This thread is a lot different from the one that was being discussed before. The topic before was about Tiger being the TOUGHEST athlete. That's a lot different then being an ELITE athlete.
I can't get to the thread now because it is closed, but I believe it was exactly what the argument was. Alex_DeLarge began with a diatribe of Tiger Woods and golf being a professional sport, after Tiger was #2 (?) on ESPN's list of toughest athletes. "Toughness" was only brought up to refer to his mental toughness. Golf was then bashed as a sport and Tiger as an athlete. The problem RushFan came accross (IMO) was posts such as "It isn't a sport if after you hit the ball you don't run to it - you get in a cart" or "how much athletic talent does it take to hit a ball with a stick four feet?"
I don't remember the wording being along the lines of "Tiger Woods is one of the toughest athletes" in terms of enduring physical stress. I'm not trying to get into an argument here, but IMO the wording of this post is pretty much exactly what he was debating on the last thread. As I recall, one of the final posts was from a mod states, "if you guys want to debate on whether or not Tiger Woods is an athlete, START A THREAD, otherwise this thread is about fighters that have not been KO'd before."
PS - My opinion is such: Tiger Woods is an ELITE athlete and golf is a sport.
An athlete is someone who is athletic, someone who shows incredible general physical prowess. That is to say: a combination of strength, speed, agility, coordination and skill in their sport.
I think Tiger Woods is a perfect example of such.
A real elite athlete is someone who can play their sport, but also has the physical conditioning and skills to play another sport, not on the same level, but very, very well.
If you took Tiger of the golf course he might be a guy in very good shape (in fact, he is a guy in very good shape), but he wouldn't be able to move like a pro in another sport. He can't run a 40 like an elite athlete, he can't hit the bench like an elite athlete and he can't thread the needle like an elite athlete. That's my criteria.
I have a problem with this in that if you take Federer off the court, I don't think he will compete in other sports. Is he not an elite athlete? If you take Crosby or Ovechkin off the ice, their 40s might not be quite that fast for they are using different muscles of their legs. Are they not elite? Ali probably wouldn't have run that quick of a 40...or Lenox Lewis. Wayne Gretzky, Kaka, Ronaldo, etc, I'm not sure if any of them would be able to dominate other sports. Does that make them less of elite athletes? I don't think so. Michael Jordan was able to almost go pro at baseball and Deon Sanders and Bo Jackson played two sports professionally, while Tom Glavine was drafted by the MLB and NHL. IMO that makes them more ATHLETIC, but not more of an elite athlete.
When you not only master, but dominate your discipline that is known to be considered a "sport" - IMO you are an elite athlete. Tiger Woods has done it like few else in professional sports have.