In a decision that is surprising only based on its timing, Tiger Woods was named Associated Press’ athlete of the decade. There’s no way this should come as a surprise, given the numbers:
It began with the Tiger Slam, four straight majors stretching from a domination at the 2000 U.S. Open to the 2001 Masters. He repeated as Masters champ in 2002 and followed up with another U.S. Open at Bethpage two months later. He didn’t win a major in 2003 or 2004, but did take the PGA TOUR Player of the Year honors in the latter.
Returning in a big way in 2005, he won his fourth Masters and his second British Open. But the run didn’t come without adversity. Tiger lost his father, Earl, in 2006, leading to an emotional British Open triumph. The creation of the FedExCup in 2007 gave Woods another trophy to shoot for. He won the points competition in its first year and again in 2009. Tiger missed the second half of the 2008 season — following his third U.S. Open title — after undergoing knee surgery. Woods returned to win six times in 2009.
Yesterday on CFRB, announcer Jim Richards was incredulous that anyone could vote for Woods as athlete of the decade after his infidelities became public. Of course that begs the question about what those infidelities have to do with Woods’ incredible on-course performance. He’s one of the most dominant athletes to play any sport — and wins at golf unlike any other. Yes, there are plenty of issues off-course, it would appear, but on the fairways, and on a meandering green, Tiger has no peer. What other athlete over the past decade can say that? This was a vote with no debate.
This surely must have been bitter sweet for Woods, considering there’s plenty of discussion that divorce looms in the New Year. Does anyone know how the mainstream media allowed itself to start quoting People magazine as a source? In Canada, for example, neither national paper has a reporter covering the Woods story with any regularity. The Globe’s Lorne Rubenstein hasn’t written for the paper since November wrote about it last week pointing out how much we’ll miss Tiger’s game, while the Post hasn’t had a writer to cover golf since yours truly split with it last year. Interesting times.
Then there was this New York Times story about Accenture “Tiger-proofing” its corporate offices:
How do you Tiger-proof an entire corporation? At Accenture, you start by telling employees to tear down all the posters that say, now somewhat awkwardly, that we know what it takes to be a Tiger.
Mike Weir took the 10th spot in PGATour.com’s list of players of the decade. Interesting, considering Weir only had seven wins, a bulk of which came in 2003. That is highlighted in the site’s decision to place him in the Top 10 alongside the likes of Retief Goosen and Phil Mickelson. And am I the only one who feels Padraig Harrington’s three majors have to put him ahead of the likes of Kenny Perry (11 wins, no majors), and Ernie Els (9 wins-1 major)?
Here’s what PGATour.com had to say about Weir:
Many players deserved mention for the final spot on this list, but Weir gets the nod because of his memorable moments over the last decade — highlighted by his 2003 Masters victory. In 2000, he won the World Golf Championships-American Express Championship and became the first Canadian to play in a Presidents Cup. A year later, he won the 2001 TOUR Championship, his third straight year with a victory.
The Masters victory capped a three-win season in 2003. He also captured titles at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and the Nissan Open before outlasting Len Mattiace in a playoff at Augusta. His countrymen will remember the 2007 Presidents Cup in Montreal, where Weir beat No. 1 Tiger Woods in Singles. To top it all off, Weir was inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame just last week.