Tiger vs Michael
Angelos linked to a story by Bill Posnanski recently (I'd leave the link but this is an email post). The story was about Tiger and how he's an enigma. He related a story about Tiger and Michael Jordan playing in a pro-am together. They were joking around until they both hit the green and had makeable putts. Something like 15' for Tiger and 5' for Michael. They had a situation where they both had putts within their respective abilities, but not gimmes. Being the uber-competitive guys they are, the joking subsided and they concentrated on winning. Tiger nailed his and then stared down Michael, who yipped and pulled his putt left. Michael said "I'm a professional, but not at this game." Posnanski says "Everyone laughed, including Tiger. But the point was
I read this and it didn't feel right to me. If the point is that Tiger is a more fierce, unflappable competitor, I don't think this story shows that. It's not fair to Jordan. Mental toughness comes in different flavors. The kind of toughness it takes to stand over a 12' putt to win a tournament and sink it is one variety. A related but different variety is the toughness it takes to run down the court with tens of thousands of people screaming at the top of their lungs, body nearly
worn out, people waving flags and towels, defenders jostling you and running at you full speed, and swish a 30' game-winner. If Tiger can make that 12' putt in those conditions (I have this mental image of a sweaty Phil Mickelson charging Tiger as he's standing over his putt),
then maybe I'll grant that he's tougher than Jordan. Until then, I'd call it a draw.