Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Is Tiger the Most Dominant Athlete Ever?

Dean Barnett asks that question. The answer has to be, Depends on how you define "dominance."

Different sports have different capacities for dominance. Basketball, for instance, has a very high capacity for it. Players like Bill Russell and Michael Jordan were able to total strangle the sport for years at a time. Tennis has a similarly high capacity, where a single player can sometimes win three of the four majors in a year. Football and baseball have almost no capacity for dominance because they involve so many players--the best QB or pitcher in the history of the games can't do more than get their teams to a couple playoff appearances by themselves.

Until Tiger, gold appeared to be a sport with a relatively low capacity for dominance for a different reason: the fickleness of the game, which meant that no player could really hope to beat the field every time out. Too many things can go wrong in a round of golf.

So it depends. Has Tiger been more dominant than Roger Federer? No. Than Jordan? No. But because he's doing what he's doing in a sport that has never been dominated, then surely that counts for something. Thoughts?

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