Originally Posted by americanfighter
but don't you see a problem with that its like saying Mark Mcgwire or Barry Bonds on steroids is a better hitter than Babe Ruth or Hank Aaron
or having Danica Patrik in a Nasscar race Mario Andretti in a Honda Civic then when she beats him saying oh she must be the superior driver which know isn't true
The Human didn't change but their limitations are changed because of the technology changed.
My only issue with these analogies is that they don't really apply to golf for two reasons:
1) When you're counting up win totals (majors or otherwise) you know that the field's facing the competitor were equal from a technological standpoint. Everybody used similar clubs in the 1970's, just as everyone uses similar ones today, so there isn't a technological factor when a golfer wins more in recent times.
2) You may argue that course records are rendered obsolete by the new technology, but I would argue the contrary. While technology has improved, greenskeepers have been on top of their games to keep up with that. This means longer courses and tougher conditions that didn't exist when the old technology was in play, rendering the technological advantage near null.
I do realize that the analogies likely do apply to golf in a very few specific circumstances, but my point remains the same. Not many people in golf (that expect to have any sort of career) today are taking up steroid usage, but they are bulking up a bit in the gym by comparison. This is a near direct response to the lengthening of courses and the stiffer competition faced. Natural atheticism can only get someone so far before they need to start to work out to see that final 1%. When the difference between winning and losing can be one shorter iron into each green, it means that players are going to go after every advantage they can get.
The longer courses I see as a response to the technological advancements in clubs. 300 yard drives weren't much of a thing in 1980, when Dan Pohl led the tour with a driving average of 274.3 yards. They are now, with the current tour leader averaging a whopping 315.4 yards (Bubba Watson). This means that Bubba, on AVERAGE is hitting the ball 41.1 yards further with his drives. 40 yards is the difference between hitting 8 iron and a gap wedge for me. The 1980 US Open was played on a 7,013 yard course, which appears to have been a good distance for the times. This years US Open will be held at Pinehurst, which will play 7495 yards according to their website. That's a 482 yard difference. Assuming that Bubba Watson hits his average drive (315 yards) on all 14 of the holes, he will have only gained 78 yards on Dan Pohl when you take into account the longer course distance.
Those 78 yards are easily made up for by the rough and greens that the greenskeepers these days are able to maintain with technological advances. As discussed in the thread on the speed of greens, most professional greens stimped at around 7-9 in Jack Nicklaus' era, which is a large reason in why the "pop" stroke was used with great success then. As proof of how the conditions of a course more than make up for the distance factor, look at last year's US Open score compared to the winning score in 1981. Justin Rose won it last year, on the same course where David Graham won in 1981 (albeit on a course shorter by about 400 yards, which makes the distances about even when you factor in the extra driving yards) with a score of +1. David Graham won it with a score of -7. This should be a large clue of how much more difficult courses are playing today that before, nullifying the effect of technology in terms of clubs and balls.
Just for reference, a list of a few courses that hosted US Opens near the 80's and the current day with markedly different winning scores:
Pebble Beach: 1982 winner scored -6, 2010 the winner scored even par
Oakmont: 1973 winner scored -5, 1983 winner scored -4, 2007 winner scored +5
Winged Foot: 1984 winner scored -4, 2006 winner scored +5
Olympic Club: 1987 winner scored -3, 2012 winner scored +1
This just shows to me that the difficulty of the game in the upper echelons remains just as high, if not more so in some cases depending on course conditions. Obviously this is going to factor in more on courses where the difficulty isn't supposed to be length (like Merion), just because those courses become outdated much less easily. They are meant to be won with strategy, and tough course conditions can have a steeper toll when you aren't just supposed to bomb it and hope to have a short iron coming into the green. That's not to say that long courses can't be equally difficult, but their difficulty tends to come more from the sheer distance your ball has to travel rather than the need to keep the ball in play and in good position.