2019 Masters

SoxJox

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 22, 2003
3,616
Rock > SoxJox < Hard Place
Woods 15. Nicklaus 18. I can maybe see a sliver of a potential for 3 more for Tiger. But honestly, I doubt it. The field has simply become so much more competitive. Just look at this Masters to see proof. Many, many players in it with Tiger not having to wait for one to fade or to overtake one, but several in either instance.

And the thing that has always blown me away about Jack - 18 second-place finishes. That's Tiger X 3. 19 if you include Nicklaus' 2nd place as an amateur at the 1960 US Open. Nicklaus...48..that's 48 top 3 finishes. That's Tiger X 2.
 
Last edited:

FL4WL3SS

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2006
10,917
Andy Brickley's potty mouth
Woods 15. Nicklaus 18. I can maybe see a sliver of a potential for 3 more for Tiger. But honestly, I doubt it. The field has simply become so much more competitive. Just look at this Masters to see proof. Many, many players in it with Tiger not having to wait for one to fade or to overtake one, but several in either instance.

And the thing that has always blown me away about Jack - 18 second-place finishes. That's Tiger X 3. 19 if you include Nicklaus' 2nd place as an amateur at the 1960 US Open. Nicklaus...48..that's 48 top 3 finishes. That's Tiger X 2.
Tiger could easily have 3 in the past year, don't put it past him.
 

SoFloSoxFan

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 14, 2005
1,736
I have been hiding in a cave all day avoiding spoilers. I just finished watching this. So enjoyable. Now the Celtics game...
 

Don Bradman

Member
SoSH Member
May 20, 2010
387
Jack finished T6 the year after that! Can you imagine Tiger posting a Top 10 in the 2034 Masters, when he's 58 like Jack was in 1998?
Given the consistent performance of Couples, Langer, and Watson at post-50 majors, why not? Tiger's a better athlete than all of them and if he stays healthy and has the desire he can compete as long as he wants to.
 
Sep 10, 2017
374
Best part about the Jack calls is the fact he pulls a Yaz, hits the ceremonial tee shot on Thursday but no way is he around for the finish even though he'd get the royal treatment all weekend. Immediately goes overseas on a fishing trip.
 

bosockboy

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
10,229
St. Louis, MO
Given the consistent performance of Couples, Langer, and Watson at post-50 majors, why not? Tiger's a better athlete than all of them and if he stays healthy and has the desire he can compete as long as he wants to.
Watson had a major on his putter at 59. Tiger might have 4-6 more in him.

This is like a pitcher learning to succeed at 90-91 when he dominated with 98. Tiger won with guile.
 

Detts

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2005
4,372
Greenville, SC
We all win when Tiger is wearing a red Mock on Sunday while fucking with the guy(s) in his pairing by standing in their LoS while they are putting.
 

ConigliarosPotential

Well-Known Member
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
Given the consistent performance of Couples, Langer, and Watson at post-50 majors, why not? Tiger's a better athlete than all of them and if he stays healthy and has the desire he can compete as long as he wants to.
With his back issues, I really can't imagine Tiger playing on the Senior Tour or desiring to remain competitive until he's 58. But after yesterday, very little would surprise me anymore.
 

Average Reds

Dope
Staff member
Dope
V&N Mod
SoSH Member
Sep 24, 2007
24,822
Southwestern CT
I think he's referring to the shot at the end of the broadcast?
He is. This is the shot, juxtaposing the hug with his sun and the hug with his father 22 years ago. (There's a lot of these flying around, so maybe this is not the exact shot from the broadcast, but this is the gist.):

 

terrynever

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 25, 2005
14,689
pawtucket
Given the consistent performance of Couples, Langer, and Watson at post-50 majors, why not? Tiger's a better athlete than all of them and if he stays healthy and has the desire he can compete as long as he wants to.
My brother’s back surgeon saysTiger’s fusion surgery is good for about five years of high-stress professional golf.
 

Comfortably Lomb

Koko the Monkey
SoSH Member
Feb 22, 2004
9,665
Ralph's Diner
Watson had a major on his putter at 59. Tiger might have 4-6 more in him.
Speaking of Watson, Tiger’s body language yesterday reminded me quite a bit of Watson at Turnberry in ‘09. Totally calm and workmanlike. Sort of aware of the moment but able to leverage experience to stay in control throughout the round.
 

cshea

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 15, 2006
21,762
306, row 14
He was up to his old tricks. I don’t think he spoke a word to anyone other than Joey. He walked ahead of his playing partners all day. On 12, after Molinari and Finau both rinsed their tee shots Tiger walked up to the green, marked his ball and stood off to the side but sure as shit made sure he was in their sight as they dropped and hit their 3rd. He did the same when Frankie was hitting his 3rd shot on 15.

Yesterday was so amazing, I’m still kind of in disbelief. I thought he was done for good when he withdrew from the Abu Dhabi event in 2017, and now he’s just won another Masters. He’s in the conversation for best player in the world over the course of the last 16 months since he came back (It’s probably Molinari and Brooks, then Tiger? Maybe Rose and DJ?). Sky feels like the limit. Things set up nicely. Bethpage and Pebble up next. I think the Open will always be one that is in his wheelhouse.
 

Zomp

Dope
Dope
Aug 28, 2006
11,282
The Slums of Shaolin
I think Bethpage will be interesting. He did win there in his prime but he's a much different golfer now and I don't think he can overpower the course.

He won this week by being the smartest golfer there. Everyone sad for a long time that Augusta was a bomber's course but really its a shot makers course. You need to know where to leave the ball to attack pins, know where to miss, etc...

I like his odds a lot more at Pebble than I do at Bethpage. I could see someone like Koepka or DJ overpowering the PGA
 

bosox4283

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 2, 2004
3,815
Philadelphia
Woods 15. Nicklaus 18. I can maybe see a sliver of a potential for 3 more for Tiger. But honestly, I doubt it. The field has simply become so much more competitive. Just look at this Masters to see proof. Many, many players in it with Tiger not having to wait for one to fade or to overtake one, but several in either instance.

And the thing that has always blown me away about Jack - 18 second-place finishes. That's Tiger X 3. 19 if you include Nicklaus' 2nd place as an amateur at the 1960 US Open. Nicklaus...48..that's 48 top 3 finishes. That's Tiger X 2.
Is there any statistics that speak to the quality of today's competition? I sense that today's tour has more talent than ever, but I'd like to see if there is any evidence to support it.
 

Comfortably Lomb

Koko the Monkey
SoSH Member
Feb 22, 2004
9,665
Ralph's Diner
We don’t know how the PGA will set up Bethpage yet either. If it’s more like a normal PGA it won’t have the same teeth as it did for the Opens there. Probably more in line with a tough tour setup rather than crazy USGA setup, but that’s still Tiger’s wheelhouse.
 

Comfortably Lomb

Koko the Monkey
SoSH Member
Feb 22, 2004
9,665
Ralph's Diner
Is there any statistics that speak to the quality of today's competition? I sense that today's tour has more talent than ever, but I'd like to see if there is any evidence to support it.
Well, it looks like it does but maybe only because Tiger isn’t gobbling up all the majors and there are a few young guys with more than one as a result? It’s definitely a different feeling tour for sure. Especially since players are peaking younger (due to power being emphasized?).
 

Number45forever

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 16, 2003
1,938
Vermont
Tiger was first in shots gained: approach during the Masters. He's still, by far, the best iron player in the world. He's been right up there in that stat virtually every tournament for the last year. When he pairs that with a good driving week and a decent putting week, he can absolutely win 3-5 more majors. Augusta is a second-shot course and Tiger will be a factor here for a long time.

Plus, Tiger is smarter and more patient than anyone else. Middle of the green on 12 instead of flag hunting. Middle of the green on 15. Left of the flag on 13.

That was so fucking cool to watch. Tiger!!
 

Dehere

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 25, 2010
3,115
Hard to put yesterday into words. For a number of years I’ve thought that someday, while my dad is still healthy enough to get around the course, I should just swallow hard and get us a couple badges for Masters Sunday on the secondary market. A few months back I decided this would be the year and I picked one up for my brother as well, and then my cousin bit the bullet and bought one for himself to make us four.

At the beginning of the week I would have been satisfied if Tiger made the cut and if even *most* of Sunday’s round was completed. It’s been a long time since I obsessed over a weather forecast like this. As the week went on we gradually allowed our hopes to go higher. Tiger’s going to make the cut, imagine if he actually contends? What if he gets to 12 with a chance? What if he’s in the final group? As each hurdle was cleared the weekend became more and more unreal.

If you’ve ever been to a major you know that you simply can’t see everything. If you commit to seeing a group come through a certain hole you’re going to miss at least one adjacent hole. We were incredibly lucky to catch a lot of Tiger’s pivotal holes. The birdie on 3, the huge putt for birdie on 8, basically all of Amen Corner from the par save on 11 through the incredible drama of 12 and up to the drive on 14. Walking from 14 tee where we saw Mickelson’s group hit down to the area behind 12 tee to catch Tiger was a ridiculously heightened feeling. I feel like I’ve been to a good number of big events over the years but I was really overcome by this feeling of: holy fuck this is really Amen Corner on Masters Sunday.

After seeing Tiger hit on 14 we then staked out 16 tee and missed everything on 15 but had a good view of what was probably the shot of the tournament. Left 16 before the tap in and got to 17 green where we had a good look at what proved to be a crucial approach and par. Had a great look at 18 tee then tried to hustle up to 18 green where.....we couldn’t see shit. Stood on the slope between the green and clubhouse, heard the roar, chanted Ti-ger Ti-ger, and watched him come by. Although ANGC had announced no putting green ceremony we headed over there anyway and the presence of two dozen photographers signaled that it might be worth hanging around. Only maybe 200 people did the same and when he came out to put on the jacket and hold the trophy for the cameras it was a special moment in an incredible day.

Not to be too grand about it but for me a day like yesterday validates why we care about sports at all. It was *everything* that makes it worthwhile: great talent performing at the highest level, high drama, indescribable collective energy, and most of all, just being there with people who are important to you. I’m sure that if I had grown up obsessed with theater or jazz or something else that other thing would have paid off in some kind of transcendent moments, but leaving Augusta yesterday I felt like there’s just nothing in the world like sports at the very highest level. I’ll carry this day around with me for a long, long time.

Tiger Woods is the Masters champion, we were there to see it, and time is no longer undefeated.
 

PC Drunken Friar

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 12, 2003
9,381
South Boston
Hard to put yesterday into words. For a number of years I’ve thought that someday, while my dad is still healthy enough to get around the course, I should just swallow hard and get us a couple badges for Masters Sunday on the secondary market. A few months back I decided this would be the year and I picked one up for my brother as well, and then my cousin bit the bullet and bought one for himself to make us four.

At the beginning of the week I would have been satisfied if Tiger made the cut and if even *most* of Sunday’s round was completed. It’s been a long time since I obsessed over a weather forecast like this. As the week went on we gradually allowed our hopes to go higher. Tiger’s going to make the cut, imagine if he actually contends? What if he gets to 12 with a chance? What if he’s in the final group? As each hurdle was cleared the weekend became more and more unreal.

If you’ve ever been to a major you know that you simply can’t see everything. If you commit to seeing a group come through a certain hole you’re going to miss at least one adjacent hole. We were incredibly lucky to catch a lot of Tiger’s pivotal holes. The birdie on 3, the huge putt for birdie on 8, basically all of Amen Corner from the par save on 11 through the incredible drama of 12 and up to the drive on 14. Walking from 14 tee where we saw Mickelson’s group hit down to the area behind 12 tee to catch Tiger was a ridiculously heightened feeling. I feel like I’ve been to a good number of big events over the years but I was really overcome by this feeling of: holy fuck this is really Amen Corner on Masters Sunday.

After seeing Tiger hit on 14 we then staked out 16 tee and missed everything on 15 but had a good view of what was probably the shot of the tournament. Left 16 before the tap in and got to 17 green where we had a good look at what proved to be a crucial approach and par. Had a great look at 18 tee then tried to hustle up to 18 green where.....we couldn’t see shit. Stood on the slope between the green and clubhouse, heard the roar, chanted Ti-ger Ti-ger, and watched him come by. Although ANGC had announced no putting green ceremony we headed over there anyway and the presence of two dozen photographers signaled that it might be worth hanging around. Only maybe 200 people did the same and when he came out to put on the jacket and hold the trophy for the cameras it was a special moment in an incredible day.

Not to be too grand about it but for me a day like yesterday validates why we care about sports at all. It was *everything* that makes it worthwhile: great talent performing at the highest level, high drama, indescribable collective energy, and most of all, just being there with people who are important to you. I’m sure that if I had grown up obsessed with theater or jazz or something else that other thing would have paid off in some kind of transcendent moments, but leaving Augusta yesterday I felt like there’s just nothing in the world like sports at the very highest level. I’ll carry this day around with me for a long, long time.

Tiger Woods is the Masters champion, we were there to see it, and time is no longer undefeated.
Chills. Thanks for sharing. Now I feel like an inadequate son.
 

InstaFace

MDLzera
Sep 27, 2016
7,573
Good conversation for a new thread....is Tiger the most popular athlete is sports history? Not sure there’s another way to view it.
I think he's dwarfed by, in no particular order, Jordan, Babe Ruth, Jim Thorpe, Joe Montana, Messi, Pele, Mohammad Ali, Jesse Owens, etc, even if we agreed on some objective measure (i.e. by Q rating + favorability) for which we would not have meaningful data for a lot of them.

In the tiny niche of the american public that cares about golf, he of course has no equal and may never have had an equal in golf history. His personal earnings are reflective of the demographics of that niche. But compared with even the major NFL stars of years past, to say nothing of individual-sport superstars who were the universally-admired face of their sport, I think he's still far short.
 

Dernells Casket n Flagon

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 24, 2008
3,525
I think he's dwarfed by, in no particular order, Jordan, Babe Ruth, Jim Thorpe, Joe Montana, Messi, Pele, Mohammad Ali, Jesse Owens, etc, even if we agreed on some objective measure (i.e. by Q rating + favorability) for which we would not have meaningful data for a lot of them.

In the tiny niche of the american public that cares about golf, he of course has no equal and may never have had an equal in golf history. His personal earnings are reflective of the demographics of that niche. But compared with even the major NFL stars of years past, to say nothing of individual-sport superstars who were the universally-admired face of their sport, I think he's still far short.
Outside of the few modern soccer stars, Jordan and maybe Ali, it's ridiculous to say that Tiger is dwarfed by any of these people. Golf is the 10th most popular spectator sport in the world and is one of the sports that actually has a global audience as opposed to just a couple of countries. Tiger had the undisputed greatest run of any golfer and did it in modern times when it could be watched globally. Ruth would have been followed only by baseball fans by newspaper only in the US which had a population of about 100M people at the time. No one outside of the US cares about American Football players. Track and Field athletes are noticeable for an exceptional short period of time.
 

InstaFace

MDLzera
Sep 27, 2016
7,573
Outside of the few modern soccer stars, Jordan and maybe Ali, it's ridiculous to say that Tiger is dwarfed by any of these people. Golf is the 10th most popular spectator sport in the world and is one of the sports that actually has a global audience as opposed to just a couple of countries. Tiger had the undisputed greatest run of any golfer and did it in modern times when it could be watched globally. Ruth would have been followed only by baseball fans by newspaper only in the US which had a population of about 100M people at the time. No one outside of the US cares about American Football players. Track and Field athletes are noticeable for an exceptional short period of time.
You're basically moving the goalposts to address each example in turn. Are we talking about "most popular" in terms of US or global following? Are we talking as a percentage of the population or just sheer quantity of humans? Are we accounting for extent to which someone is viewed positively and can use their platform to speak about societal issues (see e.g. Lebron) and generate endorsement dollars, or mere name recognition? Are we talking at their peak, or over some particular range of time representing their peak career years, or the entirety of their career or post-career life and buzz (and in the latter case it's obviously Pele). We can pick one frame to discuss the issue in, but we can't keep shifting that definition around so that it casts one counterexample in a bad light and then pretend we didn't do that to dismiss a different counterexample.

Tiger Woods is an icon whose popularity transcends sports, but he's far from alone in that. I don't have data on personal popularity, but we might start by comparing yesterday's TV ratings to, say, the 2016 NBA Finals (GSW vs Lebron), or any of Jordan's Finals, or the medal rounds of the Olympics performances for any of the iconic figures we're talking about. That'd be interesting to see.
 

Kliq

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 31, 2013
9,542
TV ratings would be a terrible way to compare popularity, since major events already have a built-in audience. Kylian Mbappe isn't more popular than Ronaldo because the World Cup Final got a bigger rating than any Ronaldo match.

I'm not sure Tiger is the most universally beloved athlete of all-time, but I'd say he is in the conversation due to dominating a sport that is played on a global level. He certainly isn't dwarfed by Joe Montana or Jim Thorpe, who I bet 90 percent of Americans couldn't pick out of a lineup.
 

InstaFace

MDLzera
Sep 27, 2016
7,573
Most Americans today, sure. Joe Montana in 1988, or Jim Thorpe in 1913 or 1922? Not so sure. How would Babe Ruth among americans in 1927 compare to Tiger Woods today? Ali in 1971 or 1974? Information went around slower, but there was also less of it so it was shared knowledge among a greater fraction of the population.

Popularity has a few dimensions to it, too, that defy easy judgment here. One is awareness, but another is approval (perhaps even rooting interest), and still another is admiration (and being viewed as a role model). Tiger in 2008 may well have been far more popular than he became after his personal-life issues came to light, despite most of us here (myself included) being quite ready to forgive him that and not changing our opinion substantially. So, again, it depends on what parameters you're choosing. Peak US dollar-value marketability for a (say) 5-year period 2000-2005, where he's the subject of extended comedy bits from e.g. Robin Williams, he may very well win that question. Globally, I think there are probably at least 10 soccer stars ahead of him no matter how you measure. Number of humans who admire him? Sachin Tendulkar probably tops him at all points in time, including today 6 years after Tendulkar's full retirement.

Point is, you've got to put a stake in the ground about what the parameters are, or we'd always be talking past each other.
 

bosockboy

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
10,229
St. Louis, MO
Put another way: most people generally root for the little guy, the underdog. Tiger makes nearly everyone root for THE FAVORITE.
It’s like the whole country rooting for Duke.

He did some horrible personal things and treated women like cattle. AMERICA DOESN'T CARE.

He’s a Trumper. NO ONE CARES.

He’s in an individual sport which is a bit of a different animal, but there is no way LeBron or anyone touches him in popularity.

Ali is probably closest ever, but a large faction hated him for dodging the draft.
 

kenneycb

Hates Goose Island Beer; Loves Backdoor Play
SoSH Member
Dec 2, 2006
12,542
Tuukka's refugee camp
The final round was down 11% from last year. Most of that I imagine is due to the leaders teeing off 5 hours earlier in the day, which basically destroyed the West Coast viewership.
 

kenneycb

Hates Goose Island Beer; Loves Backdoor Play
SoSH Member
Dec 2, 2006
12,542
Tuukka's refugee camp
Most Americans today, sure. Joe Montana in 1988, or Jim Thorpe in 1913 or 1922? Not so sure. How would Babe Ruth among americans in 1927 compare to Tiger Woods today? Ali in 1971 or 1974? Information went around slower, but there was also less of it so it was shared knowledge among a greater fraction of the population.

Popularity has a few dimensions to it, too, that defy easy judgment here. One is awareness, but another is approval (perhaps even rooting interest), and still another is admiration (and being viewed as a role model). Tiger in 2008 may well have been far more popular than he became after his personal-life issues came to light, despite most of us here (myself included) being quite ready to forgive him that and not changing our opinion substantially. So, again, it depends on what parameters you're choosing. Peak US dollar-value marketability for a (say) 5-year period 2000-2005, where he's the subject of extended comedy bits from e.g. Robin Williams, he may very well win that question. Globally, I think there are probably at least 10 soccer stars ahead of him no matter how you measure. Number of humans who admire him? Sachin Tendulkar probably tops him at all points in time, including today 6 years after Tendulkar's full retirement.

Point is, you've got to put a stake in the ground about what the parameters are, or we'd always be talking past each other.
My god can you relax a little around a typically barroom sports argument.
 

TheoShmeo

Skrub's sympathy case
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
12,783
Boston, NY
My god can you relax a little around a typically barroom sports argument.
Are you new here? I mean, I know you’re not. So...are you suffering from short term amnesia?

Unrelaxed sports arguments are a specialty item around here.
 

coremiller

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 14, 2005
3,992
In a global sense, I think there is a big four of Ali, Pele, Messi, and Jordan (that would be my order, although we could quibble about the three after Ali), and then maybe Tiger is in the next tier. As big as Tiger is, there's just a limit to how big a golfer who doesn't have a lot a significance outside his sport can get. Golf is a global sport in that it's played by the upper classes all over the world, but with the possible exception of Scotland nowhere is it a sport of the masses in the way that soccer is and boxing can be (or used to be). And Ali's significance, of course, transcended sport altogether in a way that no other athlete ever has globally (maybe Jackie Robinson did as well purely domestically, but certainly not globally).
 

The Needler

lurker
Dec 7, 2016
1,486
Most Americans today, sure. Joe Montana in 1988, or Jim Thorpe in 1913 or 1922? Not so sure. How would Babe Ruth among americans in 1927 compare to Tiger Woods today? Ali in 1971 or 1974?
Good God, are you seriously doubling down on the Joe Montana nonsense? Not only was he not the most popular athlete in the world, or the US at that time, he wasn’t even the most popular athlete in his sport, or on his team. Dan Marino was a much bigger name among the general public. (Largely because of his TV commercials, which Montana notably had very few if any of.)

I have to assume you either aren’t old enough to have remembered the NFL then, or you’re among the 1 out of 3 kids in the Bay Area who liked Montana more than Rice.
 

bosockboy

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
10,229
St. Louis, MO
Good God, are you seriously doubling down on the Joe Montana nonsense? Not only was he not the most popular athlete in the world, or the US at that time, he wasn’t even the most popular athlete in his sport, or on his team. Dan Marino was a much bigger name among the general public. (Largely because of his TV commercials, which Montana notably had very few if any of.)

I have to assume you either aren’t old enough to have remembered the NFL then, or you’re among the 1 out of 3 kids in the Bay Area who liked Montana more than Rice.
I don’t agree on Montana in regard to Tiger, but you’re overdoing it. Montana won two Super Bowls before Rice came around. He executed the most famous play of the decade (The Catch) and was definitely the most recognized NFL player of the 80’s. He’s just not Tiger.
 

The Needler

lurker
Dec 7, 2016
1,486
I don’t agree on Montana in regard to Tiger, but you’re overdoing it. Montana won two Super Bowls before Rice came around. He executed the most famous play of the decade (The Catch) and was definitely the most recognized NFL player of the 80’s. He’s just not Tiger.
I’m not questioning his credentials, I’m remembering his popularity. Which was never that big. He never had any charisma, and just didn’t move the needle that way.
 

loshjott

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
Dec 30, 2004
7,815
Silver Spring, MD
I was having an argument with myself after the Super Bowl who the most popular (i.e., well known, not most liked) active American athletes are. After Brady, LeBron, and Steph Curry, I was wracking my brains to think of others in the same stratosphere. I hate to admit that Tiger Woods didn't even come up in my imaginary argument. And come to think of it, neither did Serena Williams...

Brady and Tiger have to be top 2 after yesterday, with LeBron and Serena 3 and 4 in some order. And Curry 5th.
 
Last edited:

TFisNEXT

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 21, 2005
10,803
Just as interesting, his last win prior in 2005:
http://www.augusta.com/masters/historic/leaderboards/2005

All but a couple long gone. Mickelson, Poulter and a couple others.
Adam Scott among those couple others.

These leaderboards show just how hard it is to remain relevant in golf for more than 8-12 years. Most of the all time greats seem to show up again in their late 40s and 50s at some point (i.e. Watson '09, Nicklaus '98, Greg Norman '08, etc)

I'd expect Tiger to show up like them if his back holds up.
 

RedOctober3829

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
38,254
deep inside Guido territory
Adam Scott among those couple others.

These leaderboards show just how hard it is to remain relevant in golf for more than 8-12 years. Most of the all time greats seem to show up again in their late 40s and 50s at some point (i.e. Watson '09, Nicklaus '98, Greg Norman '08, etc)

I'd expect Tiger to show up like them if his back holds up.
I expect Tiger to never leave relevancy on the top of the leaderboard in his 40's and even early 50's as long as he remains healthy.
 

InstaFace

MDLzera
Sep 27, 2016
7,573
Put another way: most people generally root for the little guy, the underdog. Tiger makes nearly everyone root for THE FAVORITE.
It’s like the whole country rooting for Duke.
You definitely nailed the most extraordinary part of his popularity. Roger Federer has a similar effect on people in tennis, but it is definitely very rare to see.

In a global sense, I think there is a big four of Ali, Pele, Messi, and Jordan (that would be my order, although we could quibble about the three after Ali), and then maybe Tiger is in the next tier. As big as Tiger is, there's just a limit to how big a golfer who doesn't have a lot a significance outside his sport can get. Golf is a global sport in that it's played by the upper classes all over the world, but with the possible exception of Scotland nowhere is it a sport of the masses in the way that soccer is and boxing can be (or used to be). And Ali's significance, of course, transcended sport altogether in a way that no other athlete ever has globally (maybe Jackie Robinson did as well purely domestically, but certainly not globally).
I think you're severely underrating the extent to which a nation of over a billion people worship Sachin Tendulkar as something not much less than a god, for performance in a sport that is more popular there than american football is here*. But other than him, and maybe other top-5 global soccer stars (Ronaldo certainly, Neymar has his following, Zlatan until recently, maybe Kane, Pogba, Griezmann...), it's probably not a long list among figures today and in recent memory.

Extend it back to the dawn of global sport and sport fandom, though, and I think you'd add a lot more names to the list. That's probably the start of the 20th century (football in europe, baseball and gridiron football here, plus cricket throughout the commonwealth, and the olympics once you get into the 1920s). Maybe those names wouldn't come from golf, basketball or hockey, but certainly in boxing, and perhaps elsewhere too.


* 64% of viewing sessions of sports in India are of cricket. I'd presume Pakistan and Bangladesh are not far behind.
 
Last edited: