Fed or Tiger, who is the better athlete?

bdog

Rookie
Watching the Fed/Roddick match was as fun as it gets. High level of play, more winners than errors, no double faults with really only one break in the third. I haven't been this excited about pro tennis in a long time. It has been fun to watch the majors again.

So it got me wondering about Fed. Andy hits a 146 mph serve and.......Fed returns it. Andy was impressive, but Fed was just unreal. We just may be watching the greatest athlete of our era (At least one of them). There are many great athletes out there, some on team sports that will never get recognized, so feel free to list a few. But for the sake of this thread debate, my question will focus on Fed and Tiger. Who is the better athlete? My first question is, who would have done better in each others sport. What if Tiger started playing tennis at the age of four? What would Fed have done in golf, if he started swinging the club early in life and never played tennis?

I know, stupid questions that will never be answered. Just fun to think about. I focus on these two because I feel their mental abilities far exceed their respective fields. Fed's mental strength is something to admire. So is Tiger's, they are both in a class by themselves. Any thoughts?
 
Golf of all sports is probably the most difficult to try to project how well the athletes' abilities would translate to other sports. The physical demands just aren't there.
 

Eviscerator

Banned
There is little question the Roger is a better athlete. Yes golf is a sport, but you do not have to be athletic to play it. A guy named John Daly comes to mind.:mrgreen:
While he is an exception rather than the rule, most Golfers are not that athletic.
 

War Safin!

Professional
There is little question the Roger is a better athlete. Yes golf is a sport, but you do not have to be athletic to play it. A guy named John Daly comes to mind.:mrgreen:
While he is an exception rather than the rule, most Golfers are not that athletic.
True, but the fitness Woodss maintains that one of the major reasons he has won 12 Majors (aside from his putting) is that he keeps himself in good-shape each year unlike fatties like John Daly (who won his two Majors years ago).
 

hjminard

Rookie
There is little question the Roger is a better athlete. Yes golf is a sport, but you do not have to be athletic to play it. A guy named John Daly comes to mind.:mrgreen:
While he is an exception rather than the rule, most Golfers are not that athletic.
I hear ya ... and in general I completely agree. However, I think there is a pretty fair chance that if Tiger had taken up tennis as a child instead of golf, he might be pretty darn good. He's FAR more athletic than your average golfer.

That said ... I think Federer is the better athlete, and would likely be competitive in golf faster than Tiger would in tennis.
 

bdog

Rookie
The question pertains to Fed and Tiger as athletes, not the sport of golf itself. You can debate that subject of golf not being a sport on some other thread. But to classify Tiger as 'not an athlete' because golf doesn't require you to be one, or that most other golfers don't look like athletes, is non-sense. Tiger's hand and eye coordination, balance, timing and mental strength are very much in par with Fed's. Their is a reason why Nike is running those commercials as a competitive race. As they should be. They are both commanding their fields like no other. Roger's record of major finals appearances is astounding. Not to mention Tiger's slam. Ever see Tiger in his commercial, bounce a golf ball on his club head between his legs and then hit it in stride out of the air? No easy task. Then he did it for fun with a tennis racquet and ball and he looked very much at ease with a racquet in his hand (not that it was difficult, but his timing and balance seemed comfortable to him, not clumsy like most other athletes trying something new). I would never bet against Tiger in any sport he took up, even this late in life. I would say the same with Fed, wasn't he also to be an exceptional soccer player at one time in his youth?
 
The question pertains to Fed and Tiger as athletes, not the sport of golf itself. You can debate that subject of golf not being a sport on some other thread. But to classify Tiger as 'not an athlete' because golf doesn't require you to be one, or that most other golfers don't look like athletes, is non-sense. Tiger's hand and eye coordination, balance, timing and mental strength are very much in par with Fed's. Their is a reason why Nike is running those commercials as a competitive race. As they should be. They are both commanding their fields like no other. Roger's record of major finals appearances is astounding. Not to mention Tiger's slam. Ever see Tiger in his commercial, bounce a golf ball on his club head between his legs and then hit it in stride out of the air? No easy task. Then he did it for fun with a tennis racquet and ball and he looked very much at ease with a racquet in his hand (not that it was difficult, but his timing and balance seemed comfortable to him, not clumsy like most other athletes trying something new). I would never bet against Tiger in any sport he took up, even this late in life. I would say the same with Fed, wasn't he also to be an exceptional soccer player at one time in his youth?
The point is, as a golfer we have no basis to judge several components of his athletic ability. What is his level of quickness, stamina, explosiveness, vertical leap, reaction time, etc... All are critical to what type of tennis player he'd make. All we have no clue about. He could be phenomonal, average or anywhere in between. At least in football, basketball, soccer, or whatever you have a relative basis to compare. He probably could have developed some beautiful looking ground strokes, and would have been a tough mental player, I'll give him that much.
 
I don't care how much I could be into golf, my jaw was on the floor during that match against Roddick last night. Tiger could never do that.
 

fleabitten

Semi-Pro
There is little question the Roger is a better athlete. Yes golf is a sport, but you do not have to be athletic to play it. A guy named John Daly comes to mind.:mrgreen:
While he is an exception rather than the rule, most Golfers are not that athletic.
AHHH HAHH.
So you get defensive about fat baseball players BUT not fat golfers?!?
;)



But back to the question at hand. Golf is almost all timing. Tennis is timing AND moving. Need I say more?
 

Defcon

Hall of Fame
Golf players are not athletes. End of story.

If all it takes to be an athlete is hand-eye coordination then a video game champion (who could be a pudgy 200 pound kid living in a basement) would be considered one.
 

WBF

Hall of Fame
Golf players are not athletes. End of story.

If all it takes to be an athlete is hand-eye coordination then a video game champion (who could be a pudgy 200 pound kid living in a basement) would be considered one.
What a boorish comment.

I play at a high enough level of the game to understand how amazing the professional tennis players are (let alone the top ones), but I also realize that golf requires far finer control than tennis. It might not be as "physical", in the endurance sense of the question, but you can be damn sure that the top golfers have finer muscle control than most if not all tennis players. Disclaimer: IANAGolfer.

Interesting question, I think I would go with Federer, but it's a tough call... It's like one of those silly superhero what-if's.
 
Last edited:
Well if you ask Tiger, he'd say Federer. If you ask Federer, he'd probably say Tiger. Both of these guys have dominated their sports in ways previously unthinkable, Tiger with 13 Majors at 30 years old and Roger soon to have 12 (so it seems, if he plays like he did last night) at 26. At the moment, Roger is dominating far more than Tiger is, if you look at win % and # of Major wins.
 

bdog

Rookie
True about golf and mobility skills, but golf is not the topic here, but what he can do as an athlete. And these other areas of athleticism are measurable. I am sure Tiger has been tested in many skills sets (which we will never know, except for his trainer) as sure as Fed has. You need a point of reference for any great training regiment to compare and improve upon. I remember back in the day when Borg came along and was dominating the tour. His training was beyond anybody in that time. I believe it was quoted from another coach that Borg was the ulitmate athlete in that his resting heart rate was in the low 40s. Also, during an interview with Johnny Mac back in the day, he tried his hand at balancing on a board on a roller pin and failed in his first attempts. Then moments later, he mastered the thing. It is stories like these that can fill the water cooler days with fun debate. I am sure there are stories out there about Tiger and Fed which can be fun to hear about. How were Fed's soccer skills, can Tiger drive the hole in basketball which he is known to play with Michael Jordan. Fun facts like that can be interesting.....
 

bdog

Rookie
I have nothing better to do, so I will try to rekindle this thread versus read some other persons rude thread about someone's 'butter face'.

Last stupid question. Since this topic is impossible to answer, how about speculating on who would win a one-on-one Decathlon between Tiger and Fed?

I will say Fed wins the Discus and javelin throw hands down. That's a no brainer. Then give Fed the 1500 metre and 400 metre from sheer conditioning.

Then I will say Tiger wins the long jump and high jump, his best events. Shot put will go to Tiger because of his physical strength. Also the 100 metre, need I say more?

I guess the worst events for either would be the pole vault and hurdles. Give Fed the hurdles because of his exceptional timing, then give Tiger the vault for physical strength again. Shoot, they tie then. I guess it comes down some other one-on-one sport for the tiebreak. How about bowling?......:D
 

raiden031

Legend
There is no doubt in my mind that Tiger would make an excellent tennis player because he obviously has great hand-eye coordination and control. He would probably be one of the top players in history. The same goes with Federer if he played golf.

For both to excel so much in their sports requires a gift that most people don't have. That gift I think would put them both at the top of any sport, assuming they took up the sport at an early age and dedicated their lives to it.

Its hard to say who is more athletic though. Since tennis requires more athleticism, I would say that I would have to put the edge towards federer, since he has proven his athleticism more than Tiger has thus far.
 

larry

Rookie
Easy: Federer is an athlete. One of the best of all times.When it comes to Tiger there is no evidence of the same. Some people could considering waste of time called golf "sport" but I would not.
 

rod_b

Rookie
There's no way you can compare the two. Different skill sets and mechanical requirements for their sports. Athletically, Roger is a better athlete because tennis requires you to be a better athlete to accel. Golf only requires technique, consitency and mental fortitude. I will say one thing though, in a cage match I think Tiger would kick Roger's azz. That dude is getting buff.

And what's with the "Tiger would win the high jump and long jump." LMAO. Why? Because he's black (or half black anyway)? In a decathlon, I have very little doubt Roger would win the running events because of his speed, agility and conditioning. Javeling, Hammer Throw and other shows of strength would probably go to Tiger.
 
Last edited:

fps

Legend
There is no doubt in my mind that Tiger would make an excellent tennis player because he obviously has great hand-eye coordination and control. He would probably be one of the top players in history. The same goes with Federer if he played golf.

For both to excel so much in their sports requires a gift that most people don't have. That gift I think would put them both at the top of any sport, assuming they took up the sport at an early age and dedicated their lives to it.
I respectfully disagree with this. The two games are so different. In golf there are no second chances. You're out there for hours, and you'll only hit the ball 70 odd times, and every shot has to be great. In tennis you can hit a bad shot and forget about it because it's just one point. Golf is insular, you vs the course, all about scoring the lowest individual score, in tennis you have a rival who affects your game, and you can win fewer points than that person yet still win. Who knows how each guy would react to this complete change in mindset, battle against an inanimate object OR a live improvising free-wheeling human being.

The number of skills that can be crossed from one sport to the other is very low. Federer hits a moving ball at various heights beautifully, Tiger hits a motionless one off the ground. We have never seen Tiger sprint, or Federer hold a golf club. These guys aren't aliens with limitless ability across all fields, they start as kids with potential and play and practise hard as hell to harness their natural abilities.

Martin Johnson, the England rugby world cup winning captain says that people were stunned he could be so rubbish at cricket, since he was "a sportsman", and pointed out that he is "just a bloke like every other guy". Coming from a colossus of his sport, it's a good eye-opener to the fact that there are a lotta incredibly talented people, and some are perhaps not in the sport that would suit them best. Magnus Lund, the England flanker, played U16s international basketball, the footballer Phil Neville would, according to his coaches, have made it as a pro cricketer, and Federer himself had to choose between tennis and football, which he was also very good at. It's just that sometimes you get the right genes, the right guidance, the right attitude AND the right sport, and that's what's happened so spectacularly with these guys. I don't think there's any evidence either would have been a world-beater in the other's sport.
 

JohnnyCracker

Semi-Pro
The better question would be "Fed or Jordan or Lance Armstrong or Beckham, who is the better athlete?".

Tiger Wood is hardly an "athlete". The mere labeling of Tiger Wood as an athlete already generates all kind of arguments(not just in here) so how can you compare him to one of the greatest athlete of all time.
 

AngeloDS

Hall of Fame
Roger Federer is the better athlete--there's no question about it. He plays many tournaments and always comes in the top at them. He plays the majors and always goes deep into them. He still has many years ahead of him and he still has a lot to win.
 

Stinkdyr

Professional
ahem. golf is not a sport, it is a game.

The diff between a game and a sport: A game is anything you can play with a cigarette in your mouth...
 

rod_b

Rookie
You can't pick a winner unless you set the criteria. You can go all day with this if you leave it wide open. Who is a better athlete...Fed or a Bruce Jenner!? Bruce Jenner because he won a gold medal in a competition that specifically tests for strength, speed, endurance and agility.
 
Last edited:

fps

Legend
Yep we can't even settle on a definition of athlete. Do ya think Fed would be any good at squash? :)
 

West Coast Ace

G.O.A.T.
There is little question the Roger is a better athlete. Yes golf is a sport, but you do not have to be athletic to play it. A guy named John Daly comes to mind.:mrgreen:
While he is an exception rather than the rule, most Golfers are not that athletic.
Game, set, match. But I disagree about golf being a sport - until someone can convince me otherwise, it's 'competitive recreation' - on the same level as bowling and darts.

True, but the fitness Woodss maintains that one of the major reasons he has won 12 Majors (aside from his putting) is that he keeps himself in good-shape each year unlike fatties like John Daly (who won his two Majors years ago).
We're not talking about fitness. And if we were, Tiger might lose that too. Do you think he could beat Fed in a 1 mile race? Don't be fooled by some tailored shirts.

What a boorish comment.

I play at a high enough level of the game to understand how amazing the professional tennis players are (let alone the top ones), but I also realize that golf requires far finer control than tennis. It might not be as "physical", in the endurance sense of the question, but you can be damn sure that the top golfers have finer muscle control than most if not all tennis players. Disclaimer: IANAGolfer.
I stopped playing tennis and concentrated on golf too (quit when I got to a 6 - wish I had those years back) in the 90's. Golf is nothing like tennis. Far easier physically. The mental parts are equally tough.

The other thing to remember - Roger did play soccer when he was young and was by all accounts fairly good at it - had to make a decision at 12 to concentrate on tennis only. Tiger did nothing other than play golf - total robot - his father had a plan for him from birth to be a pro golfer.
 

bdog

Rookie
Tough crowd for just speculating. Setting the critieria can be difficult, but not as much as setting the right to criticize. Anybody pick up a golf club and shoot par lately? My guess is you would say yes and that would be at the nearst putt-putt course. Before you jump on my back, I would also pick Fed as the better athlete, but not before I would foot-note Tiger's accomplishments. Seeing as most here are tennis players, anybody have a 5.5 or higher ranking and a low single digit handicap as well? My guess is, they would say (along with me) that you are being harsh on golf and Tiger. I think it is not fair to be overly critical of something you haven't accomplished or mastered. I haven't run the Boston marathon or climbed mt. everest. I don't think it would be right to criticise those abilities unless I understood what it takes (speculate, yes). I try to admire and respect those given talents and see them for what they are. I think everybody is being unfairly harsh against golf. Just because a certain body type can achieve in its field, doesn't mean they should not be given any due. There is a male player at my club who is pushing 350 pounds with not much mobility (he is a solid 4.5, closer to 5.0), but boy can he crack that ball. And my guess is he could crush most here. Does that mean you are all not athletes?!... because some fat slob kicked your ass in tennis? I am not seeing the point in trashing golf and stereo-typical body types. Go and open your mouth in Charlotte NC about Nascar drivers and body types, that will get you a boot up your ass real quick.....
 

joemanblues

New User
I think with reasonable certainty that Fed is the better athlete, however since tennis and golf are both mental games, I would say that tiger is many classes above Fed when it comes to mental toughness; the reason is that in tennis you can make a comeback or catch a lucky break if you are a few games down heck even a set, but in golf every shot counts, so the mental toughness has to be much greater for golf.
 

gregmiata

Rookie
I tend to fall closer to Raiden's comments. I believe that people like Fed and Tiger possess a core set of skills that could apply to many sports. Things like excellent hand/eye coordination and the mental toughness to perform under intense pressure could be applied to many different activities. Fed's footwork around the court definitely indicates that he could excel at a game like soccer (football) that requires similar movements. Both would probably be very good hitters in baseball as well, the skills needed are similar to their current sport.

I have a hard time believing that the skills Fed (or any other dominant sports figure) possess are uniquely molded just for that sport. The odds that Tiger's dad, at age 4, chose the one sport that Tiger could excel in over all others seems a little too long for me. Then multiply that by the odds that every other excellent athlete chose their one sport at an early age and we begin to get astronomical. More likely they all had above average talent in many and chose the sport that they enjoyed the most over the others, or had the best access to. Inner cities produce a ton of great basketball players because it is a sport that these kids have the most access to. Would they be good at other sports if given the same access? I think yes.

I believe that you start with a higher than average set of mental and physical skills (mental toughness, hand/eye coordination, etc) and add in thousands of hours of training at specific actions targeted at that sport. Sheer talent can take you quite a ways, but no superstar becomes great without an incredible amount of hard work. Fed even admitted after the Roddick match that one of the reasons he plays so well now was that a few years ago he realized that he had to work really hard off the court/tour.

Just my 2/100ths of a dollar.

Greg
 

Ossric

Semi-Pro
The better question would be "Fed or Jordan or Lance Armstrong or Beckham, who is the better athlete?".

Tiger Wood is hardly an "athlete". The mere labeling of Tiger Wood as an athlete already generates all kind of arguments(not just in here) so how can you compare him to one of the greatest athlete of all time.
He's an athelte, but Federer wins my vote.
 

gregmiata

Rookie
lol Exactly!! Tiger Wood was beaten a few months ago by a guy with a beer belly smoking cigars while playing. Athlete? haha laughable :)
Power lifters are "fat" because it actually helps them in their sport, would you scoff at them and say they weren't athletes?

How about lineman in football? Many can run short sprints quite fast. Ever watch football and see on offensive lineman "pull" from the line to go toward the sideline to help block for a running back? they have to get there fast to beat linebackers and defensive secondary backs. These are definitely athletes.

I happen to not classify golf as a sport because I believe a sport is any activity where my actions have a direct effect on your performance. Thus, activities like golf, bowling, etc I don't classify as sports. But that doesn't mean they do not require immense skill, just that the skills are somewhat different.

Greg
 

flying24

Banned
Golfers are not really athletic per say, they are very skilled, but Tiger is probably by far the most "athletic" golfer. Tennis players as a whole are much more athletic then golfers, where you have fatties winning majors, but Roger is definitely not the most "athletic" tennis pure if you talk about pure athletic ability. So I am not sure which is more athletic, neither are athletic anything like a top pro team sport athlete though.
 

beernutz

Hall of Fame
Power lifters are "fat" because it actually helps them in their sport, would you scoff at them and say they weren't athletes?

How about lineman in football? Many can run short sprints quite fast. Ever watch football and see on offensive lineman "pull" from the line to go toward the sideline to help block for a running back? they have to get there fast to beat linebackers and defensive secondary backs. These are definitely athletes.

I happen to not classify golf as a sport because I believe a sport is any activity where my actions have a direct effect on your performance. Thus, activities like golf, bowling, etc I don't classify as sports. But that doesn't mean they do not require immense skill, just that the skills are somewhat different.

Greg
So swimming, track and field, skiing, weightlifting, etc. are not sports?

Personally I think for something to be called a sport it must require its participants to use physical strength, physical stamina/endurance, or physical agility (or any combination of them).
 

gregmiata

Rookie
So swimming, track and field, skiing, weightlifting, etc. are not sports?

Personally I think for something to be called a sport it must require its participants to use physical strength, physical stamina/endurance, or physical agility (or any combination of them).
The Olympics are called the Olympic Games are they not? Not Olympics Sports. :)

Not sure if they still do but there used to be a national tournament to see who could work a Rubick's Cube the fastest. This would require quite a bit of hand/eye coordination and physical agility (finger dexterity), would this be a sport in your definition?

I am not saying swimming, track and field, etc are less demanding either physically or mentally. They just require different skill sets because in none of these activities does the ability to instantly adjust to another competetors actions come into play.

Again, just my thoughts.

Greg
 

fps

Legend
I have a hard time believing that the skills Fed (or any other dominant sports figure) possess are uniquely molded just for that sport. The odds that Tiger's dad, at age 4, chose the one sport that Tiger could excel in over all others seems a little too long for me. Then multiply that by the odds that every other excellent athlete chose their one sport at an early age and we begin to get astronomical. More likely they all had above average talent in many and chose the sport that they enjoyed the most over the others, or had the best access to.

Greg
Actually, matching a person to their right sport at an early age, while largely luck, is absolutely vital, and the evidence is found in the trail of people who have failed to make it as pros at their chosen sports, despite outstanding core skills, not the two people who have become as dominant as anyone has ever been in their sports.

Federer made the right call, I find it impossible to believe that someone at the absolute peak of one sport would, in different circumstances, have been the absolute peak standard in another. Far more people are trying to become footballers than tennis players, the physical standards needed as high, possibly higher, and most importantly DIFFERENT from those needed in tennis, and I can't see him being as good as the great players like Zidane or Gerrard! Another coupla cents in the jar, what are we saving up for here!?
 

beernutz

Hall of Fame
The Olympics are called the Olympic Games are they not? Not Olympics Sports. :)

Not sure if they still do but there used to be a national tournament to see who could work a Rubick's Cube the fastest. This would require quite a bit of hand/eye coordination and physical agility (finger dexterity), would this be a sport in your definition?

I am not saying swimming, track and field, etc are less demanding either physically or mentally. They just require different skill sets because in none of these activities does the ability to instantly adjust to another competetors actions come into play.

Again, just my thoughts.

Greg
from www.olympic.org (the official site of the Olympic Games):
"SPORTS

The current Olympic Games programme includes 35 sports and nearly 400 events.
There are also past Olympic sports and sports recognised by the Olympic Movement."

Kind of muddies the waters even further, does it not? :)
 

Stchamps

Banned
Golf players are not athletes. End of story.

If all it takes to be an athlete is hand-eye coordination then a video game champion (who could be a pudgy 200 pound kid living in a basement) would be considered one.
200 pounds isn't really that much >_>
 

jaisrh

New User
You only really need hand-eye coordination in golf. A few other athletic attributes help but are much less important.

You don't need:

reflexes
footspeed
strength, at least not a lot (helps but not as important as in "athletic" sports)
stamina (unless you're so weak you can't stand and walk a little for a few hours)
ability to think and adjust on the fly

Those are the most obvious that come to mind but there probably others. All those attributes plus the hand-eye coordination are vital to being a good tennis player.
 

JohnnyCracker

Semi-Pro
Power lifters are "fat" because it actually helps them in their sport, would you scoff at them and say they weren't athletes?

How about lineman in football? Many can run short sprints quite fast. Ever watch football and see on offensive lineman "pull" from the line to go toward the sideline to help block for a running back? they have to get there fast to beat linebackers and defensive secondary backs. These are definitely athletes.

I happen to not classify golf as a sport because I believe a sport is any activity where my actions have a direct effect on your performance. Thus, activities like golf, bowling, etc I don't classify as sports. But that doesn't mean they do not require immense skill, just that the skills are somewhat different.

Greg
Are powerlifters, linemen playing golf and smoking cigars simultaneously? No? Then don't worry about it. They ARE athletes. Like you said, golf is not a sports, then how can Tiger Wood, known for one thing and one thing ONLY -- golf -- be called an athlete?
 

gerikoh

Semi-Pro
hmm, since they are still on their prime, how bout having fed play golf while tiger play tennis?

now that would be awesome :D
 

boojay

Hall of Fame
Well since you chose the word "athlete" as a descriptor, why is Tiger even in this conversation?

Had you said something like who's the better "competitor" as in, this checkers tournament has over 100 competitors from all over the world, then it would fit, and in that case, Fed the better competitor.
 

Hot Sauce

Hall of Fame
There is little question the Roger is a better athlete. Yes golf is a sport, but you do not have to be athletic to play it. A guy named John Daly comes to mind.:mrgreen:
While he is an exception rather than the rule, most Golfers are not that athletic.
Quote for Truth.
 

bdog

Rookie
The diff between a game and a sport: A game is anything you can play with a cigarette in your mouth...
If you watched on TV, a golfer smoking a cigarette to win a major, then we know this much--

1) He's on TV, you're not

2) He's making more money than you

3) People know his name around the world

4) Chicks dig him more than you
 
Top