Interesting question. Tennis magazine poses the question of which player’s 14 major championships is a greater achievement; Tiger Woods or Roger Federer? Readers of this blog know I’m a Federer fan, but I have to confess being a huge Woods fan as well. In fact, during my golf craze, I was a member at Hank Haney’s golf ranch in McKinney and had the great honor of meeting Tiger. He’s one of the nicest people you will ever meet. So, I change my mind on answering this question about every 15 seconds.
In truth, it’s a very difficult question as comparing tennis and golf (at the professional level) is quite hard. In golf, you truly compete against the course. It’s rare that two people even play head-to-head in a final round to determine a championship. The interesting observation about professional golf is the margin of error. In tennis, you can get away with one or two bad shots and still win a game. In stroke play in golf, one bad stroke over the course of four days can literally make the difference in a championship. I think Tiger’s greatest asset is his ability to turn bad shots into par saves that keep the round going without giving up ground.
Tennis, on the other hand, is a direct physical (although not contact) confrontation with the other player. Golf affords long careers; tennis in the modern era allows only the smallest window for young players to accomplish the bulk of what they can possibly accomplish in a career. If Tiger were a tennis player, he would already be on the ‘senior’ tour 🙂
The rate at which Federer has won majors is mind-boggling in the modern game; 14 majors in six years. Add to that a record 20 consecutive appearances in a grand slam seminfinal. If it were not for a bout with mono in 2008, it might have been 20 consecutive finals.
So, what’s my final vote? Ask me in another 15 seconds 🙂