Is Tiger the world's best athlete? Toughest competitor?

Originally Published: August 30, 2007
ESPN.com/GolfDigest.com

Tiger Woods is undoubtedly the top golfer around. Polls have shown him to be one of the most recognizable people on the planet. ESPN viewers and readers deemed him "Who's Now" by a wide margin.

But is Woods the world's greatest athlete? And for that matter, is he sports' toughest competitor? Our experts give their take in this week's edition of Fact or Fiction.

Woods
Woods

Tiger Woods is currently the world's best athlete.

Bob Harig, contributor, ESPN.com: FICTION. A couple of sentences don't do the topic justice, because what is the definition of athlete? There is no doubt that Woods is a highly trained and skilled golfer. He is in excellent condition. But there are basketball and football players, many of them, who challenge Tiger's athleticism.

Jason Sobel, golf editor, ESPN.com: FICTION. When asked this question, Woods himself chose … a Brazilian soccer player. I might be tempted to stretch outside my realm of expertise and debate against Ronaldinho, but Woods still wouldn't be the choice. I'll argue to the death that golf is a sport, but it's tough to refer to someone as the "best athlete" who doesn't run and jump.

Ron Sirak, executive editor, Golf World: FICTION. The most dominant athlete in sports right now is Roger Federer with 187 consecutive weeks as the No. 1 tennis player.

John Antonini, senior editor, Golf World: FICTION. There are many players in other sports who I would consider better true athletes than Woods, but that's not a knock on Tiger. He's certainly more dominant in his sport than anyone else is in theirs.

Woods
Woods

Tiger Woods is currently the world's toughest competitor.

Harig: FACT. It is hard to imagine a player in any sport who is more prepared when Woods steps between the ropes and who gives more effort.

Sobel: FACT. Know that song "Eye of the Tiger"? If it hadn't been written already, someone would have penned the lyrics in homage to this guy. When a tournament is on the line, there is no one more intimidating or competitive. Whomever is second isn't even close.

Sirak: FACT. When is is on his A game he is literally unbeatable, and when he is not he can still figure out a way to win.

Antonini: FACT. He certainly is. He has often been compared with Michael Jordan when it comes to competitiveness. Both embraced the challenge of pressure situations and both thrived on competition. Woods has no peer among today's athletes when it comes to being a competitor.

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