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Back in January 2008, I wrote:

Tiger Woods has always focused on breaking his idol Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 major championships. He currently has 13. By this age, Nicklaus had 9, so that would put Woods on pace for 26.

Woods limped to a 14th major in June of 2008 at the U.S. Open that June at Torrey Pines, but has been stuck at 14 ever since. I also wrote:

Yet, Woods has a worthy contemporary competitor — not on the golf course, but on the tennis court. Swissman Roger Federer, who won’t turn 27 until August, has won 12 Grand Slam titles. If he stays hot, he could overtake Woods, at least for a few years.

There are four Grand Slam tournaments each year — Australian, French, Wimbledon, and US — so they are a fair comparison to golf’s four major championships.

The tennis record for most Grand Slam victories is 14 by American Pete Sampras, who is now retired. Federer (born 8/8/81) is almost exactly 10 years younger than Sampras (born 8/12/71), and by early 1998, Sampras had won 10 of his 14 Grand Slam victories. So, if Federer maintains the same pace as Sampras, he’ll win about 17 Grand Slam titles.

Federer won his 16th major in January 2010 at age 28, his 17th in 2012 at 30, and then … at age 35 this winter in Australia, his 18th, tying Nicklaus.

That Nicklaus holds the golf record with 18 while Sampras holds the tennis record with only 14 mostly shows how much better Nicklaus was than all other golfers before Tiger, whereas it’s not at all clear who was the best tennis player before Federer. The top ten tennis players in terms of major championship victories have won 102, while the top 10 golfers have won 96, so the two sports are directly comparable.

Tennis players get old much faster than golfers, but major titles are easier to win in tennis for superstars at their peaks than in golf. That’s probably due to four factors:

Tennis has been going through an era of all-time great superstars. Rafael Nadal, age 30, is now tied with the retired Sampras with 14 major championships. Novak Djokovic, age 29, has won 12 major championships, including five of the last nine.

There is probably some kind of optimal number of superstars for maximizing a sport’s popularity. Too few and things get repetitious, too many and marginal fans can’t follow the storylines. Superagent Mark McCormack probably would have said three is ideal.

With just two superstars, fans have to pick one: Tom Brady or Peyton Manning?

But with three they can have lots of fun opinions like, I want to Federer to beat Nadal, I want Nadal to beat Djokovic, and I want Djokovic to beat Federer.

What? That’s not logical?

So what? I’m a fan.

 
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  1. Three does seem about right; too many more, and they’re splitting up the wins too much, and everybody calls it ‘parity’. I guess golf could handle having more ‘superstars’ than tennis, though, given the relatively long career lengths and variable peaks for individual golfers.

    Also, are we talking just individual sports here, or are ‘super teams’ included as well?

    If we’re including the latter, then the conventional wisdom seems to be that leagues benefit when there are just two arch-rivals competing again and again for titles, a la the Lakers/Celtics marathon NBA showdown that comprised the 1980s.

    Personally, though, I got pretty sick of seeing Goggles Kareem vs Lurchie McHale every year. I think it’s more fun when there are three or even more claimants to the throne.

    • Replies: @Ron Mexico
    @The Last Real Calvinist

    "the Lakers/Celtics marathon NBA showdown that comprised the 1980s." I get what you are saying, but it was really Magic vs. Bird that was the showdown. The Lakers were the constant, not the Celtics.

    Sixers vs. Lakers 80,82,83
    Celtics vs. Lakers 84,85,87 ; Celtics vs. Rockets 81,86
    Pistons vs. Lakers 88,89

    This would support the "you need three greats" argument, though.

    Replies: @The Last Real Calvinist, @Hank Archer

  2. None.

    But then I prefer building stuff and inventing stuff to build.

    Still have a weakness for the 1970s Habs, however.

  3. Tell me , please if you think I am wrong but I think that white people do black music better than Black people .

    Well it’s only a matter of taste .

    • Replies: @donut
    @donut

    Of course there is this felonious artist :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cu7gafphe9M

    But top this Negro :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxf1IFgPH5s

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPTDuqZPesA

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrsRQs_RXnE

    Replies: @G Pinfold

    , @flyingtiger
    @donut

    Years ago Chess record put out an album where they had the original blues song made popular by some white acts. After hearing this, I prefered the covers of the white acts ove the originals. Talent is talent.

    , @Patrick Harris
    @donut

    Comparative racial bragging rights don't interest me much. There's not really a black Beethoven, but who says there should be? Personally, as a fan of that most deplorable genre, classic country, I'm grateful for Negroid innovations like blues and banjos.

    Replies: @peterike

    , @Father O'Hara
    @donut

    Couldn't resist this one. With one exception,that being Little Richard,every black artist covered by the Beatles comes off second best! 'Specially "Twist N Shout"," Please Mr. Postman" "Rock N Roll Music" and others.
    Surely the Elvis version of "Hound Dog" is a bit better than Big Mama Thornton's.
    One exception might be Clapton's "Sheriff". Clapton seems more musical and danceable,but Marley's original is more soulful and angry and vengeful. Jus saying.

  4. @donut
    Tell me , please if you think I am wrong but I think that white people do black music better than Black people .

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XboE3_7KZ3Y

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9eWGdJIW74

    Well it's only a matter of taste .

    Replies: @donut, @flyingtiger, @Patrick Harris, @Father O'Hara

    Of course there is this felonious artist :

    But top this Negro :

    • Replies: @G Pinfold
    @donut

    That's not even O/T. That's just starting your own blog on Comment 3 of Steve's thread. But some nice vids.

    Replies: @donut

  5. 42 … oh wait, that’s H2G2’s answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.

    • Replies: @BenKenobi
    @The Alarmist

    I like that God's final message to His creation is:

    "Sorry for the inconvenience."

  6. What’s the consensus (if any) on Tiger’s fall? Did being beaten up and humiliated by his wife destroy his golf, or was he already stumbling (IIRC his back trouble)?

    I can remember a time when everyone was confidently predicting he’d sail past Nicklaus, as he’d won so much so young.

    • Replies: @Danindc
    @Anonymous Nephew

    I say both the shame and the back injuries. Mental and physical scarring. Short game suffers w lack of confidence and his swing doesn't look half as powerful as year 2000 Tiger due to reconstructed swing and physical ailments. You never want to completely count out a champion like Tiger but I think he's done. He's the greatest golfer ever. Not the greatest champion, that's Nicklaus but greatest golfer.

    Golf's better off for the serious fan now though. So many great, likable players. Got very annoying to see Tiger win majors by 10 shots...

    Steroids and HGH have played a role in the big 3 tennis dominance over last 15 years.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Verymuchalive, @MC, @duffer

    , @Buffalo Joe
    @Anonymous Nephew

    Nephew, Tiger got into body sculpting to look buff and he was. Now I see Rory McIroy doing the same thing and suddenly he is fading. Maybe over doing the weight lifting effects your swing. Once your swing is gone, your game is gone. Back problems eventually effect your legs and knees too.

    Replies: @Alec Leamas, @Danindc

    , @The Anti-Gnostic
    @Anonymous Nephew

    There's a quote by Greg Norman from at least 10 years ago predicting that Tiger Woods wouldn't beat Jack Nicklaus's record. Norman said that Woods had a really intense, athletic swing and he just didn't see him holding up long enough to win that many majors. And, as it turns out, tee shots and long irons weren't the only things Tiger was going at so intensely. (Thank you, I'm here all week.)

    The counter-factual is that golf is an extremely mental game so maybe if he'd toned down his personal life his physical skills would still be carrying him but I don't think so. Joints wear out before muscles.

    Tiger's also a victim of his own success in a way. If I'm recalling things correctly, golfers were really not much into physical conditioning before Woods. Now, everybody works out.

    Replies: @Alec Leamas, @Buffalo Joe, @Daniel H, @TontoBubbaGoldstein

    , @BenKenobi
    @Anonymous Nephew

    For fun, here's South Park's take on a new Tiger Woods golf video game:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yv5NN-YdZL8

    (unfortunately not in English, but that doesn't take much away from the clip)

  7. What a mindless thing to do comparing tennis with golf. Do golfers even carry their own clubs? They even have buggies to move around just in case the poor things get tired. Not saying that golf does not require skill. But at least make an effort to compare like with like.

    • Replies: @slumber_j
    @berserker


    They even have buggies to move around just in case the poor things get tired.
     
    Not on the pro tour they don't. Famously.
  8. @Anonymous Nephew
    What's the consensus (if any) on Tiger's fall? Did being beaten up and humiliated by his wife destroy his golf, or was he already stumbling (IIRC his back trouble)?

    I can remember a time when everyone was confidently predicting he'd sail past Nicklaus, as he'd won so much so young.

    Replies: @Danindc, @Buffalo Joe, @The Anti-Gnostic, @BenKenobi

    I say both the shame and the back injuries. Mental and physical scarring. Short game suffers w lack of confidence and his swing doesn’t look half as powerful as year 2000 Tiger due to reconstructed swing and physical ailments. You never want to completely count out a champion like Tiger but I think he’s done. He’s the greatest golfer ever. Not the greatest champion, that’s Nicklaus but greatest golfer.

    Golf’s better off for the serious fan now though. So many great, likable players. Got very annoying to see Tiger win majors by 10 shots…

    Steroids and HGH have played a role in the big 3 tennis dominance over last 15 years.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Danindc

    I was a huge Nicklaus fan in 1972-75, but Tiger at his peak was even better.

    Replies: @e, @Citizen of a Silly Country

    , @Verymuchalive
    @Danindc

    I think you mean EPO and other prescription medicines in tennis. You are right. It is the reason why obviously clean players like Andy Murray have only ever won 3 Grand Slams.
    Truth will out in the end.

    Replies: @sb

    , @MC
    @Danindc

    I could believe that Nadal has taken PEDs, but I'll eat my hat if Federer has. Fed looks like an average guy who keeps himself in good shape; he does not look like some Adonis. Fed could easily fit in visually at a tournament 75 years ago when people thought weightlifting was for freaks.

    I suppose blood doping is possible, but it's not as though Fed has stayed at a continuous level since his youth. He's won two majors in the last seven years. I just don't see the PED evidence with him.

    Replies: @Anonymous, @Anonymous Nephew

    , @duffer
    @Danindc

    The death of Tiger's father played quite a role in that win plateau. Golfers and other athletes are humans, too, even if they seem superhuman when we watch them perform incredible feats. His subsequent stumbles should not surprise many. Not many people get mulligans in life. See how ESPN addressed the loss of his father.

    http://www.espn.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/15278522/how-tiger-woods-life-unraveled-years-father-earl-woods-death

    Replies: @Desiderius

  9. Sir Donald Bradman is the greatest sportsman of all time his career Test batting average of 99.94 is so far ahead of anyone else who has ever played the game that he exists in his own class.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batting_average

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @LondonBob

    I did mention Bradman in my 2008 post.

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/tiger-woods-and-roger-federer/

    , @Steve Sailer
    @LondonBob

    I did mention Bradman in my 2008 post.

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/tiger-woods-and-roger-federer/

    , @Ali Choudhury
    @LondonBob

    Bradman was great, but WG Grace remain a he true master of cricket. His achievements belong in another galaxy.

    It is a pity Sharapova was doping. The Williams sisters either have a better pharmacist or their achievements are all natural which is highly commendable and deserves a few mea culpas from the commenteriat in due course.

    , @jeppo
    @LondonBob

    Yeah Bradman was pretty dominant in his sport, but then there's Wayne Gretzky...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_career_achievements_by_Wayne_Gretzky

    Replies: @Anonymous

  10. There you go, tooting your alpenhorn again.

  11. @berserker
    What a mindless thing to do comparing tennis with golf. Do golfers even carry their own clubs? They even have buggies to move around just in case the poor things get tired. Not saying that golf does not require skill. But at least make an effort to compare like with like.

    Replies: @slumber_j

    They even have buggies to move around just in case the poor things get tired.

    Not on the pro tour they don’t. Famously.

  12. ESPN’s #Longreads look at Tiger’s failures s/ 2008 might be of interest, Steve.

    http://www.espn.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/15278522/how-tiger-woods-life-unraveled-years-father-earl-woods-death

    Sadly, ctrl+f “steroids” yields no results, though the details of Woods’ fantasy of becoming a Navy SEAL is explored in great detail, up to and including his jumping out of planes, learning how to assemble and disassemble their weapons, etc. The reporter also picked up on the quid pro quo for the national enquirer that lead to Woods’ spread in muscle and fitness.

    Notable anecdote: after hanging out with SEALS over the course of years and training to be like them, he goes out to dinner with bunch of SEALs that have sort of taken him under their wing. Tab comes, everyone stares at each other for what must’ve been a very awkward 10 seconds, before a SEAL asked the waitress for separate tabs. Ouch.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @dcthrowback

    Mickelson would have grabbed the bill out of the waitress's hand while handing her a few Ben Franklins.

    Replies: @The Anti-Gnostic

    , @peterike
    @dcthrowback


    Tab comes, everyone stares at each other for what must’ve been a very awkward 10 seconds, before a SEAL asked the waitress for separate tabs. Ouch.
     
    Clearly, Tiger relies on his black half when it comes to picking up checks.
    , @Pericles
    @dcthrowback

    That's a black moment, isn't it? I hope Tiger tipped, at least.

  13. Combat sports have novelty, because inherent in the process of being beaten up is that it reduces future competitiveness. And also age takes its toll. Reflexes, reaction time, speed, power, strength, they all peak and decline with different curves. Combat athletes with longevity are the exception, except for grappling-only.

    If you last a long time you have to have a style that is conducive to lasting a long time, with weaknesses that are not overly exposed with age. And also, not reliant on a style that causes injury (like Lew Hoad in tennis – phenomenal serve that destroyed his back. Or the Korean Zombie in UFC). For example, Hewitt and Chang were both reliant on speed and retrieving. Speed is one of the first things to go, and running around twice as much as your opponents will halve your career at the top.

    I was struck watching the last Federer Nadal Aus Open how much they had declined from their peaks. It was cool to watch them but not like watching any of the big 3 in their prime.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Anonym

    Golf is the opposite of a combat sport so you can hold it together longer, like Tom Watson in his late 50s at the British Open held it together for 71.5 holes.

    Replies: @Anonym

  14. @LondonBob
    Sir Donald Bradman is the greatest sportsman of all time his career Test batting average of 99.94 is so far ahead of anyone else who has ever played the game that he exists in his own class.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batting_average

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Steve Sailer, @Ali Choudhury, @jeppo

    I did mention Bradman in my 2008 post.

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/tiger-woods-and-roger-federer/

  15. @LondonBob
    Sir Donald Bradman is the greatest sportsman of all time his career Test batting average of 99.94 is so far ahead of anyone else who has ever played the game that he exists in his own class.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batting_average

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Steve Sailer, @Ali Choudhury, @jeppo

    I did mention Bradman in my 2008 post.

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/tiger-woods-and-roger-federer/

  16. @Danindc
    @Anonymous Nephew

    I say both the shame and the back injuries. Mental and physical scarring. Short game suffers w lack of confidence and his swing doesn't look half as powerful as year 2000 Tiger due to reconstructed swing and physical ailments. You never want to completely count out a champion like Tiger but I think he's done. He's the greatest golfer ever. Not the greatest champion, that's Nicklaus but greatest golfer.

    Golf's better off for the serious fan now though. So many great, likable players. Got very annoying to see Tiger win majors by 10 shots...

    Steroids and HGH have played a role in the big 3 tennis dominance over last 15 years.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Verymuchalive, @MC, @duffer

    I was a huge Nicklaus fan in 1972-75, but Tiger at his peak was even better.

    • Replies: @e
    @Steve Sailer

    I'm not sure of that at all. Jack's strength was a lot like that of Bill Belichick's--having a game plan that differed from course to course w/out changing his swing (Tiger was always changing his swing and I'm not at all sure he ever understood his swing at all); pacing himself --Jack would only hit so many practice balls saying that a player had only so many good swings in him over a career and of course, scaling his appearances back because he wanted to be with family and wanted to concentrate on playing great courses and majors; it's hard to choose because for a time Tiger's putting was exceptional, but when a putt counted, I'd take Jack; then, of course, Jack's competition was much stronger than Tiger's. He was playing against guys who wanted and needed that prize money and who didn't play with super headed drivers and hot balls.

    , @Citizen of a Silly Country
    @Steve Sailer

    Perhaps Tiger was better but did he sacrifice his body to get that edge - and, if so, does that make Jack, in fact, the better golfer?

    Let's say Jack and Tiger were very close in ability. Tiger works out like crazy (maybe even a few steroids), hits a ridiculous amount of practice balls and develops a swing that ekes out some extra yards but puts a lot of strain on his body. In essence, Tiger turns everything up to "11".

    This allows him to be better than Jack for a ~10-year span but mentally and physically wears himself out, while Jack continues to play and win majors.

    Who's the better golfer?

    Also, who's to say that Jack couldn't have done the same thing as Tiger and been just as good at his peak.

    Tiger's career wasn't cut short by bad luck; it was cut short by his own decisions. Think of it like a pitching duel where one pitcher comes out and throws as hard as he can for six innings and pitches better than his opponent, but by the late innings, runs out of gas and loses the game because the other pitcher paced himself. Which pitcher is better?

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

  17. @Anonymous Nephew
    What's the consensus (if any) on Tiger's fall? Did being beaten up and humiliated by his wife destroy his golf, or was he already stumbling (IIRC his back trouble)?

    I can remember a time when everyone was confidently predicting he'd sail past Nicklaus, as he'd won so much so young.

    Replies: @Danindc, @Buffalo Joe, @The Anti-Gnostic, @BenKenobi

    Nephew, Tiger got into body sculpting to look buff and he was. Now I see Rory McIroy doing the same thing and suddenly he is fading. Maybe over doing the weight lifting effects your swing. Once your swing is gone, your game is gone. Back problems eventually effect your legs and knees too.

    • Replies: @Alec Leamas
    @Buffalo Joe


    Nephew, Tiger got into body sculpting to look buff and he was. Now I see Rory McIroy doing the same thing and suddenly he is fading. Maybe over doing the weight lifting effects your swing. Once your swing is gone, your game is gone. Back problems eventually effect your legs and knees too.
     
    Tiger had an almost dainty build as a teen and young man. I have to wonder whether packing muscle on to a build like that with modern nutrition and training (and perhaps a little help from modern pharmacology) isn't overloading the joints and tendons. Loads of muscle coiling around Tiger's spine during his swing, generating enormous force . . . and eventually the vertebrae and disks break down. (Steroid use overtaxes tendons by jump-starting muscle growth without compensatory augmentation of tendons, which then have a tendency to fail under use by the pumped-up muscle).

    Arnie was naturally hale and hearty as a young man, so his play did not appear to affect his career longevity:

    http://apopka.uhcpqdoe6fq4wtztv.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/arnoldpalmer_crop.jpg

    Perhaps a return to studying somatotypes is in order . . .

    Replies: @Chriscom

    , @Danindc
    @Buffalo Joe

    Rory follows the training regimen of the smartest physios in the world. All of his exercises are geared around him staying healthy and being able to play competitively until age 50.

    Replies: @Buffalo Joe

  18. Pshhh! My kind of sports hero is Cal Ripkin, who was famous for going to work each day and playing in a fantastic number of baseball games without interruption. He’s the guy who comes to work when he’s not feeling well. You know, the man you can count on when you’re in charge. Strong and dependable; values that mattered before we entered the New Dark Ages.

    Met him at a frozen yogurt place where he was in front of me, buying treats for his sons. Same height and eyes, a brother eye-to-eye. Good man.

    That’s a sports king (to me at least).

    • Replies: @Barnard
    @Buzz Mohawk

    The problem with that is, especially after he hit the peak point in his career, it would have helped the Orioles if Cal had taken 6-8 games off a year, like most other star players do. The last couple of seasons, it was being openly talked about that Ripken's pursuit of the record was hurting the team.

    , @Olorin
    @Buzz Mohawk

    Exactly why I never liked or followed sports after my 20s. Too much consumerist novelty and flash. All spectacle, little substance, or anyway, little that endures. In that it has a ritual function, probably needed, but I get mine otherwise.

    Actually this isn't a "New Dark Ages" thing. It's something akin to Sumerian/Babylonian religion. The agricultural grain-tanist, selected not for vigor but for mob appeal.

    Dumuzi is dead, sob the women today, tearing their hair and garments.

    Long live Dumuzi, they shriek tomorrow as the new model is held up for their worship.

    So I see our host's point about Seventy One And A Half Holes. Still, that doesn't accomplish much. Unlike, say, taking out the trash when the whole family's down with the squitzin' flu, and not griping about it.

    Bobby Clarke was another one.

    , @Hank Archer
    @Buzz Mohawk

    Ripken's no hero. He was a very good player. Almost a great one. But his selfish pursuit of a record, much like Pete Rose's, hurt his team. During his final years he should have taken an occasional day off, both so that his performance level could be maintained and to give others playing time so they would be sharp when needed.

    , @Danindc
    @Buzz Mohawk

    Growing up in DC/Baltimore, Cal is my favorite athlete ever. My next son will be named after him. And Calvin Coolidge. That said, if only he would've taken steroids the Orioles would've won at least one World Series on the 90's. His frame could've held 30 pounds of muscle easily. The most homeruns ever had in a year was 32. Ridiculous.

    His honesty and integrity cost me a lot of joy in my youth. Damn him!!!!

  19. @Anonym
    Combat sports have novelty, because inherent in the process of being beaten up is that it reduces future competitiveness. And also age takes its toll. Reflexes, reaction time, speed, power, strength, they all peak and decline with different curves. Combat athletes with longevity are the exception, except for grappling-only.

    If you last a long time you have to have a style that is conducive to lasting a long time, with weaknesses that are not overly exposed with age. And also, not reliant on a style that causes injury (like Lew Hoad in tennis - phenomenal serve that destroyed his back. Or the Korean Zombie in UFC). For example, Hewitt and Chang were both reliant on speed and retrieving. Speed is one of the first things to go, and running around twice as much as your opponents will halve your career at the top.

    I was struck watching the last Federer Nadal Aus Open how much they had declined from their peaks. It was cool to watch them but not like watching any of the big 3 in their prime.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    Golf is the opposite of a combat sport so you can hold it together longer, like Tom Watson in his late 50s at the British Open held it together for 71.5 holes.

    • Replies: @Anonym
    @Steve Sailer

    Golf is the opposite of a combat sport so you can hold it together longer, like Tom Watson in his late 50s at the British Open held it together for 71.5 holes.

    Wow. For a 59yo to be competitive enough to be second in an open tournament is a solid argument for golf to be considered game, not sport.

  20. FWIW, golf writer emeritus Dan Jenkins is 180 degrees from your position. He maintains that Nicklaus had a host of stars who contended every week (Palmer, Player, Trevino, Casper, Watson, Floyd and Miller) that he had to work honing his game, where the pro golfers today are playing for such ludicrous money (the 21st place finisher at last years Masters won $118K) that a top 10 finish, which in most tournaments pays $250K+, is good enough.

    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    @Brutusale

    Brutus, You are so right and you forgot to mention the lucrative endorsement deals, that now have players wearing logos on both sleeves, both pecs, collar points, cap front and both side, shoes and bag. Not to mention their caddies now have logos and the golfers appear in equipment ads, both print and video. Years ago many golfers wore neither cap or visor, now they all do. I would think a top 100 golfer pockets $250k per year, minimum, in endorsements.

  21. @dcthrowback
    ESPN's #Longreads look at Tiger's failures s/ 2008 might be of interest, Steve.

    http://www.espn.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/15278522/how-tiger-woods-life-unraveled-years-father-earl-woods-death

    Sadly, ctrl+f "steroids" yields no results, though the details of Woods' fantasy of becoming a Navy SEAL is explored in great detail, up to and including his jumping out of planes, learning how to assemble and disassemble their weapons, etc. The reporter also picked up on the quid pro quo for the national enquirer that lead to Woods' spread in muscle and fitness.

    Notable anecdote: after hanging out with SEALS over the course of years and training to be like them, he goes out to dinner with bunch of SEALs that have sort of taken him under their wing. Tab comes, everyone stares at each other for what must've been a very awkward 10 seconds, before a SEAL asked the waitress for separate tabs. Ouch.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @peterike, @Pericles

    Mickelson would have grabbed the bill out of the waitress’s hand while handing her a few Ben Franklins.

    • Replies: @The Anti-Gnostic
    @Steve Sailer

    Woods doesn't have the tribal Big Man persona or Mickelson's WASP-y, reckless joviality. If I'm a zillionaire hanging out with the toughest warriors on the planet, hell yeah I'm spreading the green around. You never know when you'll need a pack of loyal, trained killers.

    Wood's stinginess ended up biting him in the end. He should have sprung for higher-class, more discrete mistresses.

    Replies: @Desiderius

  22. Additionally, give the 60s-era Golden Bear titanium and a two-piece ball and see what he does. Like he was quoted as saying, when he was 20-years old he hit his drives 280 yards with his persimmon driver and when he was 60-years old he hit the ball 280 yards with his titanium driver.

    Then we add Ben Hogan to the conversation…

    • Replies: @Steve from Detroit
    @Brutusale

    I could not agree more. I remember reading an article about 8 years ago that compared how Tiger and Jack played. Tiger earns far more money in endorsements than in purses, plays a dozen tournaments a year, flies there on a private plane with a couple people, has all of his meals prepared, and is sleeping in his own bed Sunday night. Jack would play every week, partly to ensure he could make a living, driving there with his wife and (IIRC) 5 kids in a station wagon.

    And the statistic I think always gets lost is that Jack finished second 17 times in a major, where I think Tiger has a few second place finishes. This statistic, coupled with the fact that Tiger was something like 40-3 when holding the lead after 3 rounds, lead me to believe he was either an otherworldly golfer, or he had some, um, pharmacological help, especially on Sundays.

    I also believe the PED use is a prominent factor in his physical deterioration. I remember, and I can't seem to get anyone to corroborate this so maybe I've imagined it, but on at least 3 or 4 occasions I recall Tiger actually vomiting while playing a round and then continuing as if nothing happened. He was never listed as sick and never withdrew. Doesn't that deserve to be analyzed a little, or am I now over-noticing?

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    , @Buffalo Joe
    @Brutusale

    Brutus, My last uncle died last year at 93, and he still played a few 9 hole rounds per month, walking. In his youth he was a scratch golfer and in his 70s he shot his age. He played with his favorite, though, re-griped and re-shafted, persimmon woods, because there is still only one sweet spot on a club face. When you learn to hit your shots off of that spot, you've mastered the game. Putting, however, makes or breaks many rounds of golf.

    Replies: @anon

    , @marty
    @Brutusale

    Not 2-piece, 4-piece.

  23. “There is probably some kind of optimal number of superstars for maximizing a sport’s popularity. Too few and things get repetitious, too many and marginal fans can’t follow the storylines.”

    That certainly explains why nobody gives a damn about women’s tennis anymore. At times, women’s tennis has been more popular than men’s. But Serena Williams’ dominance has pretty much killled most interest. But maybe that’s a bad example, because if the most dominant women’s player of our era looked more like Maria Sharapova (or at least didn’t look like a man), women’s tennis would certainly be more popular.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Hapalong Cassidy

    When I was a tennis fan in the early 1970s the ladies superstars were Chrissie Evert and Billie Jean King and Margaret Court and Evonne Gooolagong. That was a pretty good selection.

    Replies: @Anon 2

    , @Autochthon
    @Hapalong Cassidy

    I used to occasionally watch women's tennis for the appeal of gorgeous, atheletic women running around in skirts giving their all. The Williams Creatures completely harshed that mellow, and I've never gone back.

    And it's not just a prurient thing, either.

    I'd wager more than a few fans left for similar reasons. Steve's written about this before: popular female sports – tennis, ice-skating, gymnastics, etc. – emphasise and showcase lithe grace, dexterity, etc. They do not emphasise masculine traits like brute strength, because those are (correctly!) not valued in women.

    A Williams Creature's intrusion to a female tennis match is comparable to watching a dancing routine by the Rockettes or a world-class prima ballerina when out onto the stage bursts Rosie O'Donnell barking crass jokes in a baritone, or Dwayne Johnson striking poses to showcase his physique to ostensibly steal the show: It's just not what anyone in the audience came for.

    , @Barnard
    @Hapalong Cassidy

    I don't think it is strictly appearance, the style of play in women's tennis has changed from one that emphasized quickness and shot placement to a power hitting game. If there is not much of a style difference between the men and women, why would people want to watch the women? One of the young players the American Federation is promoting is Taylor Townsend who at times has been borderline obese.

    http://www.wtatennis.com/players/player/18262/title/taylor-townsend

    The WTA has really promoted the attractive players in the last twenty years. Genie Bouchard and Caroline Wozniacki look incredible in the SI swimsuit issue. Serena does not.

    , @Peter Akuleyev
    @Hapalong Cassidy


    Serena Williams’ dominance has pretty much killled most interest.
     
    Sailer favorite Malcolm Gladwell was making a somewhat similar argument on Bill Simmons' podcast the other week. The men's game is suffering because it has been the same three guys for far too long. Young talent can't develop, and younger kids lose interest because they don't see people 5 years ahead of them making any progress.

    Replies: @Barnard, @Matra

    , @Chriscom
    @Hapalong Cassidy

    This is related to one reason the LPGA has fallen off the map, which is not to say how solidly it ever was on it. At some point for some reason Korean women started absolutely crushing the US ladies ' tour with players of true talent and dedication. Unfortunately as a group they are not the most physically attractive women in the world. Combine that with sports nationalism and you end up hoping for better ratings than professional bowling.

    , @Darwin's Sh-tlist
    @Hapalong Cassidy

    Completely out-of-my-posterior opinion about the lack of interest in women's tennis:

    1) The dominance of Serena Williams probably does play a part
    2) The prominence of what seems to be a brigade of boring Eastern Europeans
    3) All of the yelling when they hit the ball. Watching with the sound off is just a hair's breadth away from turning the channel.

    , @Alden
    @Hapalong Cassidy

    Years of testosterone will make even a Barbie doll type woman look like a man.

  24. @Hapalong Cassidy
    "There is probably some kind of optimal number of superstars for maximizing a sport’s popularity. Too few and things get repetitious, too many and marginal fans can’t follow the storylines."

    That certainly explains why nobody gives a damn about women's tennis anymore. At times, women's tennis has been more popular than men's. But Serena Williams' dominance has pretty much killled most interest. But maybe that's a bad example, because if the most dominant women's player of our era looked more like Maria Sharapova (or at least didn't look like a man), women's tennis would certainly be more popular.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Autochthon, @Barnard, @Peter Akuleyev, @Chriscom, @Darwin's Sh-tlist, @Alden

    When I was a tennis fan in the early 1970s the ladies superstars were Chrissie Evert and Billie Jean King and Margaret Court and Evonne Gooolagong. That was a pretty good selection.

    • Replies: @Anon 2
    @Steve Sailer

    I met Chris Evert (and Suzie "Chapstick") at a party in
    Hollywood in 1976 when she was 22. I was introduced to her,
    shook her hand and all. I was surprised she wasn't taller. Of
    course, she was already famous but still a few years from her
    career peak. I doubt she remembers me lol

  25. Aside from the four-majors-per-year comparison, the relative challenge of winning a tennis tournament and golf tournament is apples and oranges stuff.
    To win a grand slam tennis tournament you need to beat seven opponents. To win a golf major, you have to beat a hundred or so. Balanced against that; tennis careers end much earlier than golf careers.
    When assessing the grand slam figures on tennis, its worth bearing in mind that, up until the past 30 years, it was rare for players to even enter all four in a year. Borg’s record is even more astonishing given he never played the Australian Open.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Tom Regan

    When I worked the numbers in 2008, the top ten golfers had won 96 majors and the top tennis players had won 102, or vice- versa, so it's a pretty apples to apples comparison in terms of statistical likelihood. Major championships pile up faster in tennis, but golfers carry on longer, so the Nicklaus-Federer comparison seems pretty reasonable. Federer winning #18 after a five year drought is a lot like Nicklaus winning #18, the famous 1986 Masters, after a six year drought. Nicklaus knows a lot about tennis, and he seems pretty cool with the idea that he and Federer are peers in a two-man club.

    , @sb
    @Tom Regan

    All the top players playing all 4 majors in both tennis and golf is a fairly recent phenomenon .
    In tennis I'd date it from the late 80s and in golf maybe from the 70s

    Top non US golfers ( with the exception of Gary Player ) historically didn't have much to do with the PGA Tour .Remember the US and the rest of the world played with different sized golf balls until fairly recently
    I think Australian golfers always headed to the UK till the 70s but afterwards headed to the US

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @anon

    , @ScarletNumber
    @Tom Regan


    Borg’s record is even more astonishing given he never played the Australian Open.
     
    He played in 74, losing to finalist Phil Dent in the round of 16.
  26. Along with his 18 major championships, Nicklaus has 19 second-place finishes in majors.

    Even if Tiger passed 18, that’s the reason why I think he would have had work to do to overcome Nicklaus.

  27. @Buffalo Joe
    @Anonymous Nephew

    Nephew, Tiger got into body sculpting to look buff and he was. Now I see Rory McIroy doing the same thing and suddenly he is fading. Maybe over doing the weight lifting effects your swing. Once your swing is gone, your game is gone. Back problems eventually effect your legs and knees too.

    Replies: @Alec Leamas, @Danindc

    Nephew, Tiger got into body sculpting to look buff and he was. Now I see Rory McIroy doing the same thing and suddenly he is fading. Maybe over doing the weight lifting effects your swing. Once your swing is gone, your game is gone. Back problems eventually effect your legs and knees too.

    Tiger had an almost dainty build as a teen and young man. I have to wonder whether packing muscle on to a build like that with modern nutrition and training (and perhaps a little help from modern pharmacology) isn't overloading the joints and tendons. Loads of muscle coiling around Tiger's spine during his swing, generating enormous force . . . and eventually the vertebrae and disks break down. (Steroid use overtaxes tendons by jump-starting muscle growth without compensatory augmentation of tendons, which then have a tendency to fail under use by the pumped-up muscle).

    Arnie was naturally hale and hearty as a young man, so his play did not appear to affect his career longevity:

    Perhaps a return to studying somatotypes is in order . . .

    • Replies: @Chriscom
    @Alec Leamas

    I will maintain to my dying day that David Duval blew up his career by trying to bulk up like Tiger. It is often forgotten that for a brief moment before Tiger started squashing everyone else like a bug , Duval was heralded as the next big thing--a Feb. 1 1999 SI story about his winning 59 in the last round of the Bob Hope Classic notes that it confirms his status as the "best player of the game."

    Then Tiger came, and everyone was trying to figure out how to cope. Duval hit the gym like many others, and that delicate millisecond timing was never something he could count on again.


    I'm seeing four more PGA/major victories after the Hope, including the Players' that year and the British Open in 2001, and that was all she wrote.

    He probably wasn't as talented and certainly not as driven as Tiger, but he would have been successful for much longer had he stayed within himself. Maybe could been Tiger's Trevino.

    Replies: @marty

  28. With regard to the number of superstars, team sports have a marketing advantage because they can hype weaker candidates to artificially create a rivalry. Peyton was a great quarterback, particularly earlier in his career, but is there really a legitimate comparison to Brady? But there was enough there for the NFL marketing machine to hype it nonetheless . . .

    Conversely, are we in a golden age of Golf with Spieth, McIlroy, DJ, Day, etc.? Or is it the opposite without the emergence of one or two dominant players?

    • Replies: @Josh
    @Alec Leamas

    Manning was a significantly better quarterback than Brady for much of their careers. Brady won more championships and played on better teams. Maybe their is something to the idea of manning being a choker, maybe there isn't, but if you just picked a random Sunday during their primes and watched them both play, it was plain to the naked eye that manning as better.

  29. @Anonymous Nephew
    What's the consensus (if any) on Tiger's fall? Did being beaten up and humiliated by his wife destroy his golf, or was he already stumbling (IIRC his back trouble)?

    I can remember a time when everyone was confidently predicting he'd sail past Nicklaus, as he'd won so much so young.

    Replies: @Danindc, @Buffalo Joe, @The Anti-Gnostic, @BenKenobi

    There’s a quote by Greg Norman from at least 10 years ago predicting that Tiger Woods wouldn’t beat Jack Nicklaus’s record. Norman said that Woods had a really intense, athletic swing and he just didn’t see him holding up long enough to win that many majors. And, as it turns out, tee shots and long irons weren’t the only things Tiger was going at so intensely. (Thank you, I’m here all week.)

    The counter-factual is that golf is an extremely mental game so maybe if he’d toned down his personal life his physical skills would still be carrying him but I don’t think so. Joints wear out before muscles.

    Tiger’s also a victim of his own success in a way. If I’m recalling things correctly, golfers were really not much into physical conditioning before Woods. Now, everybody works out.

    • Replies: @Alec Leamas
    @The Anti-Gnostic

    It's also the case that long hitters are playing high risk/high reward. If you drive and hit your low irons long but can't shape your shots, you're going to miss a lot of fairways and by a good distance. I haven't paid much attention to Tiger's perennial comeback efforts, but when I have it seems like he's missing a lot of fairways, which in turn loads on the mental pressure to rescue the shot and so forth. He might do better to stop trying to be circa 2000 Tiger and instead play some old man golf - hit straight and let the Jap club engineers do the work.

    Replies: @Buffalo Joe

    , @Buffalo Joe
    @The Anti-Gnostic

    Anti...."Joints wear out before muscles." Well my joint is fine and I have been trying to wear it out since I was 14, and I am now 71. problem is, I have no place to put it. Hope that's what you meant.

    , @Daniel H
    @The Anti-Gnostic

    >>If I’m recalling things correctly, golfers were really not much into physical conditioning before Woods. Now, everybody works out.

    Not quite everybody.

    http://cdn.rsvlts.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/040714-golf-John-Daly-pi-mp.vresize.1200.675.high_.61.jpg

    , @TontoBubbaGoldstein
    @The Anti-Gnostic

    And, as it turns out, tee shots and long irons weren’t the only things Tiger was going at so intensely. (Thank you, I’m here all week.)

    The counter-factual is that golf is an extremely mental game so maybe if he’d toned down his personal life his physical skills would still be carrying him but I don’t think so.

    The "personal life" ie. regular sex is what gave him the edge.

    We Native Americans have a term for what went wrong with Tiger's golf game.... Lackonookie.

  30. Team sports are different because of local loyalties.

  31. The optimal number is one, so that spectators may watch with awe and wonder the transcendent performance of an athlete that is apparently not made of the same clay as ordinary human beings.

  32. Three, plus dark horses having a chance (avg of one major per year, without too much variance).

  33. @Hapalong Cassidy
    "There is probably some kind of optimal number of superstars for maximizing a sport’s popularity. Too few and things get repetitious, too many and marginal fans can’t follow the storylines."

    That certainly explains why nobody gives a damn about women's tennis anymore. At times, women's tennis has been more popular than men's. But Serena Williams' dominance has pretty much killled most interest. But maybe that's a bad example, because if the most dominant women's player of our era looked more like Maria Sharapova (or at least didn't look like a man), women's tennis would certainly be more popular.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Autochthon, @Barnard, @Peter Akuleyev, @Chriscom, @Darwin's Sh-tlist, @Alden

    I used to occasionally watch women’s tennis for the appeal of gorgeous, atheletic women running around in skirts giving their all. The Williams Creatures completely harshed that mellow, and I’ve never gone back.

    And it’s not just a prurient thing, either.

    I’d wager more than a few fans left for similar reasons. Steve’s written about this before: popular female sports – tennis, ice-skating, gymnastics, etc. – emphasise and showcase lithe grace, dexterity, etc. They do not emphasise masculine traits like brute strength, because those are (correctly!) not valued in women.

    A Williams Creature’s intrusion to a female tennis match is comparable to watching a dancing routine by the Rockettes or a world-class prima ballerina when out onto the stage bursts Rosie O’Donnell barking crass jokes in a baritone, or Dwayne Johnson striking poses to showcase his physique to ostensibly steal the show: It’s just not what anyone in the audience came for.

  34. @Brutusale
    Additionally, give the 60s-era Golden Bear titanium and a two-piece ball and see what he does. Like he was quoted as saying, when he was 20-years old he hit his drives 280 yards with his persimmon driver and when he was 60-years old he hit the ball 280 yards with his titanium driver.

    Then we add Ben Hogan to the conversation...

    Replies: @Steve from Detroit, @Buffalo Joe, @marty

    I could not agree more. I remember reading an article about 8 years ago that compared how Tiger and Jack played. Tiger earns far more money in endorsements than in purses, plays a dozen tournaments a year, flies there on a private plane with a couple people, has all of his meals prepared, and is sleeping in his own bed Sunday night. Jack would play every week, partly to ensure he could make a living, driving there with his wife and (IIRC) 5 kids in a station wagon.

    And the statistic I think always gets lost is that Jack finished second 17 times in a major, where I think Tiger has a few second place finishes. This statistic, coupled with the fact that Tiger was something like 40-3 when holding the lead after 3 rounds, lead me to believe he was either an otherworldly golfer, or he had some, um, pharmacological help, especially on Sundays.

    I also believe the PED use is a prominent factor in his physical deterioration. I remember, and I can’t seem to get anyone to corroborate this so maybe I’ve imagined it, but on at least 3 or 4 occasions I recall Tiger actually vomiting while playing a round and then continuing as if nothing happened. He was never listed as sick and never withdrew. Doesn’t that deserve to be analyzed a little, or am I now over-noticing?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Steve from Detroit

    "Jack would play every week, partly to ensure he could make a living, driving there with his wife and (IIRC) 5 kids in a station wagon."

    Jack cut way back on his schedule by his early 30s. I think he played only about 16 tournaments in America each year, with his schedule organized around winning major championships. I don't know if he owned a private plane (Arnie did).

    Jack was not a regular guy, he was the world's greatest golfer whose main rival was History.

    Replies: @Alec Leamas, @Steve from Detroit

  35. @The Anti-Gnostic
    @Anonymous Nephew

    There's a quote by Greg Norman from at least 10 years ago predicting that Tiger Woods wouldn't beat Jack Nicklaus's record. Norman said that Woods had a really intense, athletic swing and he just didn't see him holding up long enough to win that many majors. And, as it turns out, tee shots and long irons weren't the only things Tiger was going at so intensely. (Thank you, I'm here all week.)

    The counter-factual is that golf is an extremely mental game so maybe if he'd toned down his personal life his physical skills would still be carrying him but I don't think so. Joints wear out before muscles.

    Tiger's also a victim of his own success in a way. If I'm recalling things correctly, golfers were really not much into physical conditioning before Woods. Now, everybody works out.

    Replies: @Alec Leamas, @Buffalo Joe, @Daniel H, @TontoBubbaGoldstein

    It’s also the case that long hitters are playing high risk/high reward. If you drive and hit your low irons long but can’t shape your shots, you’re going to miss a lot of fairways and by a good distance. I haven’t paid much attention to Tiger’s perennial comeback efforts, but when I have it seems like he’s missing a lot of fairways, which in turn loads on the mental pressure to rescue the shot and so forth. He might do better to stop trying to be circa 2000 Tiger and instead play some old man golf – hit straight and let the Jap club engineers do the work.

    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    @Alec Leamas

    Alec, Bingo, hard to loose a match when your ball is always in the center of the fairway, even if it's 20 yards behind someone else's drive.

  36. Here’s another question.

    What’s the optimal number of contenders for the star of the team?

    How many stars can a team ideally support?

    I’d say 1 superstar, 3 high level stars, 3-6 lower level stars. Beyond that, people lose track.

    • Replies: @Brutusale
    @JohnnyWalker123

    Steve should ask a guy who knows: Bill Belichick.

    Replies: @Buffalo Joe

    , @Half Canadian
    @JohnnyWalker123

    The Edmonton Oilers of the 80's had this problem where they had 6 future Hall of Famers (Gretzky, Messier, Coffey, Kurri, Fuhr, Anderson). I hate them, but that team was incredibly stacked, and it's a wonder they only won 4 cups as a team (plus one more after Gretzky was traded).

  37. Rod Laver was the greatest tennis player and would have surpassed Nicklaus if he had not turned pro. We love Jack though.

    It’s pretty clear the Federer is on the juice. Johnny Mac would have destroyed Roger in his prime.

    • Replies: @Deckin
    @DJ

    I don't know how you can surmise that it's 'pretty clear' Federer is on the juice; care to divulge how you 'know' that? Anyone who says that McEnroe in his prime could have destroyed Federer in his prime knows absolutely nothing about tennis. Not even McEnroe would say that. Hell, Federer of the 2017 would have destroyed Federer of 2004 easily.

    Replies: @DJ

    , @Jacobite
    @DJ

    I agree about Laver but Federer simply overpowered everyone when he was young and that would have included McEnroe if they were contemporaries.

    , @sb
    @DJ

    Yeah like Johnny Mac is the epitome of fair play

  38. Reply to johnnie walker 123
    With the men’s bb tourney coming up there s a lot of evidence that you can’t win this title without 3 future pro players ,no matter how transcendent your star is. Cincy’s titles came after Oscar R left, Bird couldn’t will Indy st to a title,and Gordon Hayward couldn’t push butler quite far enough.

  39. @Danindc
    @Anonymous Nephew

    I say both the shame and the back injuries. Mental and physical scarring. Short game suffers w lack of confidence and his swing doesn't look half as powerful as year 2000 Tiger due to reconstructed swing and physical ailments. You never want to completely count out a champion like Tiger but I think he's done. He's the greatest golfer ever. Not the greatest champion, that's Nicklaus but greatest golfer.

    Golf's better off for the serious fan now though. So many great, likable players. Got very annoying to see Tiger win majors by 10 shots...

    Steroids and HGH have played a role in the big 3 tennis dominance over last 15 years.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Verymuchalive, @MC, @duffer

    I think you mean EPO and other prescription medicines in tennis. You are right. It is the reason why obviously clean players like Andy Murray have only ever won 3 Grand Slams.
    Truth will out in the end.

    • Replies: @sb
    @Verymuchalive

    Yeah sure Sir Andy Murray is right up there in the fair play no PEDs awards with those other British sporting luminaries like Sir Dave Brailsford ,Sir Bradley Wiggins and Sir Mohammed Farrah

    I'm not saying Murray is not clean but he does seem a very wound up intense personality less guy with little life outside tennis .
    Which makes you wonder

    Maybe it's the knighthood that makes for suspicion

    Replies: @Jacobite, @PiltdownMan

  40. Oh and even more remarkable than Jack’s 18 majors was the fact he finished second in a major 19 times.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @DJ

    My impression is that Jack should have won a half dozen more major championships. He tended to out-think himself by coming up with reasons for not hitting the driver when he was, by far, the greatest driver player in golf. He was praised a lot for hitting the one iron off the tee in major championships, but my recollection is he tended to hit the one iron short and into the rough. As Lee Trevino said, "If you get stuck in a lightning storm on the golf course, hold up a one iron into the sky because not even God can hit a one iron."

    Replies: @Desiderius

    , @honesthughgrant
    @DJ


    Oh and even more remarkable than Jack’s 18 majors was the fact he finished second in a major 19 times.
     
    Of course, the reason Jack came in 2nd was he was playing against Watson, Trevino, Player, and Palmer. In 1977, he broke the British Open scoring record and still came in 2nd to Tom Watson.

    Probably the most disappointing thing of Tiger's Reign from 1999-2008 was that no one really challenged him in the Majors. Jack had to knock off King Arnie in the 60s and then deal with Trevino and Watson in the 70s and early 80s. Tiger had who? He never won a major when he wasn't the leader (or co-leader) going into the 4th round, and except for Yang in 2009, no one ever BEAT Tiger in a major when he was the 3rd round leader. No one ever stepped up.

    Not only that, but who was great golfer of 2000-2010 besides Tiger? Phil? But he always blew up in the US Open and didn't do much in the British open during that time frame.

    Replies: @Jacobite, @Danindc

  41. @Hapalong Cassidy
    "There is probably some kind of optimal number of superstars for maximizing a sport’s popularity. Too few and things get repetitious, too many and marginal fans can’t follow the storylines."

    That certainly explains why nobody gives a damn about women's tennis anymore. At times, women's tennis has been more popular than men's. But Serena Williams' dominance has pretty much killled most interest. But maybe that's a bad example, because if the most dominant women's player of our era looked more like Maria Sharapova (or at least didn't look like a man), women's tennis would certainly be more popular.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Autochthon, @Barnard, @Peter Akuleyev, @Chriscom, @Darwin's Sh-tlist, @Alden

    I don’t think it is strictly appearance, the style of play in women’s tennis has changed from one that emphasized quickness and shot placement to a power hitting game. If there is not much of a style difference between the men and women, why would people want to watch the women? One of the young players the American Federation is promoting is Taylor Townsend who at times has been borderline obese.

    http://www.wtatennis.com/players/player/18262/title/taylor-townsend

    The WTA has really promoted the attractive players in the last twenty years. Genie Bouchard and Caroline Wozniacki look incredible in the SI swimsuit issue. Serena does not.

  42. I don’t play golf because the mechanics of doing it well suggest that it is almost impossible to play, and therefore the only people who play it are those people who don’t realize it is impossible. You don’t have a tennis racket head with a large face and sweet spot, at relatively short distance from you eye, swinging at a large fuzzy ball. You a use long club with a relatively small contact point, being swung at a small ball, more than six feet away from your eyes. You need to hit ball out of sand ditches and underbrush, then on the green you are not putting on a billiard table surface but a compound curve surface covered with inconsistent grass. Kind of the like the centipede in the old ditty who was asked how he could move all those legs without getting tangled up. He had never thought about it and once he did, ended up lying distracted in a ditch.
    Looking at the mechanics of a professional drive it would seem that a sudden change in muscle strength from steroids and/or intense body building could ruin your swing.
    From what I can see as an outsider to the game, hitting a drive 350 yards right down a fairway involves using the maximum force of your entire body from your feet through your legs, hips, back, shoulders, arms and grip. You are winding the whole mechanism completely in one directing then twisting it completely through in the other direction, hitting that tiny ball from six feet away with millimeter precision. That would seem to involve doing what Tiger did, which was to have the club super glued to your hands when you were a toddler and spending your entire life muscle learning to repeat the same feat with micrometer precision.
    A sudden change in the strength and the relative strength of those muscles would seem to be likely to upset that delicate balance. Throw in injuries from all that mechanical stress and no wonder.
    Maybe someone could look at the stats on how much Tiger’s long game deteriorated compared to his putting to determine how much of the loss of ability was mental versus mechanical.

    • Replies: @Alec Leamas
    @Alfa158

    I don't know about strength - it's more of a matter of storing force and releasing it at the precise point and time via a sequence of torquing and then un-torquing one's body. Bubba Watson is built like a scallion but hits long, whereas I know a lot of very muscular, big guys who don't - and when they try to use some muscle in the swing they wind up slicing with the ball landing somewhere three holes away.

    Every once in a while an amateur will crush one 300+ which is probably just a matter of doing once in a blue moon what the tour guys do consistently.

    Replies: @Desiderius

    , @Desiderius
    @Alfa158


    I don’t play golf because the mechanics of doing it well suggest that it is almost impossible to play, and therefore the only people who play it are those people who don’t realize it is impossible.
     
    As with doing most impossible things, composure and faith turn out to be essential to success.
  43. @Buzz Mohawk
    Pshhh! My kind of sports hero is Cal Ripkin, who was famous for going to work each day and playing in a fantastic number of baseball games without interruption. He's the guy who comes to work when he's not feeling well. You know, the man you can count on when you're in charge. Strong and dependable; values that mattered before we entered the New Dark Ages.

    Met him at a frozen yogurt place where he was in front of me, buying treats for his sons. Same height and eyes, a brother eye-to-eye. Good man.

    That's a sports king (to me at least).

    Replies: @Barnard, @Olorin, @Hank Archer, @Danindc

    The problem with that is, especially after he hit the peak point in his career, it would have helped the Orioles if Cal had taken 6-8 games off a year, like most other star players do. The last couple of seasons, it was being openly talked about that Ripken’s pursuit of the record was hurting the team.

  44. @donut
    Tell me , please if you think I am wrong but I think that white people do black music better than Black people .

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XboE3_7KZ3Y

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9eWGdJIW74

    Well it's only a matter of taste .

    Replies: @donut, @flyingtiger, @Patrick Harris, @Father O'Hara

    Years ago Chess record put out an album where they had the original blues song made popular by some white acts. After hearing this, I prefered the covers of the white acts ove the originals. Talent is talent.

  45. Josh says:
    @Alec Leamas
    With regard to the number of superstars, team sports have a marketing advantage because they can hype weaker candidates to artificially create a rivalry. Peyton was a great quarterback, particularly earlier in his career, but is there really a legitimate comparison to Brady? But there was enough there for the NFL marketing machine to hype it nonetheless . . .

    Conversely, are we in a golden age of Golf with Spieth, McIlroy, DJ, Day, etc.? Or is it the opposite without the emergence of one or two dominant players?

    Replies: @Josh

    Manning was a significantly better quarterback than Brady for much of their careers. Brady won more championships and played on better teams. Maybe their is something to the idea of manning being a choker, maybe there isn’t, but if you just picked a random Sunday during their primes and watched them both play, it was plain to the naked eye that manning as better.

  46. MC says:
    @Danindc
    @Anonymous Nephew

    I say both the shame and the back injuries. Mental and physical scarring. Short game suffers w lack of confidence and his swing doesn't look half as powerful as year 2000 Tiger due to reconstructed swing and physical ailments. You never want to completely count out a champion like Tiger but I think he's done. He's the greatest golfer ever. Not the greatest champion, that's Nicklaus but greatest golfer.

    Golf's better off for the serious fan now though. So many great, likable players. Got very annoying to see Tiger win majors by 10 shots...

    Steroids and HGH have played a role in the big 3 tennis dominance over last 15 years.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Verymuchalive, @MC, @duffer

    I could believe that Nadal has taken PEDs, but I’ll eat my hat if Federer has. Fed looks like an average guy who keeps himself in good shape; he does not look like some Adonis. Fed could easily fit in visually at a tournament 75 years ago when people thought weightlifting was for freaks.

    I suppose blood doping is possible, but it’s not as though Fed has stayed at a continuous level since his youth. He’s won two majors in the last seven years. I just don’t see the PED evidence with him.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    @MC

    Nadal looks like he takes steroids, but I've never thought that Federer did. I vastly prefer Federer for this reason.

    , @Anonymous Nephew
    @MC

    Federer's thigh muscles

    http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/03011/fed_3011719k.jpg

    aren't that much bigger than Serena's arm muscles

    http://www.theage.com.au/ffximage/2004/05/28/29s_williams,0.jpg

    Replies: @Anonymous, @Buffalo Joe

  47. My opinion is that Tiger’s “back problems” are, like most back problems, psychosomatic (or more precisely, “psycho-genic” — which is to say generated by his mind). They are a symptom of his decline, not a cause. It’s easy for him to say: “I’d still be the same ole Tiger if my back hadn’t gone out on me,” when in reality, a combination of knee problems (all that torque on the joints), normal aging, and humiliation from the scandal with his wife, are what drove him out of the winners circle.

    • Agree: Triumph104
    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    @Patrick in SC

    Patrick, and a surgeon operated on Tiger's back because his problem was "psycho-genic" and not an actual physical problem like a herniated disc?

  48. @The Alarmist
    42 ... oh wait, that's H2G2's answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.

    Replies: @BenKenobi

    I like that God’s final message to His creation is:

    “Sorry for the inconvenience.”

  49. @Anonymous Nephew
    What's the consensus (if any) on Tiger's fall? Did being beaten up and humiliated by his wife destroy his golf, or was he already stumbling (IIRC his back trouble)?

    I can remember a time when everyone was confidently predicting he'd sail past Nicklaus, as he'd won so much so young.

    Replies: @Danindc, @Buffalo Joe, @The Anti-Gnostic, @BenKenobi

    For fun, here’s South Park’s take on a new Tiger Woods golf video game:

    (unfortunately not in English, but that doesn’t take much away from the clip)

  50. @LondonBob
    Sir Donald Bradman is the greatest sportsman of all time his career Test batting average of 99.94 is so far ahead of anyone else who has ever played the game that he exists in his own class.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batting_average

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Steve Sailer, @Ali Choudhury, @jeppo

    Bradman was great, but WG Grace remain a he true master of cricket. His achievements belong in another galaxy.

    It is a pity Sharapova was doping. The Williams sisters either have a better pharmacist or their achievements are all natural which is highly commendable and deserves a few mea culpas from the commenteriat in due course.

  51. @Brutusale
    FWIW, golf writer emeritus Dan Jenkins is 180 degrees from your position. He maintains that Nicklaus had a host of stars who contended every week (Palmer, Player, Trevino, Casper, Watson, Floyd and Miller) that he had to work honing his game, where the pro golfers today are playing for such ludicrous money (the 21st place finisher at last years Masters won $118K) that a top 10 finish, which in most tournaments pays $250K+, is good enough.

    Replies: @Buffalo Joe

    Brutus, You are so right and you forgot to mention the lucrative endorsement deals, that now have players wearing logos on both sleeves, both pecs, collar points, cap front and both side, shoes and bag. Not to mention their caddies now have logos and the golfers appear in equipment ads, both print and video. Years ago many golfers wore neither cap or visor, now they all do. I would think a top 100 golfer pockets $250k per year, minimum, in endorsements.

  52. @Brutusale
    Additionally, give the 60s-era Golden Bear titanium and a two-piece ball and see what he does. Like he was quoted as saying, when he was 20-years old he hit his drives 280 yards with his persimmon driver and when he was 60-years old he hit the ball 280 yards with his titanium driver.

    Then we add Ben Hogan to the conversation...

    Replies: @Steve from Detroit, @Buffalo Joe, @marty

    Brutus, My last uncle died last year at 93, and he still played a few 9 hole rounds per month, walking. In his youth he was a scratch golfer and in his 70s he shot his age. He played with his favorite, though, re-griped and re-shafted, persimmon woods, because there is still only one sweet spot on a club face. When you learn to hit your shots off of that spot, you’ve mastered the game. Putting, however, makes or breaks many rounds of golf.

    • Replies: @anon
    @Buffalo Joe

    So true.
    Saw Sam Snead play a Tournament at Tweed Heads in 1978. He had a brand new Wilson bag, his driver was taped [heel crack] and his irons were concave. His caddy, a local club official,later told me that Wilson paid Snead $30,000 for the week, and first prizemoney was $20,000.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

  53. @The Anti-Gnostic
    @Anonymous Nephew

    There's a quote by Greg Norman from at least 10 years ago predicting that Tiger Woods wouldn't beat Jack Nicklaus's record. Norman said that Woods had a really intense, athletic swing and he just didn't see him holding up long enough to win that many majors. And, as it turns out, tee shots and long irons weren't the only things Tiger was going at so intensely. (Thank you, I'm here all week.)

    The counter-factual is that golf is an extremely mental game so maybe if he'd toned down his personal life his physical skills would still be carrying him but I don't think so. Joints wear out before muscles.

    Tiger's also a victim of his own success in a way. If I'm recalling things correctly, golfers were really not much into physical conditioning before Woods. Now, everybody works out.

    Replies: @Alec Leamas, @Buffalo Joe, @Daniel H, @TontoBubbaGoldstein

    Anti….”Joints wear out before muscles.” Well my joint is fine and I have been trying to wear it out since I was 14, and I am now 71. problem is, I have no place to put it. Hope that’s what you meant.

  54. @Alec Leamas
    @The Anti-Gnostic

    It's also the case that long hitters are playing high risk/high reward. If you drive and hit your low irons long but can't shape your shots, you're going to miss a lot of fairways and by a good distance. I haven't paid much attention to Tiger's perennial comeback efforts, but when I have it seems like he's missing a lot of fairways, which in turn loads on the mental pressure to rescue the shot and so forth. He might do better to stop trying to be circa 2000 Tiger and instead play some old man golf - hit straight and let the Jap club engineers do the work.

    Replies: @Buffalo Joe

    Alec, Bingo, hard to loose a match when your ball is always in the center of the fairway, even if it’s 20 yards behind someone else’s drive.

  55. Now tennis versus golf is not a valid comparison. Tennis is player vs player and golf is player versus a golf course and the elements. Same course plays differently in the wind, the rain and course drying heat. A golf course can be changed mid tournament by cutting, watering and hole placement. In golf you can step back and rethink a shot, not so in tennis. Golf on TV is more watchable due to camera angles. Professional tennis live is startling. The ball travels so fast.

  56. @Danindc
    @Anonymous Nephew

    I say both the shame and the back injuries. Mental and physical scarring. Short game suffers w lack of confidence and his swing doesn't look half as powerful as year 2000 Tiger due to reconstructed swing and physical ailments. You never want to completely count out a champion like Tiger but I think he's done. He's the greatest golfer ever. Not the greatest champion, that's Nicklaus but greatest golfer.

    Golf's better off for the serious fan now though. So many great, likable players. Got very annoying to see Tiger win majors by 10 shots...

    Steroids and HGH have played a role in the big 3 tennis dominance over last 15 years.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Verymuchalive, @MC, @duffer

    The death of Tiger’s father played quite a role in that win plateau. Golfers and other athletes are humans, too, even if they seem superhuman when we watch them perform incredible feats. His subsequent stumbles should not surprise many. Not many people get mulligans in life. See how ESPN addressed the loss of his father.

    http://www.espn.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/15278522/how-tiger-woods-life-unraveled-years-father-earl-woods-death

    • Agree: Desiderius
    • Replies: @Desiderius
    @duffer

    There's definitely a Mozart-like feel to how its all played out.

  57. @Hapalong Cassidy
    "There is probably some kind of optimal number of superstars for maximizing a sport’s popularity. Too few and things get repetitious, too many and marginal fans can’t follow the storylines."

    That certainly explains why nobody gives a damn about women's tennis anymore. At times, women's tennis has been more popular than men's. But Serena Williams' dominance has pretty much killled most interest. But maybe that's a bad example, because if the most dominant women's player of our era looked more like Maria Sharapova (or at least didn't look like a man), women's tennis would certainly be more popular.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Autochthon, @Barnard, @Peter Akuleyev, @Chriscom, @Darwin's Sh-tlist, @Alden

    Serena Williams’ dominance has pretty much killled most interest.

    Sailer favorite Malcolm Gladwell was making a somewhat similar argument on Bill Simmons’ podcast the other week. The men’s game is suffering because it has been the same three guys for far too long. Young talent can’t develop, and younger kids lose interest because they don’t see people 5 years ahead of them making any progress.

    • Replies: @Barnard
    @Peter Akuleyev

    Did Gladwell have the names of any younger kids who have lost interest? Out of those "same three guys" Federer is 35, near the end of his career, and struggling to maintain a top ten ranking. Nadal is constantly injured, hasn't won a slam since 2014 and has won one tournament that wasn't on clay in the last three years. There are a half dozen guys who are hanging with them regularly now, but none of them are Americans.

    John Isner is never going to win a Grand Slam tournament and has almost $11 million in career earnings. Jack Sock is only 24 and has only won three small tournaments and is already at $5 million. Even if you think you can't beat Djokovic, why would you walk away from that kind of money.

    Replies: @Triumph104

    , @Matra
    @Peter Akuleyev

    The men's game is not suffering. Outside the US it is more popular than ever. Stan Wawrinka has won three majors in the last three years; Nadal has only won one. Murray also won Wimbledon last year. Masters tournaments are very popular in Europe and those who do well in them are handsomely rewarded. With players peaking later young talent now have more time to develop whilst making millions as they go through their early/mid 20s closing the gap with the big guys. There's no evidence that young talent is put off by guys in their late 20s and early 30s winning majors.

    Replies: @Buffalo Joe

  58. @Alfa158
    I don't play golf because the mechanics of doing it well suggest that it is almost impossible to play, and therefore the only people who play it are those people who don't realize it is impossible. You don't have a tennis racket head with a large face and sweet spot, at relatively short distance from you eye, swinging at a large fuzzy ball. You a use long club with a relatively small contact point, being swung at a small ball, more than six feet away from your eyes. You need to hit ball out of sand ditches and underbrush, then on the green you are not putting on a billiard table surface but a compound curve surface covered with inconsistent grass. Kind of the like the centipede in the old ditty who was asked how he could move all those legs without getting tangled up. He had never thought about it and once he did, ended up lying distracted in a ditch.
    Looking at the mechanics of a professional drive it would seem that a sudden change in muscle strength from steroids and/or intense body building could ruin your swing.
    From what I can see as an outsider to the game, hitting a drive 350 yards right down a fairway involves using the maximum force of your entire body from your feet through your legs, hips, back, shoulders, arms and grip. You are winding the whole mechanism completely in one directing then twisting it completely through in the other direction, hitting that tiny ball from six feet away with millimeter precision. That would seem to involve doing what Tiger did, which was to have the club super glued to your hands when you were a toddler and spending your entire life muscle learning to repeat the same feat with micrometer precision.
    A sudden change in the strength and the relative strength of those muscles would seem to be likely to upset that delicate balance. Throw in injuries from all that mechanical stress and no wonder.
    Maybe someone could look at the stats on how much Tiger's long game deteriorated compared to his putting to determine how much of the loss of ability was mental versus mechanical.

    Replies: @Alec Leamas, @Desiderius

    I don’t know about strength – it’s more of a matter of storing force and releasing it at the precise point and time via a sequence of torquing and then un-torquing one’s body. Bubba Watson is built like a scallion but hits long, whereas I know a lot of very muscular, big guys who don’t – and when they try to use some muscle in the swing they wind up slicing with the ball landing somewhere three holes away.

    Every once in a while an amateur will crush one 300+ which is probably just a matter of doing once in a blue moon what the tour guys do consistently.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    @Alec Leamas

    It's similar to pitching in that respect.

    Replies: @Buzz Mohawk

  59. O/t: Since you are a long-time aggregator of hate hoaxes Steve, here’s a topper. A UoM student scratched her own face after becoming ‘scared in a women’s studies class’ (can’t make this stuff up) and blamed it on that ubiquitous White male hate criminal, Harvey Rabbit:

    http://dailycaller.com/2017/03/08/college-student-pleads-guilty-to-slashing-her-own-face-making-up-post-election-hate-crime/

  60. Connors, Lendl, McEnroe

    Three does seem to be the magic number.

  61. All I know is that there was definitely a Tiger of a script in golf news for 20 years: ‘there can be only one’ (golfer to focus on).

    It took at least eight years of fade – heh – before every golfcast did not include the likes of ‘Tiger Woods failed to make the cut . . . meanwhile, the winner was . . . ‘

  62. @Buzz Mohawk
    Pshhh! My kind of sports hero is Cal Ripkin, who was famous for going to work each day and playing in a fantastic number of baseball games without interruption. He's the guy who comes to work when he's not feeling well. You know, the man you can count on when you're in charge. Strong and dependable; values that mattered before we entered the New Dark Ages.

    Met him at a frozen yogurt place where he was in front of me, buying treats for his sons. Same height and eyes, a brother eye-to-eye. Good man.

    That's a sports king (to me at least).

    Replies: @Barnard, @Olorin, @Hank Archer, @Danindc

    Exactly why I never liked or followed sports after my 20s. Too much consumerist novelty and flash. All spectacle, little substance, or anyway, little that endures. In that it has a ritual function, probably needed, but I get mine otherwise.

    Actually this isn’t a “New Dark Ages” thing. It’s something akin to Sumerian/Babylonian religion. The agricultural grain-tanist, selected not for vigor but for mob appeal.

    Dumuzi is dead, sob the women today, tearing their hair and garments.

    Long live Dumuzi, they shriek tomorrow as the new model is held up for their worship.

    So I see our host’s point about Seventy One And A Half Holes. Still, that doesn’t accomplish much. Unlike, say, taking out the trash when the whole family’s down with the squitzin’ flu, and not griping about it.

    Bobby Clarke was another one.

  63. @Alfa158
    I don't play golf because the mechanics of doing it well suggest that it is almost impossible to play, and therefore the only people who play it are those people who don't realize it is impossible. You don't have a tennis racket head with a large face and sweet spot, at relatively short distance from you eye, swinging at a large fuzzy ball. You a use long club with a relatively small contact point, being swung at a small ball, more than six feet away from your eyes. You need to hit ball out of sand ditches and underbrush, then on the green you are not putting on a billiard table surface but a compound curve surface covered with inconsistent grass. Kind of the like the centipede in the old ditty who was asked how he could move all those legs without getting tangled up. He had never thought about it and once he did, ended up lying distracted in a ditch.
    Looking at the mechanics of a professional drive it would seem that a sudden change in muscle strength from steroids and/or intense body building could ruin your swing.
    From what I can see as an outsider to the game, hitting a drive 350 yards right down a fairway involves using the maximum force of your entire body from your feet through your legs, hips, back, shoulders, arms and grip. You are winding the whole mechanism completely in one directing then twisting it completely through in the other direction, hitting that tiny ball from six feet away with millimeter precision. That would seem to involve doing what Tiger did, which was to have the club super glued to your hands when you were a toddler and spending your entire life muscle learning to repeat the same feat with micrometer precision.
    A sudden change in the strength and the relative strength of those muscles would seem to be likely to upset that delicate balance. Throw in injuries from all that mechanical stress and no wonder.
    Maybe someone could look at the stats on how much Tiger's long game deteriorated compared to his putting to determine how much of the loss of ability was mental versus mechanical.

    Replies: @Alec Leamas, @Desiderius

    I don’t play golf because the mechanics of doing it well suggest that it is almost impossible to play, and therefore the only people who play it are those people who don’t realize it is impossible.

    As with doing most impossible things, composure and faith turn out to be essential to success.

  64. @Alec Leamas
    @Alfa158

    I don't know about strength - it's more of a matter of storing force and releasing it at the precise point and time via a sequence of torquing and then un-torquing one's body. Bubba Watson is built like a scallion but hits long, whereas I know a lot of very muscular, big guys who don't - and when they try to use some muscle in the swing they wind up slicing with the ball landing somewhere three holes away.

    Every once in a while an amateur will crush one 300+ which is probably just a matter of doing once in a blue moon what the tour guys do consistently.

    Replies: @Desiderius

    It’s similar to pitching in that respect.

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
    @Desiderius


    "...it’s more of a matter of storing force and releasing it at the precise point and time via a sequence of torquing and then un-torquing one’s body."
     

    It’s similar to pitching in that respect.

     

    Yep.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idaxs6bm6LM

    Replies: @Olorin

  65. @MC
    @Danindc

    I could believe that Nadal has taken PEDs, but I'll eat my hat if Federer has. Fed looks like an average guy who keeps himself in good shape; he does not look like some Adonis. Fed could easily fit in visually at a tournament 75 years ago when people thought weightlifting was for freaks.

    I suppose blood doping is possible, but it's not as though Fed has stayed at a continuous level since his youth. He's won two majors in the last seven years. I just don't see the PED evidence with him.

    Replies: @Anonymous, @Anonymous Nephew

    Nadal looks like he takes steroids, but I’ve never thought that Federer did. I vastly prefer Federer for this reason.

  66. @Peter Akuleyev
    @Hapalong Cassidy


    Serena Williams’ dominance has pretty much killled most interest.
     
    Sailer favorite Malcolm Gladwell was making a somewhat similar argument on Bill Simmons' podcast the other week. The men's game is suffering because it has been the same three guys for far too long. Young talent can't develop, and younger kids lose interest because they don't see people 5 years ahead of them making any progress.

    Replies: @Barnard, @Matra

    Did Gladwell have the names of any younger kids who have lost interest? Out of those “same three guys” Federer is 35, near the end of his career, and struggling to maintain a top ten ranking. Nadal is constantly injured, hasn’t won a slam since 2014 and has won one tournament that wasn’t on clay in the last three years. There are a half dozen guys who are hanging with them regularly now, but none of them are Americans.

    John Isner is never going to win a Grand Slam tournament and has almost $11 million in career earnings. Jack Sock is only 24 and has only won three small tournaments and is already at $5 million. Even if you think you can’t beat Djokovic, why would you walk away from that kind of money.

    • Replies: @Triumph104
    @Barnard

    Gladwell and Simmons said no up and comers, can't sell a sport with same people for last 15 years. (Federer/Serena?)--fewer matches, better training, better diet, "vitamins", "other things". Next generation isn't ready. Demoralizing for 16 yo.

    Sucks to learn/practice tennis 6 hours day, mind-numbing, no social interaction. Swimming is worst, at least money in tennis. Players lose their minds at 24, Jennifer Capriati/Agassi. Tennis is great for an only child. Tennis academies in awful heat of Florida.

    Audio starts at 1:13:00 https://soundcloud.com/the-bill-simmons-podcast/ep-177-malcolm-gladwell

    Replies: @Barnard

  67. @MC
    @Danindc

    I could believe that Nadal has taken PEDs, but I'll eat my hat if Federer has. Fed looks like an average guy who keeps himself in good shape; he does not look like some Adonis. Fed could easily fit in visually at a tournament 75 years ago when people thought weightlifting was for freaks.

    I suppose blood doping is possible, but it's not as though Fed has stayed at a continuous level since his youth. He's won two majors in the last seven years. I just don't see the PED evidence with him.

    Replies: @Anonymous, @Anonymous Nephew

    Federer’s thigh muscles

    aren’t that much bigger than Serena’s arm muscles

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    @Anonymous Nephew

    She's a man, baby! I know it's not nice to say that, but her arms are so huge and the rest of her body is so masculine. I almost wish she'd wear clothes that covered up her body a bit more.

    , @Buffalo Joe
    @Anonymous Nephew

    Nephew, Either of Serena's thighs are bigger than all of Federer and yet she claims to be 5'-10" and 150 pounds.

  68. @Peter Akuleyev
    @Hapalong Cassidy


    Serena Williams’ dominance has pretty much killled most interest.
     
    Sailer favorite Malcolm Gladwell was making a somewhat similar argument on Bill Simmons' podcast the other week. The men's game is suffering because it has been the same three guys for far too long. Young talent can't develop, and younger kids lose interest because they don't see people 5 years ahead of them making any progress.

    Replies: @Barnard, @Matra

    The men’s game is not suffering. Outside the US it is more popular than ever. Stan Wawrinka has won three majors in the last three years; Nadal has only won one. Murray also won Wimbledon last year. Masters tournaments are very popular in Europe and those who do well in them are handsomely rewarded. With players peaking later young talent now have more time to develop whilst making millions as they go through their early/mid 20s closing the gap with the big guys. There’s no evidence that young talent is put off by guys in their late 20s and early 30s winning majors.

    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    @Matra

    Matra, We think in terms of our country, our players. So, because there are no great Yanks dominating, not just playing, the American sports fan loses interest. What you say is valid, what I said is just My opinion.

  69. @dcthrowback
    ESPN's #Longreads look at Tiger's failures s/ 2008 might be of interest, Steve.

    http://www.espn.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/15278522/how-tiger-woods-life-unraveled-years-father-earl-woods-death

    Sadly, ctrl+f "steroids" yields no results, though the details of Woods' fantasy of becoming a Navy SEAL is explored in great detail, up to and including his jumping out of planes, learning how to assemble and disassemble their weapons, etc. The reporter also picked up on the quid pro quo for the national enquirer that lead to Woods' spread in muscle and fitness.

    Notable anecdote: after hanging out with SEALS over the course of years and training to be like them, he goes out to dinner with bunch of SEALs that have sort of taken him under their wing. Tab comes, everyone stares at each other for what must've been a very awkward 10 seconds, before a SEAL asked the waitress for separate tabs. Ouch.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @peterike, @Pericles

    Tab comes, everyone stares at each other for what must’ve been a very awkward 10 seconds, before a SEAL asked the waitress for separate tabs. Ouch.

    Clearly, Tiger relies on his black half when it comes to picking up checks.

  70. Patrick Harris says:
    @donut
    Tell me , please if you think I am wrong but I think that white people do black music better than Black people .

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XboE3_7KZ3Y

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9eWGdJIW74

    Well it's only a matter of taste .

    Replies: @donut, @flyingtiger, @Patrick Harris, @Father O'Hara

    Comparative racial bragging rights don’t interest me much. There’s not really a black Beethoven, but who says there should be? Personally, as a fan of that most deplorable genre, classic country, I’m grateful for Negroid innovations like blues and banjos.

    • Replies: @peterike
    @Patrick Harris


    There’s not really a black Beethoven, but who says there should be?
     
    Just about everybody who counts.
  71. @Steve Sailer
    @dcthrowback

    Mickelson would have grabbed the bill out of the waitress's hand while handing her a few Ben Franklins.

    Replies: @The Anti-Gnostic

    Woods doesn’t have the tribal Big Man persona or Mickelson’s WASP-y, reckless joviality. If I’m a zillionaire hanging out with the toughest warriors on the planet, hell yeah I’m spreading the green around. You never know when you’ll need a pack of loyal, trained killers.

    Wood’s stinginess ended up biting him in the end. He should have sprung for higher-class, more discrete mistresses.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    @The Anti-Gnostic

    His father was always the alpha in his life.

  72. @Desiderius
    @Alec Leamas

    It's similar to pitching in that respect.

    Replies: @Buzz Mohawk

    “…it’s more of a matter of storing force and releasing it at the precise point and time via a sequence of torquing and then un-torquing one’s body.”

    It’s similar to pitching in that respect.

    Yep.

    • Replies: @Olorin
    @Buzz Mohawk

    Compare:

    Analysis Tim Lincecum 97 mph fastball

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGDlwhITEp8

  73. @Anonymous Nephew
    @MC

    Federer's thigh muscles

    http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/03011/fed_3011719k.jpg

    aren't that much bigger than Serena's arm muscles

    http://www.theage.com.au/ffximage/2004/05/28/29s_williams,0.jpg

    Replies: @Anonymous, @Buffalo Joe

    She’s a man, baby! I know it’s not nice to say that, but her arms are so huge and the rest of her body is so masculine. I almost wish she’d wear clothes that covered up her body a bit more.

  74. Here’s Tiger Woods attacking the ball in 2000:

    And here’s Elegant Ernie:

    I always wondered why Els wasn’t consistently the world’s best golfer. His swing mechanics seem perfect.

    • Replies: @Chriscom
    @The Anti-Gnostic

    Els had a notoriously fragile mind under pressure, and around the time he was having a good year, he had a water skiing accident - - or it might have been climbing onto the boat -- where he was injured much more seriously than he let on at the time. He was really never the same threat after that.

    , @The Last Real Calvinist
    @The Anti-Gnostic

    Els's swing makes me want to weep with envy. He's a big guy, so swinging with that kind of elegance and consistency is even harder.

    Replies: @anonymous

  75. @Matra
    @Peter Akuleyev

    The men's game is not suffering. Outside the US it is more popular than ever. Stan Wawrinka has won three majors in the last three years; Nadal has only won one. Murray also won Wimbledon last year. Masters tournaments are very popular in Europe and those who do well in them are handsomely rewarded. With players peaking later young talent now have more time to develop whilst making millions as they go through their early/mid 20s closing the gap with the big guys. There's no evidence that young talent is put off by guys in their late 20s and early 30s winning majors.

    Replies: @Buffalo Joe

    Matra, We think in terms of our country, our players. So, because there are no great Yanks dominating, not just playing, the American sports fan loses interest. What you say is valid, what I said is just My opinion.

  76. @Anonymous Nephew
    @MC

    Federer's thigh muscles

    http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/03011/fed_3011719k.jpg

    aren't that much bigger than Serena's arm muscles

    http://www.theage.com.au/ffximage/2004/05/28/29s_williams,0.jpg

    Replies: @Anonymous, @Buffalo Joe

    Nephew, Either of Serena’s thighs are bigger than all of Federer and yet she claims to be 5′-10″ and 150 pounds.

  77. @dcthrowback
    ESPN's #Longreads look at Tiger's failures s/ 2008 might be of interest, Steve.

    http://www.espn.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/15278522/how-tiger-woods-life-unraveled-years-father-earl-woods-death

    Sadly, ctrl+f "steroids" yields no results, though the details of Woods' fantasy of becoming a Navy SEAL is explored in great detail, up to and including his jumping out of planes, learning how to assemble and disassemble their weapons, etc. The reporter also picked up on the quid pro quo for the national enquirer that lead to Woods' spread in muscle and fitness.

    Notable anecdote: after hanging out with SEALS over the course of years and training to be like them, he goes out to dinner with bunch of SEALs that have sort of taken him under their wing. Tab comes, everyone stares at each other for what must've been a very awkward 10 seconds, before a SEAL asked the waitress for separate tabs. Ouch.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @peterike, @Pericles

    That’s a black moment, isn’t it? I hope Tiger tipped, at least.

  78. @Buzz Mohawk
    Pshhh! My kind of sports hero is Cal Ripkin, who was famous for going to work each day and playing in a fantastic number of baseball games without interruption. He's the guy who comes to work when he's not feeling well. You know, the man you can count on when you're in charge. Strong and dependable; values that mattered before we entered the New Dark Ages.

    Met him at a frozen yogurt place where he was in front of me, buying treats for his sons. Same height and eyes, a brother eye-to-eye. Good man.

    That's a sports king (to me at least).

    Replies: @Barnard, @Olorin, @Hank Archer, @Danindc

    Ripken’s no hero. He was a very good player. Almost a great one. But his selfish pursuit of a record, much like Pete Rose’s, hurt his team. During his final years he should have taken an occasional day off, both so that his performance level could be maintained and to give others playing time so they would be sharp when needed.

  79. Regarding tennis, there was the Borg era and after that not much to hold one’s interest. He won eleven Grand Slam titles then retired at age 26. Björn Borg and Ingemar Stenmark (slalom, giant slalom) basically halted Sweden whenever they were on. It was so great.

    A lesson, for us smaller nations, is that such golden eras may run on and on, seemingly lasting for ever, then pass, and never really come back, or perhaps return only decades later. Some magic ingredient is missing, and no one knows what it is. All of a sudden, nobody can step up when the legends retire. Enjoy it while it lasts.

  80. @Brutusale
    Additionally, give the 60s-era Golden Bear titanium and a two-piece ball and see what he does. Like he was quoted as saying, when he was 20-years old he hit his drives 280 yards with his persimmon driver and when he was 60-years old he hit the ball 280 yards with his titanium driver.

    Then we add Ben Hogan to the conversation...

    Replies: @Steve from Detroit, @Buffalo Joe, @marty

    Not 2-piece, 4-piece.

  81. @donut
    Tell me , please if you think I am wrong but I think that white people do black music better than Black people .

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XboE3_7KZ3Y

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9eWGdJIW74

    Well it's only a matter of taste .

    Replies: @donut, @flyingtiger, @Patrick Harris, @Father O'Hara

    Couldn’t resist this one. With one exception,that being Little Richard,every black artist covered by the Beatles comes off second best! ‘Specially “Twist N Shout”,” Please Mr. Postman” “Rock N Roll Music” and others.
    Surely the Elvis version of “Hound Dog” is a bit better than Big Mama Thornton’s.
    One exception might be Clapton’s “Sheriff”. Clapton seems more musical and danceable,but Marley’s original is more soulful and angry and vengeful. Jus saying.

  82. @The Last Real Calvinist
    Three does seem about right; too many more, and they're splitting up the wins too much, and everybody calls it 'parity'. I guess golf could handle having more 'superstars' than tennis, though, given the relatively long career lengths and variable peaks for individual golfers.

    Also, are we talking just individual sports here, or are 'super teams' included as well?

    If we're including the latter, then the conventional wisdom seems to be that leagues benefit when there are just two arch-rivals competing again and again for titles, a la the Lakers/Celtics marathon NBA showdown that comprised the 1980s.

    Personally, though, I got pretty sick of seeing Goggles Kareem vs Lurchie McHale every year. I think it's more fun when there are three or even more claimants to the throne.

    Replies: @Ron Mexico

    “the Lakers/Celtics marathon NBA showdown that comprised the 1980s.” I get what you are saying, but it was really Magic vs. Bird that was the showdown. The Lakers were the constant, not the Celtics.

    Sixers vs. Lakers 80,82,83
    Celtics vs. Lakers 84,85,87 ; Celtics vs. Rockets 81,86
    Pistons vs. Lakers 88,89

    This would support the “you need three greats” argument, though.

    • Replies: @The Last Real Calvinist
    @Ron Mexico


    I get what you are saying, but it was really Magic vs. Bird that was the showdown. The Lakers were the constant, not the Celtics.

     

    Yes, true -- the Lakers and Celtics didn't really face each other every year. To the youthful sports fan I was, however, it just seemed as if they did. Part of the problem was the sports media at the time pretty openly rooting for a Lakers/Celtics finals year after year. It was perhaps for me an early introduction to a 'narrative', now that I think about it.
    , @Hank Archer
    @Ron Mexico

    It looks a bit different if you format it like this:

    Sixers vs. Lakers 80 ,82, 83
    Celtics vs. Lakers 84, 85 ,87
    Celtics vs. Rockets 81, 86
    Pistons vs. Lakers 88, 89

    Lakers in finals eight times, Celtics five during the 80s'.

    Lakers had a longer run, but during the Celtics' "Prime" ('81-'87) they were in the finals five of six years.

    I have no argument about who was the better team - the Lakers. But not by much.

  83. e says:
    @Steve Sailer
    @Danindc

    I was a huge Nicklaus fan in 1972-75, but Tiger at his peak was even better.

    Replies: @e, @Citizen of a Silly Country

    I’m not sure of that at all. Jack’s strength was a lot like that of Bill Belichick’s–having a game plan that differed from course to course w/out changing his swing (Tiger was always changing his swing and I’m not at all sure he ever understood his swing at all); pacing himself –Jack would only hit so many practice balls saying that a player had only so many good swings in him over a career and of course, scaling his appearances back because he wanted to be with family and wanted to concentrate on playing great courses and majors; it’s hard to choose because for a time Tiger’s putting was exceptional, but when a putt counted, I’d take Jack; then, of course, Jack’s competition was much stronger than Tiger’s. He was playing against guys who wanted and needed that prize money and who didn’t play with super headed drivers and hot balls.

  84. @Buzz Mohawk
    @Desiderius


    "...it’s more of a matter of storing force and releasing it at the precise point and time via a sequence of torquing and then un-torquing one’s body."
     

    It’s similar to pitching in that respect.

     

    Yep.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idaxs6bm6LM

    Replies: @Olorin

    Compare:

    Analysis Tim Lincecum 97 mph fastball

  85. @Steve Sailer
    @Danindc

    I was a huge Nicklaus fan in 1972-75, but Tiger at his peak was even better.

    Replies: @e, @Citizen of a Silly Country

    Perhaps Tiger was better but did he sacrifice his body to get that edge – and, if so, does that make Jack, in fact, the better golfer?

    Let’s say Jack and Tiger were very close in ability. Tiger works out like crazy (maybe even a few steroids), hits a ridiculous amount of practice balls and develops a swing that ekes out some extra yards but puts a lot of strain on his body. In essence, Tiger turns everything up to “11”.

    This allows him to be better than Jack for a ~10-year span but mentally and physically wears himself out, while Jack continues to play and win majors.

    Who’s the better golfer?

    Also, who’s to say that Jack couldn’t have done the same thing as Tiger and been just as good at his peak.

    Tiger’s career wasn’t cut short by bad luck; it was cut short by his own decisions. Think of it like a pitching duel where one pitcher comes out and throws as hard as he can for six innings and pitches better than his opponent, but by the late innings, runs out of gas and loses the game because the other pitcher paced himself. Which pitcher is better?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Citizen of a Silly Country

    (Almost) Final Score:

    Jack 18 to Tiger 14.

  86. @Citizen of a Silly Country
    @Steve Sailer

    Perhaps Tiger was better but did he sacrifice his body to get that edge - and, if so, does that make Jack, in fact, the better golfer?

    Let's say Jack and Tiger were very close in ability. Tiger works out like crazy (maybe even a few steroids), hits a ridiculous amount of practice balls and develops a swing that ekes out some extra yards but puts a lot of strain on his body. In essence, Tiger turns everything up to "11".

    This allows him to be better than Jack for a ~10-year span but mentally and physically wears himself out, while Jack continues to play and win majors.

    Who's the better golfer?

    Also, who's to say that Jack couldn't have done the same thing as Tiger and been just as good at his peak.

    Tiger's career wasn't cut short by bad luck; it was cut short by his own decisions. Think of it like a pitching duel where one pitcher comes out and throws as hard as he can for six innings and pitches better than his opponent, but by the late innings, runs out of gas and loses the game because the other pitcher paced himself. Which pitcher is better?

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    (Almost) Final Score:

    Jack 18 to Tiger 14.

  87. @Patrick Harris
    @donut

    Comparative racial bragging rights don't interest me much. There's not really a black Beethoven, but who says there should be? Personally, as a fan of that most deplorable genre, classic country, I'm grateful for Negroid innovations like blues and banjos.

    Replies: @peterike

    There’s not really a black Beethoven, but who says there should be?

    Just about everybody who counts.

  88. some more merkel-assisted homicide in Dusseldorf apparently.

  89. @DJ
    Oh and even more remarkable than Jack's 18 majors was the fact he finished second in a major 19 times.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @honesthughgrant

    My impression is that Jack should have won a half dozen more major championships. He tended to out-think himself by coming up with reasons for not hitting the driver when he was, by far, the greatest driver player in golf. He was praised a lot for hitting the one iron off the tee in major championships, but my recollection is he tended to hit the one iron short and into the rough. As Lee Trevino said, “If you get stuck in a lightning storm on the golf course, hold up a one iron into the sky because not even God can hit a one iron.”

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    @Steve Sailer

    Maybe God can't, but on occasion Jack did:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEZ7ap375PQ

  90. @Steve from Detroit
    @Brutusale

    I could not agree more. I remember reading an article about 8 years ago that compared how Tiger and Jack played. Tiger earns far more money in endorsements than in purses, plays a dozen tournaments a year, flies there on a private plane with a couple people, has all of his meals prepared, and is sleeping in his own bed Sunday night. Jack would play every week, partly to ensure he could make a living, driving there with his wife and (IIRC) 5 kids in a station wagon.

    And the statistic I think always gets lost is that Jack finished second 17 times in a major, where I think Tiger has a few second place finishes. This statistic, coupled with the fact that Tiger was something like 40-3 when holding the lead after 3 rounds, lead me to believe he was either an otherworldly golfer, or he had some, um, pharmacological help, especially on Sundays.

    I also believe the PED use is a prominent factor in his physical deterioration. I remember, and I can't seem to get anyone to corroborate this so maybe I've imagined it, but on at least 3 or 4 occasions I recall Tiger actually vomiting while playing a round and then continuing as if nothing happened. He was never listed as sick and never withdrew. Doesn't that deserve to be analyzed a little, or am I now over-noticing?

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    “Jack would play every week, partly to ensure he could make a living, driving there with his wife and (IIRC) 5 kids in a station wagon.”

    Jack cut way back on his schedule by his early 30s. I think he played only about 16 tournaments in America each year, with his schedule organized around winning major championships. I don’t know if he owned a private plane (Arnie did).

    Jack was not a regular guy, he was the world’s greatest golfer whose main rival was History.

    • Replies: @Alec Leamas
    @Steve Sailer

    I'd still have my money (and Sam Snead would have his money) on Sam Snead.

    FWIW, Snead still hold my club's course record with a 64 - a stately 1890s Donald Ross affair.

    I once saw a picture of Snead and Jackie Gleason on a golf course having loads of fun - if anyone knows where to get a print, please advise!

    , @Steve from Detroit
    @Steve Sailer

    I don't disagree, and you're right about the plane. I think he got it after Arnie got his (and wanted to actually fly the plane like Arnie).

    I was referencing this:

    “My first year out on Tour with Jackie was a time when you didn’t have disposable diapers,” Jack says. “The portable crib was a permanent fixture in the back of the car with a diaper pail. It stunk like nothing else. That’s how we traveled. First six weeks in California, skip Tucson, then to Doral and the whole Florida swing the same way.”

    About the same age as Jack in the above anecdote, Tiger signed his first deal with Nike for $40M before he ever played a round as a professional. Has Tiger ever changed a diaper?

    I just think the difference is astonishing, given that it was a relatively short period of time (35 years) in between.

  91. @Patrick in SC
    My opinion is that Tiger's "back problems" are, like most back problems, psychosomatic (or more precisely, "psycho-genic" --- which is to say generated by his mind). They are a symptom of his decline, not a cause. It's easy for him to say: "I'd still be the same ole Tiger if my back hadn't gone out on me," when in reality, a combination of knee problems (all that torque on the joints), normal aging, and humiliation from the scandal with his wife, are what drove him out of the winners circle.

    Replies: @Buffalo Joe

    Patrick, and a surgeon operated on Tiger’s back because his problem was “psycho-genic” and not an actual physical problem like a herniated disc?

  92. Three obviously. Mickey, Willie and the Duke. I don’t believe I actually have to say this.

  93. @The Anti-Gnostic
    Here's Tiger Woods attacking the ball in 2000:

    https://youtu.be/v8ORRvlV7W8

    And here's Elegant Ernie:

    https://youtu.be/322VsPIlnIo

    I always wondered why Els wasn't consistently the world's best golfer. His swing mechanics seem perfect.

    Replies: @Chriscom, @The Last Real Calvinist

    Els had a notoriously fragile mind under pressure, and around the time he was having a good year, he had a water skiing accident – – or it might have been climbing onto the boat — where he was injured much more seriously than he let on at the time. He was really never the same threat after that.

  94. @Tom Regan
    Aside from the four-majors-per-year comparison, the relative challenge of winning a tennis tournament and golf tournament is apples and oranges stuff.
    To win a grand slam tennis tournament you need to beat seven opponents. To win a golf major, you have to beat a hundred or so. Balanced against that; tennis careers end much earlier than golf careers.
    When assessing the grand slam figures on tennis, its worth bearing in mind that, up until the past 30 years, it was rare for players to even enter all four in a year. Borg's record is even more astonishing given he never played the Australian Open.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @sb, @ScarletNumber

    When I worked the numbers in 2008, the top ten golfers had won 96 majors and the top tennis players had won 102, or vice- versa, so it’s a pretty apples to apples comparison in terms of statistical likelihood. Major championships pile up faster in tennis, but golfers carry on longer, so the Nicklaus-Federer comparison seems pretty reasonable. Federer winning #18 after a five year drought is a lot like Nicklaus winning #18, the famous 1986 Masters, after a six year drought. Nicklaus knows a lot about tennis, and he seems pretty cool with the idea that he and Federer are peers in a two-man club.

  95. @The Anti-Gnostic
    @Anonymous Nephew

    There's a quote by Greg Norman from at least 10 years ago predicting that Tiger Woods wouldn't beat Jack Nicklaus's record. Norman said that Woods had a really intense, athletic swing and he just didn't see him holding up long enough to win that many majors. And, as it turns out, tee shots and long irons weren't the only things Tiger was going at so intensely. (Thank you, I'm here all week.)

    The counter-factual is that golf is an extremely mental game so maybe if he'd toned down his personal life his physical skills would still be carrying him but I don't think so. Joints wear out before muscles.

    Tiger's also a victim of his own success in a way. If I'm recalling things correctly, golfers were really not much into physical conditioning before Woods. Now, everybody works out.

    Replies: @Alec Leamas, @Buffalo Joe, @Daniel H, @TontoBubbaGoldstein

    >>If I’m recalling things correctly, golfers were really not much into physical conditioning before Woods. Now, everybody works out.

    Not quite everybody.

  96. @Hapalong Cassidy
    "There is probably some kind of optimal number of superstars for maximizing a sport’s popularity. Too few and things get repetitious, too many and marginal fans can’t follow the storylines."

    That certainly explains why nobody gives a damn about women's tennis anymore. At times, women's tennis has been more popular than men's. But Serena Williams' dominance has pretty much killled most interest. But maybe that's a bad example, because if the most dominant women's player of our era looked more like Maria Sharapova (or at least didn't look like a man), women's tennis would certainly be more popular.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Autochthon, @Barnard, @Peter Akuleyev, @Chriscom, @Darwin's Sh-tlist, @Alden

    This is related to one reason the LPGA has fallen off the map, which is not to say how solidly it ever was on it. At some point for some reason Korean women started absolutely crushing the US ladies ‘ tour with players of true talent and dedication. Unfortunately as a group they are not the most physically attractive women in the world. Combine that with sports nationalism and you end up hoping for better ratings than professional bowling.

  97. @LondonBob
    Sir Donald Bradman is the greatest sportsman of all time his career Test batting average of 99.94 is so far ahead of anyone else who has ever played the game that he exists in his own class.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batting_average

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Steve Sailer, @Ali Choudhury, @jeppo

    Yeah Bradman was pretty dominant in his sport, but then there’s Wayne Gretzky…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_career_achievements_by_Wayne_Gretzky

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    @jeppo

    Yeah, Gretzky was as dominant in ice-hockey as Bradman was in cricket.

    Cricket has only one dominant statistic for a batsman though (perhaps two, if you include the number of centuries-100 run scores in a inning) but ice-hockey has several. It might be more useful to compare cricket's greatest all rounders (batting, wickets/outs, catches) to Gretzky. Gretzky dominates, if you look at it that way, and leave out Bradman.

    Interesting to note that over the length of a career, the next highest scores for batting average are crowded at 60, which Bradman exceeded by a factor of 1.65x over twenty years. And it's not like he played his matches against weak teams. Most of the time, he played against Australia, who were in an unusually fearsome two decades long phase in a long and dominant history in the game.

    Replies: @DJ

  98. @duffer
    @Danindc

    The death of Tiger's father played quite a role in that win plateau. Golfers and other athletes are humans, too, even if they seem superhuman when we watch them perform incredible feats. His subsequent stumbles should not surprise many. Not many people get mulligans in life. See how ESPN addressed the loss of his father.

    http://www.espn.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/15278522/how-tiger-woods-life-unraveled-years-father-earl-woods-death

    Replies: @Desiderius

    There’s definitely a Mozart-like feel to how its all played out.

  99. Three contenders you say? The Foreman-Frazier-Ali period of heavyweight boxing in the early 1970s.

  100. @Steve Sailer
    @DJ

    My impression is that Jack should have won a half dozen more major championships. He tended to out-think himself by coming up with reasons for not hitting the driver when he was, by far, the greatest driver player in golf. He was praised a lot for hitting the one iron off the tee in major championships, but my recollection is he tended to hit the one iron short and into the rough. As Lee Trevino said, "If you get stuck in a lightning storm on the golf course, hold up a one iron into the sky because not even God can hit a one iron."

    Replies: @Desiderius

    Maybe God can’t, but on occasion Jack did:

  101. @Alec Leamas
    @Buffalo Joe


    Nephew, Tiger got into body sculpting to look buff and he was. Now I see Rory McIroy doing the same thing and suddenly he is fading. Maybe over doing the weight lifting effects your swing. Once your swing is gone, your game is gone. Back problems eventually effect your legs and knees too.
     
    Tiger had an almost dainty build as a teen and young man. I have to wonder whether packing muscle on to a build like that with modern nutrition and training (and perhaps a little help from modern pharmacology) isn't overloading the joints and tendons. Loads of muscle coiling around Tiger's spine during his swing, generating enormous force . . . and eventually the vertebrae and disks break down. (Steroid use overtaxes tendons by jump-starting muscle growth without compensatory augmentation of tendons, which then have a tendency to fail under use by the pumped-up muscle).

    Arnie was naturally hale and hearty as a young man, so his play did not appear to affect his career longevity:

    http://apopka.uhcpqdoe6fq4wtztv.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/arnoldpalmer_crop.jpg

    Perhaps a return to studying somatotypes is in order . . .

    Replies: @Chriscom

    I will maintain to my dying day that David Duval blew up his career by trying to bulk up like Tiger. It is often forgotten that for a brief moment before Tiger started squashing everyone else like a bug , Duval was heralded as the next big thing–a Feb. 1 1999 SI story about his winning 59 in the last round of the Bob Hope Classic notes that it confirms his status as the “best player of the game.”

    Then Tiger came, and everyone was trying to figure out how to cope. Duval hit the gym like many others, and that delicate millisecond timing was never something he could count on again.

    I’m seeing four more PGA/major victories after the Hope, including the Players’ that year and the British Open in 2001, and that was all she wrote.

    He probably wasn’t as talented and certainly not as driven as Tiger, but he would have been successful for much longer had he stayed within himself. Maybe could been Tiger’s Trevino.

    • Replies: @marty
    @Chriscom

    Hogan, Nelson, Snead, Nicklaus, Player, Trevino, Watson, Miller, Woods - you know what none of them had? A strong grip.

  102. @The Anti-Gnostic
    @Steve Sailer

    Woods doesn't have the tribal Big Man persona or Mickelson's WASP-y, reckless joviality. If I'm a zillionaire hanging out with the toughest warriors on the planet, hell yeah I'm spreading the green around. You never know when you'll need a pack of loyal, trained killers.

    Wood's stinginess ended up biting him in the end. He should have sprung for higher-class, more discrete mistresses.

    Replies: @Desiderius

    His father was always the alpha in his life.

    • Agree: dcthrowback
  103. There’s a distinction to be made between team sports and individual sports. Then there’s is baseball, which is sequential.

    Some sports are judgemental. Is Peggy Fleming the best skate dancer ever?

    I don’t know, but talent is sometimes obvious only when you see it. Talking or writing about it has its limits. And there goes ESPN down the drain pipe.

  104. Most great golfers, even if they remain injury free, lose their ability to putt by the time they turn 40. Nicklaus defied time and remained a great putter into his 40s’. Even if Woods had not broken down physically, odds, are his putter would have become increasingly less reliable after he reached 40.

    Sort of like Nolan Ryan, who was still a power pitcher long past his logical expiration date, Nicklaus was at or near the top of his game for a remarkably long time.

    • Replies: @Jacobite
    @Sandy Berger's Socks

    So was Gary Player. He was an iceman of coolness on the green well into his 40's. I've been a big fan ever since watching one of his rounds when winning the PGA at Aronimink in 1962. (And no, he didn't "cheat.")

  105. I wish I could find the quote, but Jack said something like that half of the golfers showing up at major had already surrendered before starting. He knew he was in their heads and used it.

    The man had very small hands, their was an outline tracing of them in a book. My wife’s were larger than his and she is 5’5″. (Alright now, no sarcasm please.)

  106. @The Anti-Gnostic
    Here's Tiger Woods attacking the ball in 2000:

    https://youtu.be/v8ORRvlV7W8

    And here's Elegant Ernie:

    https://youtu.be/322VsPIlnIo

    I always wondered why Els wasn't consistently the world's best golfer. His swing mechanics seem perfect.

    Replies: @Chriscom, @The Last Real Calvinist

    Els’s swing makes me want to weep with envy. He’s a big guy, so swinging with that kind of elegance and consistency is even harder.

    • Replies: @anonymous
    @The Last Real Calvinist

    my favorite swing is Jim Furyk's, like watching a guy who thinks he used to be a hockey player who just woke up one day as a golfist.

  107. @Ron Mexico
    @The Last Real Calvinist

    "the Lakers/Celtics marathon NBA showdown that comprised the 1980s." I get what you are saying, but it was really Magic vs. Bird that was the showdown. The Lakers were the constant, not the Celtics.

    Sixers vs. Lakers 80,82,83
    Celtics vs. Lakers 84,85,87 ; Celtics vs. Rockets 81,86
    Pistons vs. Lakers 88,89

    This would support the "you need three greats" argument, though.

    Replies: @The Last Real Calvinist, @Hank Archer

    I get what you are saying, but it was really Magic vs. Bird that was the showdown. The Lakers were the constant, not the Celtics.

    Yes, true — the Lakers and Celtics didn’t really face each other every year. To the youthful sports fan I was, however, it just seemed as if they did. Part of the problem was the sports media at the time pretty openly rooting for a Lakers/Celtics finals year after year. It was perhaps for me an early introduction to a ‘narrative’, now that I think about it.

  108. @Ron Mexico
    @The Last Real Calvinist

    "the Lakers/Celtics marathon NBA showdown that comprised the 1980s." I get what you are saying, but it was really Magic vs. Bird that was the showdown. The Lakers were the constant, not the Celtics.

    Sixers vs. Lakers 80,82,83
    Celtics vs. Lakers 84,85,87 ; Celtics vs. Rockets 81,86
    Pistons vs. Lakers 88,89

    This would support the "you need three greats" argument, though.

    Replies: @The Last Real Calvinist, @Hank Archer

    It looks a bit different if you format it like this:

    Sixers vs. Lakers 80 ,82, 83
    Celtics vs. Lakers 84, 85 ,87
    Celtics vs. Rockets 81, 86
    Pistons vs. Lakers 88, 89

    Lakers in finals eight times, Celtics five during the 80s’.

    Lakers had a longer run, but during the Celtics’ “Prime” (’81-’87) they were in the finals five of six years.

    I have no argument about who was the better team – the Lakers. But not by much.

  109. @DJ
    Oh and even more remarkable than Jack's 18 majors was the fact he finished second in a major 19 times.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @honesthughgrant

    Oh and even more remarkable than Jack’s 18 majors was the fact he finished second in a major 19 times.

    Of course, the reason Jack came in 2nd was he was playing against Watson, Trevino, Player, and Palmer. In 1977, he broke the British Open scoring record and still came in 2nd to Tom Watson.

    Probably the most disappointing thing of Tiger’s Reign from 1999-2008 was that no one really challenged him in the Majors. Jack had to knock off King Arnie in the 60s and then deal with Trevino and Watson in the 70s and early 80s. Tiger had who? He never won a major when he wasn’t the leader (or co-leader) going into the 4th round, and except for Yang in 2009, no one ever BEAT Tiger in a major when he was the 3rd round leader. No one ever stepped up.

    Not only that, but who was great golfer of 2000-2010 besides Tiger? Phil? But he always blew up in the US Open and didn’t do much in the British open during that time frame.

    • Replies: @Jacobite
    @honesthughgrant

    It wasn't just Arnie he was up against in the 60's and 70's, he had to beat Gary Player. Nine majors!

    , @Danindc
    @honesthughgrant

    Tiger's competition was 10x more talented than Jack's. Orville Moody won a US OPEN in 1969 after being in the Marines until he was 30....Tiger outplayed thousands of kids who were trained and developed since the age of 10 to be great golfers.

    There is no debate about the greatest golfer ever - Tiger. There's also no debate about the greatest champion ever - Nicklaus.

  110. @DJ
    Rod Laver was the greatest tennis player and would have surpassed Nicklaus if he had not turned pro. We love Jack though.

    It's pretty clear the Federer is on the juice. Johnny Mac would have destroyed Roger in his prime.

    Replies: @Deckin, @Jacobite, @sb

    I don’t know how you can surmise that it’s ‘pretty clear’ Federer is on the juice; care to divulge how you ‘know’ that? Anyone who says that McEnroe in his prime could have destroyed Federer in his prime knows absolutely nothing about tennis. Not even McEnroe would say that. Hell, Federer of the 2017 would have destroyed Federer of 2004 easily.

    • Replies: @DJ
    @Deckin

    How many other 35 year old males won a Major at 35? Ken Rosewell is all. Not even the great Rod Laver. How else do you explain it?

    Mac won't say it but he knows it in his heart of hearts. It the little smile that erupts when asked about it.

    Replies: @Brutusale

  111. @JohnnyWalker123
    Here's another question.

    What's the optimal number of contenders for the star of the team?

    How many stars can a team ideally support?

    I'd say 1 superstar, 3 high level stars, 3-6 lower level stars. Beyond that, people lose track.

    Replies: @Brutusale, @Half Canadian

    Steve should ask a guy who knows: Bill Belichick.

    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    @Brutusale

    Brutus, Some if not all of Belichicks stars are homegrown and former cast offs. Welker, Edelman and now Hogan come to mind.

    Replies: @Brutusale

  112. Anonymous [AKA "Brobro"] says:

    The optimal number of kings is 1. Tiger woods and Michael Jordan demonstrate this

  113. @The Anti-Gnostic
    @Anonymous Nephew

    There's a quote by Greg Norman from at least 10 years ago predicting that Tiger Woods wouldn't beat Jack Nicklaus's record. Norman said that Woods had a really intense, athletic swing and he just didn't see him holding up long enough to win that many majors. And, as it turns out, tee shots and long irons weren't the only things Tiger was going at so intensely. (Thank you, I'm here all week.)

    The counter-factual is that golf is an extremely mental game so maybe if he'd toned down his personal life his physical skills would still be carrying him but I don't think so. Joints wear out before muscles.

    Tiger's also a victim of his own success in a way. If I'm recalling things correctly, golfers were really not much into physical conditioning before Woods. Now, everybody works out.

    Replies: @Alec Leamas, @Buffalo Joe, @Daniel H, @TontoBubbaGoldstein

    And, as it turns out, tee shots and long irons weren’t the only things Tiger was going at so intensely. (Thank you, I’m here all week.)

    The counter-factual is that golf is an extremely mental game so maybe if he’d toned down his personal life his physical skills would still be carrying him but I don’t think so.

    The “personal life” ie. regular sex is what gave him the edge.

    We Native Americans have a term for what went wrong with Tiger’s golf game…. Lackonookie.

  114. @DJ
    Rod Laver was the greatest tennis player and would have surpassed Nicklaus if he had not turned pro. We love Jack though.

    It's pretty clear the Federer is on the juice. Johnny Mac would have destroyed Roger in his prime.

    Replies: @Deckin, @Jacobite, @sb

    I agree about Laver but Federer simply overpowered everyone when he was young and that would have included McEnroe if they were contemporaries.

  115. @Buffalo Joe
    @Anonymous Nephew

    Nephew, Tiger got into body sculpting to look buff and he was. Now I see Rory McIroy doing the same thing and suddenly he is fading. Maybe over doing the weight lifting effects your swing. Once your swing is gone, your game is gone. Back problems eventually effect your legs and knees too.

    Replies: @Alec Leamas, @Danindc

    Rory follows the training regimen of the smartest physios in the world. All of his exercises are geared around him staying healthy and being able to play competitively until age 50.

    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    @Danindc

    Danindc, That may be true, but a recent shirtless photo of him shows heavily muscled pecs and biceps, and he is not winning. So, yes, maybe he competes to fifty, but does he win ?

    Replies: @Danindc

  116. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @jeppo
    @LondonBob

    Yeah Bradman was pretty dominant in his sport, but then there's Wayne Gretzky...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_career_achievements_by_Wayne_Gretzky

    Replies: @Anonymous

    Yeah, Gretzky was as dominant in ice-hockey as Bradman was in cricket.

    Cricket has only one dominant statistic for a batsman though (perhaps two, if you include the number of centuries-100 run scores in a inning) but ice-hockey has several. It might be more useful to compare cricket’s greatest all rounders (batting, wickets/outs, catches) to Gretzky. Gretzky dominates, if you look at it that way, and leave out Bradman.

    Interesting to note that over the length of a career, the next highest scores for batting average are crowded at 60, which Bradman exceeded by a factor of 1.65x over twenty years. And it’s not like he played his matches against weak teams. Most of the time, he played against Australia, who were in an unusually fearsome two decades long phase in a long and dominant history in the game.

    • Replies: @DJ
    @Anonymous

    Sir Garfield Sobers the greatest all a round cricketer. A hero of Barbadoes.

    Gretzky was overrated. The early eighties with the amalgamation with the nascent WHA was the weakest era , with the possible exception of WWII in the history of the NHL. Look at the goals per game averages compared with the early 1950s. Imagine a ripped Gordie Howe plying his trade in the eighties. Astounding. Krutov and Makorov were more talented than Gretzky.

    Replies: @Anon87

  117. @Buzz Mohawk
    Pshhh! My kind of sports hero is Cal Ripkin, who was famous for going to work each day and playing in a fantastic number of baseball games without interruption. He's the guy who comes to work when he's not feeling well. You know, the man you can count on when you're in charge. Strong and dependable; values that mattered before we entered the New Dark Ages.

    Met him at a frozen yogurt place where he was in front of me, buying treats for his sons. Same height and eyes, a brother eye-to-eye. Good man.

    That's a sports king (to me at least).

    Replies: @Barnard, @Olorin, @Hank Archer, @Danindc

    Growing up in DC/Baltimore, Cal is my favorite athlete ever. My next son will be named after him. And Calvin Coolidge. That said, if only he would’ve taken steroids the Orioles would’ve won at least one World Series on the 90’s. His frame could’ve held 30 pounds of muscle easily. The most homeruns ever had in a year was 32. Ridiculous.

    His honesty and integrity cost me a lot of joy in my youth. Damn him!!!!

  118. @honesthughgrant
    @DJ


    Oh and even more remarkable than Jack’s 18 majors was the fact he finished second in a major 19 times.
     
    Of course, the reason Jack came in 2nd was he was playing against Watson, Trevino, Player, and Palmer. In 1977, he broke the British Open scoring record and still came in 2nd to Tom Watson.

    Probably the most disappointing thing of Tiger's Reign from 1999-2008 was that no one really challenged him in the Majors. Jack had to knock off King Arnie in the 60s and then deal with Trevino and Watson in the 70s and early 80s. Tiger had who? He never won a major when he wasn't the leader (or co-leader) going into the 4th round, and except for Yang in 2009, no one ever BEAT Tiger in a major when he was the 3rd round leader. No one ever stepped up.

    Not only that, but who was great golfer of 2000-2010 besides Tiger? Phil? But he always blew up in the US Open and didn't do much in the British open during that time frame.

    Replies: @Jacobite, @Danindc

    It wasn’t just Arnie he was up against in the 60’s and 70’s, he had to beat Gary Player. Nine majors!

  119. @honesthughgrant
    @DJ


    Oh and even more remarkable than Jack’s 18 majors was the fact he finished second in a major 19 times.
     
    Of course, the reason Jack came in 2nd was he was playing against Watson, Trevino, Player, and Palmer. In 1977, he broke the British Open scoring record and still came in 2nd to Tom Watson.

    Probably the most disappointing thing of Tiger's Reign from 1999-2008 was that no one really challenged him in the Majors. Jack had to knock off King Arnie in the 60s and then deal with Trevino and Watson in the 70s and early 80s. Tiger had who? He never won a major when he wasn't the leader (or co-leader) going into the 4th round, and except for Yang in 2009, no one ever BEAT Tiger in a major when he was the 3rd round leader. No one ever stepped up.

    Not only that, but who was great golfer of 2000-2010 besides Tiger? Phil? But he always blew up in the US Open and didn't do much in the British open during that time frame.

    Replies: @Jacobite, @Danindc

    Tiger’s competition was 10x more talented than Jack’s. Orville Moody won a US OPEN in 1969 after being in the Marines until he was 30….Tiger outplayed thousands of kids who were trained and developed since the age of 10 to be great golfers.

    There is no debate about the greatest golfer ever – Tiger. There’s also no debate about the greatest champion ever – Nicklaus.

  120. @Brutusale
    @JohnnyWalker123

    Steve should ask a guy who knows: Bill Belichick.

    Replies: @Buffalo Joe

    Brutus, Some if not all of Belichicks stars are homegrown and former cast offs. Welker, Edelman and now Hogan come to mind.

    • Replies: @Brutusale
    @Buffalo Joe

    Correct. The right answer is zero.

    Kidding. Kind of. But the Patriots' numero uno star, the player who's bigger than the commissioner and maybe the league, is the guy who every year gets the parking spot next to the player's entrance for putting in the most time in the workout and film rooms.

    The best teams have the superstar who hones his craft as diligently as the last guy on the depth chart. He may have FIVE rings and, after this year's Super Bowl, he may have passed beyond legend into myth, but I promise you that Tom Brady will be training or watching film today.

    No Days Off has already been trademarked by the team.

    Replies: @Buffalo Joe

  121. @Sandy Berger's Socks
    Most great golfers, even if they remain injury free, lose their ability to putt by the time they turn 40. Nicklaus defied time and remained a great putter into his 40s'. Even if Woods had not broken down physically, odds, are his putter would have become increasingly less reliable after he reached 40.

    Sort of like Nolan Ryan, who was still a power pitcher long past his logical expiration date, Nicklaus was at or near the top of his game for a remarkably long time.

    Replies: @Jacobite

    So was Gary Player. He was an iceman of coolness on the green well into his 40’s. I’ve been a big fan ever since watching one of his rounds when winning the PGA at Aronimink in 1962. (And no, he didn’t “cheat.”)

  122. @Chriscom
    @Alec Leamas

    I will maintain to my dying day that David Duval blew up his career by trying to bulk up like Tiger. It is often forgotten that for a brief moment before Tiger started squashing everyone else like a bug , Duval was heralded as the next big thing--a Feb. 1 1999 SI story about his winning 59 in the last round of the Bob Hope Classic notes that it confirms his status as the "best player of the game."

    Then Tiger came, and everyone was trying to figure out how to cope. Duval hit the gym like many others, and that delicate millisecond timing was never something he could count on again.


    I'm seeing four more PGA/major victories after the Hope, including the Players' that year and the British Open in 2001, and that was all she wrote.

    He probably wasn't as talented and certainly not as driven as Tiger, but he would have been successful for much longer had he stayed within himself. Maybe could been Tiger's Trevino.

    Replies: @marty

    Hogan, Nelson, Snead, Nicklaus, Player, Trevino, Watson, Miller, Woods – you know what none of them had? A strong grip.

  123. @Hapalong Cassidy
    "There is probably some kind of optimal number of superstars for maximizing a sport’s popularity. Too few and things get repetitious, too many and marginal fans can’t follow the storylines."

    That certainly explains why nobody gives a damn about women's tennis anymore. At times, women's tennis has been more popular than men's. But Serena Williams' dominance has pretty much killled most interest. But maybe that's a bad example, because if the most dominant women's player of our era looked more like Maria Sharapova (or at least didn't look like a man), women's tennis would certainly be more popular.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Autochthon, @Barnard, @Peter Akuleyev, @Chriscom, @Darwin's Sh-tlist, @Alden

    Completely out-of-my-posterior opinion about the lack of interest in women’s tennis:

    1) The dominance of Serena Williams probably does play a part
    2) The prominence of what seems to be a brigade of boring Eastern Europeans
    3) All of the yelling when they hit the ball. Watching with the sound off is just a hair’s breadth away from turning the channel.

  124. @The Last Real Calvinist
    @The Anti-Gnostic

    Els's swing makes me want to weep with envy. He's a big guy, so swinging with that kind of elegance and consistency is even harder.

    Replies: @anonymous

    my favorite swing is Jim Furyk’s, like watching a guy who thinks he used to be a hockey player who just woke up one day as a golfist.

  125. @Steve Sailer
    @Steve from Detroit

    "Jack would play every week, partly to ensure he could make a living, driving there with his wife and (IIRC) 5 kids in a station wagon."

    Jack cut way back on his schedule by his early 30s. I think he played only about 16 tournaments in America each year, with his schedule organized around winning major championships. I don't know if he owned a private plane (Arnie did).

    Jack was not a regular guy, he was the world's greatest golfer whose main rival was History.

    Replies: @Alec Leamas, @Steve from Detroit

    I’d still have my money (and Sam Snead would have his money) on Sam Snead.

    FWIW, Snead still hold my club’s course record with a 64 – a stately 1890s Donald Ross affair.

    I once saw a picture of Snead and Jackie Gleason on a golf course having loads of fun – if anyone knows where to get a print, please advise!

  126. sb says:
    @Tom Regan
    Aside from the four-majors-per-year comparison, the relative challenge of winning a tennis tournament and golf tournament is apples and oranges stuff.
    To win a grand slam tennis tournament you need to beat seven opponents. To win a golf major, you have to beat a hundred or so. Balanced against that; tennis careers end much earlier than golf careers.
    When assessing the grand slam figures on tennis, its worth bearing in mind that, up until the past 30 years, it was rare for players to even enter all four in a year. Borg's record is even more astonishing given he never played the Australian Open.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @sb, @ScarletNumber

    All the top players playing all 4 majors in both tennis and golf is a fairly recent phenomenon .
    In tennis I’d date it from the late 80s and in golf maybe from the 70s

    Top non US golfers ( with the exception of Gary Player ) historically didn’t have much to do with the PGA Tour .Remember the US and the rest of the world played with different sized golf balls until fairly recently
    I think Australian golfers always headed to the UK till the 70s but afterwards headed to the US

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @sb

    US golfers played the British Open in the big money 1920s, but then largely stopped after about 1933. Americans won 12 of 13 British Opens from 1921-1933, although some winners were British immigrants. Snead and Hogan each played it once after WWII. The introduction of the jetliner at the end of the 1950s made a trip across the Atlantic much easier to fit into the schedule than in the ocean liner days. Arnold Palmer started playing the British Open from 1960 onward, which led to it becoming routine for top Americans. Americans won 12 of 14 Opens from 1970-1983.

    , @anon
    @sb

    That may have been because the U.S.Tour at that time had a reputation for cheating amongst players.

  127. @DJ
    Rod Laver was the greatest tennis player and would have surpassed Nicklaus if he had not turned pro. We love Jack though.

    It's pretty clear the Federer is on the juice. Johnny Mac would have destroyed Roger in his prime.

    Replies: @Deckin, @Jacobite, @sb

    Yeah like Johnny Mac is the epitome of fair play

  128. sb says:
    @Verymuchalive
    @Danindc

    I think you mean EPO and other prescription medicines in tennis. You are right. It is the reason why obviously clean players like Andy Murray have only ever won 3 Grand Slams.
    Truth will out in the end.

    Replies: @sb

    Yeah sure Sir Andy Murray is right up there in the fair play no PEDs awards with those other British sporting luminaries like Sir Dave Brailsford ,Sir Bradley Wiggins and Sir Mohammed Farrah

    I’m not saying Murray is not clean but he does seem a very wound up intense personality less guy with little life outside tennis .
    Which makes you wonder

    Maybe it’s the knighthood that makes for suspicion

    • Replies: @Jacobite
    @sb

    I think it is the nature of the two sports that attracts different personalities. Tennis is extremely athletic, sure you have to be smart enough to hit your shots where you figure your opponent won't be but it is a game that makes you sweat. In golf you have to have the swing but mental coolness and self control is everything.

    , @PiltdownMan
    @sb


    I’m not saying Murray is not clean but he does seem a very wound up intense personality less guy with little life outside tennis .
     
    A man's allowed.

    Not that I'm saying it has any connection to his personality, but Andy Murray, then 8 years old, did narrowly escape being a victim of the Dunblane School Massacre.

    http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/andy-murray-breaks-his-silence-on-dunblane-school-massacre-8671255.html
  129. @sb
    @Tom Regan

    All the top players playing all 4 majors in both tennis and golf is a fairly recent phenomenon .
    In tennis I'd date it from the late 80s and in golf maybe from the 70s

    Top non US golfers ( with the exception of Gary Player ) historically didn't have much to do with the PGA Tour .Remember the US and the rest of the world played with different sized golf balls until fairly recently
    I think Australian golfers always headed to the UK till the 70s but afterwards headed to the US

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @anon

    US golfers played the British Open in the big money 1920s, but then largely stopped after about 1933. Americans won 12 of 13 British Opens from 1921-1933, although some winners were British immigrants. Snead and Hogan each played it once after WWII. The introduction of the jetliner at the end of the 1950s made a trip across the Atlantic much easier to fit into the schedule than in the ocean liner days. Arnold Palmer started playing the British Open from 1960 onward, which led to it becoming routine for top Americans. Americans won 12 of 14 Opens from 1970-1983.

  130. During WWII, when cavalry/armor generals were really able, for a brief period, to show their stuff, there were about 5 or 6 at one time who were clearly at the top of the field. We still don’t know which ones had access to better intel (sort of like the PED problem) so the number 5 or 6 might not be accurate. The US had either 4 or 5 legendarily great admirals in the Pacific Theater alone in 1942-1945 . I think sports, though, kind of tops out at 2, maybe 3 at a time. Except baseball, which is played by people who are not really athletes, as John Kruk (or was it David Wells) once accurately said.

  131. @donut
    @donut

    Of course there is this felonious artist :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cu7gafphe9M

    But top this Negro :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxf1IFgPH5s

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPTDuqZPesA

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrsRQs_RXnE

    Replies: @G Pinfold

    That’s not even O/T. That’s just starting your own blog on Comment 3 of Steve’s thread. But some nice vids.

    • Replies: @donut
    @G Pinfold

    "That’s not even O/T. That’s just starting your own blog on Comment 3 of Steve’s thread."

    You noticed that huh ?

    Yeah , I don't know why he let's me get away with that .

  132. @sb
    @Verymuchalive

    Yeah sure Sir Andy Murray is right up there in the fair play no PEDs awards with those other British sporting luminaries like Sir Dave Brailsford ,Sir Bradley Wiggins and Sir Mohammed Farrah

    I'm not saying Murray is not clean but he does seem a very wound up intense personality less guy with little life outside tennis .
    Which makes you wonder

    Maybe it's the knighthood that makes for suspicion

    Replies: @Jacobite, @PiltdownMan

    I think it is the nature of the two sports that attracts different personalities. Tennis is extremely athletic, sure you have to be smart enough to hit your shots where you figure your opponent won’t be but it is a game that makes you sweat. In golf you have to have the swing but mental coolness and self control is everything.

  133. Hey iSteve, what’s the statistical likelihood of 1, 2, 0r 3 competitors being in the extreme right tail of the bell curve simultaneously? Having only 1, soon to be 0, competitor is women’s tennis. Is Tiger Woods still in the extreme right tail?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @George

    Charles Murray used golf performance (e.g., Tiger Woods) in "Human Accomplishment" to illustrate how the high end is best modeled not by a bell curve but by a power law.

  134. @George
    Hey iSteve, what's the statistical likelihood of 1, 2, 0r 3 competitors being in the extreme right tail of the bell curve simultaneously? Having only 1, soon to be 0, competitor is women's tennis. Is Tiger Woods still in the extreme right tail?

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    Charles Murray used golf performance (e.g., Tiger Woods) in “Human Accomplishment” to illustrate how the high end is best modeled not by a bell curve but by a power law.

  135. @Steve Sailer
    @Anonym

    Golf is the opposite of a combat sport so you can hold it together longer, like Tom Watson in his late 50s at the British Open held it together for 71.5 holes.

    Replies: @Anonym

    Golf is the opposite of a combat sport so you can hold it together longer, like Tom Watson in his late 50s at the British Open held it together for 71.5 holes.

    Wow. For a 59yo to be competitive enough to be second in an open tournament is a solid argument for golf to be considered game, not sport.

  136. @sb
    @Verymuchalive

    Yeah sure Sir Andy Murray is right up there in the fair play no PEDs awards with those other British sporting luminaries like Sir Dave Brailsford ,Sir Bradley Wiggins and Sir Mohammed Farrah

    I'm not saying Murray is not clean but he does seem a very wound up intense personality less guy with little life outside tennis .
    Which makes you wonder

    Maybe it's the knighthood that makes for suspicion

    Replies: @Jacobite, @PiltdownMan

    I’m not saying Murray is not clean but he does seem a very wound up intense personality less guy with little life outside tennis .

    A man’s allowed.

    Not that I’m saying it has any connection to his personality, but Andy Murray, then 8 years old, did narrowly escape being a victim of the Dunblane School Massacre.

    http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/andy-murray-breaks-his-silence-on-dunblane-school-massacre-8671255.html

  137. anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Buffalo Joe
    @Brutusale

    Brutus, My last uncle died last year at 93, and he still played a few 9 hole rounds per month, walking. In his youth he was a scratch golfer and in his 70s he shot his age. He played with his favorite, though, re-griped and re-shafted, persimmon woods, because there is still only one sweet spot on a club face. When you learn to hit your shots off of that spot, you've mastered the game. Putting, however, makes or breaks many rounds of golf.

    Replies: @anon

    So true.
    Saw Sam Snead play a Tournament at Tweed Heads in 1978. He had a brand new Wilson bag, his driver was taped [heel crack] and his irons were concave. His caddy, a local club official,later told me that Wilson paid Snead $30,000 for the week, and first prizemoney was $20,000.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @anon

    I saw Sam Snead finish second at the 1974 Los Angeles Open at Riviera when he was 61. There was a fierce Santa Ana wind blowing and he was just about the only player under par on Sunday. He rolled in a birdie putt (putting side-saddle) on the 71st hole to pull within one stroke of the lead. To beat Snead, Dave Stockton had to hit the shot of his life on the famous 18th, a 245 yard uphill into the wind 3-wood to 12 feet.

    Bill Dwyre wrote in the LA Times in 2012:

    As Stockton stood there that day in '74, he had a one-shot lead on Sam Snead, who wandered over to mention to Stockton that he had birdied the last two holes at Riviera to beat Ben Hogan. That was in the 1950 L.A. Open, Hogan's first outing in 11 months after his near-fatal auto accident.

    Stockton later related, in a 2004 book by Michael Arkush and Ron Cherney titled "My Greatest Shot," that Snead's perceived gamesmanship angered him. He yanked his drive way left into the deep rough, 244 yards to the pin.

    "I remember the ball was about eight inches below my feet," Stockton said, "and Sam was standing out on the fairway next to my caddie."

    Stockton, still fuming, hit a three-wood to 12 feet and won the tournament by two shots.

    "After I hit it," Stockton said, "I walked past Snead and said, 'I guess Hogan didn't hit it that close.' "

    There is a plaque at the spot of Stockton's shot. He has said he has tried that shot at least 20 times since and never come close.

    http://articles.latimes.com/2012/feb/19/sports/la-sp-0220-dwyre-northern-trust-20120220

    Replies: @anon

  138. @sb
    @Tom Regan

    All the top players playing all 4 majors in both tennis and golf is a fairly recent phenomenon .
    In tennis I'd date it from the late 80s and in golf maybe from the 70s

    Top non US golfers ( with the exception of Gary Player ) historically didn't have much to do with the PGA Tour .Remember the US and the rest of the world played with different sized golf balls until fairly recently
    I think Australian golfers always headed to the UK till the 70s but afterwards headed to the US

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @anon

    That may have been because the U.S.Tour at that time had a reputation for cheating amongst players.

  139. @Barnard
    @Peter Akuleyev

    Did Gladwell have the names of any younger kids who have lost interest? Out of those "same three guys" Federer is 35, near the end of his career, and struggling to maintain a top ten ranking. Nadal is constantly injured, hasn't won a slam since 2014 and has won one tournament that wasn't on clay in the last three years. There are a half dozen guys who are hanging with them regularly now, but none of them are Americans.

    John Isner is never going to win a Grand Slam tournament and has almost $11 million in career earnings. Jack Sock is only 24 and has only won three small tournaments and is already at $5 million. Even if you think you can't beat Djokovic, why would you walk away from that kind of money.

    Replies: @Triumph104

    Gladwell and Simmons said no up and comers, can’t sell a sport with same people for last 15 years. (Federer/Serena?)–fewer matches, better training, better diet, “vitamins”, “other things”. Next generation isn’t ready. Demoralizing for 16 yo.

    Sucks to learn/practice tennis 6 hours day, mind-numbing, no social interaction. Swimming is worst, at least money in tennis. Players lose their minds at 24, Jennifer Capriati/Agassi. Tennis is great for an only child. Tennis academies in awful heat of Florida.

    Audio starts at 1:13:00 https://soundcloud.com/the-bill-simmons-podcast/ep-177-malcolm-gladwell

    • Replies: @Barnard
    @Triumph104

    None of that is true. I realize that is typical Gladwell, but it is completely false. He throws out two examples of players who had problems and they are from the early 90s and both ended up coming back and being more successful than they were early in their careers. Every single point he makes is wrong.

  140. @anon
    @Buffalo Joe

    So true.
    Saw Sam Snead play a Tournament at Tweed Heads in 1978. He had a brand new Wilson bag, his driver was taped [heel crack] and his irons were concave. His caddy, a local club official,later told me that Wilson paid Snead $30,000 for the week, and first prizemoney was $20,000.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    I saw Sam Snead finish second at the 1974 Los Angeles Open at Riviera when he was 61. There was a fierce Santa Ana wind blowing and he was just about the only player under par on Sunday. He rolled in a birdie putt (putting side-saddle) on the 71st hole to pull within one stroke of the lead. To beat Snead, Dave Stockton had to hit the shot of his life on the famous 18th, a 245 yard uphill into the wind 3-wood to 12 feet.

    Bill Dwyre wrote in the LA Times in 2012:

    As Stockton stood there that day in ’74, he had a one-shot lead on Sam Snead, who wandered over to mention to Stockton that he had birdied the last two holes at Riviera to beat Ben Hogan. That was in the 1950 L.A. Open, Hogan’s first outing in 11 months after his near-fatal auto accident.

    Stockton later related, in a 2004 book by Michael Arkush and Ron Cherney titled “My Greatest Shot,” that Snead’s perceived gamesmanship angered him. He yanked his drive way left into the deep rough, 244 yards to the pin.

    “I remember the ball was about eight inches below my feet,” Stockton said, “and Sam was standing out on the fairway next to my caddie.”

    Stockton, still fuming, hit a three-wood to 12 feet and won the tournament by two shots.

    “After I hit it,” Stockton said, “I walked past Snead and said, ‘I guess Hogan didn’t hit it that close.’ ”

    There is a plaque at the spot of Stockton’s shot. He has said he has tried that shot at least 20 times since and never come close.

    http://articles.latimes.com/2012/feb/19/sports/la-sp-0220-dwyre-northern-trust-20120220

    • Replies: @anon
    @Steve Sailer

    Sam Snead couldn't buy a putt the day i followed him, but tee to green he was magnificent to watch.
    He spent the day mocking the caddy for the benefit of the gallery, his fourth bag carrier for the Tournament. 18 holes was as much as any reasonable person could stand, i was told.
    Tommy Bolt, George Bayer, and some others i've forgotten were there too, following on from a Seniors event in Sydney the previous week.

  141. @Buffalo Joe
    @Brutusale

    Brutus, Some if not all of Belichicks stars are homegrown and former cast offs. Welker, Edelman and now Hogan come to mind.

    Replies: @Brutusale

    Correct. The right answer is zero.

    Kidding. Kind of. But the Patriots’ numero uno star, the player who’s bigger than the commissioner and maybe the league, is the guy who every year gets the parking spot next to the player’s entrance for putting in the most time in the workout and film rooms.

    The best teams have the superstar who hones his craft as diligently as the last guy on the depth chart. He may have FIVE rings and, after this year’s Super Bowl, he may have passed beyond legend into myth, but I promise you that Tom Brady will be training or watching film today.

    No Days Off has already been trademarked by the team.

    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    @Brutusale

    Brutus, I watched a documentary featuring Julian Edelman and he said every week the team sits through "Low Lights Day" and they sit in silence as a video runs and Belichick hammers them individually as a mistake or broken play is projected on the screen. No one, not even Brady, escapes Belichick's wrath. Meanwhile, in Buffalo, we endured Rex Ryan, a "player's coach" who found excuses for every mistake made. Your comment is spot on.

  142. @Steve Sailer
    @Steve from Detroit

    "Jack would play every week, partly to ensure he could make a living, driving there with his wife and (IIRC) 5 kids in a station wagon."

    Jack cut way back on his schedule by his early 30s. I think he played only about 16 tournaments in America each year, with his schedule organized around winning major championships. I don't know if he owned a private plane (Arnie did).

    Jack was not a regular guy, he was the world's greatest golfer whose main rival was History.

    Replies: @Alec Leamas, @Steve from Detroit

    I don’t disagree, and you’re right about the plane. I think he got it after Arnie got his (and wanted to actually fly the plane like Arnie).

    I was referencing this:

    “My first year out on Tour with Jackie was a time when you didn’t have disposable diapers,” Jack says. “The portable crib was a permanent fixture in the back of the car with a diaper pail. It stunk like nothing else. That’s how we traveled. First six weeks in California, skip Tucson, then to Doral and the whole Florida swing the same way.”

    About the same age as Jack in the above anecdote, Tiger signed his first deal with Nike for $40M before he ever played a round as a professional. Has Tiger ever changed a diaper?

    I just think the difference is astonishing, given that it was a relatively short period of time (35 years) in between.

  143. @JohnnyWalker123
    Here's another question.

    What's the optimal number of contenders for the star of the team?

    How many stars can a team ideally support?

    I'd say 1 superstar, 3 high level stars, 3-6 lower level stars. Beyond that, people lose track.

    Replies: @Brutusale, @Half Canadian

    The Edmonton Oilers of the 80’s had this problem where they had 6 future Hall of Famers (Gretzky, Messier, Coffey, Kurri, Fuhr, Anderson). I hate them, but that team was incredibly stacked, and it’s a wonder they only won 4 cups as a team (plus one more after Gretzky was traded).

  144. @Brutusale
    @Buffalo Joe

    Correct. The right answer is zero.

    Kidding. Kind of. But the Patriots' numero uno star, the player who's bigger than the commissioner and maybe the league, is the guy who every year gets the parking spot next to the player's entrance for putting in the most time in the workout and film rooms.

    The best teams have the superstar who hones his craft as diligently as the last guy on the depth chart. He may have FIVE rings and, after this year's Super Bowl, he may have passed beyond legend into myth, but I promise you that Tom Brady will be training or watching film today.

    No Days Off has already been trademarked by the team.

    Replies: @Buffalo Joe

    Brutus, I watched a documentary featuring Julian Edelman and he said every week the team sits through “Low Lights Day” and they sit in silence as a video runs and Belichick hammers them individually as a mistake or broken play is projected on the screen. No one, not even Brady, escapes Belichick’s wrath. Meanwhile, in Buffalo, we endured Rex Ryan, a “player’s coach” who found excuses for every mistake made. Your comment is spot on.

  145. @Triumph104
    @Barnard

    Gladwell and Simmons said no up and comers, can't sell a sport with same people for last 15 years. (Federer/Serena?)--fewer matches, better training, better diet, "vitamins", "other things". Next generation isn't ready. Demoralizing for 16 yo.

    Sucks to learn/practice tennis 6 hours day, mind-numbing, no social interaction. Swimming is worst, at least money in tennis. Players lose their minds at 24, Jennifer Capriati/Agassi. Tennis is great for an only child. Tennis academies in awful heat of Florida.

    Audio starts at 1:13:00 https://soundcloud.com/the-bill-simmons-podcast/ep-177-malcolm-gladwell

    Replies: @Barnard

    None of that is true. I realize that is typical Gladwell, but it is completely false. He throws out two examples of players who had problems and they are from the early 90s and both ended up coming back and being more successful than they were early in their careers. Every single point he makes is wrong.

  146. @Danindc
    @Buffalo Joe

    Rory follows the training regimen of the smartest physios in the world. All of his exercises are geared around him staying healthy and being able to play competitively until age 50.

    Replies: @Buffalo Joe

    Danindc, That may be true, but a recent shirtless photo of him shows heavily muscled pecs and biceps, and he is not winning. So, yes, maybe he competes to fifty, but does he win ?

    • Replies: @Danindc
    @Buffalo Joe

    He just won the Fed ex cup and was Europe's best player at the Ryder cup. He'll win at least 1 major this year. The PGa is at quail hollow a course he dominates.

  147. @Buffalo Joe
    @Danindc

    Danindc, That may be true, but a recent shirtless photo of him shows heavily muscled pecs and biceps, and he is not winning. So, yes, maybe he competes to fifty, but does he win ?

    Replies: @Danindc

    He just won the Fed ex cup and was Europe’s best player at the Ryder cup. He’ll win at least 1 major this year. The PGa is at quail hollow a course he dominates.

  148. Spahn, Aaron, Mathews.

    • Disagree: Jacobite
    • Replies: @Jacobite
    @FLgeezer

    Just because of the All-Star vote? Nah, too many other great players in their era. Baseball is tough because of so many teams and players that it is really hard to say that only three are dominant at any one time.

  149. @Deckin
    @DJ

    I don't know how you can surmise that it's 'pretty clear' Federer is on the juice; care to divulge how you 'know' that? Anyone who says that McEnroe in his prime could have destroyed Federer in his prime knows absolutely nothing about tennis. Not even McEnroe would say that. Hell, Federer of the 2017 would have destroyed Federer of 2004 easily.

    Replies: @DJ

    How many other 35 year old males won a Major at 35? Ken Rosewell is all. Not even the great Rod Laver. How else do you explain it?

    Mac won’t say it but he knows it in his heart of hearts. It the little smile that erupts when asked about it.

    • Replies: @Brutusale
    @DJ

    The great Ozzie tennis starts of the 60s-70s are a group of guys I wish I could have shared a few oil cans of Foster's with. The only weightlifting they did was those big 740 ml cans!

    Replies: @anon, @Steve Sailer

  150. @Anonymous
    @jeppo

    Yeah, Gretzky was as dominant in ice-hockey as Bradman was in cricket.

    Cricket has only one dominant statistic for a batsman though (perhaps two, if you include the number of centuries-100 run scores in a inning) but ice-hockey has several. It might be more useful to compare cricket's greatest all rounders (batting, wickets/outs, catches) to Gretzky. Gretzky dominates, if you look at it that way, and leave out Bradman.

    Interesting to note that over the length of a career, the next highest scores for batting average are crowded at 60, which Bradman exceeded by a factor of 1.65x over twenty years. And it's not like he played his matches against weak teams. Most of the time, he played against Australia, who were in an unusually fearsome two decades long phase in a long and dominant history in the game.

    Replies: @DJ

    Sir Garfield Sobers the greatest all a round cricketer. A hero of Barbadoes.

    Gretzky was overrated. The early eighties with the amalgamation with the nascent WHA was the weakest era , with the possible exception of WWII in the history of the NHL. Look at the goals per game averages compared with the early 1950s. Imagine a ripped Gordie Howe plying his trade in the eighties. Astounding. Krutov and Makorov were more talented than Gretzky.

    • Replies: @Anon87
    @DJ

    Ever seen the old pictures of Bobby Hull bailing hay? Tom Wolfe could go on for 10 pages describing those muscles. It's shocking given that everyone assumes past athletes were just flabby white "dad bods".

    And Gretzky wasn't exactly ripped either.

    I'm sure Howe would still be an all time great in the 80s, but let's not pretend he'd put up video game numbers just because he realized what weight training and nutrition are. And it might actually have hampered him. No way would he have played as long as he did.

  151. @FLgeezer
    Spahn, Aaron, Mathews.

    Replies: @Jacobite

    Just because of the All-Star vote? Nah, too many other great players in their era. Baseball is tough because of so many teams and players that it is really hard to say that only three are dominant at any one time.

  152. “Tiger’s competition was 10x more talented than Jack’s.”

    LoL. Yeah, that’s why Tom Watson almost won the British open at the age of 59!

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @honesthughgrant

    Sam Snead came in third in the PGA major championship in 1974 at age 62, beating everybody except Trevino and Nicklaus. I saw him finish second earlier than year at L.A. over a field loaded with talent, such as Nicklaus, Weiskopf, Miller, Trevino, and a young Watson who led until hitting it OB on the back nine.

  153. @honesthughgrant

    "Tiger’s competition was 10x more talented than Jack’s."
     
    LoL. Yeah, that's why Tom Watson almost won the British open at the age of 59!

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    Sam Snead came in third in the PGA major championship in 1974 at age 62, beating everybody except Trevino and Nicklaus. I saw him finish second earlier than year at L.A. over a field loaded with talent, such as Nicklaus, Weiskopf, Miller, Trevino, and a young Watson who led until hitting it OB on the back nine.

  154. Men’s tennis has declined in popularity because none of the top players are American. Jack Sock is the highest ranked American @ 18, and I literally never heard of him until reading the comments to this post.

  155. @Tom Regan
    Aside from the four-majors-per-year comparison, the relative challenge of winning a tennis tournament and golf tournament is apples and oranges stuff.
    To win a grand slam tennis tournament you need to beat seven opponents. To win a golf major, you have to beat a hundred or so. Balanced against that; tennis careers end much earlier than golf careers.
    When assessing the grand slam figures on tennis, its worth bearing in mind that, up until the past 30 years, it was rare for players to even enter all four in a year. Borg's record is even more astonishing given he never played the Australian Open.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @sb, @ScarletNumber

    Borg’s record is even more astonishing given he never played the Australian Open.

    He played in 74, losing to finalist Phil Dent in the round of 16.

  156. @Steve Sailer
    @Hapalong Cassidy

    When I was a tennis fan in the early 1970s the ladies superstars were Chrissie Evert and Billie Jean King and Margaret Court and Evonne Gooolagong. That was a pretty good selection.

    Replies: @Anon 2

    I met Chris Evert (and Suzie “Chapstick”) at a party in
    Hollywood in 1976 when she was 22. I was introduced to her,
    shook her hand and all. I was surprised she wasn’t taller. Of
    course, she was already famous but still a few years from her
    career peak. I doubt she remembers me lol

  157. @G Pinfold
    @donut

    That's not even O/T. That's just starting your own blog on Comment 3 of Steve's thread. But some nice vids.

    Replies: @donut

    “That’s not even O/T. That’s just starting your own blog on Comment 3 of Steve’s thread.”

    You noticed that huh ?

    Yeah , I don’t know why he let’s me get away with that .

  158. @Hapalong Cassidy
    "There is probably some kind of optimal number of superstars for maximizing a sport’s popularity. Too few and things get repetitious, too many and marginal fans can’t follow the storylines."

    That certainly explains why nobody gives a damn about women's tennis anymore. At times, women's tennis has been more popular than men's. But Serena Williams' dominance has pretty much killled most interest. But maybe that's a bad example, because if the most dominant women's player of our era looked more like Maria Sharapova (or at least didn't look like a man), women's tennis would certainly be more popular.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Autochthon, @Barnard, @Peter Akuleyev, @Chriscom, @Darwin's Sh-tlist, @Alden

    Years of testosterone will make even a Barbie doll type woman look like a man.

  159. anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer
    @anon

    I saw Sam Snead finish second at the 1974 Los Angeles Open at Riviera when he was 61. There was a fierce Santa Ana wind blowing and he was just about the only player under par on Sunday. He rolled in a birdie putt (putting side-saddle) on the 71st hole to pull within one stroke of the lead. To beat Snead, Dave Stockton had to hit the shot of his life on the famous 18th, a 245 yard uphill into the wind 3-wood to 12 feet.

    Bill Dwyre wrote in the LA Times in 2012:

    As Stockton stood there that day in '74, he had a one-shot lead on Sam Snead, who wandered over to mention to Stockton that he had birdied the last two holes at Riviera to beat Ben Hogan. That was in the 1950 L.A. Open, Hogan's first outing in 11 months after his near-fatal auto accident.

    Stockton later related, in a 2004 book by Michael Arkush and Ron Cherney titled "My Greatest Shot," that Snead's perceived gamesmanship angered him. He yanked his drive way left into the deep rough, 244 yards to the pin.

    "I remember the ball was about eight inches below my feet," Stockton said, "and Sam was standing out on the fairway next to my caddie."

    Stockton, still fuming, hit a three-wood to 12 feet and won the tournament by two shots.

    "After I hit it," Stockton said, "I walked past Snead and said, 'I guess Hogan didn't hit it that close.' "

    There is a plaque at the spot of Stockton's shot. He has said he has tried that shot at least 20 times since and never come close.

    http://articles.latimes.com/2012/feb/19/sports/la-sp-0220-dwyre-northern-trust-20120220

    Replies: @anon

    Sam Snead couldn’t buy a putt the day i followed him, but tee to green he was magnificent to watch.
    He spent the day mocking the caddy for the benefit of the gallery, his fourth bag carrier for the Tournament. 18 holes was as much as any reasonable person could stand, i was told.
    Tommy Bolt, George Bayer, and some others i’ve forgotten were there too, following on from a Seniors event in Sydney the previous week.

  160. @DJ
    @Deckin

    How many other 35 year old males won a Major at 35? Ken Rosewell is all. Not even the great Rod Laver. How else do you explain it?

    Mac won't say it but he knows it in his heart of hearts. It the little smile that erupts when asked about it.

    Replies: @Brutusale

    The great Ozzie tennis starts of the 60s-70s are a group of guys I wish I could have shared a few oil cans of Foster’s with. The only weightlifting they did was those big 740 ml cans!

    • Replies: @anon
    @Brutusale

    They all progressed thru Harry Hopman's system, and he was a little bloke who favoured other little blokes, and didn't believe in strength training.
    If he had, he could have built on Lew Hoad's obvious genetic potential for strength improvement, and Federer might still be chasing his record.

    , @Steve Sailer
    @Brutusale

    George W. Bush's drunk-driving arrest came when he was giving Aussie tennis great John Newcombe a ride.

  161. @DJ
    @Anonymous

    Sir Garfield Sobers the greatest all a round cricketer. A hero of Barbadoes.

    Gretzky was overrated. The early eighties with the amalgamation with the nascent WHA was the weakest era , with the possible exception of WWII in the history of the NHL. Look at the goals per game averages compared with the early 1950s. Imagine a ripped Gordie Howe plying his trade in the eighties. Astounding. Krutov and Makorov were more talented than Gretzky.

    Replies: @Anon87

    Ever seen the old pictures of Bobby Hull bailing hay? Tom Wolfe could go on for 10 pages describing those muscles. It’s shocking given that everyone assumes past athletes were just flabby white “dad bods”.

    And Gretzky wasn’t exactly ripped either.

    I’m sure Howe would still be an all time great in the 80s, but let’s not pretend he’d put up video game numbers just because he realized what weight training and nutrition are. And it might actually have hampered him. No way would he have played as long as he did.

  162. @Brutusale
    @DJ

    The great Ozzie tennis starts of the 60s-70s are a group of guys I wish I could have shared a few oil cans of Foster's with. The only weightlifting they did was those big 740 ml cans!

    Replies: @anon, @Steve Sailer

    They all progressed thru Harry Hopman’s system, and he was a little bloke who favoured other little blokes, and didn’t believe in strength training.
    If he had, he could have built on Lew Hoad’s obvious genetic potential for strength improvement, and Federer might still be chasing his record.

  163. @Brutusale
    @DJ

    The great Ozzie tennis starts of the 60s-70s are a group of guys I wish I could have shared a few oil cans of Foster's with. The only weightlifting they did was those big 740 ml cans!

    Replies: @anon, @Steve Sailer

    George W. Bush’s drunk-driving arrest came when he was giving Aussie tennis great John Newcombe a ride.

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