Originally Posted by Slice of Life
Seriously? Besides Tiger, name one black player that's been tearing up majors in the past 50 years.
Vijay Singh, for one. And because golf was so exclusionary, both at the pro level and the club level, blacks had few opportunities.
Originally Posted by Fourputt
Me too, but I was a Jack Nicklaus fan first. That said, I can look at both without my rose colored glasses and state unequivocally that the two eras are so different that comparisons simply can't be made. Maybe the fields are deeper now, but that wasn't entirely the case when Tiger first came up. His example for work ethic and physical conditioning (and success) led others to copy him. Another huge difference is the size of the prize. Jack's competitors had more pressure to perform because they couldn't survive just making cuts, they had to be consistently top 20 good to earn enough to stay on Tour without a deep pocket sponsor. Today they can not only make expenses, they can become very rich by just making cuts on a consistent basis.
During much of Jack's era and earlier, there was not enough incentive to travel to or from Europe, even to play in a Major, unless you were relatively well off. The probable earnings were less than the cost of getting there and living there for a week, or two weeks if you wanted time to acclimate and have real chance to compete. Guys who were mostly living week to week, or making barely enough to stay out on Tour and support a family at home simply couldn't work transoceanic travel into the budget.
Well that is the point. In the first 10-15 years of Jack's era the field at the British Open was weaker than than the John Deere is today. Peter Thomson won 5 of them - and very little else in top level competition.
As to your first paragraph, Jack disagrees with you. He claims that right before Tiger came onto the scene the good players were as good as the top payers if his time, and the top players had become as good as the superstars of his era. Jack also claimed that the increase in money increased competition, rather than decreased it, as you claim. Ive quoted the relevant portion of Jack's 1996 biography before, but I can do it again if you don't recall those comments of his.
Originally Posted by 9iron
I didn't say they didn't mean anything, I said I'd go with Jack, and I'm just using Tiger's own metric. Personally, I think Bobby Jones is the best ever as he won a greater percentage of the majors he entered, by far, than anyone else.
And yet you hold Tiger to HIS criteria but do not hold Jack to A) his amateur grand slam goal, B) his breaking Sam Snead's most wins goal, nor C) his professional grand slam in one calendar year goal. By Jack's own criteria either Bobby Jones or Sam Snead should be regarded as the current GOAT. Except that HE changed his criteria to most majors AFTER he had already accumulated the most majors. So you accept him and his criteria.
But if Tiger came out next week and announced that number of PGA tour victories is really the only fair way to compare players in different eras (which is EXACTLY what Jack said about majors, after the fact) I doubt if you would jump on THAT ship. Or he could really ace Jack out the way Jack aced out Hagen and Vardon Hogan and Snead and claim that the combined total number of majors and WGC events is the only fair way to compare. After all Jack had just as many opportunities to win WGCs as Vardon and Hagen had to win Masters. Or Hogan and Snead had to win majors during the war.
So you use Tiger's metric. And I admire the fact that unlike Jack Tiger has never changed his metric, as Jack changed HIS metric. But just because Tiger says it is his metric doesn't mean that we or history has to agree. If no Tiger-level player emerges in the next 50 years I have very little doubt that in 2063 Tiger will be almost universally regarded as the greatest golfer of all time. It may take that long, but it is not unusual for it to take a long time for history to catch up with reality - it sometimes takes that long to wash out the emotion and let people focus on the facts.
Edited by turtleback - 8/15/13 at 11:02pm