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Is Phil the 3rd Best Player of All Time?


DeadMan

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1 hour ago, Shorty said:

Nicklaus demonstrated a lot his true character on Twitter in late 2020.

How so?

 

1 hour ago, Shorty said:

Also, try to track down a documentary called The Green Menace. He is not the most popular person on the planet.

Tried looking. What's the TLDR version?

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(edited)
17 minutes ago, Birdieputt said:

I daresay that the people trying to cancel him probably makes him more popular.  

Oh absolutely. Certainly amongst people who think that diverting watercourses away from villages to golf courses is a non issue.☺️

Edited by Shorty
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The Mickelson File

• Winner of six major championships (3 Masters, 1 British Open, 2 PGA Championships)

• One of only 8 players with as many as three Masters wins

• One of only 15 men to hold at least three legs of the career Grand Slam

• Runner-up at the U.S. Open a record six times

• 24 top-3 finishes, 39 top-10 finishes at major championships

• Winner of 45 PGA Tour events, tied for eighth all time

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17 hours ago, Billy Z said:

The Mickelson File

• Winner of six major championships (3 Masters, 1 British Open, 2 PGA Championships)

• One of only 8 players with as many as three Masters wins

• One of only 15 men to hold at least three legs of the career Grand Slam

• Runner-up at the U.S. Open a record six times

• 24 top-3 finishes, 39 top-10 finishes at major championships

• Winner of 45 PGA Tour events, tied for eighth all time

No matter where you rank him, that is a great career.  

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On 5/26/2021 at 12:46 PM, TourSpoon said:

Never? 

When was Phil dominant on the regular tour?  Give me specific years.  He has been a top 5 player on tour for a long time, but never #1, not even for a single year.

5 hours ago, Birdieputt said:

No matter where you rank him, that is a great career.  

It absolutely was/is.  No one is questioning that.

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4 hours ago, turtleback said:

When was Phil dominant on the regular tour?  Give me specific years.  He has been a top 5 player on tour for a long time, but never #1, not even for a single year.

 You are right if you want to define a Hall of Famer with six majors and top 5 for a long time by saying he is non dominant. I mean 1300 weeks in the top 50 is definitely the sign of non-dominance.  Seven hundred weeks of top ten must be another non-dominant trait. Face it, he is one of the best players of all time even if he doesn't fit your definition of being a dominant force in golf. 

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1 hour ago, TourSpoon said:

 You are right if you want to define a Hall of Famer with six majors and top 5 for a long time by saying he is non dominant. I mean 1300 weeks in the top 50 is definitely the sign of non-dominance.  Seven hundred weeks of top ten must be another non-dominant trait. Face it, he is one of the best players of all time even if he doesn't fit your definition of being a dominant force in golf. 

No one said otherwise. It’s just being said he’s not the third greatest of all time.

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1 hour ago, TourSpoon said:

 You are right if you want to define a Hall of Famer with six majors and top 5 for a long time by saying he is non dominant. I mean 1300 weeks in the top 50 is definitely the sign of non-dominance.  Seven hundred weeks of top ten must be another non-dominant trait. Face it, he is one of the best players of all time even if he doesn't fit your definition of being a dominant force in golf. 

Top 5, but never once #1.  How can you consider him a dominant player when at no point in his career has he neen considered the best player in the world?  As against players who were clearly the best player in the world for stretches of 4 and 6 yesrs, like Trevino or Watson?

I notice that you didn't give me any specific years when you considered him dominant.  Which doesn't surprise me because there aren't any.

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1 minute ago, turtleback said:

Top 5, but never once #1.  How can you consider him a dominant player when at no point in his career has he neen considered the best player in the world?  As against players who were clearly the best player in the world for stretches of 4 and 6 yesrs, like Trevino or Watson?

Look, I agree he was never dominant, but Luke Donald was never dominant either and was OWGR #1 for awhile. OWGR doesn't mean "dominant" (I'm not saying you're saying that), but it's also possible a player could be "dominant" while not reaching OWGR #1.

It's unlikely. Just a small possibility.

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(edited)
6 hours ago, iacas said:

Look, I agree he was never dominant, but Luke Donald was never dominant either and was OWGR #1 for awhile. OWGR doesn't mean "dominant" (I'm not saying you're saying that), but it's also possible a player could be "dominant" while not reaching OWGR #1.

It's unlikely. Just a small possibility.


Well I never claimed that getting to #1 was a sufficient condition to be considered dominant.  What I claimed was that being #1 for a season was a necessary condition to be considered dominant.  I know you grok the difference between necessary and sufficient.

The sad truth is that there are relatively few years in which a player is actually dominant.  Let alone a consecutive year stretch when a player is dominant.  Yet every year there is a #1 ranked player at the end of the year.  There is a Player of the Year, there is a Vardon winner, there is a money list leader.  None of those things in and of themselves (your Luke Donald example) make a player dominant. 

Now if a player achieves all of those things in a year, and has the most wins, and has a major or two, then THAT is a dominant year.  But Phil never did that.  And other people, like Trevino and Watson did that not just for a single year but for 4 and 6, respectively, in a row.

He has had a great career, but now way I would consider him the 3GOATA.

Edited by turtleback
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(edited)
10 hours ago, turtleback said:

Top 5, but never once #1.  How can you consider him a dominant player when at no point in his career has he neen considered the best player in the world?  As against players who were clearly the best player in the world for stretches of 4 and 6 yesrs, like Trevino or Watson?

I notice that you didn't give me any specific years when you considered him dominant.  Which doesn't surprise me because there aren't any.

Well, 700 weeks in the top ten to me means he was a dominant force in the world of golf. But if your definition has to include being ranked number one then it doesn't really fit. I don't think it makes the statement that he was a dominant force patently false. 

3 hours ago, turtleback said:

He has had a great career, but now way I would consider him the 3GOATA.

He certainly does have a great career, and I would agree 100% that he is not #3. 

10 hours ago, Vinsk said:

No one said otherwise. It’s just being said he’s not the third greatest of all time.

I even said that in my original post, and I still agree he is not #3. 

Edited by TourSpoon
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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
Phil Mickelson 45/55 6 1991
Nick Faldo 30/43 6 1976
Sam Snead 82/142^ 7 1936
Ben Hogan 64/69 9 1930
Walter Hagen 45/58 11# 1912
Arnold Palmer 62/95 7 1954
Tom Watson 39/70 8 1971
Lee Trevino 29/92 6 1960
Bobby Jones N/A 13* 1923
Gary Player 24/160! 9 1953
Seve Ballesteros 50/90 5 1974
Ernie Els 28/74 5 1989
Gene Sarazen 38/48 7 1920
Byron Nelson 52/64 5 1932
Billy Casper 51/71 3 1954

^ dubious 
# five of which were at match play (beating one player at a time only)
* includes  amateur events no longer considered majors, many match play majors
! includes 60 Sunshine Tour (South African) wins

Years ago I wrote an app called "decide" that would let you input a list of things and would ask you to play one off against the others and which would finally then rank them based on their won-loss record. It makes sorting a list like this easier.

I ran these players through the app and, for me, this is what I came up with:

  • I had Mickelson and Hogan essentially tied.
  • Players I'd rank lower than Phil pretty straightaway (* factors in the era or format on close numbers):
    • Faldo (30 < 45, 6* < 6)
    • Els (28 < 45, 5 < 6)
    • Caper (51* < 45, 3 < 6)
    • Nelson (52* < 45, 5 < 6)
    • Sarazen (38* < 45, 7* < 6)
    • Hagen (45* < 45, 11* < 6)
    • Trevino (29 < 45, 6* < 6)
    • Ballesteros (50* < 45, 5 < 6)
  • Players who had more majors/victories than Phil that I'd still put below Phil:
    • Snead: 7 majors, 82 dubious wins, began over 50 years before Phil with only one more major.
    • Jones: 0 PGA Tour wins! (ha ha) and 13 majors, six of which were at match play, and all of which were against pretty weak competition.
    • Player: 24 and 9? 1959 British Open speaks to the depth of field in Gary's career.
  • Close calls:
    • Mickelson over Watson: 39 < 45, 8* < 6 but barely? Had Watson won the British Open I think this would go toward Tom, but he didn't.
    • Mickelson over Palmer: Arnie played almost 40 years earlier, and didn't win over as many years, particularly when golf started to become more global. 62 vs. 45 and only 7 vs. 6, when I consider the eras, goes to Phil.
  • Ben Hogan:
    • That leaves Ben Hogan, and the numbers are here again:
    • Phil Mickelson 45/55 6 1991
      Ben Hogan 64/69 9 1930
    • I used to think this was a no-brainer, and would go with Hogan. But 5 vs. 9 is a tougher case than 6 vs. 9. I was always willing to say 14 > 18 (that's 78% of the wins, but that also included other factors). Phil closing the gap to 6 versus 9 (67%) and 45/64 (70%) tightens things up a bit. And Hogan played before Jack Nicklaus, with weaker fields. So now… I don't know. Could see an argument either way.

Did I miss anyone?

56 minutes ago, TourSpoon said:

Well, 700 weeks in the top ten to me means he was a dominant force in the world of golf. But if your definition has to include being ranked number one then it doesn't really fit. I don't think it makes the statement that he was a dominant force patently false.

I think it's simply that @turtleback defines "dominant" mostly as a single person, while you're considering that five or six or seven players can be "dominant" at the same time.

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I won't quote the entire post by @iacas, but it has some great logic in it and gets a thumbs up. 

Hogan is a tough call for me as well. Phil wins again on the PGA Tour field and we revisit. Snead, Watson, and Palmer also very close calls.  Good analysis. 

 

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Back when this thread was first posted and I read the title "Is Phil the 3rd Best Player of All Time?" My initial immediate reaction was "That's crazy talk." 

Having read all the arguments in this thread I'm now at a point where it's not so crazy. Maybe he is the 3rd best player of all time? 

I still wouldn't have him on my Mount Rushmore because there's more to that than just being a great player. I don't feel he's anywhere near as influential as a guy like Arnie or Jack or Tiger. However, I'm starting to come around to him possibly being the 3rd best player. 

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

Ben Hogan:

  • That leaves Ben Hogan, and the numbers are here again:
  • Phil Mickelson 45/55 6 1991
    Ben Hogan 64/69 9 1930
  • I used to think this was a no-brainer, and would go with Hogan. But 5 vs. 9 is a tougher case than 6 vs. 9. I was always willing to say 14 > 18 (that's 78% of the wins, but that also included other factors). Phil closing the gap to 6 versus 9 (67%) and 45/64 (70%) tightens things up a bit. And Hogan played before Jack Nicklaus, with weaker fields. So now… I don't know. Could see an argument either way.

 

This is what I think as well. 

From 1946 till 1953 he won 9 out of 18 majors he participated in. Though, the PGA Championship was match play from 1916 till 1957. Which makes it much easier on him to win those. Even then, if you consider US Opens and Masters. Out of 14 he played in, from 1946 till 1953, he won 6 of them a 43% win rate. He never finished outside the top 10 from 1946 till 1956 in the US Open and the Masters. 

It's tough to say, those fields were just so much weaker than they are during Phil's time.  Lets say he doesn't win one of those PGA championships if it is stroke play. He's down to 8. Just looking at how bad The Open was back then when Hogan only went over once in his entire career. He won it. S

In terms of achievements, I am probably going to give Phil the slight edge. Hogan's potential is probably much much higher if he didn't have that accident and if the Open was routinely played. He probably pushes near 14-16 majors and passes Snead on wins. 

I grade people on what they did, not what could have been. Injuries are a big reason why some talents just don't pan out. 

 

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46 minutes ago, Billy Z said:

What about Arnie being #3? 

Well…

2 hours ago, iacas said:

Mickelson over Palmer: Arnie played almost 40 years earlier, and didn't win over as many years, particularly when golf started to become more global. 62 vs. 45 and only 7 vs. 6, when I consider the eras, goes to Phil.

Anyway:

31 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

I grade people on what they did, not what could have been. Injuries are a big reason why some talents just don't pan out. 

Definitely. Tiger doesn't get credit for "what might have been…".

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42 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

I grade people on what they did, not what could have been. Injuries are a big reason why some talents just don't pan out. 

Exactly. And as I’ve also said it’s not diminishing what these golfers have done. It’s simply reality if injury and/or lower competition existed. That’s part of it. Luck or not. 

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