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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    Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

    Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

    Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

    Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

    4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

    4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

    4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

    4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

    4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

    5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

    5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

    5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

    5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

    5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

    6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

    6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

    6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

    6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

    6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

    6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

    7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

    7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

    7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

    7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

    7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

    7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

    8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

    8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

    8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

    8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

    8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

    8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

    9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

    9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

    9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

    9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

    9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

    10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

    10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

    10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

    10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

    10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

    10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

    11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

    Getty Images

    Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

    He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

    “There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

    Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

    “I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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    Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

    Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

    Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

    “I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

    Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

    “It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

    More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

    “I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”

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    After 36, new Open favorite is ... Fleetwood

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 7:49 pm

    With a handful of the pre-championship favorites exiting early, there is a new odds-on leader entering the third round of The Open at Carnoustie.

    While Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner share the 36-hole lead, it's England's Tommy Fleetwood who leads the betting pack at 11/2. Fleetwood begins the third round one shot off the lead.

    Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at

    Tommy Fleetwood: 11/2

    Zach Johnson: 13/2

    Rory McIlroy: 7/1

    Jordan Spieth: 8/1

    Rickie Fowler: 9/1

    Kevin Kisner: 12/1

    Xander Schauffele: 16/1

    Tony Finau: 16/1

    Matt Kuchar: 18/1

    Pat Perez: 25/1

    Brooks Koepka: 25/1

    Erik van Rooyen: 50/1

    Alex Noren: 50/1

    Tiger Woods: 50/1

    Thorbjorn Olesen: 60/1

    Danny Willett: 60/1

    Francesco Molinari: 60/1