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
 
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