Friday, January 26, 2007
There was half a breath where it seemed like Rafael Nadal might emerge to give Federer are rival, but it hasn’t happened. Federer isn’t quite overrated in the Clarion’s lexicon, but he’s no Tiger Woods. Federer has yet to complete his sport’s career Grand Slam. Something the recently retired Andre Agassi
was on the other hand able to accomplish. And of course, something Tiger has been able to accomplish in his sport.
Though golf and tennis have both been significantly changed by technological enhancement of the equipment, the Clarion's instinct is to believe that it would be more dificult for Federer to compete in other eras than Tiger. Of course, this game is always speculative. The older our editorial staff gets, the more we suspect that it is all but impossible to compare different eras in any sports. It is inarguable, however, that in men tennis during the last thirty years there has been a significant drop in the number of shots per point one. Serves are ever more dominant and rallies ever shorter. This is such a substantial difference in the nature of the game. Could Federer have won with a wood racquet? Would have been able to play any kind of finesse game?
Golf has an inherent advantage insofar as the course is not standardized in size the way a tennis court is. Tiger and this generation can bomb these drivers 350 yards, well golf courses have a response that is unavailble in tennis. They can lengthen the course. Tennis courts, while surfaces change, can’t be lengthened. The fact that Federer can’t win the French Open, the tournament with the greatest difference in surface, where in today’s game, finesse and touch are most important, calls into question his greatness. Not that he isn’t great, but he is not the greatest tennis player ever, not this side of Rod Laver for us. He's not quite even in the debatable conversation yet. Whereas Tiger Woods, who has a lot more career left than Federer, gets a little closer to Jack for greatest golfer ever, every year. Tiger has won in all kinds of conditions, and every kind of track in his sport, from the gorse of the British Isles to the linoleum tabletop greens of the best American courses.
The Clarion wonders how many folks are going to tune in to watch Federer at the Australian Open this weekend.
Though we won’t watch TV coverage, the Clarion has an ear out for the Buick Invitational where hot off the Nationwide tour Brandt Snedeker has a three stroke lead on the field and seven stroke lead on Tiger Woods,who is in a tie for twelth. Recall Tiger has won his last six PGA Tour starts seeking to make a run at the immortal Byron Nelson’s DiMaggio quality streak of 11 wins in 12 starts.
A little bit about Brandt Snedeker