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The top 10 athletes of the 2000’s….no. 2

December 22, 2009

A cheetah...close up

The number two athlete was famous for his dominance in his sport way before he became infamous for his personal affairs.   

For the past 10 years, there was only one other athlete who dominated his sport like this man.  He won 64 tournaments, including 12 major championships, and “hoisted a trophy on every continent where golf is played. ”  Only four other athletes in this sport won more titles in their career then the number two athlete won in the past 10 years. 

The number two athlete after the jump!

Tiger Woods changed the sport of golf, not only on the course but through TV ratings and increased prize money.  Woods won the career Grand Slam three times  in the decade, the last of his 12 majors at the 2008 U.S. Open despite playing on a mangled left leg. He twice won the British Open at St. Andrews, the home of golf, by a combined 13 shots.  Furthermore, Tiger won more than one-third of all the tournaments he played this decade, an unprecedented rate in golf.  In addition, nine of his victories were by at least eight shots and he was No. 1 in the world ranking for all but 32 weeks in the decade. 

The premier athletes do their best work in their sports biggest events and Tiger was no different.  Along with his 12 majors this decade — he has 14 overall, four short of the record held by Jack Nicklaus — Woods was runner-up in six other majors.   Likewise, he won 14 times out of 27 appearances in the World Golf Championships.  Woods finished the decade with $81,547,410 in earnings from his PGA Tour events, an average of $482,529 per tournament.  He won the Masters, the U.S. Open, the Open Championship and the PGA Championship three times each, and was the PGA Player of the Year eight times in the 2000’s.  Moreover, Woods has held the number one position in the world rankings for the most consecutive weeks and for the greatest total number of weeks.   He has been awarded  the Byron Nelson Award for lowest adjusted scoring average a record eight times, and has the record of leading the money list in nine different seasons.   In addition, he has been named Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year a record-tying four times, and is the only person to be named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year more than once.

Despite his power advantage, Woods has always focused on developing an excellent all-around game.  Although in recent years he has typically been near the bottom of the Tour rankings in driving accuracy, he has improved his iron accuracy, his recovery and bunker play is very strong, and his putting (especially under pressure) is possibly his greatest asset.   There is no doubt Tiger has god-given talents, but he should be praised for being the hardest working golfer in the sport. 

Everyone has heard about the Tiger Woods scandal and his middle of the night “accident.”  Tiger became the butt of everybody’s jokes and lost a few major sponsors.   While he certainly would not make the top 10 list of honorable individuals for his extra-marital affairs and sometimes inappropriate conduct on the course, nobody can deny his work on the golf course over the last 10 years. 

“Despite the tsunami of negative publicity that will likely tarnish his image, there’s no denying that Woods’ on-the-course accomplishments set a new standard of dominance within his sport while making golf more accessible to the masses,” wrote Stu Whitney, sports editor of the Sioux Falls (S.D.) Argus Leader. “The only proof needed are the television ratings when Tiger plays in a golf tournament, compared to those events when others have to carry the load.”

Honorable mention-

The Asian market has served as a minor league system for the MLB over the past 10 years or so, and Ichiro Suzuki has been the premier player from the NPB.  Today’s honorable mention has been a nine-time All-Star selection this decade as well as a nine-time Gold Glove winner.  Furthermore, Ichiro has won the Silver-Slugger award three times and was a two-time AL batting champ in the 2000’s.  He won the Rookie of the Year in 2001 and in 2004 set the MLB record for hits in a season with 262.  He is not as flashy nor does he put up the power numbers that other premier baseball players accumulate, but his value in the 2000’s has been indispensable.

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2 comments

  1. […] No. 2- Tiger Woods […]


  2. I have a stuffed animal that looks just like that
    cute cheata



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