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Matt Kupec

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Which Sport Requires the Most Athleticism

Which Sport Requires the Most Athleticism

In this article, we explore the debate about which sport requires the most athleticism. Before we start to analyze each sport we need to ask the question of what the term athletic means? By definition, it is defined as physically strong, fit, and active. However, this doesn’t really answer the question. If we’re discussing pure strength and power, then we would consider bodybuilders and powerlifters. If speed and agility are taken into account, then we would consider track and field. However, these sports wouldn’t do justice.

Therefore, we need to take into account a combination of 5 categories: strength, speed, agility, endurance, and hand-eye coordination. If you do some research regarding which sport requires the most athleticism, you will have a difficult time finding a consensus. However, across the board, American Football is usually rated at the top, based on the 5 categories aforementioned.

In the NFL, a football player must have the qualities of pure raw power, strength, agility, and a quick burst of speed. These are the expectations among the players, excluding linemen and kickers. Football players are a unique breed because they’re strong and powerful.

What separates football players from other athletes is the raw speed attached to their muscular frames. For example, a 220+ pound player is expected to run a 40-yard dash at a sub 4.40. In addition to these remarkable numbers, they’re expected to take huge hits after huge hits and continue playing at a high level. A wide receiver, running back, and linebacker are typically freakish athletes; however, it’s the defensive back that’s considered the best athlete on the field.

Unlike a wide receiver or running back who runs orchestrated routes, a defensive back has to be quick on their feet in order to guard the assigned player. They don’t know which route the offensive player will be running while guarding them from 10 yards away. On top of this difficult assignment, they still need to have the tenacity to make an open field tackle.

One of the other sports ranked very high is boxing. What makes boxing difficult is having the endurance to fight a 12 round pound for pound fight consisting of 3 minutes per round. Between each round, you get a 30-second break.

Taking into consideration how much athleticism goes into sports in general, it is interesting to see which excel among the rest.  It is no surprise that football is ranked the highest in overall athleticism due to the multitude of physicality that is demanded from each player on the field.

Matt Kupec:  Tiger’s Masters Masterpiece & Major Wins

Matt Kupec: Tiger’s Masters Masterpiece & Major Wins

by Matt Kupec

April 14, 2019

Watching Tiger Woods win the Master’s Golf Tournament this past weekend was a magical moment!  I don’t know about you, but I was captivated by Tiger’s play and his remarkable return to the winner’s circle at Augusta National to capture his 5th Master’s title.  I couldn’t pull myself away from the television throughout the entire final round.  And the celebration after the 18th hole was pretty cool – it was great to see a golfer show so much emotion!!

With Tiger’s 15th major golf tournament won, it brought back all the talk about his chase of Jack Nicklaus’ record 18 major championships.  As the pundits rambled on about this subject, I decided to take a deep look at the PGA Tour Players who have won the most major championships.

But we added a twist to our analysis. Professional golf is unlike the Olympic sports tradition where “champions” are recognized by a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finish, winning either a gold, silver or bronze medal.  Golf is now an Olympic sport so we thought we would also add in a column showing the number of second place finishes (or silver awards) that these the major champions have earned over the years.

Some interesting stuff as it is widely known that Jack Nicklaus has won the 18 major tournaments.  But as not nearly as widely known is that Jack finished second a whopping 19 times.  Jack’s 37 wins and 2nd place finishes (gold and silver) are dramatically higher than Tiger Woods at 2nd place with 21 wins of either 1st or 2nd place.

Let’s take a look at the winners:

Most Major Tournament Wins

Rank Golfer Country Year Won Masters US Open British Open PGA Total
1 Jack Nicklaus United States 1962-1968 6 4 3 5 18
2 Tiger Woods United States 1997-2019 5 3 3 4 15
3 Walter Hogen United States 1914-1929 0 2 4 5 11
4 Ben Hogan United States 1946-1953 2 4 1 2 9
5 Gary Player South Africa 1959-1976 3 1 3 2 9
6 Tom Watson United States 1975-1983 2 1 5 0 8
7 Harry Vardon Jersey 1896-1914 0 1 6 0 7
8 Bobby Jones United States 1923-1930 0 4 3 0 7
9 Gene Sarazen United States 1922-1935 1 2 1 3 7
10 Sam Snead United States 1942-1954 3 0 1 3 7
11 Arnold Palmer United States 1958-1964 4 1 2 0 7
12 Lee Trevino United States 1968-1984 0 2 2 2 6
13 Nick Faldo England 1987-1996 3 0 3 0 6
14 James Braid Scotland 1901-1910 0 0 5 0 5
15 John Henry Taylor England 1894-1913 0 0 5 0 5
16 Bryon Nelson United States 1937-1945 2 1 0 2 5
17 Peter Thomson Australia 1954-1965 0 0 5 0 5
18 Seve Bailesteros Spain 1979-1988 2 0 3 0 5
19 Phil Mickelson United States 2004-2013 3 0 1 1 5
36 26 56 29 147

Facts about Most Wins

  • Did you know that Harry Vardon’s country of Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands between England and France. A self-governing dependency of the United Kingdom, with a mix of British and French cultures it’s known for its beaches, cliffside walking trails, inland valleys  and historical castles.  Plus, Harry brought home 7 major championships (1 US Open, 6 British Opens)
  • Bobby Jones was one of the most influential figures in the history of golf who founded and helped design the Augusta National Golf Club, and co-founded the Masters Tournament.
  • Three of the all-time winners – James Braid, John Henry Taylor and Peter Thomson – only won the British Open, albeit five times each!
  • 12 of the 19 major champions are from the United States.

Most Second Place Finishes of the Major Winners

Rank Golfer Country Year Won 2nd Place
1 Jack Nicklaus United States 1962-1968 19
2 Phil Mickelson United States 2004-2013 11
3 Arnold Palmer United States 1958-1964 10
4 Tom Watson United States 1975-1983 8
5 Sam Snead United States 1942-1954 8
6 John Henry Taylor England 1894-1913 7
7 Tiger Woods United States 1997-2019 6
8 Ben Hogan United States 1946-1953 6
9 Gary Player South Africa 1959-1976 6
10 Harry Vardon Jersey 1896-1914 6
11 Bryon Nelson United States 1937-1945 6
12 Gene Sarazen United States 1922-1935 4
13 James Braid Scotland 1901-1910 4
14 Walter Hogen United States 1914-1929 3
15 Nick Faldo England 1987-1996 3
16 Seve Bailesteros Spain 1979-1988 2
17 Bobby Jones United States 1923-1930 0
18 Lee Trevino United States 1968-1984 0
19 Peter Thomson Australia 1954-1965 0
109

Facts about 2nd Place Finishes:

  • Jack Nicklaus also has a significant lead in number of 2nd place finishes, eight more than Phil Mickelson who has been the runner-up eleven times.
  • Phil Mickelson is 2nd in number of 2nd place finishes compared to his 19th place standing for number of Major Championships.

Most Combined Wins and Second Place Finishes

Majors 2nd
Rank Golfer Country Year Won Won Place Total
1 Jack Nicklaus United States 1962-1968 18 19 37
2 Tiger Woods United States 1997-2019 15 6 21
3 Arnold Palmer United States 1958-1964 7 10 17
4 Tom Watson United States 1975-1983 8 8 16
5 Sam Snead United States 1942-1954 7 8 15
6 Ben Hogan United States 1946-1953 9 6 15
7 Gary Player South Africa 1959-1976 9 6 15
8 Phil Mickelson United States 2004-2013 5 11 14
9 Walter Hogen United States 1914-1929 11 3 14
10 Harry Vardon Jersey 1896-1914 7 6 13
11 John Henry Taylor England 1894-1913 5 7 12
12 Bryon Nelson United States 1937-1945 5 6 11
13 Gene Sarazen United States 1922-1935 7 4 11
14 James Braid Scotland 1901-1910 5 4 9
15 Nick Faldo England 1987-1996 6 3 9
16 Seve Bailesteros Spain 1979-1988 5 2 8
17 Bobby Jones United States 1923-1930 7 0 7
19 Lee Trevino United States 1968-1984 6 0 6
19 Peter Thomson Australia 1954-1965 5 0 5
147 109 255

Facts about Combined Wins:

  • 12 of the 19 all-time Major Champions have won more titles than they have finishing second.
  • Lee Trevino and Peter Thomson combined for 11 major victories and no second place finishes.

Final Thoughts

Tiger Woods victory at Augusta National Club this past weekend to earn his 5th Master’s Championship was one of the most memorable – epic was the word most often used – golf tournaments of all-time.  As CBS’s Jim Nantz said, “Tiger’s comeback is one of the most remarkable comebacks – if not the most remarkable – in ALL of sports history.  We agree with Jim Nantz.  A truly captivating Master’s!!

Lifelong athlete

Athletics have always been an important part of Matt Kupec’s life.  Born and raised in Syosset, NY on Long Island as the middle child of seven children of Bill and Helen Kupec, Matt enjoyed a prolific high school career as an outstanding student-athlete to become one of the most decorated high school athletes on Long Island.

About Matt

A three sport star – football, basketball and baseball – Matt Kupec earned many honors and awards including prep All-American in football where he led his Syosset HS football squad to an undefeated season and #1 ranking as the top High School team in New York. Matt was also awarded the highly coveted Thorp Award, given to the top player in Nassau County.

Matt Kupec was an all-county player in all three sports during his high school career.  Please remember that Nassau County has over 80 public and private high schools. As a basketball player, Matt was a sharpshooting point guard in basketball with a career high game of 34 points at a time when the three-point shot was yet instituted.  In baseball, he was a pitcher and shortstop. In Matt’s senior year in high baseball, he pitched three games during Syosset’s march to the Nassau County semi-finals – a one-hitter, a two-hitter, and a three-hitter. Matt struck out a combined 21 batters, gave us just 6 hits, and walked zero – yes zero – batters in those 21 innings.

With many full scholarship offers to choose from following his successful football career, Matt Kupec chose to accept a full scholarship to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill because of its high academic standing and strong football program.  

At UNC, Matt was the starting quarterback for four years and led the Tar Heels to bowl games in three of the four seasons.  He was named Most Valuable Player in the Liberty and Gator Bowls becoming the 1st player in Atlantic Coast Conference history to earn two bowl game MVP awards.  

Matt Kupec set nineteen season and career passing records while a UNC quarterback.  In fact, two of those records – most consecutive games throwing a touchdown pass and most wins as a starting quarterback – remain standing nearly forty years after his playing career.  Matt led the ACC in five passing categories his senior year including setting an ACC record for most touchdown passes in one season.

After a brief stint with the Seattle Seahawks as a free-agent quarterback, Matt Kupec began a long career in higher education as a fundraising executive with stints at the University of Bridgeport, Hofstra University and twenty-one years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  In these roles, Matt played was actively involved with the athletic administration staffs and coaches in raising money to support the athletic teams at these institutions.

Of the philanthropic gifts that Matt helped to raise for athletics, the most significant gift was the lead gift form Charles “Charlie” Loudermilk to fund the building of the Loudermilk Center for Excellence within Kenan Stadium on the University of North Carolina campus, a 150,000 square-foot facility that serves all of UNC’s nearly 800 student-athletes across 28 sports.

All of these experiences as an athlete and as a higher administrator supporting a wide variety of men’s and women’s athletic programs, have given Matt Kupec an insight and perspective to the athletic world that few have experienced.  

Latest Post from Matt:

Which Sport Requires the Most Athleticism

Which Sport Requires the Most Athleticism

In this article, we explore the debate about which sport requires the most athleticism. Before we start to analyze each sport we need to ask the question of what the term athletic means? By definition, it is defined as physically strong, fit, and active. However, this...