In 2006, they were the top of their sport. They were the biggest international sports figures and had been winning Major trophies in a way that made experts and fans alike think it may never end. They had record endorsement deals and beautiful woman at their side. Everyone thought these two would be the greatest of all time. That was 12 years ago. Both Tiger Woods and Roger Federer competed this weekend, and where they once stood as equals they now stand worlds apart.
In 2006, Roger Federer had one of the greatest tennis seasons of all time. He won 12 tennis titles, made it to the Final of all but one of the 17 tournaments he played in. He was in all four of the Major finals only losing to Rafael Nadal in the French Open. He had won 9 Major Titles by 2006, winning Wimbledon for the fourth straight time and the U.S. Open for the 3rd consecutive time.
Tiger Woods, likewise, was coming off a career year into 2006. In his career he already had 54 PGA wins and 12 Major wins by the end of that 2006 season. Tiger Woods was the biggest name in sports.
This weekend, both Woods and Federer made sports headlines again. But 12 years later one’s rise is still meteoric the other a tragedy.
Federer won his 20th Major early Sunday morning after winning the Australian Open for a 6th time. Federer is coming off a magical 2017 campaign where he won 2 of the four Majors at 35.
Woods has not won a major since his cheating scandal broke in 2009 (the same year Federer married his wife and they welcomed twin girls). The only time the sports media covered Woods in 2017 was when he was arrested for a DUI that he attributed to the many pain pills he is taking to manage his various injuries. This weekend he made headlines for making the 2nd cut in 3 years of a PGA event. A far cry from winning tournaments and collecting Majors.
It is with equal parts admiration and melancholy that we look at these great athletes. It is amazing that Roger Federer has been able to stay on top of his game for 15 years. It is with deep sadness we look at the wreck that Tiger Woods career has become.