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Is Phil the 3rd Best Player of All Time?


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1 minute ago, Birdieputt said:

I discarded your opinion on this. 

That wasn't his opinion, that was a fact. 

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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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The answer is NO.

Absolutely, positively NO.

No effen way.

No

Nicklaus, Tiger, Hogan, Snead, Jones, Arnie

and then, in no particular order, Hagan, Watson, Player, and some others I can't think of at the moment, so mabye he's in the top 15, but #3...come on, that's just nuts.

I'm suspicious the original question was designed to just elicit a whole lot of responses and for what reason, I can't imagine.

 

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3 minutes ago, xrayvizhen said:

I'm suspicious the original question was designed to just elicit a whole lot of responses and for what reason, I can't imagine.

Because this is a forum and that's the point of a forum?

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12 minutes ago, xrayvizhen said:

Nicklaus, Tiger, Hogan, Snead, Jones, Arnie

This list is no, just absolutely no 😛 

Tiger, Nicklaus, T3 (Hogan, Phil, Palmer), T4 (Player, Watson, Snead)

14 minutes ago, xrayvizhen said:

I'm suspicious the original question was designed to just elicit a whole lot of responses and for what reason, I can't imagine.

Yea, that is fine. 

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43 minutes ago, Birdieputt said:

I discarded your opinion on this. 

No opinion was expressed.

10 minutes ago, xrayvizhen said:

Nicklaus, Tiger, Hogan, Snead, Jones, Arnie

and then, in no particular order, Hagan, Watson, Player, and some others I can't think of at the moment, so mabye he's in the top 15, but #3...come on, that's just nuts.

I'm suspicious the original question was designed to just elicit a whole lot of responses and for what reason, I can't imagine.

Let's look at just one of those.

Arnold Palmer: 62 PGA Tour wins, 2 European Tour wins, 7 majors.

Phil Mickelson: 45 PGA Tour wins, 11 European Tour wins, 6 majors.

Phil played in a significantly tougher era. Even if you go Tiger:Phil::Jack:Arnie, the other players in Phil's era elevate Phil's totals (or drop Arnie's totals).

Now it's fine if you just want to look at the raw numbers, but that's a pretty damn simplistic view of things.

14 minutes ago, xrayvizhen said:

and then, in no particular order, Hagan…

Who the f*** did Walter Hagen have to beat? Like 1,000 people played golf back then.

And five of his majors were match play where he had to beat only ONE person any given day.

14 minutes ago, xrayvizhen said:

Player

Look up the field for the 1959 British Open (won by Gary Player) and get back to me…

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23 hours ago, Vinsk said:

But he didn’t. Fantastical thinking shouldn’t play a role in assessment. 

If I am not mistaken I'm sure  I have seen a lot comments that Tiger is the GOAT in spite of the major win numbers compared to Jack.  In these assessments the fact (at least a fact in some people's opinion) that Tiger had more and better competition was sited.  Well Phil had to play against this same competition plus Tiger, and I think it is fair to assess his career considering the competition.   I concur it is supposition, but not Fantastical.

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6 minutes ago, ghalfaire said:

If I am not mistaken I'm sure  I have seen a lot comments that Tiger is the GOAT in spite of the major win numbers compared to Jack.

In spite of? 82 > 73.

🙂

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1 minute ago, iacas said:

In spite of? 82 > 73.

🙂

I did not set the metric of the most majors' wins as a criterion for GOAT.  Tiger did that early in his career.  I am not trying to sell Tiger short, in his time he was the without doubt the very best on the planet.  In fact I'm just trying to make the case that if Tiger had not been in field, Phil's numbers for career wins and major wins would have better, your comment just enhances my case I believe.

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1 minute ago, ghalfaire said:

I did not set the metric of the most majors' wins as a criterion for GOAT.  Tiger did that early in his career

No. He didn’t. It was Jack who moved that goal post when he realized he wasn’t going to beat Snead’s total wins.

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1 minute ago, Vinsk said:

No. He didn’t. It was Jack who moved that goal post when he realized he wasn’t going to beat Snead’s total wins.

 I guess I am not enough of a historian to know for sure who changed the goal if it was ever changed.  But I did hear Tiger early on say, his goal was to exceed Jack's record for Major Tournament wins.  So I'll repeat, Tiger set the metric, I didn't.  But I am trying to argue who is the GOAT, there is another thread for that.  I'm just trying to make the case Phil's record for tournament wins and Major Tournament wins would have likely been better had Tiger not been in field.  I am trying to take anything away from Tiger in that argument, in fact just opposite.  I am arguing that Tiger was so good he made in almost impossible for anyone else to win when he was in the field.

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6 minutes ago, ghalfaire said:

But I did hear Tiger early on say, his goal was to exceed Jack's record for Major Tournament wins. 

Because Jack set that benchmark and the rest of the golfing world just followed his lead. So no, Tiger did not set the metric. 

 

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1 hour ago, ghalfaire said:

I did not set the metric of the most majors' wins as a criterion for GOAT.  Tiger did that early in his career.  I am not trying to sell Tiger short, in his time he was the without doubt the very best on the planet.  In fact I'm just trying to make the case that if Tiger had not been in field, Phil's numbers for career wins and major wins would have better, your comment just enhances my case I believe.

Nah. And I was pointing out you said wins. Tiger has more than Jack.

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(edited)
5 hours 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 😄).

Meh, nit-picking.  He never won 2 majors in a season.  And I call Tiger's achievement a Slam, but not a Grand Slam because he didn't win all four in the same season.  I'm consistent.

4 hours ago, DeadMan said:

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?

Yet in 1998 David Duvall was the best player in the world and in 2004 Vijay Singh was the best player in the world.  Demonstrating that playing in the prime of the Tiger era was not some kind of absolute bar to being the best player in the world.  And even AFTER Tiger's level of dominance dropped, Phil still never was ever considered as the best player in the world.  How many different players achieved the # ranking over that period?  Several, but never Phil.  7 different players not named Tiger Woods won the PGA Tour Player of the Year in the years following 2007 and none of them was Phil.

2 hours ago, ghalfaire said:

 I guess I am not enough of a historian to know for sure who changed the goal if it was ever changed.  But I did hear Tiger early on say, his goal was to exceed Jack's record for Major Tournament wins.  So I'll repeat, Tiger set the metric, I didn't.  But I am trying to argue who is the GOAT, there is another thread for that.  I'm just trying to make the case Phil's record for tournament wins and Major Tournament wins would have likely been better had Tiger not been in field.  I am trying to take anything away from Tiger in that argument, in fact just opposite.  I am arguing that Tiger was so good he made in almost impossible for anyone else to win when he was in the field.

Jack is on record as saying most PGA wins, i.e., beating out Sam Snead's 82 was the criteria for GOAT.  Until he realized he couldn't do that and changed his mind.  Check out post 5439 in the Tiger v. Tiger thread for the grisly details of Jack's twisting the criteria to favor himself.

Edited by turtleback
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I would have to look to find it, might have been 538 or a site like that, but for basketball there was an incredibly deep statistical analysis done. It compared players against their peers...how did Wilt Chamberlain's scoring, rebounding, shooting percentage etc compare to the average NBA player of his generation...this only scratches the surface of what they did in comparison and they did a lot of the "advanced stat" comparisons, etc, win shares, all sorts of things.

 

It was in interesting way of having actual data to see who the "greatest" basketball player of all time was and, of course, somewhat controversial because instead of one of the obvious answers...Chamberlain, Jordan, James...at the time it actually still had Jabbar as the greatest of all times as being the most dominant in relation to his peers, although James was close behind.

 

Of course, in basketball there is theoretically a lot more that changes...styles of defense, physicality, prevalence of 3-point shots, free throws, etc...

 

In golf, primarily you have number of shots to hole out. Obviously how courses are set up affects that...but I wonder if someone has done a statistical analysis of golf. As some have seemed to indicate in this thread, all wins are not created equal...match play against one person is not a multi-day tournament against golfers from all over the world. At the same time, scoring average alone, strokes gained...there may be a way of comparing those against the players each year of a players career and, with a carefully designed study you might be able to figure who performed best in relation to the field for all time.

 

 

But even if you did, people would still disagree based on emotion...Jordan is the most frequently cited "greatest of all time" which, no matter how much I want that to be true...is not factually correct. Number of championship wins? He comes in behind many players. Highest scoring average? rebounds? steals? assists? combined? win shares? throw that out, some people will argue to their dying day (insert Jordan/James/Chamberlain)  is clearly the best...just as in golf...Nicklaus/Woods/player to be named later is clearly the best/second best/etc and that is oft part of the fun. An unprovable assertion against an unprovable assertion can keep it going for days

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On 5/24/2021 at 10:20 AM, ChetlovesMer said:

Check me if I'm wrong here. But hasn't Phil only finished second to Tiger 4 times ever? With only the 2002 US Open being the only major. 

So if there never was a Tiger, than Phil maybe gets to 7 majors and 49 wins????

 

3 hours ago, ghalfaire said:

If I am not mistaken I'm sure  I have seen a lot comments that Tiger is the GOAT in spite of the major win numbers compared to Jack.  In these assessments the fact (at least a fact in some people's opinion) that Tiger had more and better competition was sited.  Well Phil had to play against this same competition plus Tiger, and I think it is fair to assess his career considering the competition.   I concur it is supposition, but not Fantastical.

I've not checked the stats so I am taking what @ChetlovesMersaid as fact.  Given that, Phil would have had, at most, 4 more wins and 1 more major had Tiger not been playing.  Sure, that would help Phil's stats and would have given him the Grand Slam but to "What-If" that is going a little far in trying to give him credit for things that did not occur.

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Another point:  if you look at Mickelson's world golf ranking history, he only finished the year at #2 a total of 4 times, only 2 of which were in consecutive years.  Which means that in all of the other years there was at least one player not named Tiger ahead of him.  

I'm not saying Mickelson is not a great great player, but again I go to my point that I can't put a guy at #3 all time who was never regarded as the best player in the world for even a single season - and was only the second best player in the world 4 times.  Not when there are other players who were the best player in the world for 4 or 6 consecutive years.  Particularly when those guys played in Jack's prime and were able to beat him head to head in majors, like Watson & Trevino, each of whom won 3 consecutive Vardons, and one of whom won 4 consecutive money titles.

Zero Player of the Year

Zero money titles

Zero Vardon trophies

Not the profile of #3, IMO.

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3 minutes ago, turtleback said:

Another point:  if you look at Mickelson's world golf ranking history, he only finished the year at #2 a total of 4 times, only 2 of which were in consecutive years.  Which means that in all of the other years there was at least one player not named Tiger ahead of him.  

I'm not saying Mickelson is not a great great player, but again I go to my point that I can't put a guy at #3 all time who was never regarded as the best player in the world for even a single season - and was only the second best player in the world 4 times.  Not when there are other players who were the best player in the world for 4 or 6 consecutive years.  Particularly when those guys played in Jack's prime and were able to beat him head to head in majors, like Watson & Trevino, each of whom won 3 consecutive Vardons, and one of whom won 4 consecutive money titles.

Zero Player of the Year

Zero money titles

Zero Vardon trophies

Not the profile of #3, IMO.

What was the world ranking of Hogan, Palmer, Player, Watson? Trick question, there wasn't a world ranking at the time. 

Umm... Jack Nicklaus never won the Vardon Trophy... Vardon Trophy - Wikipedia

Hard to win a money title with Tiger won it 9 times from 1997 to 2009. Vijay having his epic run in the other seasons. Duval having an exceptional year. 

Also, it's tough to break down if not getting a world #1 ranking matters since it is a point system that if fluid. Maybe Player of the year matters more, but also strength of competition matters. 

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1 hour ago, darthweasel said:

In golf, primarily you have number of shots to hole out. Obviously how courses are set up affects that...but I wonder if someone has done a statistical analysis of golf. As some have seemed to indicate in this thread, all wins are not created equal...match play against one person is not a multi-day tournament against golfers from all over the world. At the same time, scoring average alone, strokes gained...there may be a way of comparing those against the players each year of a players career and, with a carefully designed study you might be able to figure who performed best in relation to the field for all time.

 

First of all, reasoning about basketball is irrelevant, IMO, since there is a vast gulf between team sports and individual sports.

Secondly, we don't need a carefully designed study.  The Jack v Tiger thread clearly demonstrates that in virtally ever way, other than the simplistic 18>15, Tiger was not just ahead of Jack, but way ahead of Jack.

Raw scoring average is a bad metric because of the vast difference in golf courses over time.  Adjusted scoring average is better, but not great because we don;'t have that data going back that many years.  And strokes gains methodology might be better but we have even fewer years of that data.

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