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Strength of Field in Jack's Day and Tiger's Day - Page 11

Poll Results: Loosely Related Question (consider the thread topic-please dont just repeat the GOAT thread): Which is the more impressive feat?

 
  • 14% (10)
    Winning 20 majors in the 60s-80s.
  • 85% (59)
    Winning 17 majors in the 90s-10s.
69 Total Votes  
post #181 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerryleal View Post
 

That is exactly the part that you take as  fact and I am stating is an opinion that cannot be proven. I know that many people believe it , I know that many call it heresy that I call it an opinion. Of course you can argue that more players means more hurdles to pass, or more guys that might get a hot hand and shoot a 62. But if you took the top 20% of the players from every tournament --you see the same names 80% of the time. The vast majority of the time the winners are winning by beating a small field and it's the middle getting stretched out-not the top. Not always-but the vast majority of the time.

I think for  many people, praising todays field is  just another way of praising Tiger. The very thread-" isn't todays 17 better than yesteryears 20?"-doesn't that really mean" isn't todays 14 better than yesteryears 18?" 

 

and I will say it one last time- it's america -you are free to believe what you like- but for me- being someone who is well versed in statistics and experimental methods- all of the arguments that I've seen here to 'prove' the point-fall short of being proofs-they remain opinions.

Taking a modern player from the middle-who I admire-no insult intended- a Ricky Barnes for example-according to most of what I've read here-he's better than Arnold Palmer . He's competed against such 'deep' fields. I don't buy it.

You must have a helluva big boat to catch all of the red herrings you are putting up and then refuting, rather than interacting with what people are ACTUALLY saying.

 

Everything short of a mathematical proof is "opinion".  But not all opinions are equal.  Some have evidence supporting them and some do not.

post #182 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerryleal View Post
 

That is exactly the part that you take as  fact and I am stating is an opinion that cannot be proven. I know that many people believe it , I know that many call it heresy that I call it an opinion. Of course you can argue that more players means more hurdles to pass, or more guys that might get a hot hand and shoot a 62. But if you took the top 20% of the players from every tournament --you see the same names 80% of the time. The vast majority of the time the winners are winning by beating a small field and it's the middle getting stretched out-not the top. Not always-but the vast majority of the time.

I think for  many people, praising todays field is  just another way of praising Tiger. The very thread-" isn't todays 17 better than yesteryears 20?"-doesn't that really mean" isn't todays 14 better than yesteryears 18?" 

 

and I will say it one last time- it's america -you are free to believe what you like- but for me- being someone who is well versed in statistics and experimental methods- all of the arguments that I've seen here to 'prove' the point-fall short of being proofs-they remain opinions.

Taking a modern player from the middle-who I admire-no insult intended- a Ricky Barnes for example-according to most of what I've read here-he's better than Arnold Palmer . He's competed against such 'deep' fields. I don't buy it.

 

I am very surprised about that bold part. As someone who uses statistics and experimental methods to make a living, I am surprised about your stance on the topic. I'll like to believe maybe the goal of the thread wasn't clear enough. The scoring average and difficulty of today's courses alone can quantitatively argue in favor of today's field being deeper. 

post #183 of 202

I think tennis is having a very similar argument when it comes to competition. Andre Agassi brought it up today. Jack Nicklaus is to Roger Federer what Tiger Woods is to Rafael Nadal. Federer will likely finish with more majors than Nadal, however many are saying that Nadal will go down as the greatest ever because he is winning in his majors with fierce competition, when Djokovic and Murray are in their prime and won some with Federer in his prime....most notably the big win over him at Wimbledon when Feds was at his best. Federer won many of his majors when there was a lull in the competition. He got the end of Sampras career and the beginning of Djokovic and Nadal before they hit their stride.

post #184 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisP View Post
 

I think tennis is having a very similar argument when it comes to competition. Andre Agassi brought it up today. Jack Nicklaus is to Roger Federer what Tiger Woods is to Rafael Nadal. Federer will likely finish with more majors than Nadal, however many are saying that Nadal will go down as the greatest ever because he is winning in his majors with fierce competition, when Djokovic and Murray are in their prime and won some with Federer in his prime....most notably the big win over him at Wimbledon when Feds was at his best. Federer won many of his majors when there was a lull in the competition. He got the end of Sampras career and the beginning of Djokovic and Nadal before they hit their stride.

Well, not exactly.  Federer and Nadal have (its not over yet) one of the most historic rivalries in tennis.  They have played against each other many, many times when both were at their peak and they are only something like 6 years apart in age.  By contrast, todays golfers and the golfers of Jacks era never competed against each other.

 

I would agree with the rest of your statement though ... that Federer grabbed a bunch of Slams when his competition was a little weaker.  Now you have the big 4 with Djokovic and Murray making it harder to win one.  But I think the bigger reason that Agassi thinks Nadal is better is probably because his record against Federer is 23-10.  That's pretty dominant.

post #185 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

Well, not exactly.  Federer and Nadal have (its not over yet) one of the most historic rivalries in tennis.  They have played against each other many, many times when both were at their peak and they are only something like 6 years apart in age.  By contrast, todays golfers and the golfers of Jacks era never competed against each other.

 

I would agree with the rest of your statement though ... that Federer grabbed a bunch of Slams when his competition was a little weaker.  Now you have the big 4 with Djokovic and Murray making it harder to win one.  But I think the bigger reason that Agassi thinks Nadal is better is probably because his record against Federer is 23-10.  That's pretty dominant.

 

But it's an example of a guy who will likely finish with less majors who you can argue is the best player to ever live....similar to Tiger and Jack. Just is a testament to how important the competition argument is.

 

Now many of Nadal's victories against Federer came either on clay or at the latter end of Federer's career, but nevertheless, Nadal has had to go up against a much tougher field whereas Federer really wasn't challenged for 4-5 years in majors until Nadal reached his prime.

post #186 of 202

The tennis analogy is a relevant one. Especially concerning equipment.

Regardless of majors won, many will say that McEnroe was the best player they ever saw. I certainly would say that. His genius was beyond compare.

The tragedy is that, like golf, technology destroyed much of the artistry of the game. In the same way that it levelled the playing field to a degree in golf and made the greats seem less great.

I mean, is anyone going to seriously contend that Sampras was a better player than Laver or McEnroe? 

post #187 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shorty View Post
 

I mean, is anyone going to seriously contend that Sampras was a better player than Laver or McEnroe? 

 

 

Actually, Pete has a better winning percentage vs John. Pete won 84%, John 81%  Rod Laver was Pete's hero.

 

Personally I thought John was a Whinny spoiled brat on the court and showed No respect for anyone.

post #188 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammer 4 View Post
 

 

 

Actually, Pete has a better winning percentage vs John. Pete won 84%, John 81%  Rod Laver was Pete's hero.

 

Personally I thought John was a Whinny spoiled brat on the court and showed No respect for anyone.

My point is that the percentages aren't what people will use to judge. Despite his record, Sampras is not going to be mentioned in arguments about the few best ever players.

And  even though McEnroe was a jerk at times, he was ALWAYS right about the line calls he disputed and would deliberately lose the next point if  a bad call went his way.

He was known as the fairest player by his peers, despite (paradoxically) his histrionics.

 

The things he could do with a wooden raquet and slower ball speeds will never be seen again which is a great shame.

Like Norman hitting a wooden driver. A gazillion light years beyond anyone.

 

So...........even if Tiger wins 20 majors, some will say Nicklaus was better and if Tiger stays at 14 some will say he is the best player ever.

post #189 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shorty View Post
 

The tennis analogy is a relevant one. Especially concerning equipment.

Regardless of majors won, many will say that McEnroe was the best player they ever saw. I certainly would say that. His genius was beyond compare.

The tragedy is that, like golf, technology destroyed much of the artistry of the game. In the same way that it levelled the playing field to a degree in golf and made the greats seem less great.

I mean, is anyone going to seriously contend that Sampras was a better player than Laver or McEnroe? 

Sampras was less likely to get in a bar fight that Mac! :-D  I enjoyed watching Laver and McEnroe more because of their style as well.  But the same argument applies to the entire field of tennis.

post #190 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammer 4 View Post
 

 

 

Actually, Pete has a better winning percentage vs John. Pete won 84%, John 81%  Rod Laver was Pete's hero.

 

Personally I thought John was a Whinny spoiled brat on the court and showed No respect for anyone.

 

McEnroe was a magician with a wooden racket, something we will never see again due to the technology. Monster serves and baseline groundstrokes are not my cup of tea. Stopped watching men's tennis years ago.

Technology is one of the reasons you can't quantify comparisons betwen eras in both golf and tennis. Totally subjective arguments abound.


Edited by phan52 - 5/9/14 at 11:15am
post #191 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by phan52 View Post
 

 

McEnroe was a magician with a wooden racket, something we will never see again due to the technology. Monster serves and baseline groundstrokes are not my cup of tea. Stopped watching men's tennis years ago.

 

Technology is one of the reasons you can't quantify comparisons betwen eras in both golf and tennis. Totally subjective arguments abide.

I haven't stopped watching men's tennis altogether, but I agree that it's actually TOO powerful to be as entertaining as it used to be.

 

Regarding the bold though:  Yes, you cannot compare player vs. player in different eras, but this thread is more about the field as a whole.

 

Is it harder for a great player to win a major today than it was 50 years ago?  Most are saying yes because of the strength of field.  And technology is a big cause of that.  The best of the best would be so, no matter what equipment they had to use.  So when you give the group of guys in the next tier down a helping hand with better equipment, and throw in the fact that the pool is considerably larger just due to population, economics and travel, then all of a sudden you have 80 guys that could beat you in any given week instead of 20.

post #192 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

I haven't stopped watching men's tennis altogether, but I agree that it's actually TOO powerful to be as entertaining as it used to be.

 

Regarding the bold though:  Yes, you cannot compare player vs. player in different eras, but this thread is more about the field as a whole.

 

Is it harder for a great player to win a major today than it was 50 years ago?  Most are saying yes because of the strength of field.  And technology is a big cause of that.  The best of the best would be so, no matter what equipment they had to use.  So when you give the group of guys in the next tier down a helping hand with better equipment, and throw in the fact that the pool is considerably larger just due to population, economics and travel, then all of a sudden you have 80 guys that could beat you in any given week instead of 20.

 

Look at The Open Championship before Arnie played in it. No one from the USA went to play. I believe Sam Snead did once, and asked if he would come over again, he said no because it cost him way too much money to travel over there than what the prize money was paying out. 

 

Yet, Arnie wanted 4 majors, he wanted a gran slam. So he went over there and brought The Open back to prominence.  So to take this into this conversation, how do you rank Hogan's era with all those players who won the Open when there was little to no Americans who played the tournament? It was EASIER to win. Now look at today. The majors are the hardest tournaments to win, and more and more first time winners are winning them now. This just shows that the depth of quality of play is much greater than it was. 

post #193 of 202
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by phan52 View Post
 

 

McEnroe was a magician with a wooden racket, something we will never see again due to the technology. Monster serves and baseline groundstrokes are not my cup of tea. Stopped watching men's tennis years ago.

 

Technology is one of the reasons you can't quantify comparisons betwen eras in both golf and tennis. Totally subjective arguments abide.

 

Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

I haven't stopped watching men's tennis altogether, but I agree that it's actually TOO powerful to be as entertaining as it used to be.

 

Regarding the bold though:  Yes, you cannot compare player vs. player in different eras, but this thread is more about the field as a whole.

 

Is it harder for a great player to win a major today than it was 50 years ago?  Most are saying yes because of the strength of field.  And technology is a big cause of that.  The best of the best would be so, no matter what equipment they had to use.  So when you give the group of guys in the next tier down a helping hand with better equipment, and throw in the fact that the pool is considerably larger just due to population, economics and travel, then all of a sudden you have 80 guys that could beat you in any given week instead of 20.

 

Well, the poll is about the difficulty of winnng Majors in the different eras, and I still say it was harder back in the day because the better players at the top. The players who have been considered the best in the 90's and 10's (the time frame in the poll) are a weak field by comparison. Some of them who have actually been ranked #1 don't even have Majors. I don't think it is because of the depth of the field. I think it is because they are shrinking violets under pressure ( Garcia, Westwood, Donald, etc.). My subjective take.

post #194 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by phan52 View Post
 

 

Well, the poll is about the difficulty of winnng Majors in the different eras, and I still say it was harder back in the day because the better players at the top. The players who have been considered the best in the 90's and 10's (the time frame in the poll) are a weak field by comparison. Some of them who have actually been ranked #1 don't even have Majors. I don't think it is because of the depth of the field. I think it is because they are shrinking violets under pressure ( Garcia, Westwood, Donald, etc.). My subjective take.

Fair enough.  It sounds like you and are aren't too far apart on this one.  Here's what I wrote back on the first page:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

This is a tricky question.  Because how far down do you go before it stops mattering?  I remember having a discussion last year about the strength of field of the PGA being so much stronger than the Masters.  I suspect the answer to that one falls right at about the point where it's impossible for a person to win the thing.

 

For example, if I was added to the Masters field, and you or Erik were added to the PGA field, then there is no question that the PGA field "strength" was increased by a ton compared to the Masters field strength.  However, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't make a hill of beans difference because none of us are winning either of those tournaments, and in fact, none of us are finishing anywhere except dead last. (No offense ;-))

 

So, if the cutoff is the last player with a chance to win, then there can really be no doubt that fields are stronger today.  There are waaaaay more players with at least an outside shot of winning nowadays than in the 60's or 70's.

 

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.

 


 

I didn't vote in the poll (yet) but I'm leaning towards 17 today being tougher - but not by too much.  I would certainly say without a shadow of a doubt that Tiger's 20 (if and when that ever were to happen) would be greater than Jacks 20, but I'm not totally sure 17>20.

 


 

Follow up question for @jamo , et. al. ... I'd be curious to know where the "break even" point of majors nowadays vs. majors in Jack's day would fall.  15?  10?  5?  Are Phil's 6 more impressive than Jack's 20?

BTW, I still haven't voted in the poll (and probably won't until the question becomes Tigers 20 vs. Jacks 20 :-P).  I appreciate, 100%, the argument that, in general, the fields of today are deeper than they were 50 years ago.  I just think that, perhaps, at the (multiple) Major championship level its a little more nuanced than more=harder.

post #195 of 202
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by phan52 View Post
 

 

Well, the poll is about the difficulty of winnng Majors in the different eras, and I still say it was harder back in the day because the better players at the top. The players who have been considered the best in the 90's and 10's (the time frame in the poll) are a weak field by comparison. Some of them who have actually been ranked #1 don't even have Majors. I don't think it is because of the depth of the field. I think it is because they are shrinking violets under pressure ( Garcia, Westwood, Donald, etc.).

 

Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

Fair enough.  It sounds like you and are aren't too far apart on this one.  Here's what I wrote back on the first page:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

This is a tricky question. Because how far down do you go before it stops mattering? I remember having a discussion last year about the strength of field of the PGA being so much stronger than the Masters. I suspect the answer to that one falls right at about the point where it's impossible for a person to win the thing.

 

For example, if I was added to the Masters field, and you or Erik were added to the PGA field, then there is no question that the PGA field "strength" was increased by a ton compared to the Masters field strength. However, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't make a hill of beans difference because none of us are winning either of those tournaments, and in fact, none of us are finishing anywhere except dead last. (No offense ;-))

 

So, if the cutoff is the last player with a chance to win, then there can really be no doubt that fields are stronger today. There are waaaaay more players with at least an outside shot of winning nowadays than in the 60's or 70's.

 

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.

 


 

I didn't vote in the poll (yet) but I'm leaning towards 17 today being tougher - but not by too much. I would certainly say without a shadow of a doubt that Tiger's 20 (if and when that ever were to happen) would be greater than Jacks 20, but I'm not totally sure 17>20.

 


 

Follow up question for @jamo , et. al. ... I'd be curious to know where the "break even" point of majors nowadays vs. majors in Jack's day would fall. 15? 10? 5? Are Phil's 6 more impressive than Jack's 20?

BTW, I still haven't voted in the poll (and probably won't until the question becomes Tigers 20 vs. Jacks 20 :-P).  I appreciate, 100%, the argument that, in general, the fields of today are deeper than they were 50 years ago.  I just think that, perhaps, at the (multiple) Major championship level its a little more nuanced than more=harder.

 

All fair points. And I like your presentation about "8's and 9's" vs "5's and 6's".

post #196 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25 View Post
 

 

Look at The Open Championship before Arnie played in it. No one from the USA went to play. I believe Sam Snead did once, and asked if he would come over again, he said no because it cost him way too much money to travel over there than what the prize money was paying out. 

 

Yet, Arnie wanted 4 majors, he wanted a gran slam. So he went over there and brought The Open back to prominence.  So to take this into this conversation, how do you rank Hogan's era with all those players who won the Open when there was little to no Americans who played the tournament? It was EASIER to win. Now look at today. The majors are the hardest tournaments to win, and more and more first time winners are winning them now. This just shows that the depth of quality of play is much greater than it was. 

You could say that the PGA was much easier to win back them as well, since a third to a half of the field was made up of guys who were club pros, not tournament guys.

post #197 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by turtleback View Post
 

You could say that the PGA was much easier to win back them as well, since a third to a half of the field was made up of guys who were club pros, not tournament guys.

Before I'd agree to that stipulation I'd ask a couple of questions first.  I'd like to know if the fields were the same size.**  And then I'd like to peruse the current tournament qualifications to see how much "dead money" is there now.

 

**  Looks like in 1963, there were 165 players and now the field is limited to 156, so for all intents and purposes, they are the same size.

 

And it looks like I can only discount 21 players right off the bat now (20 PGA pros and the Senior PGA winner of the previous year).  So, for the most part, it looks like there are 135 guys that have at least a chance, in theory, of winning.  67% of 165 is only 110 and 50% of 165 is only 83, so I'll stipulate. :beer:

 


I'd remembered that the PGA used to be match play and was all set to throw that monkey wrench into this debate ... but I looked it up and they switched over to stroke play in 1958, 4 years before Jack even started, so it's not a factor.

post #198 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pretzel View Post


While a single scoring average doesn't indicate anything ( comparing Jack Nicklaus' scoring average to Tiger's would be a bad idea), looking at the spread of scoring averages is absolutely a valid statistic. There are more than 2x the number of players within two strokes of the leader in the scoring category. That means two times the number of people who play, on average, within two strokes of the very best.

I fail to see how this means the field today isn't more evenly matched than the field of yesteryear. Nobody here appeared to be talking about a straight-up average of scores, comparing the current averages to previous averages. They were comparing how closely bunched these scoring averages were, showing that more people,are playing on the same level as the best than did before.

(Misty_mountainhop provided the scoring average statistics on the ninth page in the 150th post)

As somewhat of a counterpoint to the modern technology argument, one could say that the people before got to play on much easier and shorter courses. Their greens were slower and softer (the debate of whether this is easier or not is on another thread), and the courses played much shorter. Oakmont, for example, is a 7230 yard par 70 course from the US Open tees on their scorecard. In 1973 it was only 6,921 yards and had a par of 71.

I only point this out to show that the changes can go both ways. Equipment helps the modern player, but courses have evolved to be harder in parallel to the technology. The older players played easier courses with harder equipment, the modern players play harder courses win easier equipment is one way of looking at it.

I understand your comment about players being within 2 shots of the leader in scoring average, but I do not understand why you are using last year  - nobody dominated the majors last year, not sure if that proves it was harder or not.

But go back to when Tiger was winning a bunch of majors 2000-2001, the number of players within 2 strokes of Tiger were (since the poll deals not with last year but with when it was easier to win multiple majors):

 

2000 - Tiger 67.79, players under 69.80 is 7 that's right SEVEN

2001 - Tiger 68.81, players under 70.81 is 64 (big change year-to-year)

2002 - Tiger 68.56, players under 70.57 is 34

 

1980 - Trevino 69.73, players under 71.73 is 40

 

So I'm not sure if there is a huge difference or not -

 

using pgatour. com stats - scoring average

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