Originally Posted by iacas
Players who are better than those players.
No doubt in my mind that if those players played today, they'd win far, far fewer majors.
In Jack's day, the top players were quite a bit separated from even the 50th best player in the field. Today, it's a sliver that separates Tiger from the 100th best player in the field. Virtually EVERYONE (except 20 people in the PGA Championship) is capable of winning a major these days. The list was considerably shorter in Jack's day.
Erik, I have been reading your posts for years, and I generally agree with your point of view. Not here, though. To suggest that today's players are better than all of the Hall of Fame players that were mentioned in the post you responded doesn't ring true to me.
In my view, Arnold Palmer and his 7 majors are better than the 20th, 30th, 40th and 100th ranked players of today. Naturally, I don't think these current players are better than those players. They won more often, which is the standard. Maybe Arnie would win less majors today, maybe not. No way of really knowing. While it may be true in theory that anyone today can win a major, that was equally true back then. Plenty of guys were 1 time major winners in their career during Jack and Arnie's time.
If it were really true that anyone playing in a major today could win, then there would be a lot more one time winners today than in the past. There are 27 during Tiger's 17 seasons on Tour. In Arnie's first 17 seasons on Tour there were 25 one time winners. In Jack's first 17 seasons on Tour there were 23. Is this a "considerably shorter" list of players capable of winning a major? Not in my view.
Jack and Arnie also had to beat out the guys who won a LOT of majors. Jack's 5 best contemporaries won 35 majors between them. Arnie's 5 best contemporaries won 47 majors between them. Player won 9, Watson won 8, Arnie won 7, Trevino 7 and Ray Floyd 4. Of course Jack won 18. Tiger's best 5 contemporaries, to date anyway, pale in comparison. They are Phil with 5, Ernie with 4 (only 3 during Tiger's career), Vijay 3, Harrington 3, Cabrera 2. That adds up to 17 or 16 depending on how you look at it, both numbers being far, far less than the 35 wins amassed by Jack's contemporaries and the astounding 47 wins accumulated by Arnie's top peers.
Lastly, I am not convinced anyone on Tour today can win a major. In theory it looks like it should be true. Consider the 63rd seed coming out of stroke play won last year's US Amateur. Rich Been, Shaun Micheel, and Y.E. Yang won majors! But for all the Beems and Micheels of the world, there are players of similar accomplishments that won during Jack's day. And as all the best pros continually say, winning majors is hard to do. Also, it seems quite obvious that more players are closer to being bumped back to the Web.com Tour than are likely to ever win a major as there is an annual reshuffling of the deck, so to speak.
I'm always interested to read your thoughts, and rarely disagree. This time is one of the few times.