Tiger has company

By Staff
Mike Self, FCT Sports Editor
He is, simply put, the greatest professional athlete in the world today.
His dominance is so overwhelming, in fact, that he's not really competing with his peers. Every tournament, every stroke, he's going toe to toe with history, steamrolling his way toward his rightful place as the best ever in his sport.
And he's making admirers out of some other giants in today's sports world along the way. Heck, even Tiger Woods has taken notice.
That's right, I'm talking about Roger Federer, the Swiss tennis machine who already has enough points in the ATP standings to ensure that he will break Jimmy Connor's record of 160 consecutive weeks atop the men's rankings by the end of next month.
The 25-year-old Federer took his surpassing brilliance to a whole new level last week at the Australian Open. He defeated Chilean Fernando Gonzalez in the finals to wrap up his 36th consecutive victory and 10th career major championship, but the tournament hardly lacked for drama.
Fans and commentators alike waited breathlessly to see if Federer might actually lose–not the tournament, mind you, but a set.
He didn't, becoming the first man in 27 years to win a grand slam event without dropping a single set. No wonder Tiger has joined the fan club.
Last year, Woods was in Federer's box to watch his victory at the U.S. Open. A few months later, incidentally, Federer walked the course with Woods at a golf tournament in China. The two have been known to text message one another when they're not busy winning tournaments.
The budding friendship between Woods and Federer is quite intriguing, given that each of them will almost certainly be regarded as the greatest player in the history of his respective sport in the very near future.
Federer is just four major titles away from matching Pete Sampras's career record of 14, and Tiger is not exactly dilly-dallying in his pursuit of golf legend Jack Nicklaus. The 31-year-old Woods has won 12 majors, putting him two-thirds of the way to Jack's record total of 18.
Given the way he's playing right now, Tiger could very well cut the gap between himself and Nicklaus in half in 2007. While Federer was dusting the field in Melbourne last week, Woods was busy wrapping up the Buick Invitational for his seventh straight PGA Tour win.
Federer will likely pass Sampras before Tiger catches Nicklaus, but both men appear poised to put their respective records far out of reach.
Some fans may complain that Federer and Woods are sucking all the drama out of men's tennis and golf, but so what?
A little inevitability is a small price to pay for a front row seat to history in the making.
Enjoy the show.

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