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Strength of Field in Jack's Day and Tiger's Day - Page 5

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% (61)
    Winning 17 majors in the 90s-10s.
71 Total Votes  
post #73 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by dsc123 View Post

I don't think this really matters.  Yes, technology, teaching, nutrition, and fitness are all improved today.  But I tend to think that if Jack was born in 1980 and Tiger in 1950, they would have been the best of their generations.  In other words, based on those factors alone, Jack born in 1980 would have benefited from those improvements.  Its not like he would be playing with persimmon while everyone else is on the TaylorMade distance train.  

The influx of talent through the growth of the game is different--more talented players entering the field.  Its like if soccer suddenly became the most popular sport in the USA today, our national team would probably be one of the best in the world because we're a wealthy country with 300 million people.  Technology, nutrition and fitness would be the same, but more talent would flow into the sport.  
Why are we getting hung up on Jack and Tiger? It's not really the point at all. I'm talking about strength of field present versus past. Using jack or tiger as examples is pointless because that addresses ONE player from that generation. I'm talking about ALL golfers now versus then. Of course I would agree Jack or Tiger in any generation would be great for their time but this is not the topic of the OP. It's strength of field now vs. then. (Jacks era versus Tigers era)
post #74 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by jclark View Post

Why are we getting hung up on Jack and Tiger? It's not really the point at all. I'm talking about strength of field present versus past. Using jack or tiger as examples is pointless because that addresses ONE player from that generation. I'm talking about ALL golfers now versus then. Of course I would agree Jack or Tiger in any generation would be great for their time but this is not the topic of the OP. It's strength of field now vs. then. (Jacks era versus Tigers era)

 

Agree. It's a strength of field conversation - how much better are the top 100 (to throw out a number) players today than they were before?

post #75 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

 

Here's what I'm saying: he said it because he knows it's the truth: today's players, up and down, are better than in his day.


You're guessing. Where is any evidence supports your claim that the top one or top ten in the 60s-80s were better than the top one or top ten from the 90s to the 10s.

Thus far you've thrown out only how many Hall-of-Famers there were, despite the fact that the same logic applies to them as it does to Nicklaus competing against weaker fields.
 


I believe the point of this thread is to provide evidence, data, etc., not just opinions. Please ante up.
OK. I assume we're talking about strength of field in the majors? What evidence has been posted in this thread that states or measures the strength of field
in both eras?  It's just being assumed that since there are more "better" players now than there were then, so that must be why it's harder to win multiple majors?

Getting back to the depth of the field. I grant that an overall deeper field makes it harder to make the cut, or make the top 10 or whatever. I don't agree it necessarily makes it harder to win the major.

Take the 2014 Masters. Strong field, plenty of depth there. How did the excellent players who missed the cut make it harder for Bubba? From the talented group
that made the cut at +4(?) or better, how many of those players were factors on Saturday or Sunday? Not many.

I could get on the depth bandwagon if there were a lot more guys within a few shots of the lead, and a lot more guys who stayed in contention deeper in the tournament than in the old days. I still think in the end it boils down to a small group who play well for 4 days battling it out.
post #76 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by RH31 View Post

What evidence
OK. I assume we're talking about strength of field in the majors? What evidence has been posted in this thread that states or measures the strength of field
in both eras?  It's just being assumed that since there are more "better" players now than there were then, so that must be why it's harder to win multiple majors?

Getting back to the depth of the field. I grant that an overall deeper field makes it harder to make the cut, or make the top 10 or whatever. I don't agree it necessarily makes it harder to win the major.

Take the 2014 Masters. Strong field, plenty of depth there. How did the excellent players who missed the cut make it harder for Bubba? From the talented group
that made the cut at +4(?) or better, how many of those players were factors on Saturday or Sunday? Not many.

I could get on the depth bandwagon if there were a lot more guys within a few shots of the lead, and a lot more guys who stayed in contention deeper in the tournament than in the old days. I still think in the end it boils down to a small group who play well for 4 days battling it out.
You could simply look at the stats from 1980 and compare it to 2014. Look at average score and other stats. I bet you would find there is a larger gap between last and first opposed to now. Tighter gaps would tell me a stronger more competitive field
post #77 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by RH31 View Post
 

What evidence

OK. I assume we're talking about strength of field in the majors? What evidence has been posted in this thread that states or measures the strength of field

in both eras?  It's just being assumed that since there are more "better" players now than there were then, so that must be why it's harder to win multiple majors?

 

Getting back to the depth of the field. I grant that an overall deeper field makes it harder to make the cut, or make the top 10 or whatever. I don't agree it necessarily makes it harder to win the major.

 

Take the 2014 Masters. Strong field, plenty of depth there. How did the excellent players who missed the cut make it harder for Bubba? From the talented group

that made the cut at +4(?) or better, how many of those players were factors on Saturday or Sunday? Not many.

 

I could get on the depth bandwagon if there were a lot more guys within a few shots of the lead, and a lot more guys who stayed in contention deeper in the tournament than in the old days. I still think in the end it boils down to a small group who play well for 4 days battling it out.


Is it really that hard to figure out that the more good players there are the better the odds that one of them on any given week, or day, will knock "the best" player out of a win?

 

It's true in any sport. Always has been and always will be. Good thing you guys that think otherwise are not recruiters or talent scouts. You would run yourselves ragged watching players "dominate" the equivalent of Little League games.

post #78 of 202
2014:
-Scoring differential from first to 150th is only a difference of 2.5 strokes.
-scoring avg. From first to 150th is only a difference of 2.3 strokes.
1980:
- score avg. From first to 150 is 3.43 strokes.
- scoring differential first to 150th is 5.6 strokes.
post #79 of 202
More than 10,000 golfers attempt to qualify for 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst http://www.golf.com/tour-and-news/us-open-pinehurst-draws-record-number-entrants
post #80 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by jclark View Post

Why are we getting hung up on Jack and Tiger? It's not really the point at all. I'm talking about strength of field present versus past. Using jack or tiger as examples is pointless because that addresses ONE player from that generation. I'm talking about ALL golfers now versus then. Of course I would agree Jack or Tiger in any generation would be great for their time but this is not the topic of the OP. It's strength of field now vs. then. (Jacks era versus Tigers era)

Its not about jack and tiger, they were just examples because they are the context of the discussion--the players with 20 and 17 majors.  Or 18 and 14 or whatever.  They same holds true for the other players in the field.   the 50th best player in the field in 1960 would not be the 50th ranked player today, but that's not because of technology-if he played today he would have the same technology as today's players. He would rank lower because the pool of golfers have grown, making it more competitive. Just like you would expect to hire a more qualified candidate if you had 100 resumes to choose from rather than 10.
post #81 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

 

We don't have to limit them. That's part of the whole point. The modern athlete (in all sports) is BETTER due in part to those types of advances.

That's why Olympic records keep getting broken. Humans keep becoming better athletes - they're better at training, they're better at using technology, etc.

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.
post #82 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by americanfighter View Post

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.

DaVinci knew a lot about a lot of things. But I know so much more than him. Especially when it comes to computers. But I dont claim to be smarter than him.

But that doesn't defeat the argument that more people playing golf means there is probably more talent in the field now, making it harder for any one top player to win.
post #83 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by dsc123 View Post


DaVinci knew a lot about a lot of things. But I know so much more than him. Especially when it comes to computers. But I dont claim to be smarter than him.

But that doesn't defeat the argument that more people playing golf means there is probably more talent in the field now, making it harder for any one top player to win.

well as i said just because their are more racers in the race and the race is tighter but its a fallacy to think that means the racers are more talented than those in another race

post #84 of 202
I think Erik said it best above:
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post


The top 1% of 10,000 people is highly unlikely to be better than the top 0.002% of 500,000 people, regardless of the tools they're given.
post #85 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by americanfighter View Post


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.

post #86 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by americanfighter View Post

well as i said just because their are more racers in the race and the race is tighter but its a fallacy to think that means the racers are more talented than those in another race

It's not a fallacy at all. Your belief that athletes aren't getting better is the fallacy here.

Why do Olympic records keep getting broken?
post #87 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by MS256 View Post
 


Is it really that hard to figure out that the more good players there are the better the odds that one of them on any given week, or day, will knock "the best" player out of a win?

 

It's true in any sport. Always has been and always will be. Good thing you guys that think otherwise are not recruiters or talent scouts. You would run yourselves ragged watching players "dominate" the equivalent of Little League games.

 

The depth of the field certainly does make that possible. Additionally, the "best players" sometimes play their worst round when it matters most. Adam Scott's 76

played a big part in Matt Every's win at Bay Hill.

 

The "best players" aren't really playing that well week after week. That plays into "any player, any given week" thing as well.

post #88 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pretzel View Post
 

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

 

 

 

Actually I believe the USGA has really stepped up on how hard they are making the courses for the US Open. I believe the philosophy was, they want the winner around par golf at the end. You can see that when they lengthen the course, speed up the greens, and grow the rough up. Remember back in something like 2003 or so, they sped up the greens way too fast and the ball just kept rolling away from the hole and sometimes off the green on this one par 3. They had to actually water the green between groups to make it fair. They kinda went over board there. Heck The Masters had to lengthen and change the course. They don't change much of anything at Augusta. So when The Masters has to adapt to the better players you know the field has changed.  

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post


It's not a fallacy at all. Your belief that athletes aren't getting better is the fallacy here.

Why do Olympic records keep getting broken?

 

 

Look at all the golfers have now compared to back 1960's and 70's.

 

Athletic Trainers

Video Cameras

Psychologists

Statistics

 

If golf is a game where it is the totality of physical and mental ability to put the ball in the hole in the fewest amount of strokes. It isn't a negative that the golfers of today have these tools, which make them better at the game than the pros from Jack's time. 

 

Just the fact that many golfers are now being considered "Athletes" when the old perception was that golf wasn't really a sport, has just shown that the pro's today are better. 

post #89 of 202
I'm on my phone right now, so it's a little hard to quote, but saevel25 hit the nail on the head. My point with the scoring differences is how much harder courses are today when compared to before, and yet you still see someone like Tiger come along and bowl over the courses like they're nothing sometimes. This shows to me that the professional golfers of today are just as, if not more, talented as all those who came before them.
post #90 of 202

http://www.golf.com/photos/handicaps-pga-tour-pros/bubba-watson

 

Just to make this point. Phil is a HOF lock right? 42 PGA tour wins (9th all time), 5 Majors. 

 

Well 7 out of the 11 players shown with their handicaps at their home courses are equal to or better than Phil's handicap. Handicap is Handicap, its the equalizer in golf because it takes into consideration how tough the courses are and allows you to compare a players ability. Just saying on a small sample size, 7 players are as good or better than Phil with their handicaps. Just saying how tight the skill set, and how good the skill set is of modern golfers. 

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