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Is Phil the 3rd Best Player of All Time?


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39 minutes ago, billchao said:

Would you care to elaborate?

Sure:  IMHO Phil is not the third best golfer ever and Tiger is not a superior golfer to Jack.  

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FWIW here are some players and their achievements. I'll skip Jack and Tiger as they're clearly the top two. Name Main Tour/Pro Wins Majors Year Began

Just a quick note, the discussion on Tiger v Jack being GOAT has almost 7,000 replies over 15 years.  Picking #1 is hard enough, picking #3 will be close to impossible.  

Geez. You're big on detail. I'd hate to encoutner you in a debate! The weight of your evidence would have the average golf historian buckling at the knees.

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This may or may not be relevant to this discussion. 
But I just reread this thread and I didn't see anyone who had Phil listed. 

So, if Phil's not in the top 4 .... then he can't be in the top 3. 

 

 

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13 hours ago, measureoffsetinnm said:

Some of the way you argue things seems a little in favor of Phil (the "in x decades" argument is better done as actual year range) 

It's just as impressive IMO to say that it's been 30 years since his first PGA tour win and his most recent win, that being a major.

4 hours ago, ncates00 said:

Sure, and I see your point. However, it’s not a fair comparison due to the variables, and I’m saying it both ways. Meaning, on the one hand, Jack won more but against arguably lesser fields. On the other hand, Tiger won less than Jack but did so against arguably more difficult fields.

Jack won more majors, but Tiger won more tournaments overall, and a fairly substantial amount more too, not just like 1 more tournament more or something.

4 hours ago, ncates00 said:

but I honestly think it’s respect for the older generations and the affirmation that the eras were different, and therefore, unfair to compare.

That doesn't make sense. Just because people respect older generations and admit that eras were different means it's unfair to compare different eras? It's 100% possible to respect older generations, realize the eras are different, and use logic and facts to support a claim in a fair way when comparing two people across different eras.

4 hours ago, ncates00 said:

In fact, I don’t think we should have an overall greatest board any way. Just use a “greatest of” by era. I think that’s a more appropriate way to recognize accomplishment and make comparisons. 

But that doesn't really make sense either because in a lot of cases (across a lot of sports) the definition of "era" is going to vary person to person and there isn't a clear cut way to define "era".

Seems easier IMO to look at everyone who has ever played said sport, compare their accomplishments (while factoring in things like strength of competition, athleticism of fellow competitors, etc.), and rank them. 

 

1 hour ago, turtleback said:

The exact same strength of field argument that makes 15>>18 would argue yes.  The fact that he never rose to the #1 ranked position would argue no.

I come down on no, because I think dominance over your peers is a gateway condition, and at no time in his very very very good career was he ever dominant - not even for a single year.

Who your peers are matters though when talking about dominance. Phil had to compete against the most dominant player the game has ever seen, but that player is obviously (and rightfully so) ranked higher than Phil. There were stretches where Phil dominated everyone not named Tiger Woods. 

Look at 2009 into 2010 for example. Phil won 4 times in a 14 month span which included a WGC, a Tour championship (beat Tiger), and a Masters. 

That shows dominance over peers IMO. 

And if you don't think Phil is the 3rd best player of all time, who do you think is the 3rd best? Keeping in mind based on your logic they would have had to have been world #1 at some point and dominated their peers.

12 minutes ago, Birdieputt said:

Sure:  IMHO Phil is not the third best golfer ever and Tiger is not a superior golfer to Jack.  

Based on what logic? Support your opinions with facts. Why don't you think Phil is the 3rd best golfer ever, and what facts do you have that support the opinion that Tiger is not a superior golfer to Jack.

5 minutes ago, ChetlovesMer said:

This may or may not be relevant to this discussion. 
But I just reread this thread and I didn't see anyone who had Phil listed. 

So, if Phil's not in the top 4 .... then he can't be in the top 3. 

 

 

I can't speak for everyone who answered there, but it's possible that a "Mount Rushmore" ranking involves more than just who people think is the best golfer, people could have selected someone for their Mount Rushmore based on a number of other factors including the impact that golfer had on growing the game, their contributions off the course, etc. 

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31 minutes ago, ChetlovesMer said:

This may or may not be relevant to this discussion. 
But I just reread this thread and I didn't see anyone who had Phil listed. 

So, if Phil's not in the top 4 .... then he can't be in the top 3. 

 

 

Not relevant. My golf Mt. Rushmore was not a top four golfers of all time list.

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Just a quick note, the discussion on Tiger v Jack being GOAT has almost 7,000 replies over 15 years.  Picking #1 is hard enough, picking #3 will be close to impossible.

 

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1 hour ago, Birdieputt said:

Sure:  IMHO Phil is not the third best golfer ever and Tiger is not a superior golfer to Jack.  

Geez. You're big on detail. I'd hate to encoutner you in a debate! The weight of your evidence would have the average golf historian buckling at the knees.

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(edited)

I’m not going to engage in any kind of serious presentation of why or why not I believe he is 3rd. I will simply say no and here is my biggest reason. I believe that the 3rd best golfer of all time has probably won the career slam. Sorry Phil but 6 second places at the US without closing the deal hurt. I also believe that he was hurt by playing in the Tiger era. I do believe he was 2nd only to Tiger in his own generation. I believe that Phil is among the greats to have played the game without question. 6 majors is a great accomplishment. I just say hold the breaks on 3 all time and just enjoy his win for what it was.... an unbelievable accomplishment for a player nearly 51 years old and another feather in the cap of one of the greats.... but not the 3rd best ever.

Edited by Dunit507
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12 minutes ago, Shorty said:

Geez. You're big on detail. I'd hate to encoutner you in a debate! The weight of your evidence would have the average golf historian buckling at the knees.

You are getting all bent out of shape over a subjective judgement.  Evidence is available for either Jack or Tiger to be #1.  You will assign different importance to some over another and I will do likewise.  It boils down to the eye test of what the beholder thinks is the important stats.  I could even make a case that Arnold is the GOAT when you look at importance to the game of golf.  In my opinion, Jack was better.  I have had the opportunity to see both play in their prime and in person.  As to Phil, yes he is a great player, top 10 all time but for the reasons mentioned above I think others have a better call over #3.  I would probably consider Hogan or Hagan here.  

 

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13 minutes ago, Dunit507 said:

I’m not going to engage in any kind of serious presentation of why or why not I believe he is 3rd. I will simply say no and here is my biggest reason. I believe that the 3rd best golfer of all time has probably won the career slam. Sorry Phil but 6 second places at the US without closing the deal hurt. I also believe that he was hurt by playing in the Tiger era. I do believe he was 2nd only to Tiger in his own generation. I believe that Phil is among the greats to have played the game without question. 6 majors is a great accomplishment. I just say hold the breaks on 3 all time and just enjoy his win for what it was.... an unbelievable accomplishment for a player nearly 51 years old and another feather in the cap of one of the greats.... but not the 3rd best ever.

I don't even know how majors necessarily come into the story. Nicklaus used to refer to U.S. Amateurs as "majors".

FWI it's worth, my opinion is that if you leave majors out of the conversation - and many think that you can't or shouldn't - a list the 5 most gifted/talented players of all time would include McIlroy, Phil and Norman along with Tiger and Nicklaus.

At his best Norman was as awe-inspiring and awesome as Tiger and for pure ball striking ability, McIlroy is essentially peerless. Phil is a shot-making genius.

They are all flawed but I can only base my opinions on what I have seen and I saw them all in the flesh apart from Phil.

3 minutes ago, Birdieputt said:

You are getting all bent out of shape over a subjective judgement. 

 

Bent out of shape? No, just interested in why people have opinions. :-)

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1 hour ago, klineka said:

Jack won more majors

I know. That’s what I was referring to. 

 

1 hour ago, klineka said:

That doesn't make sense. Just because people respect older generations and admit that eras were different means it's unfair to compare different eras? It's 100% possible to respect older generations, realize the eras are different, and use logic and facts to support a claim in a fair way when comparing two people across different eras.

I didn’t make this logical assertion. Go back and read what I said instead of quoting part of it. 

 

1 hour ago, klineka said:

But that doesn't really make sense either because in a lot of cases (across a lot of sports) the definition of "era" is going to vary person to person and there isn't a clear cut way to define "era".

Sure, eras may be a bit undefined, but it’s certainly doable. For instance, when one refers to classic rock, clearly one is referring to rock music from the late 60’s into the late 80’s. Moreover, if you can use statistical data to attempt to gauge relative strength of fields in different periods, surely you can categorize eras. 😉

 

2 hours ago, klineka said:

Seems easier IMO to look at everyone who has ever played said sport, compare their accomplishments (while factoring in things like strength of competition, athleticism of fellow competitors, etc.), and rank them. 

Seems easier? I don’t think so. Seems easier to me to categorize different eras because then at least we would have substantially similar circumstances of competition amongst peers. Your way is akin to golf betting analysts and strokes gained data—it’s not bad, but you can miss a lot.

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3 hours ago, Birdieputt said:

Tiger is not a superior golfer to Jack.  

Lol. Ridiculous.

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I think we can all agree at the very least, he’s the most entertaining in history.  He is “The Rock” in his prime WWE days to the PGA Tour.  His flair, his ability to hit shots nobody else has in their bag, his constant tinkering with clubs, just, everything about the way he plays the game draws people in, and I’ve loved watching every minute of it.

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10 hours ago, ncates00 said:

I don’t think we can really compare players across eras. Too many variables and what-if’s. 

Sure we can. And do, regularly.

9 hours ago, ncates00 said:

Sure, and I see your point. However, it’s not a fair comparison due to the variables, and I’m saying it both ways.

It's plenty "fair." It's an opinion how people weight different things.

9 hours ago, ncates00 said:

Meaning, on the one hand, Jack won more but against arguably lesser fields. On the other hand, Tiger won less than Jack but did so against arguably more difficult fields.

It's not "arguably." It's pretty much fact.

6 hours ago, pganapathy said:

Nowhere close to third.

Nowhere close?

5 hours ago, Birdieputt said:

Sure:  IMHO Phil is not the third best golfer ever and Tiger is not a superior golfer to Jack.  

Uhhhhh, glad we can discard your opinions on this.

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IMO Phil is a top 5 player of all time and quite possibly deserves the 3 spot. 

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(edited)
10 hours ago, klineka said:

 

Who your peers are matters though when talking about dominance. Phil had to compete against the most dominant player the game has ever seen, but that player is obviously (and rightfully so) ranked higher than Phil. There were stretches where Phil dominated everyone not named Tiger Woods. 

Look at 2009 into 2010 for example. Phil won 4 times in a 14 month span which included a WGC, a Tour championship (beat Tiger), and a Masters. 

That shows dominance over peers IMO. 

And if you don't think Phil is the 3rd best player of all time, who do you think is the 3rd best? Keeping in mind based on your logic they would have had to have been world #1 at some point and dominated their peers.

4 wins in 14 months is not dominance.  Winning 4 in a row might be.  And both Vijay Singh and David Duval managed to grab the #1 ranking right in the middle of Tiger's prime.  They were able to take advantage of down, swing-change, years and Phil wasn't.  I'd be interested in what one of those stretches where he dominated everyone but Tiger was.  Because I don't think they happened.  He never won more than 4 times in a season.  10 different guys have won twice that many, 8, a total of 16 times. Tiger did it 3 times and 4 other guys did it twice.  Many players have won 2 majors in a year.  But not Phil.

As to who is #3, that's a tough question, but only because of strength of schedule concerns.  Without them it would be Ben Hogan. 

I also think there is a better case for Tom Watson than Phil.  He has fewer PGA victories but more majors and had several consecutive seasons (1977-1982) where he was clearly the best player in the world.  1977 - 5 wins and 2 majors.1979 - 5 wins, no majors. 1979 - 5 wins, no majors.  1980 - 7 wins, 1 major.  You are claiming 4 wins in 14 months is dominant.  Between 1977 and 1982 Watso won 28 times including 6 majors.  Phil never has a single season where he was considered the best in the world.   

Then there was Lee Trevino who over a 4 year period (1971-1974) won 14 times including 4 majors.  He was pretty much the best player in the world for those 4 years.  And again, Phil was never considered the best player in the world for a single year, as opposed to Watson's 6 years at the top and Trevino's 4 years. 

And while it was Phil's misfortune to play in the Tiger era, you will notice that both Watson's period of dominance and Trevino's period of dominance occurred right in the middle of the career of a fellow named Jack Nicklaus.  Who many will claim (incorrectly, IMO, but that is another issue for another thread) was the greatest of all time.

I just can't pick a guy for #3 when never in his career was he considered the best player in the world.  

Edited by turtleback
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5 hours ago, turtleback said:

Many players have won 2 majors in a year.  But not Phil.

Phil won two majors in a year.

2005 PGA, 2006 Masters.

No need for the clarification of calendar year. Just pointing out that you’re being somewhat arbitrary about the year thing when I’m pretty sure you call Tiger’s thing a slam (because it is 😄).

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(edited)
6 hours ago, turtleback said:

I just can't pick a guy for #3 when never in his career was he considered the best player in the world.  

I'm not sure I get this argument when he's going up against the #1 player in the history of the game. It's true that Phil never had one dominant season, but during his prime, he had a lot of great seasons while Tiger was his most dominant.

Just eyeballing it, I see two stretches of Phil's career where he was at his best: 2000-2002 and then 2004-2009. 

From 2000-2002, he won 8 times on Tour, with no majors.

From 2004-2009, he won 17 times on Tour*, with 3 majors. 

*Wikipedia credits him with 16 wins, but it's missing the WGC-HSBC in that count for some reason.

But look at what he's going up against. In those same stretches:

From 2000-2002, Tiger won 19 times on Tour, with 6 majors.

From 2004-2009, Tiger won 32 times on Tour, with 6 majors. 

I don't get how it's fair to ding a guy for having his best stretches match up with the 2 most dominant stretches by a player in history. If we agree that Tiger is the best player of all time, then why couldn't the #3 player be someone who went against Tiger?

Edited by DeadMan
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58 minutes ago, iacas said:

Phil won two majors in a year.

2005 PGA, 2006 Masters.

No need for the clarification of calendar year. Just pointing out that you’re being somewhat arbitrary about the year thing when I’m pretty sure you call Tiger’s thing a slam (because it is 😄).

I discarded your opinion on this. 

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