Well, since we actually agree on the main point, that makes this less fun. But I'll still take issue with some of the minor ... um, issues.
I think I stated my argument in a much more reasonable manner than you would have. If you wrote the same post as my first one, it would have probably read something like this:
"Not only is he not in the Top 50 in worldwide popularity -- Tiger Woods is just a bad golfer. His CAFHR (Course-Adjusted Fairways Hit Ratio) currently stands at 12.7. 12.7! Meanwhile, Davis Love III has a VORG of 2.819. In fact, Tiger isn't even the best black golfer in the world -- Vijay Singh's PPR (Putts Per Round) is off the charts."
Regarding Pat's history as an exaggerator, I think you're probably right. He seems more prone to questioning other people's exaggerations than to making his own. Unlike, say, you.
Regarding other points made by you:
1. Race -- I don't think non-white peoples like Tiger Woods as much as white people like to think they do. White people love him -- I don't think anybody's arguing that -- because he's a token (pun intended) of their non-racism, and by extension, of a traditionally white upper-class sport's supposed embrace of diversity. And I'm sure a fair amount of blacks and Asians are glad to see him succeeding in said lily-white sport. But I don't think a lot of those people actually watch him play golf or buy his gear. And it's also worth pointing out that Tiger wasn't even close to the first black or Asian to play on Tour.
The Nas lyric makes for an interesting artifact in regards to Tiger's standing amongst blacks. In the song "These Are Our Heroes," which is all about how white people lionize blacks who act white and promote them as credits to their race (which, btw, is one of the single most racist phrases extant). This is from the first verse:
Let's hear it, two for the spooks who do cartwheels
'Cause they said they played they parts well
Now they claim caviar, hate that oxtail
Lambda Sigma Phi badge on lapel
Whitey always tell him, "Ooh, he speak so well"
Are you the one we look to, the decent Negro?
The acceptable Negro -- hell nah
But they say, "These are our heroes"
Later, Nas annihilates Kobe (and other unnamed NBA stars) for "abusing white pussy" (actually "pus-say"). And then near the end, after naming who he considers real black heroes in the third verse (Nikki Giovanni, Miriam Makeba, Jim Brown, etc.), he has a spoken section where, in a voice that sounds sarcastic (to me), he gives "big ups" to Tiger Woods, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Taye Diggs.
Here's why I think he's taking a dig at Tiger: first, he mentions him in the same breath as Cuba Gooding Jr., who's been called a Tom more times than most people named Tom, rather than in the same verse as Jim Brown, which says something -- namely, I think, that he's being sarcastic, and insinuating that Tiger is a Tom. (And have you noticed how Jim Brown has been forced to the margins of society since his retirement, despite the fact that many think he was the greatest running back of all time? That's because white people can't embrace him, which in turn is because he seems too dangerous with his colorful hats and angry talk about equality. White people pick America's black heroes -- that's what the song is about, I think.)
Further, Nas spends the song lamenting a few things: black heroes who act white to appeal to society at large, black athletes who sleep with white women, and prominent blacks who don't "give back to the hood," so to speak.
Tiger Woods grew up in suburban California, went to Stanford, married a fluorescent white Swedish supermodel, makes hundreds of millions of dollars and keeps a very low profile on the political and humanitarian fronts -- even in regards to race. He must have watched Jordan closely as a child.
In other words, given the tone and context of his statement, I don't think Nas is seriously giving big ups to Tiger. I also don't think many middle- or lower-class blacks care much about Tiger Woods. Much of which is because ...
2. Nobody cares about golf. First I'd like to point out, my geographically challenged (and Westernist, Americanist, Northern Hemispherist, etc.) friend, that I originally said that nobody outside the US and the UK cares about golf. So your counterargument that Ireland and Scotland care about golf loses a bit of its trenchantness, considering the fact that Scotland and part of Ireland are both in the United Kindgom! Add to that a former British colony, South Africa, and Japan, and it's not exactly a compelling set of counterexamples to my point. Japan is the only country in that list that wasn't once part of Great Britain, and while I don't know much about Japanese culture, I'd be willing to bet golf isn't one of the three most popular sports there.
3. Yao Ming -- the misbegotten Mehmet Okur comparison speaks to the fact that you had no logic to support your claim about Tiger being bigger than Yao on a global scale. There's no reason to believe that's true. Yao's a 7'6" center and the first Chinese athlete to succeed in America. There are a billion people in China. It would be a stretch to say that Ichiro was bigger globally than Tiger, but I don't think it is with Yao. There's also the fact that he's emerging as a legitimately great player.
Incidentally, I think your Schumacher and Ali arguments suffer from this same Americanist focus. There's no questioning the fact that America is a cultural juggernaut. But let's not forget that America has roughly 350 million people, and the rest of the world has about 6 billion. If entire other continents -- Europe with Schumacher, Africa with Ali -- follow and care about an athlete, it's a pretty safe bet he's bigger than Tiger.
I maintain that most of the world knows Tiger Woods as that Nike spokesman who plays a sport they don't care about (and in most cases, have never seen played), and that he lacks overwhelming support from American minority groups. White people, upper-class minorities, and golf fans love him. Nobody else really does.