I once said that the reason Tiger Woods was going to break Jack Nicklaus’ record was that Tiger didn’t have a brother. I had the Williams sisters in mind when I said it.
Venus and Serena Williams seemed destined to dominate women’s tennis, when they broke into the tour 15 years ago. The only thing that could stop either one, was the other. And sure enough, dominate they did. Serena won four major from 1999 through 2002; Venus won five. That gave them nine combined.
Through 2002, Tiger Woods had won eight golf majors. It seemed like a great competition. Who would win the most majors: the offspring of Richard Williams or the offspring of Earl Woods?
Richard Williams seemed like the best answer, since he had two horses in the derby. And sure enough, that was the right answer. But it’s amazing at how we’ve arrived at that conclusion.
Serena Williams is up to 16 majors. Venus remains stuck on nine, the same way Tiger is stuck on 14. Neither has won since 2008. But Serena just keeps on winning. The 2013 French Open. The U.S. Open and Wimbledon in 2012. The Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2010. The Aussie in 2009.
Serena is fashioning a career for the ages. That’s not to say her domination rivals Tiger’s — it’s much more difficult to win a golfing major than a tennis major, for the game’s elite. Only a handful of players are capable of winning a tennis major. Fifty, sixty, heck, maybe more, are capable of winning any particular golf major.
But time was, we actually contemplated whether Tiger could match the Williams sisters in majors. Now it’s apparent that he’s not even going to match Serena.