Tiger Fed, Roger That!

Is Tiger Woods really back? Can Roger Federer win twenty grand slams? Those are two questions that come to mind for me. Right now, I believe we are watching two of the greatest sports athletes of all time in both golf and tennis. Any time Tiger is playing in a tournament, I stop to watch. Any time, Federer is playing tennis I stop to watch. Normally, I would not do that to watch golf or tennis but these two are so transcendent and great at what they do that I have to watch them. What I would like to know is can Federer win twenty grand slams before he hangs it up and is Tiger back from his personal issues and injuries he has had to deal with?

Tiger has the most wins on tour this year at three. He has yet to win a major since 2008. He missed the rest of that year to rehabilitate his left knee after having surgery on it. He came close to winning one in 2009 at the PGA Championship before losing to Y.E. Yang, of Southlake, in the final round. A few months later, his marital infidelities went public which caused him to take a break from golf for most of 2010. He also used that time to rediscover his swing. He came back in 2011, but continued to struggle having not won a tournament since November 2009 until he won the Chevron World Challenge in December ending a 107-week drought. He has seventy-four career PGA tour wins which is second to Sam Snead’s 82. He has won fourteen majors, which is second to Jack Nicklaus’s eighteen. The question, though, is Tiger really back? Can he win another major? I believe he will win one, but until he does that, I do not think he is all the way back. He is 36 so there is plenty of time for him to recapture the magic he had earlier in his career.

Meanwhile, Federer continues to show why I think he is the greatest tennis player ever. At age 30, he just won his seventh Wimbledon title and his seventeenth grand slam, which is first overall in the history of men’s tennis. He is currently ranked number one in the world which makes it 286-consecutive weeks he has been on top tying Pete Sampras’s record. He is one of seven men to have won a career grand slam which means he has won at least one of all four grand slams (Australian, French, Wimbledon and US Open). Get this… he has played in thirty-three straight grand slam quarterfinals, which is a record, and thirty two of those thirty three in the semifinals which is also a record! That is incredible to consistently put yourself in position to compete for a grand slam title. It takes focus, determination and staying relatively healthy to accomplish this feat. The question I have about Federer is can he win twenty grand slams? You would think he could because he only needs three more, but keep in mind this is his first grand slam win since the 2010 Australian Open. Since then, most of that time, he has been denied by his nemesis, Rafael Nadal and up and comer Novak Djokovic. These two are pretty good and seem to be the only ones to keep Federer from achieving more titles. Let us not forget that he turns 31 next month so he is not getting younger and eventually will slow down. My guess is he will probably fall short of twenty, but if he continues to give himself enough chances he might just reach it.

By Martin Iheke – miheke@gmail.com