Playing for History
Interesting that MLSE has produced yet another team that successfully draws fans but can't win. What a remarkably inept sports organization, yet the footie faithful haven't hestitated even momentarily to jump aboard.
(Wow - 21-3 in shots. Those are like Leaf-Devil totals).
But now that the soccer screamers should be quieted, you have to believe, for at least a day, time to move on to other more meaningful topics.
Such as, isn't this Tiger Woods vs. Roger Federer as the greatest individual athlete in sports getting interesting?
Woods, with Canada's Stephen Ames doing an oh-so-predictable fade, cruised to his 13th major championship on Sunday with a victory at the PGA in sweltering Tulsa. That leaves him five short of Jack Nicklaus for the all-time wins total in the four biggees and 13-13 in majors won after going into Sunday leading.
Federer, meanwhile, took a bit of a step backwards after being upset in Montreal by surging Novak Djokovic of Serbia. Anyone who watches tennis, and in particular, watched Wimbledon, could see this one coming. Djokovic is a major talent, a more well-rounded player than either Rafael Nadal or Andy Roddick, and he has a coolness under pressure that served him well in Sunday's final in Montreal.
Still, it wasn't a Grand Slam event for Federer. His next substantial test comes at the U.S. Open in two weeks, which is already shaping up as a fabulous competition between the Swiss master and a pack of challengers including Djokovic, Nadal and Roddick. Federer has 11 Grand Slam titles and is closing in on Pete Sampras' record of 14 in the same way Woods is chasing Nicklaus.
The added factor in the Woods vs. Federer comparison is that it would appear Federer has more meaningful challengers than Woods. Compare Woods' 13-for-13 record, for example, with the fact that Federer has lost French Open final to Nadal and fell to Djokovic in yesterday's Masters event in Montreal. The rest of the golfers, meanwhile, seem terrified of Woods, who continues to set a conditioning level that the rest of the sport can't match.
The Montreal event, meanwhile, was a spectacular success, particularly from an aesthetic viewpoint, with three of the top four seeds making it through to the semifinals. This week's tourney at the Rexall Centre has obviously been hurt by the withdrawal of several top female players, something the WTA continues to promise to fix but hasn't yet fixed.
If there's a silver lining, at least both cities can count on having the more consistent quality and depth of the men's event every second year. Right now, if either Toronto or Montreal was scheduled to host the women's tournament for, say, 10 straight years, it would be an extremely difficult task to promote successfully given the seemingly cavalier nature with which so many of the top female players withdraw in the final days before the tournament begins.