"The hardest game in the world that!" But which one really is?
I'm sure many of you will remember that character from the Fast Show who would tell anyone who would listen that he was an expert in the "hardest game in the world". Well, we asked Alsy to tell us what really is the toughest game.
So recent events reveal that Tiger Woods suffers from occasional boats of human frailty. Such is the overriding talent of the world No1 that we often forget that winning in professional sport isn't as easy as it may look. Colin Montgomerie is a case in point. Winner of the European Order of Merit eight times, he has forty career wins to his name but no Major titles. While no one could consider his career anything but impressive his lack of Major titles illustrate that certain landmarks are harder to attain than others butwhich titles are the most difficult to capture?
Snooker World Champions have to play for hours on end while maintaining mental focus. Certainly no picnic while tennis players at the Australian Open have to deal with 90mph serves and 90 degree heat. Then there's the marathon: 42.195km of mind-numbing motion. I'd struggle on a bike let alone on foot and those who do often take three weeks to recover fully.
If we're looking for a sporting event that punishes mind and body like no other the the Tour de France is right up there. Twenty-three days of riding (including multiple mountains) over 3,000km is nothing short of foolhardy. Lance Amstrong won a record seven titles making him one of the finest endurance athletes ever...
but driving mechanical inventions can be as taxing as peddle power.
Formula One ranks among one of the hardest titles to win. It requires incredible stamina (drivers can lose up to half a stone during races) but ironically, negotiating an F1 car around a track is probably easier than getting a seat in the first place. Motorsport has a fanbase to compare with any other spectator sport and F1 is certainly the jewel in the crown. Millions watch around the globe but there are a mere 22 seats available for the world's best drivers and if you do get a chance you'll have precious little time to settle in.
As reigning F1 Champion Kimi Raikkonen's achievements have almost been overshadowed by the progress of a precocious youngster from Stevenage but winning in F1 is extremely difficult regardless of what Michael Schumacher may tell you.
Raikkonen began testing for Suaber in 2000 and made his full debut a year later. Six years on he won his first title aged 25 which puts Hamilton's meteoric progress in perspective. You can back Hamilton at [2.78] win his first title this year but Raikkonen's experience should not be dismissed, especially with the improved Ferrari engine. You can back the Finn to regain his title at [1.97] and he's a worthy favourite in what seems like a narrow two-horse race.
Back to golf and the tournament considered by many to be the toughest of all: the US Masters. On April 7th Tiger Woods will inevitably start as favourite to win at Augusta. You can back him to win at [2.32] but beware - this tournament remains one of the best loved because it's notoriously hard for players to circumnavigate. The shortest hole (No. 12) Golden Bell is deadly with its canted green flanked by Rae's creek while a shot sent to the wrong side of the green on Flowering Crabapple (No. 4) can leave a putt as long as 75 or 80 feet.
The first US Masters tournament was in 1934 (it was held annually from 1940) but the first Champion to successfully defend his title was Jack Nicklaus in 1966 thirty-two years later. To date only three golfers have won consecutive US Masters titles but the good news for Woods fans is that he's one of them (2001, 2002).
A win at Augusta requires fortitude and stamina as well as talent... sounds like a job for a superhero? Woods specialises in making the impossible look easy so perhaps a fifth title is on the cards this year? Which sporting event do you rate as the hardest and why?
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