Who’s No. 1?: Tiger Or Roger?

By Richard Kent
Updated: July 9, 2007

CONNECTICUT – They are t he two greatest athletes in the world right now. Both of them stand 6-feet-1 and 185 pounds. Both are dominant in their respective sports. No one is even close to either of them.

Tiger Woods is 31 years old and has No. 1 for over 400 weeks. Roger Federer is 25 years old and he has been No. 1 for over 100 weeks.

Woods has to fight a golf course and a field of over 140 golfers each week that he tees it up. Federer has to beat six men in each tournament quite often in grueling heat.

The physical toll on Federer is much greater than it is on Woods.

How about the level of competition you ask? Woods really has none. Phil Mickelson has fizzled; Ernie Els was never really what people said he was; and Sergio Garcia underperforms.

There’s no one close to him. But there is much doubt if he is even the greatest golfer of all time. He’s still six majors away from Jack Nicklaus. Many say that he’s no Byron Nelson.

Others say that Arnold Palmer was better. Woods went three years without winning a major from 2002 to 2005. He has not won a major this year.

Roger Federer is now three majors away from Pete Sampras. He’s won the Australian and Wimbledon this year. He is the odds on favorite to win this year’s U.S. Open.

He has competition in Rafael Nadal. He still has a losing record to him. Not because Federer is not great but because Nadal is one of the all time greats on clay. He has won three straight French Opens. He grew up on clay. He is a master.

Tiger Woods has no Rafael Nadal. John McEnroe has said that Federer is the best of all time. He has played Federer and Sampras. He’s also played Connors and Borg. He has played Lendl. He says no one is close. Sampras does not necessarily disagree. He just hasn’t answered the question directly.

Nicklaus won’t concede anything to Woods. We know that Jack feels that he is the best. He will feel this when and if Woods passes him. There is no guarantee that Woods will pass him.

There is as close as a guarantee that Federer will pass Sampras. He should win at least two more majors a year for the next five years. He is only 25. That would give him 21 majors.

Woods is 31 years old. He has now become a father. That is demanding. We say he wins on the average of one major a year for the next six years. That would put him at 18 with Nicklaus. But that could be his shelf life.

Federer seems to float above the court. There is no one on the horizon to challenge him in the Australian, Wimbledon or U.S. Open.Woods is great but he has gone into droughts.

His driving is not always accurate. His putting has been off as of late. His long irons don’t seem to be as accurate. He will though be the greatest golfer of all time sometime. If statistics speak that will be true.

Federer is already the greatest tennis player of all time. The statistics have spoken. The other players have spoken. The writers have spoken.

I give a s light edge to Federer.