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Published: Tuesday, 7/19/2005

Woods dominates like no other

Tiger Woods is the most famous athlete on the planet.

He also is the wealthiest, earning $87 million last year.

Now Woods has a new title to go along with his booming 300-yard drives and his 10 major championship trophies - he is the world's most dominant athlete.

Some will be quick to make a case for cyclist Lance Armstrong, a cancer survivor who appears to be on his way to an unprecedented seventh consecutive Tour de France title.

Armstrong's feat is truly incredible, but it falls a few inches short of Tiger's jaw-dropping accomplishments.

Armstrong basically spends a whole year training for the grueling, month-long Tour de France. Imagine what might happen if Woods spent his entire offseason getting ready for just one golf tournament.

Tiger is tough.

He is tenacious.

He not only wins majors, he wins them big.

Woods is a lengthy 1-iron away from supplanting Jack Nicklaus as the greatest golfer ever, but no one can argue with Tiger's talent.

Woods' so-called slump and swing changes were temporary.

After going winless in 10 major championships from the 2002 U.S. Open until the start of this season, Tiger has bounced back stronger than ever.

He has won two of golf's three major championships so far - the Masters in April and the British Open on Sunday. Woods made a late run at winning the U.S. Open in June before finishing second.

Next up for the world's

No. 1 ranked golfer is next month's fourth major, the PGA Championship.

Woods is virtually unbeatable when leading after three rounds, as evidenced by his 32-3 record on the PGA Tour and 10-0 mark in the majors.

Tiger is the best closer in sports.

He is more dominant than Serena Williams, Shaquille O'Neal, Tom Brady, Jeff Gordon, Mariano Rivera or Armstrong.

Woods is still looked down upon by many of the stodgy, old guard who cover golf because he doesn't feed them colorful quotes.

Those same people continue to pump out puff pieces on the once-great Nicklaus, who has been on the back nine of his career for quite some time now.

As a youngster, Tiger had a poster of the Golden Bear pasted on his bedroom wall. To this day, Woods can recite most of his idol's resume when it comes to Jack's sparkling 56 top-five finishes in major championships.

Nicklaus won 18 major titles in 24 years; Tiger has 10 in nine.

"There's no player that's ever played the game that's been that consistent in the biggest events like Jack," Woods said after his wire-to-wire victory at the British Open. "And to have the opportunity to get to 10 already this soon in my career, it's very exciting.

"I'm looking forward to some good years in my 30s, and hopefully into my 40s."

Nicklaus played his most dominating golf between the ages of 30 and 35, winning seven major championships during that stretch. He won his 10th major at 32.

Tiger doesn't turn 30 for five months.

That puts him well ahead of the pace in his pursuit of Nicklaus' astonishing record, which many thought would never be approached, let alone broken.

The only one who can stop Tiger Woods is himself.



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