On to 2 sports that trace their roots back to England (as many sports do):
“Lawn Tennis” players were included in the 1888 Goodwin set – 4, in fact, which is one of the more popular sports behind just boxing and baseball. But there were none in last year’s Goodwin set.
Two of the above players are Hall of Famers. Richard Sears was the first great U.S. tennis player. He won the inaugural U.S. tennis national championship (now known as the U.S. Open), and in fact won the first 7. He also won 6 doubles titles in a row. 5 of those were with James Dwight who was known as the “Father of American Lawn Tennis” for bringing the sport from Europe back to the states, and ultimately serving as the first President of the U.S. National Lawn Tennis Association.
There is one tennis player in the 2012 set – a “lawn tennis” player like the ones from the 1888 set. Malcolm Whitman was from a time slightly after the players shown above. He won 3 consecutive U.S. Opens from 1898-1900, and participated in the first Davis Cup in 1900 – in fact, he played with Dwight Davis, for whom the cup is named.
On the flip side, the 2011 and 2012 sets have a ton of golfers, but there were none in the 19th century set. This surprises me, though I just wonder if golf hadn’t become that popular in America yet. It certainly was popular in England by this time.
Well, there are some great golf names in this set.
Back from the 2011 set are the 2 dominant stars of our generation – Tiger Woods and Annika Sorenstam, both of whom are in the argument for the greatest ever. Byron Nelson and Arnold Palmer, who are in that second tier of “greatest ever”, are in the set. And there are a few multiple major winners from the era right before Tiger Woods – the late Payne Stewart, Fred Couples and Sir Nick Faldo.