Readers Roger Great Tiger Better

By Mercer BaggsFebruary 1, 2007, 5:00 pm
The e-mail responses came in fast. And many of you were furious.
 
How dare I say that Roger Federer is more dominant than Tiger Woods?
 
Not all of the responses ' and they were aplenty ' were negative. Some of you actually agreed with me. Some but not many.
 
For the most part, many of you who responded to my Monday column felt that I was completely in the wrong to insinuate that Federer is more dominant in tennis than Woods is in golf.
 
Tiger Woods
According to the readers, there is no comparison between Tiger Woods and Roger Federer. (WireImage)
You have to be the biggest fool was the subject line in an e-mail from someone who goes by the moniker kcwizard.
 
Do you even play golf or tennis? Your logic is unbelievably stupid. This one was from either Richard or Kathryn Slaughter (Im going with Richard).
 
That was the entirety of the e-mail.
 
I thought I might have to live forever without knowing why Im such an idiot, but, fortunately, an anonymous reader filled me in: For you to entertain the thought that Federer's accomplishments are comparable to Tigers you must smoke a lot of pot.
 
Duuuuude. Not cool.
 
But, BY FAR, my favorite response was this one from Gary in Michigan: Your piece of woods vs. frederer is obsurb!!!! There is no comparison. When frederer puts away as many men as tiger, then hes better. Your writing for the wrong sport pal.
 
(Must ... refrain ... from ... wisecrack ...)
 
There are only two players in the game today who really get the golfing public this fired up: Tiger Woods and Michelle Wie. Whether you write or say something positive or negative or anywhere in between about either of these two, youre guaranteed to ignite a spark.
 
In the eyes and ears of many, if you write or speak glowingly about either one, youre a total suck up overflowing with bias. To others, if you dont give 100-percent praise to either one, then youre a racist or a sexist or filled with jealously.
 
For many, there is no middle ground.
 
Just ask a lady named Mary, who wrote: That is the MOST RIDICULOUS ARTICLE i have EVER read!!!! You must be very JEALOUS of TIGER!!!!!
 
Jealous? Whats there to be jealous of? Whats Tiger got that I dont have?
 
One e-mail I received, from somebody named Bob ' or was it Joe, as in Pesci? ' was so vile and laced with profanity that I felt like forwarding it to my pastor so that the two might have a much needed talk.
 
Speaking of souls, Marlin from Texas feels mine needs saving.
 
This is the first time I've witness someone attempt to belittle a golfer's accomplishments by comparing him with a tennis player, he wrote. May God bless you and your sick soul.
 
Perhaps I should once again clarify that the premise of my column was not to diminish any of Tigers accomplishments. Im truly in awe of what Woods has done and is doing. Ive seen him perform first-hand on a number of occasions and he never ceases to amaze. And in relation to the 9,354 articles Ive written on him this decade, Ive been called a Tiger lackey as many times as Ive been called a Tiger basher.
 
The purpose was to point out that while Tiger is clearly without peer in golf, there is an athlete in another sport who is as dominant as is he ' and, in my opinion, even a little more so.
 
Not everyone who disagreed with me did so in an abrasive manner. In fact, many of you were complimentary of the articles subject; you just had a different view point.
 
And thats fine. Thats actually much appreciated. My opinion is mine alone. Not right or wrong. Not reflective of the company or anyone else. Just my thoughts.
 
And, as Ive said before, if you take the time to read my thoughts, I always enjoy reading yours ' particularly when they are presented in an intelligent and civil manner.
 
Like the one from Steve Irwin in Newcastle, England: I enjoyed your article & agree that they are without equal in their respective sports, however, being a keen golfer I would side with Woods - my main argument - and I believe it is a strong argument - is missing from your reasoning - every single shot in golf (stroke play) counts. '
 
Or this one from Dan Cole: You did not consider how Tiger elevated golf to another level of world attention and money while Federer has not done so. That counts for something!
 
Or this one from Peter Hall: With all due respect to your opinion and to Mr. Federer (who I think is tremendous), to even suggest that Federer is Woods' equal is absurd.
 
Absurd? I don't even know what that means, Mr. Hall .... oh, wait, you meant to say obsurb. Now I got it.
 
Im pretty sure that theyll both end up by being considered the best ever in their sports, but Tigers legacy will be truly beyond compare, wrote Greg Garza. Of course, thats just my opinion. I could be wrong.
 
Its not wrong, Greg; its just a differing sentiment than mine. And, despite everyones best efforts and ' for the most part ' wonderful logic, that opinion has not changed.
 
Listen, I realize ' as many, many, many of you pointed out ' you cant truly compare tennis and golf. They are played under different rules and under totally different conditions. Theres more luck involved in golf than there is in tennis. Federer can impose his will on a player; Tiger has to ultimately defeat the course. There have been more dominant players in tennis history than there have been in golf.
 
Its, and I hope I never, ever have to hear this analogy again, apples and oranges (or, like Mike Ritter wrote: Your article was like mixing green apples and asparagus. Both are green but that's where it stops.).
 
Some felt it was a shame to compare two athletes from different sports. But, as loyal reader Richard from Muncie, Ind., pointed out, golf and tennis are the only individual sports left with mass appeal.
 
And when you see what Federer is doing at the moment in tennis, you realize that its quite comparable to what Woods is doing in golf. The basis of the column had plenty of merit in my mind (though, my judgment may be a bit, uh, clouded, what with all the dope I smoke).
 
Plus, how many different ways can you glorify Tigers accomplishments? How many times can you compare him to legends of the past? How many times can you write the same old story on Tiger Woods? And would you really want to read a column about Fred Funks victory on the Champions Tour?
 
Regardless of whether or not you agreed with me, disagreed with me, or felt that I deserved to be treated like Mel Gibson at the end of Braveheart, Id like to thank everyone who wrote in.
 
I try and write back to each reader on an individual basis, but when you get a response this voluminous, it makes it quite difficult to do so. And, when you get a response that is this passionate, it deserves its own column.
 
This is just to let you know that I appreciate and respect your opinions; and that those of you who think I have the IQ of Ernest T. Bass, you are not alone.
 
Now, on to my next column: Why Tiger Woods is great, but Floyd Mayweather, Jr. is a bit better.
 
Email your thoughts to Mercer Baggs
 
Related Links:
  • Baggs: Tiger's Great, but Federer's a Bit Better
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.