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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 December, 2003, 22:15 GMT
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Alvin Hall
Alvin Hall chose David Beckham ahead of Tiger Woods
Alvin Hall, presenter of World's Most Powerful, decides that David Beckham is the most powerful in the world of sport. But should it have been Tiger Woods?

"On purely sports terms, for me, Tiger Woods is ahead", says Alvin. "But when you look at the power of their overall achievement, the decision is much more difficult."

"My choice as the World's Most Powerful sports person, for transcending the field of play, is David Beckham. He represents the lifestyle that we can achieve through success"

Do you agree with Alvin? Here are a selection of your comments.


Power often attracts hatred. Influence attracts. Draw your own conclusions
John Crawford
I am lost for words!! Tiger's legacy would be measured in terms with Muhammed Ali. As an expat who works in Nigeria, it was unthinkable a few years ago for Nigerians to watch golf, never mind even know any player. But thanks to Tiger a few golf courses have sprung up in the country and the interest is at an all time high. Moreover it's not just blacks or Asians who are interested in Tiger but young kids both male and female.
Beckham would be rememebred only in the UK and Japan as a man who fed our appetite for tabloid news.
Shane Hill, Dublin

Beckham? A risible decision - and I'm a Manchester United fan. Almost unheard of in the States, he's a marketing icon in the UK, Europe and East Asia. But Tiger Woods is all that and a great deal more - far, far, more successful - the Tiger Slam is an incredible achievement. His example has revolutionised golf. From personal experience I can tell you that golf is being recognised in new areas - like Africa. Tiger is the world's most powerful. Period.
Adrian Hobart, Cambridge UK

As a psychologist myself, getting such an eminent and well-respected psychologist as Dr Tim O'Brien to talk about David Beckham's ability to focus and enter the zone was a very smart move by the production team. I do feel his views will have influenced Mr Hall. After all, he is the best and is well respected by the top performers in many sports. This was a most interesting and illuminating show which got better as it went on. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Tiger Woods deserves the vote as the most powerful
J. Hodgson, Hull.

When Afghanistan was first freed, there were Beckham posters going up for sale ....

One of the kids that jumped on Saddam's statue was wearing a Beckham shirt.

Wing, Cambridge
How do you possibly rank David Beckham as more powerful than Tiger Woods? Beckham is known mainly in the UK & Europe. Tiger is known all over the world. If you walked down a busy street in New York, how many people will have heard of Beckham V Woods? I suspect very few Americans have heard of David Beckham.
Alex Guberman, Pinner Middlesex

Power often attracts hatred. Influence attracts. Draw your own conclusions.
John Crawford, Altrincham, United Kingdom

I do feel that this is what singles out the BBC from so many other channels - and that is the quality of expertise that they have access to: Tiger's coach Harmon; Figeon; and O'Brien the pscyhologist really did offer an amazing insight into the mind of Beckham. It was not the usual, insulting, "he's a bit dumb" stuff but a true indication of the guy's immense powers to deal with stress. Obviously O'Brien knows Beckham well. DO NOT FEAR FAILURE is a message that I shall take from that psychologist and as someone who is motivated by the fear of failure that is a big message for me. This was an exceptional programme and the best of the three in the series.
Greg van Dereken, Netherlands

I agree with Alvin. My heart races and I get goose bumps whenever I see Becks score that free kick against Greece
Paul Sanderson
I respect Alvin but he clearly knows nothing about sport. Beckham is an above average footballer, more famous as a media star, courting publicity with the hard sell and no dignity. Tiger shuns publicity and lets his legacy, as probably the greatest golfer ever, do the talking. He has broken barriers in terms of race and tackled social issues in a low key way not seeking to promote himself in the process. Tiger has grace and dignity which is not something that can be learnt or EARNT.
Tim Robinson , Plymouth, UK

Surely the debate can be settled once and for all by one simple fact. One of these guys has probably never heard of the other one.
Joseph, London

There are a lot of idiots who don't really get what the programme was about! It's not about comparing their relative sporting ability, it's about the total impact they have both had within the sport and outside of it. Even when this is taken into account it could be argued either way. Perhaps it's interesting to note that the first sportsman to start the whole shoe deal and high earnings and the man who was estimated to have boosted the U.S. economy by $10bn during his playing career was Michael Jordan. PS Padraig in Ireland wouldn't know a decent presenter if one fell on him!
Prof. Ryan Bailey, Bristol

Alvin got it right here. I think a lot of people are missing the point. If it were about who has archieved most at their sport, it would no doubt be Tiger Woods. But when it comes to who is the most powerful, it would have to be Beckham. Even though many people in Britain despise him, throughout other parts of the world especially in Asia (where most of the world's population lives), he is an icon. When Afghanistan was first freed, there were Beckham posters going up for sale in the shops and one of the kids that jumped on Saddam's statue was wearing a Beckham shirt. I don't think many people could archieve that.
Wing, Cambridge, England

I would say Tiger Woods is the greatest sportsman the world has seen. He has taken his sport to a new level and introduced the game to so many people. I do however, agree with Alvin. My heart races and I get goose bumps whenever I see Becks score that free kick against Greece. He is simply a phenomenon and his country loves him.
Paul Sanderson, Chilwell, Nottingham

What a ridiculous decision. A good (not great) footballer who is more widely known for his shenanigans as a front page-seeking, paper-thin celebrity, chosen over one of the world's truly great sports stars who has changed his sport and achieved his fame and power through his inborn talent alone. No competition.
Trevor, Netherlands

This programme was very educational. However, Alvin made a bad choice. Woods has changed golf culture in America. Becks hasn't changed football culture.
Pete Cresswell, Lincoln

I was well surprised that Alvin Hall chose Becks. He did make the right choice in my humble opinion. This programme had some real top experts on it and that made it all the more enjoyable. The films of them as children were unbelievable. Great series
Rakesh Sharma, Leicester

Alvin my man, you got this one wrong. Tiger edges it for me as he achieves singularly while Mr Beckham is in a team sport. Harmon says his family gave Tiger inner strength to do it alone but we heard nothing of Beckham's family. Both had a great focus on their sport. Any chance of that sport psychologist joining the NFL with the Cleveland Browns? That guy has power! So, Tiger, you get my vote, even if you do not receive Alvin's.
Colin Shaw, Cleveland, [Lakeside] US,
On vacation, United Kingdom/Europe

Tiger Woods was able to show that race, religion, colour or background should never be barriers in life
Michael Hinton
Unfortunately I think Alvin may have missed the mark slightly with his opinion on 'legacy'. The legacy a sportsman achieves is not simply the current success and fame they enjoy. In 50 years, Tiger Woods will be remembered along with Jack Nicklaus as a true golfing great the world over.

David Beckham, I fear, may only be remembered in the UK as the Spice Boy who once captained England. Unless Beckham can emulate some of the sporting achievements that Tiger has, his legacy and ultimately his power as a sportsman will remain hollow.
I Hills, Birmingham, UK

I have to say that something wonderful happened to sport through Tiger Woods. But still I think the highest profile comes out for Becks


Daphne Grant
This was a fantastic programme. First of all that psychologist (O'Brian) - he taught me so many things in such a short pace of time about the mentality of guys like Beckham and Woods. He talked with passion and in a motivating style. Secondly, I was amazed that black guys were not allowed on courses in the USA only 20 years ago. Thirdly, Beckham and Woods were amazing as kids. Alvin got this one ding-dong correct.
Neil Oswin, Foots Cray, Kent, UK

For me, the one point that really decides who is the most powerful is how Tiger Woods was able to show that race, religion, colour or background should never be barriers in life. He was able to single-handedly rise above those barriers and win a tournament. While David Beckham is a great man, I believe that Tiger Woods on the above point alone is the World's Most Powerful
Michael Hinton, Harlow

I am the keenest of golfers, but I still feel that David Beckham just pips Tiger. And David may be slightly handicapped by you know who.
Frank Hulskramer, Bishopbriggs, Scotland

I enjoyed the programme. It was so revealing in what makes both men tick. David Beckham has become loved the world over: look at his reception in Japan. I think too that Fergie made a big mistake, in losing Becks for Man U.

I have to say that something wonderful happened to sport through Tiger Woods; But still I think the highest profile comes out for Becks. I miss him at the matches on TV of course. Good Luck to both.
Daphne Grant, Southampton

My own country, Australia, knows David as the husband of Posh Spice. This is not influence
Ben Harewood
I'd like to commend Alvin Hall on his ability to make programmes about financial matters interesting and accessible. On this question of whether Beckham or Woods is the most powerful sport person I am undecided.

I have no problem with sports people earning millions from their profession and wish them good luck in this regard, irrespective of race, creed or social background and agree that as positive role models, Woods and Beckham are head and shoulders above the rest. However, when companies like Nike sponsor individuals to the tune of $100m I have to bear in mind that this money is profit earned on the back of cheap, hard labour in developing countries.

I know that if Nike or some other sportswear company offered me $100m to wear their shirts (I can only dream), I would take $10 million for myself and insist the balance be distributed as increased wages amongst the workers which make such largesse possible.
Dirk Daff, London, UK

Beckham is EASILY the most powerful. You just need to mention Manchester United in Asia and Becks will still dominate the talk
Zan, Brune
There can be no question in my mind as to the fact that Tiger Woods is a far more important and influential character in world sport. The vast majority of America for example barely knows who David is.

My own country, Australia, knows David as the husband of Posh Spice. This is not influence. David is the most powerful figure in British sport, but is only a bit player in the world scene. Most other countries have their own far more inspiring players within their own culture and country.

Tiger Woods transcends David Beckham on virtually every level
Ian Churcher
Tiger Woods revolutionised golf to a point where it re-emerged as a world event. More to the point he revolutionised the most misogynistic and racist sport to the point of a black man being hailed as a saviour of the sport and the single greatest influence on the sport in the past century.
That is power. That is influence. That makes Tiger a personality who, like greats such as Michael Jordan, Pele, or Muhammad Ali, defined an era, defined a generation. Tiger Woods will be remembered for long after his deeds are done on the field of play.
Ben Harewood, Daventry, UK

David Beckham is the correct choice, and Manchester United have made a big mistake in selling him to Real Madrid. They are missing his accurate passing, and crossing, particularly to Ruud van Nistelrooy , who is missing him greatly. Poor show United. You will regret it.
Val, North Wales (Anglesey)

Britain is the only country in the world where this question would even be seriously posed. What next? Was Henry Cooper a more influential figure than Ali? Laughable


Ian Churcher
Tiger Woods has been ranked as the world's number one golfer every week for around 5 years. He has held all the major titles in his sport and at one stage he held them all simultaneously. David Beckham once made a World Cup quarter final and is not even the best player in his own club team. He is famous for being married. My vote's for Tiger .....
Nitram, Swindon, England

I totally agree with Alvin this time. Beckham is EASILY the most powerful. You just need to mention Manchester United in Asia and Becks will still dominate the talk. He's well loved by his country and well deservedly so. The fact that he still manages to make FURTHER impact on a team which has Ronaldo, Zidane etc just shows how good a sportsman he is. Becks u rocks!!
Zan, a Bruneian in the UK

I am sorry but Alvin Hall must be an idiot. Tiger Woods transcends David Beckham on virtually every level - particularly talent, legacy, earnings and worldwide profile. Woods is viewed as possibly the greatest golfer of all time whilst Beckham is nowhere near the best footballer in the world at the moment. Britain is the only country in the world where this question would even be seriously(?) posed. What next? Was Henry Cooper a more influential figure than Ali? Laughable!
Ian Churcher, Southampton, England

Alvin's programme was fascinating and I felt, like he did, that it was very difficult to separate them.
One individual aspect that Alvin did not mention in sufficient detail was the effect that Beckham has on the team. David is a tremendous team player, which has come as a great surprise to Real Madrid supporters. Woods by comparison is not. Witness his poor displays for the US in the Ryder cup. Too focused as an individual.

On balance though I would give the vote to Woods on his global impact and the way he is breaking down the golf barriers, not just in racial terms but also for young people generally.
Rod Emmerson, Horndean, Hants, England

Beckham is not the powerful one. He is being used by a lot of people much more powerful than him. Woods in my mind is much more of a power taking on a century-old establishment and coming out on top as the first black man to win the world title.
Angus Johnson, Glasgow Scotland

I thoroughly enjoyed the programme yet I find it hard to agree with Alvin Hall's opinion that David Beckham is the most powerful sportsman in the world. In my opinion, while he is a good sportsman, he will never leave a legacy like the one that Tiger Woods will leave.
Ben Phillpotts, Wells, England

I can't believe you chose David Beckham!!!! Argh! I am so annoyed I cannot sleep now!
Rich
Alvin. Thank you for a lively and informative view of two of the world's leading sports personalities. Nevertheless, I can't help but offer an opinion far removed from your summary.
Tiger Woods is the only man in history to have held all major golf titles in the same year. He is the youngest player to ever have achieved that feat and achieved the largest winning margin at the most challenging course in the world Augusta. Tiger Woods is a record-breaking, world-leading individual. His feats have never been emulated.

David Beckham has achieved nothing in comparison. He has undoubted ability but is far from being any where near the well-rounded sportsman your programme made him out to be. In fact, his sporting ability is one dimensional.

Compare that to the influence Tiger Woods has had for race relations, international diplomacy and single-handedly revolutionising a SPORT. David Beckham may have improved Real Madrid as a team but this is questionable. From a financial perspective, David Beckham is in the pocket of his football team. The money he earns is for mutual benefit. He has some control but is still reliant on the support of those around him. He may retire in his 30s.
Tiger Woods has complete financial control and has earned his riches on his own. I am an avid football follower but quite frankly I see no comparison. He may play till he's 65.
Darren Henwood, Bristol

Although both men are hugely successful in promoting sponsoring companies, it was reported earlier this year that city trading figures rise after Tiger has been playing in a tournament, whether he wins or not. The traders are into golf and it inspires them to do better at work. Despite all of his talent, Beckham can only influence the share values of the companies he promotes. Tiger can positively influence the global stock exchange just by playing in a tournament. THAT is real POWER.
Richard Cargill, Middlesbrough, England

Beckham by a mile. By the way, what was the trance music near the end of the program?
Andrew Davis, Cardiff, Wales

Completely the wrong decision. Tiger Woods is not only more successful in his sport but is an all round more dedicated and intelligent person. Tiger has influenced thousands of young people to play a sport not particularly popular with young people, whereas David Beckham is only concerned with his image. This is why you know nothing about Tiger's personal life and know everything about David Beckham'. Tiger is completely goal-oriented - he wants to beat Jack Nicklaus' major record. David Beckham wants to make more money. I can't believe you chose David Beckham!!!! You should have done more research into their actual work ethics, determination and success! Argh! I am so annoyed I cannot sleep now!
Richard Naylor, Guildford England

I enjoyed the programme on sportsmen although I believe a third person could be added to the most powerful sportsman - aka Michael Schumacher due to his influence within motor sport. But using the indicators that Alvin used, I think David Beckham is still the most powerful name in the sports industry due to his universal appeal, even though Tiger and Michael are world champions.
Outwith this particular programme I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to Alvin's advice and opinions in all his programmes.
Long may it continue.
Gordon Thomson, Edinburgh, Scotland

I agree that Woods and Beckham are great at their fields (golf and football) but I think Schumacher is the best sportsman at the moment.
A Gupta, London ,England

Tiger Woods destroyed racial barriers in America. David Beckham is a nice bloke with an interesting haircut


Duncan Martin
David Beckham is far more powerful! Outside America, Tiger has little appeal apart from in what is still a rich middle class sport. Beckham has a worldwide appeal. Look at his support in East Asia for example. The only region Beckham fails to serve as a major icon, is America, so if this then comes down to a political debate about which is more powerful, America or the Rest of the World, (following a golfing theme), David Beckham would clearly come above Tiger as the most powerful sports person in the world.
Peter Sloan, Harpenden

Contender for world's most irritating presenter: Alvin Hall. And Tiger is the most powerful in my opinion.
Padraig Quinlan, Dublin

Beckham may not be the best footballer in the world but he is easily in the top hundred. So much for the university lecturer who teaches about Beckham knowing his background!. As an Oxford University undergraduate I wish these pointless courses would be banned, especially when the professor doesn't seem to have even a basic working knowledge of the subject he is teaching.
John Evans, Hayling Island, UK

If Beckham has increased female participation in the game, great, but he has certainly increased female spectator enjoyment
Jill Brownbill

What a load of rubbish - Tiger Woods is the best golfer the world has ever seen. David Beckham is not the best footballer the world has ever seen. Tiger Woods makes more money from his sportsman image. Tiger Woods destroyed racial barriers in America. Tiger Woods plays a sport where success is dependent on the individual, not the millions of pounds worth of team around him. David Beckham is a nice bloke with an interesting haircut.
Duncan Martin, Edinburgh, UK

A great program. Insightful, revealing and ever so slightly disconcerting. Whilst David Beckham is a worthy winner, a genuinely inspirational figure that occupies, along with the rest of us, the rowdy, honest stalls of our nation, there's only one man that occupies the dress circle ... Mr Tiger Woods.
James , United Kingdom

How on earth is David Beckham more powerful than Tiger Woods? And really who is this guy Alvin Hall? Golf is probably the toughest sport in the world to play consistently, week in week out, and Tiger is absolutely miles ahead of any other golfer. And really all David does is kick a ball around in a team game on a pitch for 90 minutes probably three times a months at the most! Because of how good he is, Tiger can also receive up to $2m for appearance fees for four days work in a tournament. Is David Beckham even in the same kind of league and good enough to do that? No definitely not.
Alex Hay, Ipswich

I'm a golfer and started in a period called B.T. (before Tiger) and people poked fun at me ... but now it's ok to play because of Tiger
Alex Clegg
It should have been Tiger Woods - David Beckham's sporting career will be over when he is around 35 whereas Tiger Woods will still be at the forefront of his profession for the next 30 years. Just look at the career and brand of Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan etc.
John Sinclair, Port Glasgow, Scotland

Beckham cannot realistically be compared to one of the greatest sportsmen the world has ever seen
Kevin, Edinburgh

If you ask golf 'experts' who is the greatest golfer they have ever seen, most of them will tell you "Tiger" If you ask football people the same question about football, none of them will say "Beckham".
Also, if you ask British people "who is Tiger Woods", most of them will know the answer. What would happen if you asked Americans who Beckham is?
Eric Wydenbach, Swansea, Wales

Beckham is a superb sportsman. His skill is recognised all over the world. Real Madrid haven't lost a game since he joined the team. His cross onto Raul's head was sublime. He is also a great ambassador and seems to be a really nice person, with a good sense of self-deprecating humour, unlike Tiger who frequently appears petulant. If Beckham has increased female participation in the game, great, but he has certainly increased female spectator enjoyment. Long live la Liga, and thank goodness we can get Spanish football in the UK.
Jill Brownbill, London

I believe Tiger Woods is the most powerful of the sportsmen because he's changed the image of golf forever. I'm a golfer and started in a period called B.T. (before Tiger) and I can tell you when I said I played golf people poked fun at me, because of the sports image but now it's ok to play because of Tiger. Football already had a good image in Britain and around the world and in my opinion Beckham is just another player like Best, Charlton and Pele.
Alex Clegg, Newcastle, Staffordshire

That lecturer who runs a course on Beckham must be a fool - to suggest he is not even in the top current 100 players in the world is ridiculous. He's the best striker of a ball, works hard and is able to score goals under the utmost pressure. These factors make him one of the very best players in the world today.
Marc Pollentine, Newport, south Wales

Although Beckham certainly has a great status, he should owe it to Victoria. Football before Beckham was already huge - and it has been for the past 70 years the country's main sport. If you look at the percentage of young people playing golf before Tiger, you'll see that there is a huge increase. George Best is basically Beckham, but you didn't have all the coverage of the stars back then as you did now. You can relate Tiger to say, Seve Ballesteros or Nick Faldo, however Nike have named their whole golf section after Tiger - so not only is Tiger a better sportsman in my opinion, he is also an ambassador and a revolutionary figure in golf. Tiger is humble and intelligent, and always seems to find the right thing to say at the right time. So in Alvin Hall style, although David Beckham is a role model for anyone who plays football, Tiger Woods wins overall for me.
Jezz Brick, Hertfordshire, UK

I personally think that he should have chosen Tiger Woods as he has a much larger influence over golf and the whole sports world. Beckham is merely a celebrity who has another talent that he sometimes shows. Beckham is a very good player but his image keeps the money rolling in.
Tiger Woods is the better and more powerful sports star.
James Hanson, Bradford, England

Beckham is the best. Not only is he a fantastic football player but he is a great role model for everyone to follow.
Becks fan, Taunton

Good choice made there Alvin!! There was no doubt after seeing all the facts. Tiger's miniscule when compared on global popularity. Well done Becks!!
Sinead, Isleworth, London

What an excellent programme and presented superbly by Alvin Hall. I think his choices were correct and I do not disagree with him at all.
Jonny Elworthy, Farnborough, England

World's Most Powerful: Woods v Beckham was broadcast on Thursday 11 December 2003 at 2150 GMT on BBC Two



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