Tiger Woods is the ultimate MVP

The last two years, from the end of the summer and the FedEx Cup in 2007, through the 2008 US Open and Tiger's following trip to the DL (ACL), to Tiger's 5 wins this year, including the last two tournaments leading up to the PGA Championship, all help illustrate how important Tiger Woods is to the PGA and professional golf. A relative made the point that Tiger Woods is more important to his sport than any other athlete, ever.


  1. Michael Jordan is the first possible name to come up. Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa in '98, Barry Bonds in 2001. Mia Hamm for soccer? Or Brandi Chastain?

    Can you think of another athlete whose presence creates the popularity of the entire sport and absence relegates the sport to obscurity?

  2. There is a very strong case to be made for Jordan, and nobody else is in the discussion.

    Jordan completely changed the trajectory of his sport. He ushered in the "star" system in basketball and shattered endorsement records. He redefined what a guard could do in a big man-dominated game, and was the most exciting player ever. I would venture that he sold out (or nearly sold out) every arena he played in, home or away, during his career.

    On the other hand, basketball was pretty popular before Jordan and continues to be very popular after him. Was golf as popular before Tiger? What was its popularity like in the Nicklaus era? Without Tiger, does golf's popularity fall off a cliff (unlike basketball - arguably)?

  3. Here's my list:

    1a) Tiger
    1b) Jordan

    There's really no other athlete that I could put up there (at least that I can think of). The only that would come close in my eyes is Pele, but he's a solid 3rd behind those 2, and pretty far behind at that. I think Jordan's more popular, but Tiger gets the nod for the size of the discrepancy in publicity the tour gets with/without him. I don't recall the NBA getting that little publicity w/out Jordan. Bird/Magic saved the NBA - Jordan elevated it's status 10-fold. Tiger both saved and elevated golf's status.

  4. You guys are going in the right direction, but I'm asking you to get creative. I think Pele doesn't work, because international soccer was popular enough without him.

    My father-in-law was at a restaurant yesterday morning and I was texting him updates after each hole. His friend asked about the text, and my father-in-law informed him of my Tiger updates. Everyone at the table wanted updates and the waiter asked if Tiger had made his eagle putt. The waiter cared enough, that while working, he was following the tournament, shot by shot, and participating in his customer's conversation.

    If Tiger wasn't in this tournament, no one could even provide the name of the tournament/sponsor.

    When Michael Jordan left basketball, I can still tell you that Hakeem Olajuwon and the Rockets won. I only remember US winning the Women's World Cup because of Brandi Chastain's sports bra and Mia Hamm is married to Nomah.

    Michael Phelps won 8 golds, I can't name another swimmer...I think Aaron Piersol is one, but do I only remember him because we share a name?

    Muhammad Ali? Or was he in an era when boxing was actually popular?

  5. Fine then - since we all agreed that Tiger dominates this category, we'll start a list of those outside the sports world that easily trump Tiger:

    1) Nelson Mandela: name me another South African, let alone another South African President

  6. More on the greatness of Tiger. Check out his stats in the sidebar. He went 64/65 on putts inside ten feet.

  7. I'm with you on Nelson Mandela... but I cam name Ernie Els as another South African.

    I feel like Ghandi and Mother Teresa get in each other's way, but after those two, I can't name anyone from India.

  8. Please. Ghandi owns Mother Teresa in terms of impact - he changed the fate of the planet by freeing that nation. When we see how important India is going to be over the next century we'll realize the importance of that.

    Mother Teresa was incredible but her work had a spiritual and personal dimension which is more human. I find it more touching personally, and I think she's the best example of a Christian in recent memory.

    What about a Martin Luther King Junior? What about Gretzky in hockey? I can't name a single other player than Gretzky and Mario Lemieux from hockey until Sidney Crosby and Ovechkin came along. Although I still have never watched a game.

  9. Bobby Orr? I thought about Wayne Gretzky, but he wasn't a must see like Jordan or Tiger. Let me tell you, Gretzky was no Ghandi.

  10. Ahaha - I'm excited we have a post that got the conversation to a point where one of us wrote "Gretzky was no Ghandi"... I was just excited to write "Ghandi owns Mother Teresa" earlier

    Who is Bobby Orr?

    It might be too early to talk about this, but Obama might end up being kind of like that to our generation - reinvigorated involvement in politics amongst the young and disenfranchised. At least, if he has a good run it might be remembered that way.

  11. What about someone like Mike Tyson, someone crazy enough that everyone wants to watch the train wreck?

  12. I think Obama is the next Reagan, but for Democrats. Reagan still typifies the Republican ideals and I think Obama's legacy is the defining Democrat for the next generation.