have to be better than six or so players. But in golf, you have to beat EVERY SINGLE PLAYER. One guy gets hot, you'r done. In tennis, that isn't the case; you can avoid players on a roll. Which is why The Tiger Slam and Tiger rolling off five tourney wins in a row is so impressive: he was better than everyone in his sport for such an extended period of time.
It looks close on paper, but when you really examine it, Tiger is head and shoulders above Federer - and pretty much anyone else in sports, for that matter. At least to me.
Don't confuse Tiger's incredible ability with a lack of competition. Phil, Vijay, Ernie, and even Duval in the late 90's are all amazing golfers that would've won a ton of majors, had it not been for Tiger. Just because Tiger is so dominant that he laps the field doesn't mean his competition is weak, it just means he's that much better.
And as anyone who has ever played golf can tell you, a 10 handicap can go out and shoot even par every once in a while, and a scratch golfer can shoot a 90 just as easy. There are so many mpore aspects that can cause you to lose a golf game than a tennis match.
And plus Nike never did an "I am Roger Federer" campaign...
As far the the nadal arguement goes, federer is more consistant overall (as evidence by the U.S. Open.) Anyone that saw Federer completely dominate the competition including a rejuvinated andy roddick in the final saw just how incredible of a player he is.
that being said i still think tiger is more dominant because of the amount of competetion he is forced up to go against. That was a great point brought up "point23" and i completely agree with it. Also Tiger can bench over 350 which makes him such a badass.
I heard Federer threw that Cincinnati Open (or whatever its called) match to prep for the US Open, but also broke a consecutive win streak in the process, kind of a weird event that wasn't publicised too much.
Second, i think embedded in this is also a comparison of golf versus tennis as sports. i think federer is a better athlete than tiget. i think that if you took both of them away from their sports and made them play basketball or football, federer would win.
however, i think golf is a MUCH harder sport and that tiger's dominance is even more impressive. so many successful athletes (ex. michael jordan) try to become respectable golfer's in their retirement and fail. golf may be the toughest sport to be skilled at: its the longest course, with the smallest goal and smallest ball, and you can't use your hands. people can play for a lifetime and never get to be great.
federer could be one of the most skilled tennis players ever, but ultimately because of the nature of the sport, a younger, quicker, more athletic star will emerge and dethrone him.
tiger will dominate golf for the next 30 years and have a legacy that dwarves any athlete in any other sport... maybe ever.
as to comments about tiger losing to people outside of the top ten, it happens. there's more factors in golf that affect a round than in tennis, so you'll have that sometimes. as another example, and maybe this isn't a great example, but look at poker pros that lose on the first day of the main event. is daniel negreneau less impressive a player because some amateur knocks him off occasionly? personally, i don't think so.