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A Question About Lance and Tiger Woods(21 posts)

A Question About Lance and Tiger Woodspaladin
Jul 19, 2001 4:47 AM
Which is the more dominate in his respective sport?
re: A Question About Lance and Tiger WoodsSluglas
Jul 19, 2001 6:52 AM
Ignoring his recent performance at the US Open and today at the British, I would say Tiger. With all due respect to Lance, who has put in some of the most dominating sporting displays in recent memory, Tiger has done 2 things that Lance can not claim. First, he has done something no one else in his sport has ever done (hold all 4 majors at the same time), and second, he has managed to beat all of the participants in his sport on a variety of courses and using a wide range of skills. Lance, however, still has a ways to go to top Merckx, Hinault, Anquetil or even Indurain. In addition, while I think Lance is the best cyclist of this era, he has never won one of the one-day "monuments" (as Merckx and Hinault did) or one of the other Grand Tours (as even such lesser riders as Roche or Pantani has).

On the second point, the problem with even asking this question is that the two sports are so hard to compare. Because cycling encompasses such diverse qualities and skills, cyclists have become specialists in a way that golfers have not. While golfers definitely have strengths and weaknesses, from a broad perspective, most golf courses are both similar enough and demand such a range of skill that they eliminate the potential for specialization. It is hard to imagine that a golfer could focus almost solely on putting or driving and manage to compete at a top level. In cycling, however, because races are vastly different, the competitors can concentrate on specific skills that may only apply to a specific type of race, and this specialization precludes the generalist from being able to compete. Therefore, cycling has evolved to the point where even Lance would not dream of being able to compete with the sprinters at Milan-San Remo, or the hardmen or grinders at Paris-Roubaix. Conversely, they do not pretend to compete with Lance in the high mountains. And in the long run, who can say which skill is truly the superior cycling skill? Is Lance anymore dominant because he is likely to win 3 Tours than Zabel is with 4 Milan-San Remo wins and a World Cup, or than Muuseuw is with 3 Paris Roubaix and 2 Tour of Flanders wins? However, Tiger is unquestionably the greatest of his generation of golfers.
re: A Question About Lance and Tiger Woodspaladin
Jul 19, 2001 9:31 AM
Thank you for a very well written response expressing an opinion I share.

We are often comparing athletes from different generations in the same sport. While many of us agree that it is difficult at best to compare, say in baseball Babe Ruth to Mark McQuire, we still do. Even though we can accept that each played under very similar rules, they competed in different eras. Artificial turf, a difference of height of the pitcher's mound, the specialization of relief pitchers, night versus day games, train travel versus air travel, media coverage, training preparations, etc ... are just some examples. Yet, we argue as to the overall affects these differences have. Which player had it better ... which changes made things easier, etc.

But even if we compare today's players against each other, are there not major differences that give one player an advantage/disadvantage over others? The differences of the physical dimensions and layout of the playing field and boundaries ... the turf from field to field. Each player spends 1/2 of his games at his own home field.

THe other year, ESPN did a rating of the top 100 athletes of the century. They attempted to not only compare competitors of the same sport from differnt eras, but also from different sports. A highly ambitious endeavor to say the least. And how in the world they managed to rate Secretariat so low boggles my poor mind.

Is it feasible to attempt to compare recent TdF competitors such as Lance to Mercx? Is it feasible to attempt to compare riders of this year against each other in an effort to "rank" them ... since not all of them compete in similiar events and there are so many events to enter? Oh, I know that by doing a ranking it makes for some good debates. And I know that somehow, someway ... someone (an organization body) needs to take a stab at doing this.

Does anyone know (I could look it up but I am too lazy) if there were any cyclists on this top 100? And if so, who was it and what was their ranking?
ESPN's 100 greatest athletes (BIG JOKE)Cima Coppi
Jul 19, 2001 11:23 AM
ESPN was too narrow minded to put a pure cyclist in the top 100. Remember, Eric Heiden was in the 47th or 48th, but that was more for his accomplishments as a speed skater than a cyclist. No athlete in ESPN's top 100 was a cyclist. This is a shame because Greg Lemond did more for his sport than some of the baseball or football players they chose. Also note that ESPN's top 100 was North American atheletes only. Merckx could have easily made top 10 if they expanded the selection to be global atheletes
At least Lance is an athlete...Biking Viking
Jul 19, 2001 9:41 AM
Sorry, walking three miles in four hours doesn't qualify you to be called one IMO.

But Tiger is a great sports man.

At least lance can driveak
Jul 19, 2001 10:46 AM
I'm telling this story knowing full well that many of you will not believe me. I was helping the Youth Group at my church raise some money for their mission trip by working parking at the 2000 Advil Western Open (the one where tiger hit some guy in the head with a ball during a poor performance). We were working in the lots where all the VIPs, players and caddys parked. I had a line of cars stopped so that some walkers could cross the street. At the first break in the pedestrian traffic, the dark blue Buick at the front of this line floored it. Lucky (or unlucky) for me I stepped out of the way in time to avoid being hit and continued doing my job thinking (man, I hate golf fans) A few seconds later, some of the fans behind me started yelling and pointing to the blue car. Apparently the car that nearly ended my running/cycling carreer was being driven by none other than Tiger Woods.
I understand the scepticism that you are all probably feeling right now, but I have the bright green shirt that proves I was workin there, and somoene out there has a picture of Tiger flying past a parking attendant at the 2000 Western.
Needless to say, I'll defend Lance 1000 times before I defend Tiger.
I dont view GOLF as a SPORT....(more)NeedySpeedy
Jul 19, 2001 11:26 AM
And I cant believe Tiger Woods was crowned "Athlete of the year" last year!!!

Just plain crazy. Whats next - A syncronized swimmer winning athlete of the year!!

Webster's New World Dictionary...

Athlete - one skilled at sports requiring strength, speed, etc.

Oh, Tiger Woods fits that description!
definition of "sport"Dog
Jul 19, 2001 11:39 AM
While the dictionary definition of "sport" is fairly loose, my cycling buddies and I have arrived at a definition of "sport" that we believe befits true athletes:

1. It must involve strenous physical activity (golf, bowling, pool, etc., all out)

2. It must require improvement through practice and training, not merely raw talent (one might be a marksman with no practice, potentially)

3. It must involve a degree of pain and suffering to do well

4. It must have rules (surfing?)

5. It must involve competing against others or the clock

What do you all think?

definition of "sport"NeedySpeedy
Jul 19, 2001 12:05 PM
Well under your rules "Dwarf tossing" could still qualify as a sport.
(Just Kidding)

Anyway, In main stream USA - If its not Baseball, Basketball, Football, Golf, or Tennis its not headline worthy.

Way too many couch potatoes watching "sports" in this country! And lets not even get into the topic of the amount of money some of these "athletes" make. Thinking about it makes me sick.
definition of "sport"9WorCP
Jul 19, 2001 1:41 PM
This reminds me of endless debates friends of mine used to have about "what is Art?" Does it have to be recognized in a museum? Does it have to be man-made? Does it have to be crafted? How about a guy who makes a perfectly functional but nice looking chair? Is he an "Artist?" It's unresolvable unless you end up in a consensus amongst like minded individuals(that is ignore dissenting opinions). I think the problem really lies w/ disparate and superficially comparable activities crowding in around the same term. Like a king of the hill comnpetition over who gets to where the "true" mantle of "Sport" or "Artist."

I like your definition but would sharpen the term to something more specific. Maybe Athletic Sport? I dunno a little simplistic and clumsy. But we gotta admit Tiger is an athlete of a sort just what kind? We needn't degrade his amazing accomplishments by excluding him from this valorizing term because his heart rate doesn't climb over 120 bpm.
golf is an "activity"Dog
Jul 19, 2001 3:10 PM
I think we can define some things, even if it's hard to get a handle on the definition. (I have a B.S. in Philosophy, so I gotta try :-)

Most of the time, we can start with some general principles, even if they are negative, for example, what is not art? - a baby with a hand full of crayons randomly drawing on a wall.

My former partner was a big time golfer. Every Monday I heard stories about how he shot this or that, etc. He was one day bragging about getting exercise golfing, after my telling him about a double century or something. I then asked him if he walked or used a cart. He said cart. Hmm. I said, without thinking much about his pride, "Isn't golfing with a cart sort of the physical equivalent of bowling?" He was a bit flustered.

He died of a heart attack on the golf course a few months' later at age 51.

Is Tiger an accomplished Activitist then?9WorCP
Jul 19, 2001 5:46 PM
It doesn't seem suitable for a fella who all four of the major competitions of his sport (oops) in a single year. By your definition perhaps gymnasts would be excluded since they compete by judgement rather than rules (I'm refering to your surfing comment)but if we allow gymnasts then we are allowing body builders into the mix since they fulfill all the criterion. Ouch.

I agree comparing 21 days of a grueling stage race to four days of striking balls in a privately-owned manicured park is an "apples and oranges" comparison but our language limits us from equivalent valorising terms for their respective accomplishments. What that guy did was a physically and mentally challenging feat which is unique and unlikely to be equalled for a long,long time. He did not use the cardiovascular capabilities of the body, but the muscular cooridination that was required for his victory was a finesse Lance Armstrong could only dream about. Honestly, maybe not even understand. I hold that Golf is a Sport and Tiger is an Athlete - of a sort.

By the way I hate golf, baseball, snowboarding, etc. . . . Give me a good clean race any day. :)
Is Tiger an accomplished Activitist then?Lazy
Jul 20, 2001 6:30 AM
Tiger is definitely an athlete. When at Stanford, he recorded the best strength to weight ratio of any one in any sports program. To hit a golf ball like he does takes incredible strength, coordination, balance, and hard work. Not to mention natural talent.

There are those who would consider cycling not a sport. Saying that it requires no natural talent, that you don't need to be athletic to do it. The main comment I've heard is "anyone can ride a bike for 20K miles per year and train like a dog and become a successful bike racer, but not everyone can hit a baseball, complete a pass in the NFL, or make an NBA roster no matter how much training they do." This is, in part, true.

I think what's going on here is that people are defending the sports they are interested in and take part in. If this were we'd all be sitting around defending the athletic prowess it takes to become a good bowler, and bashing sissies who think they're athletes because they ride a bike all day long.

IM(nsh)O, the main thing that excludes something from being a sport is a man made engine. I.E. auto/motorcycle racing. My opinion is quite biased since I'm not a fan of either. I'm sure the NASCAR fans in the crowd will have a different opinion.
Only 1 Criterion for an activity to be a sport......JIM LUKENS
Jul 19, 2001 12:54 PM
If a significant number of participants either:
1. Drink Beer, or
2. Smoke
while participating in an activity, it AIN'T a sport.
Sports Illustrated luvs TigerTypeOne
Jul 19, 2001 12:32 PM
I can't believe I am still subscribing to SI after their selection of Sportsman of the Year the past two years. I don't subscribe for any cycling coverage, so I shouldn't be so surprised. But c'mon--the women's World Cup soccer team? Tiger Woods? The only thing I can consider is the folks at SI's marketing department made the selection based on target readership and avertising revenue.
If I had to bet today on who this year's Sportsman of the Year will be, I would wager it will be Dale Earnhardt. Unless Michael Jordan comes out of retirement.
Sports Illustrated luvs TigerTigercoach
Jul 19, 2001 2:24 PM
You're exactly right...SI loves Tiger Woods. Tiger is a total media darling, and will be for quite some time for many reasons. I think the biggest reason is because he is the first minority golfer (that I know of at least) to dominate like he has, and the media eats that stuff up. The media is obsessed with race in this country, and Tiger fits the bill. Even Tiger thinks they make too much of it. I remember when he first came on the scene, the media was harping on him about the fact he was a minority, and he told them it shouldn't be an issue, but they wouldn't stop. I remember one media hack asking him how long he'd been a black golfer. What kind of asinine question is that? Both Tiger and Lance are extremely talented and dominating in their respective sports, but I know that Tiger has never tried to ride his bike over 2,000 miles to win a race before. The dominance thing is all a matter of opinion.
As for the argument of golfers being athletes, I'd have to get into the "they're not true athletes" camp. I know guys that would wipe me out on the golf course, but if they tried to cycle with me they'd die of a heart attack within 100 feet, they can't even hang with me on a basketball or racquetball court, I'd make them look bad in a football game, and on a wrestling mat I'd have them pinned in 15 seconds (it helps I coach wrestling and football though). I've known golfers that are great athletes, and others that can't walk two feet without falling down, but they can all swing a club. Once again, it's probably just a matter of opinion.
current Sports Illustrated . .12x23
Jul 19, 2001 6:31 PM
'devotes' 1/4 page to TdF on page 30 titled, sports 101. But, that is a step up from Lemond's first victory chronicled in, Faces In The Crowd. I've subscribed pretty much nonstop since age 12, I'm now 45, and on my last few issues of my current subscription. No more.
re: A Question About Lance and Tiger WoodsPeter E
Jul 19, 2001 1:31 PM
The top thing that make these two sportsmen's (or whatever you consider Tiger to be) dominance in thier sports so uncomparebale is the question, can you dominate in cycling?? Sure Lance really shows that he is the best in the tour. But then again, if he was dominate, would he let a escape gain 30 min on him, and wouldn't he be involved in the sprints up there with Zabel at the first stages?? But i really must agree that "The Lance-show" in the TT and the mountain-stages make him the dominate in TdF
But then how about all other competitions. Like Sluglas earlier said, in cycling the most of the riders are specialists. they are masters of some of the things. But noone still masters all of the different styles. And noone probaly ever will. How can you make a good sprinter to become a good climber?? Will probaly never happen.
I really can't even say that Lance is dominate in his sport. He is dominate in The Tour, yes OK (but still to be proven) but in cycling?? no, not really
Remember what the Door Mouse saidpaladin
Jul 20, 2001 5:09 AM
Thanks y'all, it was indeed a pleasure to read the valid points of view by so many
I have to ask, but...Cima Coppi
Jul 20, 2001 3:03 PM
Would Lances accomplishments be that much more great to americans if he were a minority?? If you think about cycling and golf, they are both sports that have a very low minority attraction, and professional peloton in Europe has 0 blacks riding on any team.

Just a thought, nothing more.
Odd About Tiger ...paladin
Jul 23, 2001 5:49 AM
his father is black and his mother is Asian, yet the public perceives him as "black". H'mmm ... I wonder why?????