If you would have asked me a decade ago who I thought would still be winning major titles in 2017 – Roger Federer or Tiger Woods – I would have quickly said the latter.
It’s kind of crazy how history plays out.
Federer defeated Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 to win his record eighth Wimbledon title Sunday (without losing a set in the tournament) and his record 19th overall Grand Slam title. Tiger Woods, meanwhile, has been stuck on 14 majors for nearly 10 years.
It’s kind of stunning.
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With that being said, we should take the time out to celebrate the greatness of Roger Federer.
Now 35 years old, he doesn’t appear to be slowing down despite the fact it wasn’t that long ago that many thought he was done.
Before he won the Australian Open earlier this year, Federer hadn’t won a major since 2012.
But now he looks like the same Federer who was dominating tennis from 2003-2010, an eight-year stretch in which he won at least one major title.
During some of that span, Tiger was dominating golf in a similar way.
In fact, when I started working at The Sun News in 2003 I cared little about tennis and golf.
However, those two brought those sports to life for me. Having grown up mainly a fan of basketball, football and baseball, I couldn’t ignore what those two were doing.
They were two of the most polarizing figures in sports despite the fact they didn’t play one of the “Big Four” – football, basketball, baseball and hockey.
To some, they were even considered rivals on the world stage.
Now, though, Woods is nowhere to be seen. Back surgeries and challenges in his personal life have plagued him for years.
In fact, rather than rivaling Federer, Tiger has been relegated to a spectator who looks on in awe.
“What Roger has done is he’s been dominant for so long, and then to, not only that, to compete against [Novak Djokovic], to compete against [Rafael Nadal]; and now Andy [Murray] is playing well,” Woods said in a Golf Channel article. “He’s had a litany of guys who have won Slams. And no one wins Slams at his age.”
For the 41-year-old Tiger, the clock is ticking. His last PGA Tour win came in 2013 and just making cuts (and staying healthy) is a big enough challenge these days.
With 79 career PGA Tour wins, Woods is just three back of Sam Snead for the most all time. His 14 major titles leave him four behind all-time leader Jack Nicklaus.
Julius Boros was golf’s oldest major champion at 48 years old, so maybe there’s still time for Tiger to return to the top of the game.
It’s hard not to think back to the glory days of both Tiger and Roger with what Federer’s doing these days.
Sports Illustrated had an article Sunday that aggregated tweets from other sporting greats who were cheering on Federer. It only makes sense as his accomplishments at his age are a spectacle.
Imagine if Tiger Woods eventually has a similar comeback. Twitter might just break.
I, for one, am holding out hope. Golf – like tennis is now with Federer’s resurgence – would be better for it.
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans continue a three-game series at Buies Creek with 7 p.m. games Monday and Tuesday. They are off Wednesday before beginning a seven-game home stretch that includes a four-game series against Down East from Thursday through Sunday (all times 7:05 p.m., except for the 6:05 p.m. Sunday tilt) and three-game set with Carolina from Monday through Wednesday (all times 7:05 p.m.). … The NASCAR Monster Energy Cup heads to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400 at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. … The PGA Tour heads to Auburn/Opelika, Alabama for the Barbasol Championship from Thursday through Sunday. … In tennis, the men will be competing in the ATP Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, ATP Konzum Croatia Open Umag and ATP SkiStar Swedish Open. The women begin play in the WTA BRD Bucharest Open and WTA Ladies Championship Gstaad.