August 13, 2009 at 8:44 a.m.
Roger Federer, Alexander Ovechkin, Albert Pujols and LeBron James are the first ones to come to mind.
But there is one that even transcends those guys. One who dominates his sport so often and so forcefully that you have to take notice.
Tiger Woods. Most people just know him by Tiger. He's that big of a personality. Woods is the best player in golf currently, and arguably the best ever. He is scorching hot right now, having won two straight tournaments, as well as five overall this year, three more than anyone else on the tour.
And the best part about it? He's in Minnesota this week at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska and he will be trying to win his first major of the year and his 15th overall.
Although Tiger does have some factors working against him. The PGA Championship is the fourth major of the year, and in the three previous majors this year, Woods won the last event he entered before each major. Well, guess what? He won the World Golf Championships last week to set himself up for another disappointment in a major.
Or, if us Minnesotans, and especially the ones going to the event, are lucky, Woods will come in looking his very best. Woods' very best is a deadly combination of powerful, accurate drives, pinpoint chips and a smooth putting swing that usually ends in an enthusiastic fist pump.
I urge any Chisago County residents who are fans of golf to make the trip down to Chaska for the event, even if it's only for one day. These kind of athletes only come along once in a generation, and he'll come around Minnesota only a few times in his career. This could even be his last major in the state of Minnesota.
We aren't exactly a golf mecca. There are some fine courses in the state, and plenty of good local deals even, but a guy like Tiger Woods only golfs the best of the best. And his penchant for warm weather means he won't be retiring to a Minnesota Country Club anytime soon.
If the folks at Hazeltine got their next PGA Championship six years from now -- which is the span of time it's been since the last one -- that would bring Woods to age 39. This guy has already made gobs of money in his career. He could buy Chisago County and not even bat an eye. Is he going to keep playing that long when he has a wife and a kid?
Some think Woods won't retire until he breaks Jack Nicklaus's record of 20 major championships. With 14 in the bag already, and hopefully a 15th this weekend, Woods is only a stone's throw away from the record with the talent he possesses. Do you really want to chance it that Woods will show his red Nike polo and his venomous swing at Hazeltine again in six years with 22, maybe 23 majors under his belt by then?
Whether it's by plane, train or automobile, I suggest getting your butt down to Hazeltine for the greatest golfer in the game, there's a good chance that he won't be back
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