Only a few athletes (or people) in history know the life Tiger Woods has lived, and Michael Jordan is one of them. Jordan is one of the few that has matched Woods’ global fame so it was interesting to hear him talk about Big Cat in a recent interview with Cigar Aficionado.
“He in a transitional period,” Jordan said. “We athletes go through that. We have to be adults. We have to make sound decisions. He’s in a very unique situation. Tiger played at his peak somewhere towards the end of my career. What changed between that timeframe to now — social media, Twitter, all those types of things that have invaded the personality and personal time of individuals.
“I don’t know if I could have survived in this Twitter time where you don’t have the privacy you would want. What seems to be very innocent could always be misinterpreted.”
It really is a different time. The angst over Jordan doing a variety of things when he played (gambling, playing baseball, etc.) would have been monumental on social media. Can you imagine the photos that would have been taken?
As for what Woods accomplished on the course — 79 wins and 14 majors — Jordan has a unique perspective on that, too. He indirectly compared Woods’ relationship with Jack Nicklaus to his with Bill Russell. Nicklaus and Russell have more majors and NBA championships than Tiger and MJ, but does that mean they’re better?
“You’re never going to say who’s the greatest of all time,” Jordan said. “That’s more for PR, for selling stories and getting hype. To say one is greater than the other is a little bit unfair. How much impact did each change or evolve the game? Tiger evolved it to where it crossed a lot of different boundaries.
“I think they’re both great. I would never say one is greater than the other.”
Jordan might not, but Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee did recently on Shane Bacon’s podcast.
“We saw somebody twice as good (as Nicklaus),” Chamblee said. “Jack is the greatest major champion of all time, but Tiger Woods played by far the best golf.”
Chamblee cited Woods’ win rate (25 percent — Nicklaus’ was 12 percent), his average margin of blowout victory in a major (10 strokes to 5 strokes) and his 14 straight wins at majors with a 54-hole lead as evidence of his claim. It’s really compelling, and you should listen to it.
Wink of the CBS eye to FTW