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Jack or Tiger: Who's the greatest - Page 248

Poll Results: Tiger or Jack: Who's the best?

 
  • 69% (1634)
    Tiger Woods is the man
  • 30% (718)
    Jack Nicklaus is my favorite
2352 Total Votes  
post #4447 of 4685
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post
 

P.S. Did you read this

One of the best articles I've read here yet.  Way to go, @jamo!!!  I never really gave an answer to the question, but you've swayed me now. :beer: 

post #4448 of 4685
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post

One of the best articles I've read here yet.  Way to go, @jamo!!!  I never really gave an answer to the question, but you've swayed me now. " src="http://files.thesandtrap.com//images/smilies/new/c2_beer.gif"> 

 



Not so fast. the article points out several times how difficult it is to compare eras yet states as a given that the depth of field is greater now than it was then. I think this is purely subjective and not a given at all. First we’re not really talking about now. Most would agree that Tiger’s peak was in 2000. In 2000 Justin Rose was a 20 year old rookie, Adam Scott and Bubba Watson were amateurs, Dustin Johnson and Martin Kaymer were 16 years old, Keegan Bradley was 14 and Rory and Ricky were 11. If you look at the field of golfers that were playing in their prime on tour during most of Tiger’s major run I think you’ll find it a pretty unimpressive group once you get past Phil and maybe Ernie. In terms of pure numbers, there may have been more good players in the Tiger era, but I think there was a serious drought of great golfers as compared to Jack’s time. And as for the argument that their greatness may be enhanced by the fact that it was easier to win majors in a shallower field, let’s not forget that one of those greats was an eyelash away from winning a major five years ago at the age of 59 and has made the cut on the PGA Tour twice this year, at age 64, including at a major against the current “deep” field. And as for this statement: “there were 75 Tom Watsons” I don’t know how anyone in their right mind could possibly take this statement seriously. Can you imagine 75 guys who played in their prime between 1997 and 2008 that are capable of contending in a major tournament 25 years from now? I’ll be shocked if there’s one. And I don’t even think Tom Watson was, hands down, the second best golfer of the Nicklaus era. That distinction may very well go to either Palmer or Player. In my opinion Tiger was the beneficiary of a bit of a dry spell in terms of competition. When Tiger was winning majors, it was because he could do things no one else could do…at the time. Things like hitting driver 8 iron to 550 yard par 5’s or hitting greens from 270 yards out in the fairway. There was no one else that could do that then, but there are more than a handful of guys that can do that now and if those guys were in their prime between 1997 and 2008 Tiger would probably have 9 or 10 majors instead of 14 and we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.
post #4449 of 4685
Quote:
Originally Posted by rb72 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

One of the best articles I've read here yet.  Way to go, @jamo!!!  I never really gave an answer to the question, but you've swayed me now. <img src=

 



Not so fast. the article points out several times how difficult it is to compare eras yet states as a given that the depth of field is greater now than it was then. I think this is purely subjective and not a given at all. First we’re not really talking about now. Most would agree that Tiger’s peak was in 2000. In 2000 Justin Rose was a 20 year old rookie, Adam Scott and Bubba Watson were amateurs, Dustin Johnson and Martin Kaymer were 16 years old, Keegan Bradley was 14 and Rory and Ricky were 11. If you look at the field of golfers that were playing in their prime on tour during most of Tiger’s major run I think you’ll find it a pretty unimpressive group once you get past Phil and maybe Ernie. In terms of pure numbers, there may have been more good players in the Tiger era, but I think there was a serious drought of great golfers as compared to Jack’s time. And as for the argument that their greatness may be enhanced by the fact that it was easier to win majors in a shallower field, let’s not forget that one of those greats was an eyelash away from winning a major five years ago at the age of 59 and has made the cut on the PGA Tour twice this year, at age 64, including at a major against the current “deep” field. And as for this statement: “there were 75 Tom Watsons” I don’t know how anyone in their right mind could possibly take this statement seriously. Can you imagine 75 guys who played in their prime between 1997 and 2008 that are capable of contending in a major tournament 25 years from now? I’ll be shocked if there’s one. And I don’t even think Tom Watson was, hands down, the second best golfer of the Nicklaus era. That distinction may very well go to either Palmer or Player. In my opinion Tiger was the beneficiary of a bit of a dry spell in terms of competition. When Tiger was winning majors, it was because he could do things no one else could do…at the time. Things like hitting driver 8 iron to 550 yard par 5’s or hitting greens from 270 yards out in the fairway. There was no one else that could do that then, but there are more than a handful of guys that can do that now and if those guys were in their prime between 1997 and 2008 Tiger would probably have 9 or 10 majors instead of 14 and we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.

 

 

 

Well stated, rb72.

post #4450 of 4685
Quote:
Originally Posted by rb72 View Post
 

Not so fast. the article points out several times how difficult it is to compare eras yet states as a given that the depth of field is greater now than it was then. I think this is purely subjective and not a given at all. First we’re not really talking about now. Most would agree that Tiger’s peak was in 2000. In 2000 Justin Rose was a 20 year old rookie, Adam Scott and Bubba Watson were amateurs, Dustin Johnson and Martin Kaymer were 16 years old, Keegan Bradley was 14 and Rory and Ricky were 11. If you look at the field of golfers that were playing in their prime on tour during most of Tiger’s major run I think you’ll find it a pretty unimpressive group once you get past Phil and maybe Ernie. In terms of pure numbers, there may have been more good players in the Tiger era, but I think there was a serious drought of great golfers as compared to Jack’s time. And as for the argument that their greatness may be enhanced by the fact that it was easier to win majors in a shallower field, let’s not forget that one of those greats was an eyelash away from winning a major five years ago at the age of 59 and has made the cut on the PGA Tour twice this year, at age 64, including at a major against the current “deep” field. And as for this statement: “there were 75 Tom Watsons” I don’t know how anyone in their right mind could possibly take this statement seriously. Can you imagine 75 guys who played in their prime between 1997 and 2008 that are capable of contending in a major tournament 25 years from now? I’ll be shocked if there’s one. And I don’t even think Tom Watson was, hands down, the second best golfer of the Nicklaus era. That distinction may very well go to either Palmer or Player. In my opinion Tiger was the beneficiary of a bit of a dry spell in terms of competition. When Tiger was winning majors, it was because he could do things no one else could do…at the time. Things like hitting driver 8 iron to 550 yard par 5’s or hitting greens from 270 yards out in the fairway. There was no one else that could do that then, but there are more than a handful of guys that can do that now and if those guys were in their prime between 1997 and 2008 Tiger would probably have 9 or 10 majors instead of 14 and we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.

If by "states as a given," you mean "spends 1000 words explaining in detail using advanced statistics and charts and graphs to make the case," then yes, I agree with you.

 

And, just to clarify ... one of your counter-arguments is that the players of today aren't as good as the players of the past because you believe IN THE FUTURE they won't be able to do what Tom Watson's doing now??  You'll forgive me if I give more credit to the argument that makes a case with math and reason, than the argument that makes a case with Tarot cards, I hope?

 

P.S.  Apparently reading a thread about snark is rubbing off on me. :-P

post #4451 of 4685
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

One of the best articles I've read here yet.  Way to go, @jamo!!!  I never really gave an answer to the question, but you've swayed me now. :beer: 

 

Nice job @jamo

 

post #4452 of 4685
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvmac View Post
 

 

Nice job @jamo

 

Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

P.S.  Jamo is going to be the next Bill Simmons. :beer:

post #4453 of 4685
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvmac View Post

Nice job @jamo



Damn, I hope Frank didn't read my griping snark post.
post #4454 of 4685
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post

If by "states as a given," you mean "spends 1000 words explaining in detail using advanced statistics and charts and graphs to make the case," then yes, I agree with you.

 

And, just to clarify ... one of your counter-arguments is that the players of today aren't as good as the players of the past because you believe IN THE FUTURE they won't be able to do what Tom Watson's doing now??  You'll forgive me if I give more credit to the argument that makes a case with math and reason, than the argument that makes a case with Tarot cards, I hope?

 

P.S.  Apparently reading a thread about snark is rubbing off on me. " src="http://files.thesandtrap.com//images/smilies/new/b2_tongue.gif">

 



If you think I need tarot cards to predict that 75 golfers from 1997-2008 will not be playing at that level 25 years from now then you have proven that common sense IS the least common sense. Show me where his math and reason prove that players between 1962 and 1986 were better than players between 1997 and 2008. You'll read into his numbers whatever you want to. Numbers don't always tell the whole story. I guarentee their are more soccer players in the US than their are in Belgium. How did that work out for us.
post #4455 of 4685
Quote:
Originally Posted by rb72 View Post
 

 

If you think I need tarot cards to predict that 75 golfers from 1997-2008 will not be playing at that level 25 years from now then you have proven that common sense IS the least common sense. Show me where his math and reason prove that players between 1962 and 1986 were better than players between 1997 and 2008. You'll read into his numbers whatever you want to. Numbers don't always tell the whole story. I guarentee their are more soccer players in the US than their are in Belgium. How did that work out for us.

But that's the whole point with the article.  In this thread, many of us just say "there are more players now, and common sense tells us that means deeper fields."  But he didn't do that, he formed a hypothesis, then analyzed the data, and then came to a conclusion.  Here:

 

Quote:

But as I mentioned earlier, comparisons shouldn’t always be taken at face value.

 

The statistics section on the PGA Tour's website is great for many things. It's got analytics, real-time ShotLink data, and a wealth of up-to-date recent stats. But when you try to go back in time, it gets weak, fast. That makes any attempt to compare Jack to Tiger next to impossible - most stats only go back to 1980 or so, when Nicklaus was in the twilight of his career.

One of the most common arguments for Jack is his competition - he had to play against a bunch of multiple-time major winners. Tiger defenders will say that his competition was much deeper, that the number of players in the field capable of winning the events was far larger in Tiger's time, and the fact that fields being deeper in the 2000s should yield fewer dominant players.

 

It's not that there are no Lee Trevinos or Tom Watsons, the argument goes, it's that there are 75 of them, so it makes it hard for any one of them to pull ahead.

So, who's right?

 

When I started researching this portion, I knew I had to look at large amounts of data if I wanted to say anything conclusively over a somewhat short timeline. So I looked at two data sets: PGA Tour scoring leaders from 1980-2012, and PGA Tour money leaders from 1970-2008. For the scoring averages, I looked at the top 175 golfers from the year-end scoring leaders standings, and for the money leaders I shrunk it down to 125 golfers. I used a five-point rolling average just to smooth it out.

 

I used only data for even years, to cut down on time. All of my results were verified for statistical significance. I didn't have to make any modifications to the scoring data, but for the money list, I did have to put everything in terms of 2008 USD.

 

What I was looking for here out of these data sets was not the average - I knew going in that scoring was going to go down and money was going to go up - I wanted the standard deviation. In other words, how clustered were the players? How deep were the fields?

 

I knew I'd never be able to say conclusively if the average player in 1975 was better than the average player in 2005 (my only conclusion there: use some common sense), but I could surely say which year had tougher top-to-bottom, overall competition.

 

My hypothesis going in was that as time went on, both standard deviations should be going down. The data should get tighter, the fields deeper.

 

Scoring Average Standard Deviation Graph

Money Leaders Standard Deviation Graph

What you'll see there that my hypothesis appears to be correct. The fields are indeed deeper today than they used to be.

 

How much is, of course, up for discussion. The data only goes back to 1970 and 1980, so to make any claims beyond those years would require extrapolation. That said - based on the fact that even as recent as the 1970s, a large chunk of the field every week was club professionals - I'm pretty confident that if we had data going back farther, we'd see roughly the same shape.

The only assumptions he's making are that if you extrapolate backwards from 1970 to 1960, the trend will continue.  That's a pretty logical conclusion if you ask me.

post #4456 of 4685
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

But that's the whole point with the article.  In this thread, many of us just say "there are more players now, and common sense tells us that means deeper fields."  But he didn't do that, he formed a hypothesis, then analyzed the data, and then came to a conclusion.  Here:

 

The only assumptions he's making are that if you extrapolate backwards from 1970 to 1960, the trend will continue.  That's a pretty logical conclusion if you ask me.

 

I agree, especially with such an upward trend in standard deviation. 

post #4457 of 4685
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post

But that's the whole point with the article.  In this thread, many of us just say "there are more players now, and common sense tells us that means deeper fields."  But he didn't do that, he formed a hypothesis, then analyzed the data, and then came to a conclusion.  Here:

 

The only assumptions he's making are that if you extrapolate backwards from 1970 to 1960, the trend will continue.  That's a pretty logical conclusion if you ask me.

 



The graphs only conclude that players today (or 1997-2008) are more closely grouped together. That in itself does not prove superiority of talent. He even mentions two factors that would, in fact skew those numbers in that direction, those being equipment forgiveness and course condition. I would add to that, if what I have suggested is true, a handfull of great players among the masses of good players would have a higher standard deviation than one great player among all other good oplayers.
post #4458 of 4685
Quote:
Originally Posted by rb72 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post

One of the best articles I've read here yet.  Way to go, @jamo!!!  I never really gave an answer to the question, but you've swayed me now. " src="http://files.thesandtrap.com//images/smilies/new/c2_beer.gif"> 

 



Not so fast. the article points out several times how difficult it is to compare eras yet states as a given that the depth of field is greater now than it was then. I think this is purely subjective and not a given at all. First we’re not really talking about now. Most would agree that Tiger’s peak was in 2000. In 2000 Justin Rose was a 20 year old rookie, Adam Scott and Bubba Watson were amateurs, Dustin Johnson and Martin Kaymer were 16 years old, Keegan Bradley was 14 and Rory and Ricky were 11. If you look at the field of golfers that were playing in their prime on tour during most of Tiger’s major run I think you’ll find it a pretty unimpressive group once you get past Phil and maybe Ernie. In terms of pure numbers, there may have been more good players in the Tiger era, but I think there was a serious drought of great golfers as compared to Jack’s time. And as for the argument that their greatness may be enhanced by the fact that it was easier to win majors in a shallower field, let’s not forget that one of those greats was an eyelash away from winning a major five years ago at the age of 59 and has made the cut on the PGA Tour twice this year, at age 64, including at a major against the current “deep” field. And as for this statement: “there were 75 Tom Watsons” I don’t know how anyone in their right mind could possibly take this statement seriously. Can you imagine 75 guys who played in their prime between 1997 and 2008 that are capable of contending in a major tournament 25 years from now? I’ll be shocked if there’s one. And I don’t even think Tom Watson was, hands down, the second best golfer of the Nicklaus era. That distinction may very well go to either Palmer or Player. In my opinion Tiger was the beneficiary of a bit of a dry spell in terms of competition. When Tiger was winning majors, it was because he could do things no one else could do…at the time. Things like hitting driver 8 iron to 550 yard par 5’s or hitting greens from 270 yards out in the fairway. There was no one else that could do that then, but there are more than a handful of guys that can do that now and if those guys were in their prime between 1997 and 2008 Tiger would probably have 9 or 10 majors instead of 14 and we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 9iron View Post



Well stated, rb72.

I have to agree there are some good arguments there!
post #4459 of 4685

Who is the best ? Jack is ! And once Tiger produces a successful career ( retired or once he surpasses the records presently held by Jack ) we can make a better determination of this question ... Presently , Jack is the best and has set the standard that Tiger and every other Golfer on the Tour is looking to achieve, Yes?

post #4460 of 4685
Quote:
Originally Posted by rb72 View Post
 
The graphs only conclude that players today (or 1997-2008) are more closely grouped together.

Is that not the very definition of "deeper fields?"  Remember that the field doesn't just mean "everybody else."  It includes Tiger now, and Jack then.  So, if the players of today are more closely grouped together, then doesn't it stand to reason that there are more people that could beat Tiger today than could beat Jack in his day?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rb72 View Post
 
That in itself does not prove superiority of talent.

But talent has nothing to do with the conversation.  It's not possible to quantify.  The whole debate is based on circumstantial evidence of them against their peers.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rb72 View Post
 
I would add to that, if what I have suggested is true, a handfull of great players among the masses of good players would have a higher standard deviation than one great player among all other good oplayers.

Funny, I have pondered the exact same thing.  My first post in the field strength thread says, among other things:

 

But perhaps it's more complicated than even that? What if I were to just use ratings. If you rated all golfers on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being Tiger and Jack, 9 being your Phil Mickelsons and Tom Watsons and Gary Players, and let's set 5 as the low number for major winners. (I'm thinking of you, Shaun Micheel and Michael Campbell)

 

There is no question that nowadays there are way more 5's than there were back then. But are there more 8's and 9's? What if Jack had to compete against twenty 8's and 9's, and Tiger only competed against five 8's and 9's but also fifty 5's and 6's? I don't know that the answer is that obvious.

 


Regardless, my point still stands:  @jamo wrote a great article, and Frank Nobilo was right ... it was good, fair, and without an agenda.

post #4461 of 4685
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

Is that not the very definition of "deeper fields?"  Remember that the field doesn't just mean "everybody else."  It includes Tiger now, and Jack then.  So, if the players of today are more closely grouped together, then doesn't it stand to reason that there are more people that could beat Tiger today than could beat Jack in his day?

 

 

I don't think it is clear cut. If you have 125 data points and 124 are grouped closely together while 1 is an outlier then is the group as a whole more closely grouped or not? I would say it is, but someone else might say otherwise. What is more representative of the group as a whole, the 124 grouped closely together or the single outlier? 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

But perhaps it's more complicated than even that? What if I were to just use ratings. If you rated all golfers on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being Tiger and Jack, 9 being your Phil Mickelsons and Tom Watsons and Gary Players, and let's set 5 as the low number for major winners. (I'm thinking of you, Shaun Micheel and Michael Campbell)

 

There is no question that nowadays there are way more 5's than there were back then. But are there more 8's and 9's? What if Jack had to compete against twenty 8's and 9's, and Tiger only competed against five 8's and 9's but also fifty 5's and 6's? I don't know that the answer is that obvious.

 

 

This is a great question. Is it harder to beat the group that is heavy on the 8s and 9s or is it harder to beat the group that is heavy on the 5s considering there may be more 5s? No way of really knowing. 

post #4462 of 4685
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

Is that not the very definition of "deeper fields?"  Remember that the field doesn't just mean "everybody else."  It includes Tiger now, and Jack then.  So, if the players of today are more closely grouped together, then doesn't it stand to reason that there are more people that could beat Tiger today than could beat Jack in his day?

 

But talent has nothing to do with the conversation.  It's not possible to quantify.  The whole debate is based on circumstantial evidence of them against their peers.

 

Funny, I have pondered the exact same thing.  My first post in the field strength thread says, among other things:

 

But perhaps it's more complicated than even that? What if I were to just use ratings. If you rated all golfers on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being Tiger and Jack, 9 being your Phil Mickelsons and Tom Watsons and Gary Players, and let's set 5 as the low number for major winners. (I'm thinking of you, Shaun Micheel and Michael Campbell)

 

There is no question that nowadays there are way more 5's than there were back then. But are there more 8's and 9's? What if Jack had to compete against twenty 8's and 9's, and Tiger only competed against five 8's and 9's but also fifty 5's and 6's? I don't know that the answer is that obvious.

 


Regardless, my point still stands:  @jamo wrote a great article, and Frank Nobilo was right ... it was good, fair, and without an agenda.


Actually, no the definition of "deeper fields" is not grouped closely together, but better from top to bottom as opposed to top heavy, as the writer is suggesting without actually proving. On your second point, you can replace the word talent with competitiveness and I think that is what we're talking about. Let me try to illustrate. In a case where you have three great players and for the sake of argument four "not great" players hitting there drives off of the first tee with persimmon drivers. The three great players hit the ball in the center of the clubface and split the fairway at 250 yards. All four "not great" players miss the center of the clubface by 1/8" two are in the deep rough and two are out of bounds. Fast forward thirty years and one great player and six "not great" players do the same with a 460 cc Ping/Titleist/Taylor Made...or whatever. The great player hits the absolute center of the clubface and splits the fairway 350 yards. The "not great players  miss the center by 1/8". All six are in the fairway at about 300 yards. Standard deviation of the earlier group= high, standard deviation of the later group=low. Conclusions to be drawn on the respective skill levels/competitiveness/talent of the two "not great" groups=none.

post #4463 of 4685
Quote:
Originally Posted by rb72 View Post
 


Actually, no the definition of "deeper fields" is not grouped closely together, but better from top to bottom as opposed to top heavy, as the writer is suggesting without actually proving. On your second point, you can replace the word talent with competitiveness and I think that is what we're talking about. Let me try to illustrate. In a case where you have three great players and for the sake of argument four "not great" players hitting there drives off of the first tee with persimmon drivers. The three great players hit the ball in the center of the clubface and split the fairway at 250 yards. All four "not great" players miss the center of the clubface by 1/8" two are in the deep rough and two are out of bounds. Fast forward thirty years and one great player and six "not great" players do the same with a 460 cc Ping/Titleist/Taylor Made...or whatever. The great player hits the absolute center of the clubface and splits the fairway 350 yards. The "not great players  miss the center by 1/8". All six are in the fairway at about 300 yards. Standard deviation of the earlier group= high, standard deviation of the later group=low. Conclusions to be drawn on the respective skill levels/competitiveness/talent of the two "not great" groups=none.

How do you know any of the players back in Jack's era were great players? Im sure you will say look at the majors they won. Ok Ill give you that but who did they beat to win them?  If you go to your local club tourney and know there is only 4 other quality players to beat you have it a lot easier than your buddy who plays at a club that has 25 good players he has to beat. I think its fair to say the GREAT players from Jacks ear were only great because they didn't have nearly as many people to compete with.  How many of the top players back then even traveled to play the British Open?

post #4464 of 4685
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jakester23 View Post

I think its fair to say the GREAT players from Jacks ear were only great because they didn't have nearly as many people to compete with.
While I agree with many of your points, I disagree with this one. Tom Watson was one of the GREAT players from his era. He almost won the 2009 Open Championship, and still makes the cut at PGA tour events and majors at 64 years old. These guys were great players because their skill level was exceptional, not because everybody else's skill level was terrible.
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