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Is Phil the 3rd Best Player of All Time?


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5 minutes ago, Big Lex said:

I know Phil is ahead of all of them in total career wins. And given his competition, the accomplishments might be even better than the raw numbers indicate. I was speaking about just the total ranking. People have many different criteria for ranking athletes, and place different amounts of weight on different achievements. I was posing the rhetorical question, I guess, of whether people really thought Phil was better than, say, Tom Watson, who won more majors, or Sam Snead, who won alot more tournaments overall, etc.

I think he is. In large part because of those numbers and how I weight them based on the era in which he played.

5 minutes ago, Big Lex said:

For better or worse, people are often overly affected by their emotional attachment to players; some people place emphasis on "intangible," unmeasurable things, like whether a player "chokes," etc.

I don't really like Phil, so I'm not elevating out of some sort of "fondness" there.

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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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2 hours ago, klineka said:
  • Watson 39 wins, 8 majors, started in 1971
  • Palmer 62 wins, 7 majors, started in 1955
    • From 1960-1963, Palmer won 29 times including 5 majors
    • He also won a PGA tour event every year from 1955 to 1971
  • Phil 45 wins, 6 majors, started in 1991

IMO the extended stretches of dominance Palmer showed helps make up for the weaker fields and should put him above Watson, and the additional number of wins plus against significantly harder competition should put Phil ahead of Watson.

Why do you think Watson is ahead of Palmer and Phil? 

I think I put him there because Watson won 5 Open Championships. This just seems amazing to me. I don't know....it's just my preference, but even with the "majors," I think there are differences in difficulty. I think the hardest tournament to win is the US Open, which is why I think the top 3 are Nicklaus, Woods, and Hogan. I think the Open Championship is also very hard to win, and for me it carries more prestige than the Masters or the PGA championship, so winning 5 of them is just very impressive to me. But ranking Arnold ahead of Tom isn't something I'd be too upset about. I almost flip flopped them myself. 

If you get too tied up in one criterion, you can be lead to ridiculous conclusions. Didn't Andy North win 2 US Opens? Michael Campbell won one, and Mickelson and Snead didn't, etc. etc. 

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15 minutes ago, iacas said:

I couldn't care much less about Senior wins. I give them virtually no weight.

Fair enough. 

8 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

^This

Senior tour is nothing but exhibition matches to me. Might be a harsh take, but I have no interest in it and place no weight in it for determine greatest of all time or any sort of rankings. 

To me it says much more about Langer's PGA tour career that he suddenly becomes more dominant once he competes with less athletic golfers (old age). 

You can say dominant only because he was a world number one! 🤣

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Just now, iacas said:

I think he is. In large part because of those numbers and how I weight them based on the era in which he played.

I don't really like Phil, so I'm not elevating out of some sort of "fondness" there.

Why did you think I was talking about you? I think the opposite is often what we see. Someone sees Phil, a little obnoxious, risky golfer, big shot gambler, SEC issues, his stupid infomercials, etc etc, and they compare him to someone like Tom Watson, or Seve with his Ryder Cup fame and shot making genius, or whatever it is, and they decide to rank Phil lower. As you point out, ranking Phil lower than 3 requires some explanation and rationalization, because his record is very very good. 

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5 minutes ago, Big Lex said:

I think I put him there because Watson won 5 Open Championships. This just seems amazing to me. I don't know....it's just my preference, but even with the "majors," I think there are differences in difficulty.

The British Open, when Tom was winning them, was one of the easiest tournaments to win. Many American players didn't even bother to make the trip.

5 minutes ago, Big Lex said:

I think the hardest tournament to win is the US Open, which is why I think the top 3 are Nicklaus, Woods, and Hogan.

The U.S. Open doesn't have the strongest field because of how it is constructed.

1 minute ago, Big Lex said:

Why did you think I was talking about you?

I didn't. I was replying to what you posted.

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2 hours ago, Big Lex said:

I think I put him there because Watson won 5 Open Championships. This just seems amazing to me. I don't know....it's just my preference

 

2 hours ago, Big Lex said:

If you get too tied up in one criterion, you can be lead to ridiculous conclusions. 

Little contradictory there don't ya think?

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11 minutes ago, klineka said:

 

Little contradictory there don't ya think?

No, I don't think it's contradictory. If I had said Andy North was higher than Phil, because he won 2 US Opens and Phil won none, that would be putting too much weight on one criterion. Watson checks boxes in just about every column; it is by no means a ridiculous conclusion that Tom Watson is the third greatest golfer ever...or in the top 5, in the running for number 3. I was merely answering someone's question as to why I ranked Tom ahead of Palmer and Phil...giving some extra _weight_ to his British Open accomplishments. And I will admit - that's subjective, it's my preference, and as iacas points out, it's not even really logical to give it more weight if you consider only strength of field, since the British Open in the 70s had weaker fields than the other majors and maybe even than some regular US Tour events. But winning 5 Opens is historic, it required winning on courses and under conditions that are very different from typical tournament golf in the USA. Here is a question: What is harder to win, judging by strength of field, the Open Championship, or the Players? But which would you give more weight to in determining greatness? Winning golf's oldest and original, first Championship counts for alot in my book....which is a book that nobody else has to agree with or even read )

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22 hours ago, sinik said:

I mean, it's a really simple hypothetical to digest. He's just trying to frame your assessment criteria and go from there so that the two of you can have a conversation 'on even footing'.


No, it is trying to cook the books.  

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(edited)
23 hours ago, Zeph said:

All this arguing about what is needed to be considered seems a bit unnecessary.

Won’t it do to compare achievements? Being number one in the world is a big deal, but becoming number one during Tiger’s era was impossible, so if that is a requirement, nobody who played in that era would be considered, even if they dominated everyone not named Tiger. It is difficult as it is comparing players from different eras by only using number of wins. Dragging the world ratings into it just makes it more complicated without providing any help.

I agree with Erik that Hogan can be argued, but not Watson and Trevino. And that is how I think the discussion should go. About wins in both regular events and majors, keeping in mind the era it was done. Golf is far more competitive today, so in my book a player winning a major today has made a greater achievement than one who did it 50 years ago.

How was it impossible when other players were able to do it?  Phil has had lots of years when Tiger was NOT dominant.  Starting with his years on Tour before Tiger got there, 1992-1996, and 1998, 2004, 2010, 2011, 2013-2017.  Tiger was a nonfactor in those years.  Other players reached #1, won money titles, won Vardons, had the most victories, etc, but never Phil.

And two of the guys I put ahead of Phil played in the Jack era, not only besting him as the best player in the world for 4 and 6 consecutive years, but beating him head to head in majors.  Again, something Phil never did with Tiger.

Sorry for the conscutive posts - I thought they would merge.  My bad.

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No way top 3. I currently have Phil on the bubble of the top 10.

My completely subjective top 10 list, in no particular order :

Nicklaus, Tiger, Jones, Nelson, Hogan, Hagen, Palmer, Snead, Watson, Player.

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6 hours ago, turtleback said:


No, it is trying to cook the books.  

Not. Was posing a hypothetical. When you’re not discussing number one I don’t think solo dominance matters anywhere near as much.

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I could see him at #3.   His competition has been much stiffer than Jones, Nelson, Hogan, Hagen, Palmer, Snead, Watson and Player.

When I was in college, I entered a table tennis tournament.   I thought I was good because I beat everyone handily.  I was the best at school.   That won me entrance to the next round at Cincinnati where I learned that a big fish in a small pond is just a big fish in a small pond.   Playing against tougher competition has significant merit.

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Came across this on Instagram:

 

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Watson vs Phil is a really tough one for me to rank. They both had a bunch of major runners up which I think should be a consideration. 8>6 and Watson took down Jack a couple times in epic major showdowns. Phil just could never do this with Tiger. 
 

And yes golf fields have gotten deeper over the years but for the first third of Phil’s career American golf didn’t produce all that amazing talent outside of the obvious one. 

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Arnie is probably one of my front runners for third best of all time. Although, his driving distance probably averaged about 265 yards up to 275 yards. Phil's driving distance averages about 305 yards now. Stats like these make it difficult to compare one golfer to another because they have come from a different era of golf. There is a different wealth of competition playing today, and also much better equipment being used. I try to imagine Phil inserted in Arnie's era and vice versa with Arnie. I think either one of these two golfers are a serious candidate for number 3, along with a few others.

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14 minutes ago, Billy Z said:

Arnie is probably one of my front runners for third best of all time. Although, his driving distance probably averaged about 265 yards up to 275 yards. Phil's driving distance averages about 305 yards now. Stats like these make it difficult to compare one golfer to another because they have come from a different era of golf. There is a different wealth of competition playing today, and also much better equipment being used. I try to imagine Phil inserted in Arnie's era and vice versa with Arnie. I think either one of these two golfers are a serious candidate for number 3, along with a few others.

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.

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Just now, 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.

Most definitely! With the athletic difference being as it is between specific eras of golf, it makes it difficult to compare one golfer from one era to a golfer of another era. But I guess that aspect makes a discussion thrive a bit. Is it even fair to put Phil over Arnie or vice versa?

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59 minutes ago, Billy Z said:

Most definitely! With the athletic difference being as it is between specific eras of golf, it makes it difficult to compare one golfer from one era to a golfer of another era. But I guess that aspect makes a discussion thrive a bit. Is it even fair to put Phil over Arnie or vice versa?

No it doesn’t.

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