Tiger and The Masters

The fact that a guy who has had a spinal fusion surgery is even competing on the PGA tour is unbelievable. The fact that he just won the Master is beyond unbelievable. 

No matter what you think of the guy personally, the fact is that I thought it was much more likely he'd be dead in 10 years from an opioid addiction for intense back pain than it would be for him to even make a cut on a PGA tour event again. 

There are almost no precedents for this type of sports comeback from a medical perspective, ever. He twists his back and puts a significant amount of torque on it during every swing. 

packerboi posted:

Regardless of anyone's personal feeling on Tiger, I don't know that there has been anyone else this impactful on a sport...

Is there an athlete who has had a bigger impact in his/her sport than Tiger has had on golf?

This is an interesting question. I think it's interesting as to how one defines "impact".  

Rules Changes:  Lew Alcindor caused dunking to be banned in College Basketball for 8 years.  Good lord that's nuts to think about today.  George Mikan caused defensive goaltending to become a thing.  Bob Gibson was the leading cause for mounds to be reduced in height after his 1.12 ERA season of 1968. Shaq caused the NBA to change the way in which hack a shaq type scenarios occurred. Those are huge rule changing impacts.  While some courses, Augusta in particular, have tried "Tiger proofing" the course, the equipment and training of all players has been almost as much a reason as Tiger himself. I think Tiger is up there, but I think nothing touches Alcindor getting dunking banned.

Growth: Impact of growing a sport is another way of looking at it. And interestingly enough, golf has seen several players that made a huge impact and brought new fans. Palmer especially in golf, Nicklaus continuing that surge. Magic and Bird in the NBA cannot truly be comprehended I think. Gretzky in the NHL.  I could surmise guys in old timey baseball like Ruth or Dimaggio made the sport grow, but MLB was dominant for so long that its' hard to point to a single player.  NFL seems to be teams and/or games (Ice Bowl, Colts/Giants, etc) more than an individual player.  Magic/Bird is the highest for me. The NBA was in a bad bad spot in the 70's and they completely and utterly changed the course of that sport.  You can say Jordan, but without Magic/Bird is there even a Jordan that anyone cares about?  Tiger is close, and he's taken golf another level for sure. 

Socially: I mean, it's Ali and Robinson and no one else is even close here. Tiger would be among the highest of the also rans for opening up the whitest of white sports to POC. But, I'm not really sure Tiger DID anything in that regard proactively.  I think his Dad may have had a vision, but Tiger became a brand robot like Jordan and avoided any/all non sport takes completely - and one could argue that he had to avoid this world for that sport... and his talent alone is what brought so many people to a sport.  Williams sisters probably in the mix here as well.  

On the whole, I'm hard pressed to think of anything that has as much impact across the spectrum as Tiger.  I don't think he's the #1 guy in any of the areas I listed, but no one is as high on all of them.

I've always thought it was silly to compare sports and athletes across generations.  Tiger is huge to sports, no doubt.  But is he bigger than MJ?  You can make an argument Gretzky dominated his sport more than any other athlete.  But it was hockey, so it didn't get the fan fare as other sports.  How would guys like Jack and Arnie, Ali, Ruth and Gehrig, etc, be hailed in the age of 24 hr cable and satellite TV and the internet?

The biggest ones have already been mentioned (Robinson, Ali, Ruth, Kareem/Alcindor, Mikan). Tiger is in the top 10, but not at level of the first three (at least). 

Some others in the top 10 or 20 from a sports perspective (in no particular order). 

 

Track

1. Dick Fosbury. It's not often that one person changes how an entire sport  (high jump) is contested. 

 

Football

1. Bill Walsh (and maybe Don Coryell). Really created modern offensive football. The idea you'd run pass patterns with the precision that Walsh designed was novel. 

2. Bob Hayes. Playing a track guy at WR was a novel concept. 

 

Basketball

1. LeBron James - for really putting players in charge of picking their teammates. 

2. Steph Curry - for extending what is considered a good shot. 

3. Petrovic - the first player to really show that European players were NBA quality. 

4. Magic - a 6'9" point guard is common now. It seemed crazy back then. 

 

Baseball

1. Bill James. Moneyball and saber metrics has become a staple of baseball and now basketball. Billy Beane was an influential early adopter. 

 

Golf 

1. Arnold Palmer - brought a common man's approach to golf. 

 

PackLandVA posted:

I've always thought it was silly to compare sports and athletes across generations.  Tiger is huge to sports, no doubt.  But is he bigger than MJ?  You can make an argument Gretzky dominated his sport more than any other athlete.  But it was hockey, so it didn't get the fan fare as other sports.  How would guys like Jack and Arnie, Ali, Ruth and Gehrig, etc, be hailed in the age of 24 hr cable and satellite TV and the internet?

Jordan for making shoe contracts a big deal. Gretzky was great, but he wasn't transformational - he didn't change the way the game was played on or off the playing field. 

"With Woods in the hunt at golf’s most prestigious tournament, CBS’ final-round coverage posted television’s highest-rated morning golf broadcast in 34 years — dating back to pretty much the beginning of Nielsen’s electronic monitoring — with a 7.7 rating/21 share in the 56 metered markets."

 
 
**Edit - MichiganPacker2 posted:
PackLandVA posted:

I've always thought it was silly to compare sports and athletes across generations.  Tiger is huge to sports, no doubt.  But is he bigger than MJ?  You can make an argument Gretzky dominated his sport more than any other athlete.  But it was hockey, so it didn't get the fan fare as other sports.  How would guys like Jack and Arnie, Ali, Ruth and Gehrig, etc, be hailed in the age of 24 hr cable and satellite TV and the internet?

Jordan for making shoe contracts a big deal. Gretzky was great, but he wasn't transformational - he didn't change the way the game was played on or off the playing field. 

Not a huge hockey fan, but I believe the NHL did change the rules of hockey because of Gretzky (and his teammates). I believe fighting created a 5 minute major for both players leaving a 4 on 4 situation. Gretzky and company were too fast/good for the rest of the league so they made the major still take place but teams stayed 5 on 5. 

Thats what I remember anyway.  And Gretzky transformed scoring in hockey.  Nobody has even come close to him.

 

**Edit - just checked and was called “The Gretzky Rule” and it was eventually changed back in the mid 90s. Sorry, but when you change a significant rule in a sport because of a player, that is the definition of a “transformational” player.

I am a huge NHL fan and Gretzky (and his Oiler teams) to me really saved hockey.  I know hockey is down the list for the most popular sports but he really did change how it was played and got the sport more in the spot light in the 80's.

Jordan and Magic are great examples.  I am not the biggest NBA guy but I do remember the days before Magic started playing the only time the NBA was on TV was on tape delay later on Friday nights.  When Magic came along the sport started to be see live on the weekends and eventually week nights.  Then Jordan came along and took it to levels never seen before especially off the court.

Michigan, you mention Arnie and making golf popular with the common man.  Arnie's army was pretty much made up of the common man and I think he is hugely responsible for average slobs like me who love golf.  

Curt Flood is another great example.  He paved the way for so much for the players that they enjoy so much now.

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