Originally Published: March 3, 2010
Tiger’s comeback tougher than Ali’s
By Bill Simmons

Ever see those crazy guys in the park playing speed chess? They’re flying along at warp speed, trusting their instincts and trying to avoid one mistake that might get them checkmated. That’s what doing an online chat is like. Writing a column is like chess; you have time to mull strategies and move pieces into the right places. But an online chat? Speed chess.

My Friday chat on ESPN.com drew 42,000 questions. The total transcript was 9,600 words, and because I probably typed two-thirds of them, that means I banged out about 6,400 words in three hours. When I wasn’t typing, I was sifting through questions looking for a good one to post. Didn’t pee. Didn’t get a drink. Didn’t even stand up. Just emptied my brain on a keyboard.

Now here’s why I rarely do chats anymore: Under speed chess conditions, it becomes exceedingly possible that either (A) I might say something inappropriate, (B) I might infuriate my bosses in some way or (C) I might argue a point incorrectly without realizing it until later. On Friday, I made a mistake comparing the 2010 Tiger Woods to the 1970 Muhammad Ali, saying Tiger’s comeback would be much tougher because “everyone under 35 was rooting for Ali.” Total hyperbole that never would have happened had I spent more time thinking about it. More importantly, I botched a quality point that could have made for an interesting column.

Let’s return to my admittedly rushed thesis …

When Tiger Woods returns to golf, he will face a level of pressure that well surpasses anything any other transcendent athlete has faced in my lifetime.

Yeah. Absolutely. Let’s hop on the course and play nine holes (in the form of points) to bang home the point that, yes, Tiger’s presumed return to golf in 2010 will be significantly more difficult than Ali’s return to boxing in 1970.

Here is the full article.

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