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Arnie Versus Phil - Who was the Better Golfer? - Page 3

Poll Results: Who is/was the better golfer? Arnold Palmer or Phil Mickelson?

 
  • 39% (13)
    Arnold Palmer
  • 60% (20)
    Phil Mickelson
33 Total Votes  
post #37 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rb72 View Post

You can label them "scrubs" and "club pros" all you want but what else they were was the BEST PROFFESSIONAL GOLFERS OF THEIR TIME. Arnold was the best of the best during that time.

 

They were the best 150 or so, yes, but the best 150 today are better than the best 150 fifty years ago. That makes it harder to win.

 

Again, if you could clone Phil Mickelson 149 times, Phil MIckelson #57 would probably win about 1/150th of the majors in which he played, so if he was able to develop enough and win as few as two or three that would likely be seen as a better accomplishment than Arnie playing against 149 scratch golfers and winning 40 majors.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rb72 View Post

While being the "best of the best" in field A (smaller) does not assure that you would be the best in field B (larger) it also does not preclude it.

 

Nobody's saying that. They're simply using it as a means of weighing accomplishments given what they feel is/was the relative difficulty of those accomplishments consideration.

 


 

There have only been 25 votes, but Phil leads 60%/40%. And he's having a pretty lousy year, too, so the bias is certainly lower than it would have been if the poll had been created one year ago.

post #38 of 52

Arnie was definitely the cooler golfer....That will do for me.

 

Cool:

 

 

 

 

Phil Mickelson:

 

post #39 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScouseJohnny View Post
 

Arnie was definitely the cooler golfer....That will do for me.

 

It's also not the question.

post #40 of 52

Arnie.  He dominated the game for a couple of years.  Phil never did.  Strength of field.  Ya di dah, dee hah.

 

Phil is a fine golfer.  Don't get me wrong.

 

But these comparison between generations quickly get stupid.  I read a list of the 10 best golfers, ever, that put Gary Player ahead of Bobby Jones.  SwFJ.

 

Sorry.  Jones just may have been the Goat.  If Woods had quit after the 2008 US Open, won on a broken leg, or if Erin had used a little more club on that fateful November night, Woods the Myth would have taken the crown.  But those are 'ifs'.

post #41 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abu3baid View Post


Fair enough.. I am sorry, you are right it wasn't you who strongly defended the strength of field position, nor was it you who discussed the multiplier, and it wasn't fair for me to call you inconsistent. Please accept my apology, and I am not interested enough to want to have the last word or anything like that. (So please reply to this)!

Cheers!

Edit: notice as well that on the other thread I didn't argue for or against jack or tiger..it is possible the I agree with your position, what I clearly didn't agree with was the emphasis being put on how weak Jacks field is compared to Tiger! (Not necessarily a position taken up by you, it just so happens that I engaged you here because you were one of the first to take a position that all.. Nothing personal)

 

Accepted.  Also regarding your edit, that is the problem.  You have flopped around just waiting for someone to say something you think you can take issue with.  If you are not saying what you really think and believe, then I couldn't care less about your posts. And I think you will find that this kind of participation will do your reputation around here no good.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post
 

 

To be clear, a lot of the "strength of field" stuff has come from me, as you know.

 

I've pointed out that Jack's fields were significantly weaker than Tiger's fields.

I've pointed out that in gymnastics or whatever, an 8 with a 1.2 difficulty beats a 9 with a 1.0.

I've pointed out that club pros played a lot more in the field back then.

 

So have others.

 

But let me be clear about something else: strength of field is not the only argument in favor of Tiger. It's a big one to me, but it may not even be half of the argument given the sheer number of other arguments - the kind which @turtleback weighs a bit more heavily than I do - to be made. Margins of victory. Scoring and money titles. Wins per year. Cuts made. And on and on and on.

 

 

Then stop playing games and discuss things like a grown up.

 

And let me be clear - I do think that Tiger has had to play against much tougher fields.  To believe otherwise requires one to believe that Jack played in a 25 year period of Hoosiers.  They made that movie precisely because what happened there in that one year was so incredibly rare.  And the thought that that rare occurrence occurred and continued for the 25 years of Jack's career just defies logic.  As did the soccer arguments.  

 

Is it possible that Jack's fields were tougher?  Sure it is possible.  It is also possible to flip a coin and have it come up heads 7 times in a row.  But if anyone thinks the probability of Jack's fields being tougher (and after all, THIS is where this whole strength of field argument started way back in the day) is much above about 1 or 2% is just not looking at the facts.  Far large pool of player to draw from as the game became globalized.  Far wider access to top flight training and coaching.  Far better access to personally tuned equipment.  Far more opportunities for learning to win, with all of the mini-tours.  Far more money in the game drawing better athletes to golf.

 

So when I said that he should take up the club pro issue with the nes who made that argument I wasn't trying to imply that it was not a good argument. 

 

But the reality is that I just do not need that to make my case.  I can agree with you on SoF and still accept level strength of fields as a stipulation for discussions' sake because that still  leaves me with a myriad of ways to demonstrate Tiger's advantage in dominance while all the Jack folks have is 18>14.

 

For me personally, dominance is the biggest determining factor - something I have argued for for a long long time.  The other things I argue are different ways to demonstrate just how much the level of dominance weighs in Tiger's favor, and how much the duration of dominance weighs in Tiger's favor.  And if anyone wants to dispute that I invite them to list Jack's seasons in order of most dominant to least and I will do the same with Tigers seasons.  I'm guessing there is an excellent chance Tiger wins that particular match 10&8.

post #42 of 52

It comes down to the same old argument.

 

I don't think any rational person can argue that Palmer played better golf than Mickelson has played, just like I don't think anyone can argue that Nicklaus played better golf than Woods has played. But if that's the only question, it's a trivial and rather boring question. In virtually all sports, training and equipment and depths of field have improved, so the standard of the current generation is higher than that of previous generations. It's a no-brainer.

 

So, is Mickelson a better golfer than Palmer was? Yes. But does that mean that Mickelson is a more gifted golfer than Palmer was? Not necessarily. Would Mickelson have been better than Palmer had they been contemporaries? Again, not necessarily. People are products of their times. They do enough to win at the time. We can simply never know how much more Palmer would have had in his locker had he been brought up with modern courses, equipment, teaching methods and the intensity of modern competition. And we can never know how Mickelson's gifts would have expressed themselves had he been brought up in the 40's and 50's with persimmon woods, balata balls (if you think he's wild off the tee now, watch him with those suckers!) and the generally more relaxed attitude to training and competition that was then current.

 

Palmer was able to do enough to be the best golfer of his time. It is therefore at least arguable that he had more unexpressed potential than Mickelson, who has been trying his hardest to beat the best and, usually, failing.

post #43 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvmac View Post
 

I love Arnie but had to vote for Phil. 5 majors and 42 wins during the Tiger era, quite an accomplishment. And by Tiger era I don't mean that he was just beating Tiger, it's referring to the strength of the field. Phil had to beat a much larger pool of "A" players than Arnie did.


There are a lot of "A" players now but in Arnie's prime there were more A+ players: Nicklaus, Player and Casper come to mind. Only Tiger and maybe now Rory offer that level of talent. And his career began at the end of the Hogan and Snead era. And 8-9 of his wins came pre-Tiger. It's a tough call, but in my mind Arnie's 7 majors vs 5 for Phil tilt the scale.

post #44 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by chasm View Post
 

It comes down to the same old argument.

 

I don't think any rational person can argue that Palmer played better golf than Mickelson has played, just like I don't think anyone can argue that Nicklaus played better golf than Woods has played. But if that's the only question, it's a trivial and rather boring question. In virtually all sports, training and equipment and depths of field have improved, so the standard of the current generation is higher than that of previous generations. It's a no-brainer.

 

So, is Mickelson a better golfer than Palmer was? Yes. But does that mean that Mickelson is a more gifted golfer than Palmer was? Not necessarily. Would Mickelson have been better than Palmer had they been contemporaries? Again, not necessarily. People are products of their times. They do enough to win at the time. We can simply never know how much more Palmer would have had in his locker had he been brought up with modern courses, equipment, teaching methods and the intensity of modern competition. And we can never know how Mickelson's gifts would have expressed themselves had he been brought up in the 40's and 50's with persimmon woods, balata balls (if you think he's wild off the tee now, watch him with those suckers!) and the generally more relaxed attitude to training and competition that was then current.

 

Palmer was able to do enough to be the best golfer of his time. It is therefore at least arguable that he had more unexpressed potential than Mickelson, who has been trying his hardest to beat the best and, usually, failing.

 

 

Totally agree. 

 

The game is totally differemnt today. The modern equipment makes the ball go much farther. Back in Arnie's day they needed to be able to hit long irons into greens much moreso than today. This meant fewer wedges to hit all the delicate greenside chips they hit today. Even the grass heights are different today. Plus, most of the great changes in club and ball technology occurred in the careers of players like Arnie and Jack. Comparing golfers who played with such different equipment and technology is impossible. 

 

Pete Rose believes that the player who had the will to become the best in one generation would probably also become the best or one of the best in another. I tend to agree with that.

post #45 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by 9iron View Post
 

 

 

Totally agree.

 

The game is totally differemnt today. The modern equipment makes the ball go much farther. Back in Arnie's day they needed to be able to hit long irons into greens much moreso than today. This meant fewer wedges to hit all the delicate greenside chips they hit today. Even the grass heights are different today. Plus, most of the great changes in club and ball technology occurred in the careers of players like Arnie and Jack. Comparing golfers who played with such different equipment and technology is impossible.

 

Pete Rose believes that the player who had the will to become the best in one generation would probably also become the best or one of the best in another. I tend to agree with that.

The game is different but you are only are factoring one side of the differences.

  • Courses were shorter and less "tricked" out when Arnie played than Phil and Tiger.
  • Galleries were smaller and treated the pro's with more respect.
  • The overall science behind the golf swing and ball flight laws was in it's infancy when Arnie played.  Today players have access to numerous swing coaches and technology to help them improve their swing mechanics which evens out the field compared to when Arnie played.
post #46 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by newtogolf View Post
 

The game is different but you are only are factoring one side of the differences.

  • Courses were shorter and less "tricked" out when Arnie played than Phil and Tiger.
  • Galleries were smaller and treated the pro's with more respect.
  • The overall science behind the golf swing and ball flight laws was in it's infancy when Arnie played.  Today players have access to numerous swing coaches and technology to help them improve their swing mechanics which evens out the field compared to when Arnie played.

 

 

Courses were shorter, yet they still had longer irons for their approach shots, so what I stated above is indeed true. What I said about wedges is also true. Imagine trying to hit shots today with your 3rd choice of clubs. That would change things now, wouldn't it? The game is different. The sizes of galleries should not impact a golf shot, that is unless you think today's players are prone to the jitters. Swing science hasn't done much for Phil as his swing is miles too long most of the time.

post #47 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by 9iron View Post


Courses were shorter, yet they still had longer irons for their approach shots, so what I stated above is indeed true. What I said about wedges is also true. Imagine trying to hit shots today with your 3rd choice of clubs. That would change things now, wouldn't it? The game is different. The sizes of galleries should not impact a golf shot, that is unless you think today's players are prone to the jitters. Swing science hasn't done much for Phil as his swing is miles too long most of the time.

I have heard the comment about the sciences behind golf and coaching improvement and all that, but is it even true? I don't think the pros care or even know the true ball flight laws.. At least not the majority of them.. They are stupid monkeys who just know.. Close that face up a little.. Swing just a little more right/left.. I don't think the science of the swing should plaything great of an impact on our conversation..

Erik or Mike I think would be able to chime in with more detail on this as they know a lot more pros than my self!
post #48 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MSchott View Post
 

There are a lot of "A" players now but in Arnie's prime there were more A+ players: Nicklaus, Player and Casper come to mind. Only Tiger and maybe now Rory offer that level of talent. And his career began at the end of the Hogan and Snead era. And 8-9 of his wins came pre-Tiger. It's a tough call, but in my mind Arnie's 7 majors vs 5 for Phil tilt the scale.

 

Jack Nicklaus disagrees with you. Says the average player today would have been a superstar in his day.

 

Relevant thread: Strength of Field in Jack's Day and Tiger's Day .

post #49 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abu3baid View Post


I have heard the comment about the sciences behind golf and coaching improvement and all that, but is it even true? I don't think the pros care or even know the true ball flight laws.. At least not the majority of them.. They are stupid monkeys who just know.. 

 

With regards to Phil, I agree, he doesn't really utilize the "swing science" very much. Butch doesn't use a camera or Trackman and I don't think Rick Smith did much mechanics work when they were together. Phil does rely on Dave Pelz and his stats for the short game.

 

With equipment it's a different story, he's always looking to "optimize" and isn't afraid to try different things (two drivers, no driver, 5 wedges, belly putter, Eye2 sand wedge, RocketBallz fairway). Arnie was/is similar with equipment (he typically uses two staff bags to carry all his clubs), he obviously just didn't have as much available to him in his prime.

 

post #50 of 52

Ya know, I was going to say that Arnie wasn't the best 'course manager' out there...

 

...but then I realized I was then going to have to explain how Phil is better at it.

 

But I would go with Phil, based on his short-game artistry. Arnie basically had one speed & just attacked courses. And so does Phil, but I think he has the better short game skills than Arnie had.

post #51 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by MSchott View Post
 


There are a lot of "A" players now but in Arnie's prime there were more A+ players: Nicklaus, Player and Casper come to mind. Only Tiger and maybe now Rory offer that level of talent. And his career began at the end of the Hogan and Snead era. And 8-9 of his wins came pre-Tiger. It's a tough call, but in my mind Arnie's 7 majors vs 5 for Phil tilt the scale.

 

Rory already has as many majors as Billy Casper.  Phil has more.  

post #52 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by turtleback View Post
 

 

Rory already has as many majors as Billy Casper.  Phil has more.  

Not my point. Casper was one of the top players of that era. He was a guy to beat week in week out. He's 7th all time in wins with 51, won the Vardon trophy 5 times and player of the year twice. All this against Player, Palmer and Nicklaus. I know we are talking different eras but who in today's game can compare? I think only Phil and Tiger have those kind of credentials. Phil has had a better career and Rory probably will but Casper was 1/2 a step behind the Big 3.

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