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Defining the greatest sports person EVER is fraught with so many difficulties, connotations, levels of competence that it becomes impossible even irrelevant. Firstly there is no one who plays EVERY sport, therefore there is no way to adequately compare the physical and mental skill required to play all these sports. I personally, play both Lawn Bowls and Golf. These sports do not appear to be physically demanding – but you would be surprised how tired your arms legs and lower back feels after a three hour game of Lawn Bowls.

What these sports require to play at a competitive level is a degree of mental discipline. A quiet mind which leads to greater concentration, which in turn leads to a higher level of ability in these sports. Focus and discipline in practice, leading to greater focus and discipline in performance.

In my opinion, there has never been the degree, or amount, of competition in Golf as there is now. Interest in Golf, especially in Australia, has been high since the success of Greg Norman in the late 1980s and continues through the advent of pay TV and telecasts of tournaments from all over the world. The competition and interest in Golf can be seen through the fact that channel 10 telecast the US Open into and through morning peak viewing time.

So, Tiger Woods IS the greatest golfer who has (to this time) ever been, by virtue of the greater competition he has had to deal with compared to earlier champions; But Woods is playing in a time of greater technological difference in equipment than ever before. Equipment changes/improvements are not the sole preserve of golf, they are evident across a broad spectrum of sports. For example Bjorn Borg won 5 straight Wimbledon titles using wood framed racquets, today, players use recquets with different kinds of carbon graphte, boron what have you frames. How would Borg have done with such equipment?
In Golf, driver’s heads are larger, they are made of different metals, alloys, polymers. Shafts may be Graphite based, the list of changes to club and ball goes on. How would Sam Sneed, Water Hagen, Peter Thompson, Harry Vardon etc have been with the benefit of such equipment – we will never, nor can we ever know.

There are many other levels of discussion/debate; suffice to say that I believe that Tiger Woods is the greatest professional golfer ever, but is he the greatest sports person ever? Can there be a greatest sports person ever? I doubt it. I am simply content to sit back, watch and marvel at the exploits of sporting greats of whatever kind of sport, irrespective of sex, gender, or ability (notice how few women or ‘disabled’ sports people have been named in such discussions?) knowing that sports fans have never ever been better supplied with a choice of sport to watch, follow, and to enjoy as we are today.
Life is too short to ask why – just enjoy what you have.

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Theory: Accepting the notion that many men have an overblown image of their golfing prowess; The pace at which a man plays golf is inversely proportional to the speed of the vehicle that carries his clubs. In that, when a male golfer uses a push buggy, he generally walks directly to his ball, plays his shot (eventually), and walks directly to where he hit his ball. Generally a little slow but tolerable. When he uses a motorised buggy however he often drives the vehicle with as much care and attention as does a child in a dodgem car.

While this is not true of all male golfers, I have seen situations often enough to recognise a clear pattern. I have often found myself behind groups of such players, and have marveled at the complete lack of forethought at what they are doing and the total absence of consideration for golfers behind them.

Sharing golf carts multiplies the problem, multiple carts, and or multiple groups of men with carts and the situation is compounded exponentially into what I refer to as the ‘Molasses Circus – The greatest slow on Earth’.

Picture this, four men sharing two carts, two men in each cart. It is a slow day on the course, many guys thinking they are Tiger Woods, whilst proving themselves to be Wooden Tigers (humour). The men in cart A have hit their balls the same distance down the fairway though about 15 metres apart. The driver of cart B has sliced his ball into the deep rough halfway along the fairway, his passenger has put his ball on the fairway though about 30 metres shorter than the driver. Cart A has gone up to one of their balls and is waiting for the green (further away than they can hit) to clear. The driver of cart B has driven up to his ball and is also waiting for the green to clear. A modicum of forethought, and perhaps consideration for the flow of play on the course may suggest that; whilst waiting for the green to clear, the players from cart A could both go to their respective balls; and as the driver of cart B has to pass his passengers ball to get to his ball, it may be an idea to let the passenger off en-route to the drivers ball… but no. The green clears, player 1 from cart A hits his ball, puts his club away and climbs back into the cart and they drive the ten or so meters laterally across the fairway to the other player’s ball, meanwhile the driver of cart B has hit his ball, and drives BACK down the fairway for his passenger to play his ball. Situations akin to this occur regularly through the round. A floor show such as this is a galling experience if you find yourself behind such a grouping.

Absence of forethought, no idea of where they need to go, and will not take suggestions… I think male attitudes on the roads may be reflected when they climb behind the wheel on a golf course… only that golf carts don’t do 60 Kmph.

Dare I suggest a breathalyser for the 17th Tee?

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