Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Is it fair to compare greats from different sports?


I just came across an interesting blog on the bleacher report comparing the greatness of Roger Federer and Tiger Woods.

Here in Italy, the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper has been running a series called “Impossible duels” where the likes of Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt have gone up against each other in a bizarre statistical battle.

But if there is even a debate about whether we can say Federer is the greatest player in tennis, how can we start to compare across sports?

We can talk about desire, mental toughness etc but the sports are so radically different.

Tiger still tops … in pay

tiger1 Tiger Woods not only remains the highest-paid athlete according to Forbes magazine for the eighth straight year, his total compensation is more than double the next highest total. Talk about lapping the field!

Despite eight months on the shelf due to knee surgery and the end of his sponsor deal with General Motors, Woods still made $110 million over the past 12 months, Forbes said.

17th at Sawgrass — gimmick or greatest finish in golf?


Tiger Woods and Adam Scott have described it as gimmicky. Phil Mickelson believes it is the midway point in golf’s most exciting finish but former British Open champion Mark Calcavecchia says it has the same effect as a nervous wait for a nasty dental appointment.

It is the infamous par-three 17th at the TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, the signature hole on the Stadium Course which will host the Players Championship this week for the 28th time.

Looking back, 2009 Masters will go down as one of the best


Spectators who were fortunate enough to be at Augusta National for the final round of the 2009 U.S. Masters will never forget the experience as the birdie roars returned to the undulating, par-72 layout with a vengeance.

On a sun-kissed spring afternoon in Georgia, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods led the way with a sizzling display of shot-making, charging into contention after starting the last day seven strokes off the lead.

On the Tiger trail at Augusta National



Got a look at Tiger Woods during the second round of the U.S. Masters … sort of.

I saw Woods — at least I was pretty sure it was Woods — slam his opening drive down the middle of the fairway, saw the top of his black baseball cap on his second, caught a glimpse of one of his shoes on his third and saw nothing but heard the roar on his putt to save par.

Japan’s Tiger cub Ishikawa needs breathing space



Picture this: You are one of your country’s biggest celebrities, you have signed a multi-million dollar deal with IMG, teenage girls scream when you walk into a room and you have a media circus tripping over each other to follow your every move — before you’re even old enough to drive.

Japan’s teenage golf sensation Ryo Ishikawa has had major companies knocking down his door since he shot to fame in May, 2007 by becoming the youngest winner on the Japanese tour at 15 years and eight months. The schoolboy won his first tournament as a professional last November after joining the paid ranks at the start of 2008, marking his rookie year by becoming the youngest player to crack the 100 million yen (around $1 million) mark in prize money in a single season.

Which is better — a low-scoring Masters or a gruelling slog?

After many leading players — including Tiger, evergreen Gary Player, Greg Norman and Mike Weir — complained that changes to toughen Augusta National had robbed the Masters of birdie and eagle opportunities that had often made Masters Sunday a compelling rollercoaster ride, Thursday’s opening round produced record low scoring.

Perfect weather and easy course set-up combined to help the players fire away at pins and post low scores, an outcome some believe was Augusta National’s response to the criticism.

Master Woods beats Bryant in swagger stakes


An exciting NCAA Tournament final gave us a glimpse of a cast of future NBA players but for now no one can match Kobe Bryant….except maybe Tiger Woods.

According to the always-engaging Bleacher Report, the Los Angeles Lakers player is second only to Woods in terms of ‘swagger’ in U.S. sports.

Lefty’s golden opportunity


Having been overshadowed by Tiger Woods for most of his career, Phil Mickelson appears to have a golden opportunity to grab his share of the limelight this year.

All the early signs are pointing toward a season to remember for the American left-hander who is one of the most thrilling and gifted shot-makers to have played the game.

Tiger, birdie, eagle: it’s like he’s never been away


Tiger Woods tees off to begin his first round play against Brendan Jones of Australia at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship golf tournament in MaranaAlmost 14,000 fans swarmed across Dove Mountain’s Ritz-Carlton Golf Club during Wednesday’s opening round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, most of them with just one golfer in their sights.

Tiger Woods, the greatest player of his generation and arguably of all time, was back on the PGA Tour after an eight-month absence and everyone was eager to see how his reconstructed left knee would stand up to the rigours of tournament golf.