Over the holiday weekend, AP chose Tiger Woods as the Male Athlete of the Year. My vote is for Ladanian Tomlinson of the San Diego Chargers and his boatload of touchdowns, but I think I need to clarify why the choice of Woods is an absolute travesty.
The first reason should be obvious to everyone with a pulse. GOLF IS NOT A SPORT! It's a scored activity, like darts, shuffleboard and cribbage. Any activity in which a guy the size and shape of Craig Stadler can become a millionaire by taking part should never be considered a sport. The only people who ever call golf a "sport" are the well-paid sportswriters who play it in their off hours and the assorted obnoxious white guys who have country club memberships and ugly pants who never lower themselves to ask my opinion on the matter. Bo Jackson was an athlete. Deion Sanders was an athlete. Tiger Woods plays golf.
The second comes down to numbers, specifically, the number of PGA tournaments that Tiger Woods participated in in 2006. Granted, Woods' father and golf avatar, Earl Woods, was in ill health and eventually succumbed to cancer this year, and it is understood that this would be a distraction for any "athlete". Having said that, the PGA has roughly 40 events in a calendar year, which works out to 160 days competing in tournaments. No one on the PGA tour plays in every event, but having said that, you can find very few golfers who played less than the 13 events Tiger Woods took part in in 2006.
In 2006, Woods only played about 50 days worth of golf for money on the PGA Tour. In contrast, very few starting pitchers win Athlete of the Year because they only get about 25 to 35 starts per season. If a guy like Tomlinson played in only 35% of his team's games, do you think he would have a shot at Athlete of the Year? We are told that half of life is just showing up. Woods only does that 30 to 35% of the time, but he's a better athlete than Tomlinson, who gets hit on EVERY PLAY in his sport when he plays?
So Woods won over $8 million for the tournaments he took part in. Big deal. The real story here is the tournaments where he didn't even show up. Give the Male Athlete of the Year award to someone who I can get used to seeing on a daily or weekly basis.