Tiger Tops in Decade, Weir #10 in

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’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 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.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

7 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Ironic that you’re chastising the paper that fired you for citing People as a source (I’m sure there’s no motivation for you to paint the NP negatively).

    What’s your source for reporting that Gatorade dumped Tiger Woods because of the scandal? TMZ? Blogs? Epic failure.

  • Mr. Sakimano: I’m not chastising the paper — just saying there is no one there actively covering this. I still do work for the paper and have a lot of respect for those who work there.

    And I wasn’t fired, for the record. I just thought I should mention my departure from the paper as indicative of the lack of interest in golf — at least until the Tiger scandal.

    As for Gatorade, it was reported on Dec. 8 in respectable papers like the Telegraph that Gatorade announced it was stopping its Tiger-branded product. The company said the decision had been made previously, but I don’t think anyone actually believes that. If that is the case, that means it was a less-than-successful product with Tiger’s brand, hardly a good thing either.

  • “As for Gatorade, it was reported on Dec. 8 in respectable papers like the Telegraph that Gatorade announced it was stopping its Tiger-branded product. The company said the decision had been made previously, but I don’t think anyone actually believes that.”

    ….and that my friend is why you write for a web-log on

    A proper journalist would check his or her facts, and would save the conjecture and assumptions for social discussions…not printing it and purporting it as fact. Here you go…I’ve done your homework for you.

    and quoting the BBC…

    “The decision to drop the drink was first reported by soft-drinks’ industry newsletter, Beverage Digest, on 25 November – two days before Woods crashed his car and sparked off the chain of events which continues to feature in the global media.”

  • Sakimano:

    Lots of reports in December that SAY Pepsi made the decision to drop Tiger branded product prior to the Tiger hydrant accident but none of the links above actually produce any document dated prior to Nov 25th confirming that Pepsi planned to discontinue Tiger branded product. This may be why people are cynical of Pepsi’s actions.

  • Ian (or Sakimano): I’m assuming you’re in contact with someone at Gatorade directly? You know the decision that was made in conjunction with Tiger’s drink?

    Perhaps some of the reports are correct and the timing is simply unfortunate. Others might say it was calculated.

    Regardless, it is only a single example. I actually don’t think it matters. I think Accenture is the telling one, along with Tag Heuer. What they do will tell the tale.

    BTW, what does it say if Tiger’s Gatorade was a bust before all of the recent coverage?

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