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Is Phil the 3rd Best Player of All Time?


DeadMan

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39 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

He would have less wins and less majors for sure. He's 5'9", so on the shorter end for a golfer today. I think he would be near the top of golfers today. I don't know if he would become a legend if he played during Tiger's and post Tiger's era. 

I agree with this comment. It also makes the case that it's difficult to compare a golfer from one area to another. Ben Hogan was great in his era, but wouldn't be as great if he played in The Tiger Woods era or after it. That's why I think there should be chronological categories if one would want to be particularly accurate in one's assessment. It's always interesting and fun to want to know the the greatest of all time, but for the most part, it is a matter of opinion. I think Tiger and Jack are 1 and 2, but after that it's just opinion.

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2 minutes ago, Billy Z said:

I agree with this comment. It also makes the case that it's difficult to compare a golfer from one area to another. Ben Hogan was great in his era, but wouldn't be as great if he played in The Tiger Woods era or after it. That's why I think there should be chronological categories if one would want to be particularly accurate in one's assessment. It's always interesting and fun to want to know the the greatest of all time, but for the most part, it is a matter of opinion. I think Tiger and Jack are 1 and 2, but after that it's just opinion.

It doesn't make it difficult. The question is, greatest of all time, or in this case 3rd best. 

Hogan can't help he was born in that ear. He played to the best of his ability with how his life went. We must judge those achievements, not the what could have been. 

If we want a discussion high ceiling for golfers of all time, that is a different question entirely. 

In terms of achievements, taking into account eras, I think Phil has a case to knock Hogan off that 3rd best of all time. 

Tiger and Jack as #1 and #2 is a fact. There is no other fact out there that supports any other golfer having a claim at that. Again, looking at greatest of all time is about achievements. Achievements are wins, and in a lot of people's minds overrate major wins. 

Tiger has the greatest achievements accounting for strength of field. Jack is clearly 2nd. His volume of wins and majors makes up for the fact he had most of his wins in the 70's and early 80's. 

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3 hours ago, saevel25 said:

In terms of achievements, taking into account eras, I think Phil has a case to knock Hogan off that 3rd best of all time. 

I am pretty close to this position and give Phil one more PGA Tour victory and it is settled for me. 

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I agree Jack and Tiger are one and two but I think talent is talent.  Hogan would be a big success today with that talent and this equipment just as Tiger would have been then had the birthdates been reversed.  

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(edited)
3 minutes ago, Birdieputt said:

I agree Jack and Tiger are one and two but I think talent is talent.  Hogan would be a big success today with that talent and this equipment just as Tiger would have been then had the birthdates been reversed.  

Equipment has helped the competition more than the elite golfers. Jack has said this before. 

Edited by saevel25
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13 minutes ago, Birdieputt said:

I agree Jack and Tiger are one and two but I think talent is talent.  Hogan would be a big success today with that talent and this equipment just as Tiger would have been then had the birthdates been reversed.  

Hogan would have won less than he did when he played.

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49 minutes ago, iacas said:

Hogan would have won less than he did when he played.

That's a good reason Phil should be considered as #3 because he has made hay during a great competitive era. 

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(edited)
On 6/6/2021 at 11:33 AM, Vinsk said:

Not a big fan of bringing equipment into the discussion. The guys today are better athletes and that plays a much greater role than equipment. You give Bryson a 1975-1990 driver and a Balata or a Top-Flite ball and he’ll hit it further than any player from those years ever did.

I agree equipment shouldn't be factored into the debate. Equipment is whatever it is in a given era, and all players have access to the same basic technology. So equipment factors out of the discussion. It's how much you win relative to your competition. 

As an aside, though, if modern players were forced to go back to 70s equipment, they would play a different game, for sure. Closer to what they played in the 70s. Swing technique evolves in parallel with club and ball technology. The equipment of the 60s and 70s was too unforgiving and produced too much curvature for them to swing with the speed they do today. The misses would get bigger, and they would likely dial back. It's one thing for DJ to hit Jack's driver 310 on a practice range; it's another thing to think he would swing that hard with it in tournaments when the penalty is so great.  They would still probably hit it further than the old pros, because they are better conditioned and also have overall better technique on average. But we would likely not see bomb and gouge like we do today. 

 

Edited by Big Lex
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2 minutes ago, Big Lex said:

However, it's one thing to do it on a practice tee when there is nothing on the line. It's entirely different to do it in tournaments.

It’s also usually after spending only five minutes with the club that they’re able to do these things.

It’s also why I don’t consider equipment much. Only their records and who they made those records against.

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1 hour ago, Birdieputt said:

I agree Jack and Tiger are one and two but I think talent is talent.  Hogan would be a big success today with that talent and this equipment just as Tiger would have been then had the birthdates been reversed.  

There is more mythological BS spoken and written about Hogan than almost any other player.

In Hogan's day, most players were just part time players and it was a totally different game.

To compare him with Tiger is a little naive IMO. Hogan may well have had the talent to be a top 50 player today, but you don't know.

The best 400m runner in 1950 might not be as talented as the  todays  500th ranked runner.

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Jack is famous for saying equipment helps poorer players more than good players, but I don't know if that's true. I think it helps everyone. If we take a really broad view, it's almost certain that technology helps better players more than poor players. The scoring on the PGA tour is better than ever, and even with ridiculously hard courses, pin placements, green speeds, etc., yet the average club golfer is no better than he's been in 50 years, probably, at least regarding scoring. He/she may hit the ball further, but they aren't any better at golf. I think if we could reverse Jack and all his competition with Tiger and all his - reverse the eras - Jack might dominate more than he did in his day, because of the equipment and how it would reward his superior technique. 

2 minutes ago, Big Lex said:

Jack is famous for saying equipment helps poorer players more than good players, but I don't know if that's true. I think it helps everyone. If we take a really broad view, it's almost certain that technology helps better players more than poor players. The scoring on the PGA tour is better than ever, and even with ridiculously hard courses, pin placements, green speeds, etc., yet the average club golfer is no better than he's been in 50 years, probably, at least regarding scoring. He/she may hit the ball further, but they aren't any better at golf. I think if we could reverse Jack and all his competition with Tiger and all his - reverse the eras - Jack might dominate more than he did in his day, because of the equipment and how it would reward his superior technique. 

But Jack knows more about golf than me, of that I am sure. So maybe he's right. 😉

 

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6 minutes ago, Big Lex said:

Jack is famous for saying equipment helps poorer players more than good players, but I don't know if that's true. I think it helps everyone.

Think about it this way. What are the biggest improvements in Tech? 

1) Fitting
2) Ball Speed Retention on off center hits

If Tiger Woods hit the sweet spot 99% of the time, what benefit is there compare to someone who hit the sweet spot 90% of the time? 

Fitting helped everyone equally in terms of optimizing distance and consistency. 

In the end, tech has helped people who don't strike the ball as good as other golfers. 

8 minutes ago, Big Lex said:

If we take a really broad view, it's almost certain that technology helps better players more than poor players.

If comparing PGA Tour players to 30 handicap golfers, maybe. 

If comparing Elite PGA Tour players to the bottom half of the PGA Tour, then no. 

10 minutes ago, Big Lex said:

The scoring on the PGA tour is better than ever, and even with ridiculously hard courses, pin placements, green speeds, etc., yet the average club golfer is no better than he's been in 50 years, probably, at least regarding scoring.

Or, PGA Tour players are just better in general, as well as Tech helping out the non-elite golfers. 

11 minutes ago, Big Lex said:

I think if we could reverse Jack and all his competition with Tiger and all his - reverse the eras - Jack might dominate more than he did in his day, because of the equipment and how it would reward his superior technique. 

Again, he thinks different than you do. Also, if you think about what tech does, it benefits mediocre ball strikers more than elite ball strikers. 

Imagine giving Jacks competition a game improvement long iron so they could get the height he did. He doesn't need that tech, because he was that good at dropping long irons on steep angle. Now you give his opponent the same advantage through tech that he had through ability. Easy to see this hurts Jack more than helps.

 

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27 minutes ago, Shorty said:

Hogan may well have had the talent to be a top 50 player today, but you don't know.

True, but I would be shocked if he wasn't a top 50 player today. Hogan was a long hitter in his day, even after the accident took some of his distance away. He had the best iron game, one of the best wedge games, and up until his accident, was one of the best putters on tour; much like Tiger in his prime, Hogan was the best or close to it in every aspect of his game in his prime. His best years were 46-49. He developed putting yips later in life. While I agree that there is an inordinate amount of fan worship and hyperbole influencing what is written about him, enough players from many eras have seen him and played with him that there is little doubt he was a tremendous, "generational" player. He developed super-elite level technique. I believe Hogan would have been a multiple major championship winner in any era. He had the mental quality that so many of them have, the stubbornness to keep working and keep trying long after everyone else has packed it in for the day.  

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9 hours ago, Vinsk said:

Exactly. People keep getting hung up on the ‘but what if X golfer….’ No. It’s comparing actual life as it occurs/occurred. What if Nadia had the training technology back then? She didn’t. That’s the way it is and that’s why Simone is better.

What does it mean to say that she is better though? Of course she is - she has an easier time getting better and therefore with a similar level of talent should be.

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13 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

Think about it this way. What are the biggest improvements in Tech? 

1) Fitting
2) Ball Speed Retention on off center hits

In the end, tech has helped people who don't strike the ball as good as other golfers. 

 

 

Before I disagree with you 😉 ,  can I say something?

 

Great topic!

Can we all agree that if Phil wins at Torrey, he is without question #3 all time? 

You might be right, but you make alot of assumptions about what tech does, and what players do, and it's really an empirical question whether your assumptions are correct. Does Tiger hit the sweet spot 99% of the time, compared to 90% for an average player? We have no idea.

We don't know how much an off-center hit "costs." 

Let's say Deane Beaman's average error is 6% off perfect. Let's say Jack's was 2% off perfect. Now imagine a club which gives you a 2% correction. Now, Jack's errors have all been converted to perfect shots, while Beaman is still averaging a 4% error.  Who's score will benefit more? 

It all boils down to details. 

Think of club head speed. I am fairly certain that spring like effect is not uniform across the face of drivers. It is more significant when you hit the center of the face. This would mean that better ball strikers get the advantage of distance more than lesser ball strikers. 

Jack is the greatest or second greatest player in the world. He knows more about golf than I do. So he's probably right, and you therefore probably are too. But with all the talk we've heard of following science in recent years, it should just be pointed out that we really don't know if Jack is right, unless we decide to test the idea. 

And if Jack is right, I _still_ don't think you factor that into a discussion of who's better across eras. There are just too many variables to deceive ourselves into thinking we can properly account for them all. Let's say he's right, and equipment brings mediocre players closer to elite players. But this isn't the only factor that differs across the eras. Today, there is more money, and elite players have a bigger share of it (maybe), and therefore they can leverage this to buy themselves better instruction, better conditioning, etc. 
 

 

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28 minutes ago, Big Lex said:

Think of club head speed. I am fairly certain that spring like effect is not uniform across the face of drivers. It is more significant when you hit the center of the face. This would mean that better ball strikers get the advantage of distance more than lesser ball strikers. 

But the advantage of hitting the sweet spot is less than the advantage that lesser ball strikers gain with the more forgiving miss. They’re ‘poor ball striking’ is less a disadvantage due to the technology.

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3 minutes ago, measureoffsetinnm said:

Doesn't that also let better players swing less carefully than they otherwise would to get more distance?

Tour level players don’t mess with their swings like we do. At least not ‘carelessly.’ They can bring the face to the ball pretty damn accurately almost every time. I think the small margin of mis-hits corrected with technology are helping the lesser talented.

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