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Tiger’s take on LeBron, and what it takes to be considered great in sports

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LeBron James and Tiger Woods are both on the shortlist for GOAT status in their respective sports. Even their most ardent detractors–MJ was better! Jack was better!–will grant them that.

While James doesn’t play for one of Woods’ beloved Los Angeles teams, it sounds like TW has kept a close eye on the King’s career and has been following along as he turns in brilliant playoff performance after brilliant playoff performance.

Talking with reporters ahead of The Players, Woods answered a question about LeBron’s greatness with some solid insights.

“First of all, I think that being great is doing something that no one can do, but also what separates those people – the ones that you mentioned, like LeBron or what I’m thinking the M.J. or Gretzky – it’s just the duration. They’re able to do it not just for one year, not just for one game, not just for a little spell. They’re able to do it for a number of years and accumulate highlights that we’ll always look at, and they’re peppered in our memories.

“To dominate something is one thing. Every player out here can have one good week and blow away the field. OK, great. Now, can you do it for month? Can you do it for a year? Now, do it for a decade. Do it for a decade-plus. Then start separating what is truly great, and in our sport, there has been a few guys that have had runs that have lasted for well over a decade and into two. And that’s what separates greatness.

“What LeBron has done for what, 15 seasons now, is just remarkable. Because it’s that type of longevity and to be able to be up for that long a period of time. And to be able to adjust as well because we all know as we age, we’re not going to be as athletic as we used to be. And so you have to do it different ways. And to be fluid and adjust and still be that talented and that good, hats off to not just LeBron but a lot of the people I just named.”

You can see the clip below.

Woods hits the nail on the head with respect to greatness in sport in general and golf in particular, doesn’t he? Every single guy on the PGA Tour can go out and shoot 63. Fewer can consistently put together four good rounds week to week, fewer still year to year.

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  1. Johnny Penso

    May 10, 2018 at 10:47 am

    Can’t disagree with that. Greatness is anchored in longevity and all the great ones, or at least those not plagued with health issues or other demons, had it. Gretzky, Lemieux, Crosby, Orr (injuries), Howe, Bourque etc. etc. etc. Hank Aaron had 40 HR, 96 RBI’s and batted .301…at age 39!! He had 15 seasons with more than 30 homers!!

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19th Hole

Hungover Eddie Pepperell is the real winner of The Open

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Eddie Pepperell is never dull. The Englishman’s candor, articulateness, and skill with a pen make him a great follow on Twitter and beyond.

But even given standard Peperellian forthrightness, it was surprising to hear this: Pepperell was hungover during the final round at Carnoustie…a round in which he fired a 4-under 67.

Pepperell finished tied for sixth at 5-under, three strokes behind Francesco Molinari, and he offered this admission in his final-round press conference.

“I was a little hungover…I had too much to drink last night. And I was so frustrated yesterday, that today was really, I wouldn’t say a write-off, but I didn’t feel I was in the golf tournament. Whether I shot 69 or 73 today, it wouldn’t have been heartbreaking. But as it happens, I shot 67. So, you know, it’s a funny game.”

Hitting the course before the winds kicked up, Pepperell birdied the third, fifth, sixth, and 14th holes before rolling in another at the 17th.

He clarified that he’s no wino.

“Listen, I wouldn’t always have a drink the night before. Sometimes I have a few drinks. Tiger is minus-7, he didn’t have a drink last night, I bet. Proper athlete…I didn’t really have that much to drink, just I’m a lightweight, yeah.”

Pepperell clarified that he felt okay this morning, but woke up in the middle of the night feeling poorly. he said. Then it was time to sit back and watch as the leaders battled Carnoustie’s back nine.

Proper athlete or no, Pepperell finished tied with Woods at 5 under.

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19th Hole

Pat Perez: The R&A “do it right, not like the USGA”

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Pat Perez opened The Open, as it were, with a 2-under 69, and at the time of this writing, he’s 4 under for the second round and tied for the lead.

Clearly, there’s something Double P likes about links golf. And when he was asked whether he was surprised by how receptive the greens at Carnoustie were after his opening round, Perez shook his head with conviction and said.

“They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA…They’ve got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you’ve got the greens receptive. They’re not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn’t. The course is just set up perfect.”

“The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”

Pat Perez has no problem speaking his mind. While it has gotten him in trouble in the past, you have to respect his candor. The interesting question, as I asked in the Morning 9, is how many Tour pros agree him?

Sure, it’s unlikely any of Perez’s compatriots will join him publicly in his “R&A does it right, USGA does it wrong” stance, but it’d be very interesting to know what percentage are of the same mind.

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19th Hole

68 at the British Open in the morning, golf with hickories at St Andrews in the afternoon

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Yes, golf fans, just another day in the charmed life (or week, at least) of one Brandon Stone.

Stoney (as I assume his friends call him), came to Carnoustie on the heels of a final-round 60 to win the Scottish Open. All he did in his opening round was fire a 3-under 68. Not bad!

But his Thursday to remember was only getting started as Stone made the 25-mile trip south to the Old Course to peg it…with a set of hickory clubs! Well played, sir, well played.

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