Most dominant athlete ever? It’s Tiger

Bobby Curran
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Friday - February 29, 2008
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A recent ESPN poll asks viewers to decide which athlete has been most dominant since the start of ESPN in 1979, and the choices listed are Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods.

Nothing divides sports fans like an argument about athletes. First, there is the definition. A recent discussion on our morning radio show found a great number of sports fans have difficulty accepting golfers as athletes. When you look at the likes of Craig Stadler, Tim Herron or John Daly, any of whom could be a contestant on The Biggest Loser, it’s easy to see why golfers may not fit some people’s definition of athletes. Most of us might include the abilities to run and jump as virtues defining athletes. Certainly hand-eye coordination would be a defining trait. While I would be inclined to include golfers in the athlete category, I have trouble with bowlers and racecar drivers. I acknowledge that the lords of the lanes and titans of the tracks have skills, but I think of them as people who excel at activities rather than sports. Not that some of the participants aren’t good athletes; but rather, their “sports"don’t necessarily require them to be athletic.

And then you get into the whole argument about team sports vs. individual sports. It’s hard to compare Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretzky with a Tiger Woods or a Roger Federer. The team guys are dependent on others and have no choice on their schedules. The individuals can pick their tournaments and rest when they see fit.

It would be hard to quibble with either Jordan or Woods being named the most dominant athlete of the period. Both men have an almost scary will to win, seem impervious to pressure, and their desire has not been lessened by incredible wealth.

Forced to choose, I’m going with Tiger. It’s not only what he’s done, but how he’s done it. Watching him in the recent Accenture Match Play tournament, there is an inevitability to his matches. It’s almost like the other player knows it too. Tiger on his game overwhelms every other golfer on the planet. And Tiger is forcing the other players into the gym just to have a chance of staying close. I understand the argument, but it’s hard to look at Tiger and not see an athlete.

Now that the NFL Scouting Combine is over, finally some good news for Colt Brennan. Brennan’s stock took a dive from the Sugar Bowl through the Senior Bowl, especially when he showed up at Mobile weighing 186 pounds. But after arriving at Indianapolis and registering at 207 and then completing 20 of 21 in throwing drills, Brennan may have repaired some of the damage.

ESPN football analyst John Clayton believes Brennan will be selected in the third or fourth round, which is considerably higher than some recent draft sites have predicted. One source had suggested that Brennan would fall all the way to an undrafted free agent, but the combine performance puts an end to that scenario.

The UH receiver trio also looked good in Indianapolis. Jason Rivers has excellent size and ran the 60-yard shuttle well, but wasn’t thrilled with his 4.55 40 time. Davone Bess impressed with his pass catching, but did not run especially well. Ryan Grice Mullins hit a home run with both strength and speed, a top 10 in both categories. All three will get a chance to improve their stock April 1 at Hawaii’s Pro Day in California. There seems to be a consensus that if the draft was held tomorrow, all four Hawaii players would be drafted.

This Monday there will be a special football Call the Coach with UH head coach Greg McMackin at The Willows. We’ll evaluate the 2008 recruiting class and get Coach Mac’s plans for spring football. All fans are invited to enjoy the $20 all-you-can-eat pupu buffet, with the show beginning at 6:30 p.m.

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