January 31, 2007
Tiger Woods and Roger Federer are very special athletes. Fans should embrace and enjoy them as they compete to be the best ever in their respective sports.
One thing that these two men have in common is a commitment to greatness. People write goals down, and strive to reach them. Woods and Federer have that commitment to be the best and they work so hard at getting to the top and staying there despite constant challenges.
I speak during my motivational talks across America, and one topic that always comes up is the commitment to make the goal a reality. Will you work at it, sweating and busting a gut to reach that goal? Tiger Woods lives out on the range and the practice green, working on different aspects of his game.It is easy to say that winning breeds winning, but you have to have special talent to be in that position.
There is no doubt that Woods and Federer have that special talent. In my opinion, they will finish their careers known as the greatest in their respective sports.
When you compare them to other great athletes, you understand there is the mental capacity to get into the winner's circle. There is also the ability to adjust to the styles of the competition.
Think about when John Wooden had all of that success at UCLA, winning with big guys like Lew Alcindor and Bill Walton. He also won with guard-oriented teams, succeeding with players like Walt Hazzard and Gail Goodrich. Think about Duke in basketball, Notre Dame in football ... there is that winning tradition and sense of pride. You want to be number one.
Look at the Yankees in baseball. Supposedly when you put on that uniform it helps you clinb to a different level because of pinstripe pride. It makes you feel like you represent that greatness that came before you.
Now when looking at Tiger Woods and Roger Federer, it is interesting to debate which is tougher to do, dominate in golf or tennis?
I love tennis, but Tiger Woods has to beat the entire field every time he goes on the course. You never know when somebody else is going to get hot and roll in a number of putts. Federer has to beat seven straight opponents to win a grand slam singles title, and that is not easy either.
It is great to see these special stars performing. Fans should enjoy them while they can. They are winners at an amazing level, my friends.
Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in December 1979. Send him a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.