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Jack vs. Tiger: Who's the Greatest Golfer?


sungho_kr

Greatest Golfer (GOAT)  

216 members have voted

  1. 1. Tiger or Jack: Who's the greatest golfer?

    • Tiger Woods is the man
      1629
    • Jack Nicklaus is my favorite
      816


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1 hour ago, Gerald Ladig said:

Tiger won a major from a guy named

Roco not one of the top player and another in the Masters from a guy named Chris not one of the top players. 

Plus asking has he ever won  a major when he was behind on the final day?

So I vote goes to Jack.

This has been pointed out many times and several others have made great arguments to show that it's a very limited (and incorrect) way to view things.

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11 hours ago, mvmac said:

This has been pointed out many times and several others have made great arguments to show that it's a very limited (and incorrect) way to view things.

They’re all flat-earthers Mike. Logic, math, nor common sense will change their minds.  

You cannot reason someone out of something he or she was not reasoned into.

Edited by Vinsk
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2 hours ago, Vinsk said:

You cannot reason someone out of something he or she was not reasoned into.

I need to have that pop up every 15 minutes that I'm using The Facebook or Twitter. :-P

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15 hours ago, Gerald Ladig said:

Well, Tiger just got lucky that in 2008 Rocco was the only other guy allowed to play in the US Open.  And similarly with that Chris fellow and the Masters...

Plus asking has he ever won  a major when he was behind on the final day?

You must never watch golf.  Tiger won several majors when he was behind the final day, including the two you mentioned. 

When he beat Rocco in the 2008 US Open, he was a shot behind on the 72nd tee, and had to make birdie to get into the playoff, which he did.  Then he was a shot behind on the 90th tee, and had to make birdie to extend the playoff, which he did.  Then he won.

Oh wait, do you mean at the BEGINNING of the final day, rather than during it?  Well, Tiger was behind at the beginning of the final day in the other major you mentioned, the 2005 Masters where he beat Chris DiMarco.  In fact, he was four shots back when the third round resumed on Sunday morning.  But he made 7 birdies in a row (counting the three he had made when play was suspended due to darkness on Saturday) to take the lead, again winning in a playoff.  You should watch it, it's pretty good.  (Especially around 3:50:10😁)

So I guess what you really mean is he never won a major when he was behind after three full rounds, and that's right.  He's won from behind after 53 holes, and 55 holes (including the epic final round of the 2000 PGA), but never exactly 54 holes.

But what exactly do you think that proves?  That he's no good in the clutch?  Then how do you explain him coming from behind after more than 54 holes?  Surely it's harder to win from behind after 55, or 60, or even 71 holes as he did in 2008, than it is to win from behind after 54.

Quoting that 54-hole stat is one of the dumbest things Team Jack says, not only because it makes them look like idiots by implying that it's easy to attain the third-round lead in a major, let alone to sleep on it with all that pressure, but because it undermines the second dumbest thing they say, which is that Tiger's opponents always crumbled whenever he was in contention.  If that were true, then he would have at least 20 majors, because he finished second by three shots or less six times.   Throw in his top fives, and he would have a boatload of behind-after-54 wins. But as you so cleverly noted, he has none.  Which means that his opponents NEVER handed him a major trophy; he had to earn them all.

 

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3 hours ago, Vinsk said:

They’re all flat-earthers Mike. Logic, math, nor common sense will change their minds.  

You cannot reason someone out of something he or she was not reasoned into.

You want to know what is anti-math?  The people ( YOU, for instance) who ridiculed me for just putting forward the hypothesis that Tiger was  slightly lucky over his major career and Jack was slightly unlucky.

Intuitively it should make sense that luck plays a significant role in career major numbers. Someone like Greg Norman had a lot of bad luck and had a lower major count (two) than his skill level would predict.   Doesn't it seem at least plausible that Jack with 19 seconds and 9 thirds probably had a lower total major count that would be expected relative to his skill? Sure some people gave him tournaments (Doug Sanders) but he was runner up to Trevino 4 times and Watson 4 times..

 http://www.golf.com/tour-and-news/jack-nicklaus-wasnt-far-winning-28-major-titles "Jack Nicklaus Wasn't Far From Winning 28 Major Championships"

There are even a couple of academic papers that have tried to quantify luck in winning golf tournaments.

Dead Solid Lucky: Does winning a golf tournament come down to skill or chance?

http://www.slate.com/articles/sports/moneygolf/2010/08/dead_solid_lucky.html

 

Quote

Until he won the Masters in 2004, Phil Mickelson was pilloried for choking in the majors. But according to the Connolly-Rendleman analysis, Phil actually played better than expected in these big tournaments. He just wasn't as lucky as the guys who eventually won. He played well. They played out of their minds.

 

http://www.dartmouth.edu/~stats/rendleman.pdf

 

Quote

. On average, it took 9.6 strokes of cumulative “good luck” to win a tournament during our sample period

Tiger was 3 and 0 in playoffs and had a 1 stroke victory  and three 2 stroke victories and relatively few seconds. Tiger capitalized at a remarkable rate when he was in contention. Whereas Jack still had a high win rate but not even in the same stratosphere as Tiger's rate when he was in contention.

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There is a saying, people make their own luck. Tiger might seem lucky, but he’s really that dominant. 

You could say Jack was lucky to play in an era he could take advantage of weaker fields. 

You missed this from the link you posted,

Quote

Connolly and Rendleman conclude that only the very best golfers of the late 1990s and early 2000s—Woods, Mickelson, David Duval, Davis Love III—were able to win a tournament without being significantly luckier than the rest of the field.

 

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11 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

There is a saying, people make their own luck. Tiger might seem lucky, but he’s really that dominant. 

 

That is true. That is a saying.. You can't control luck, so that statement is a more useful mental model than believing life is up chance.  But is that saying completely accurate? Of course not. Luck plays a massive role in success.

Quote

You missed this from the link you posted,

That has absolutely nothing to do with the amount of luck in their careers. Luck is going to be a bell shaped curve. What that paper does show is their is a lot of variance in golf. And since a career of majors is a limited sample size, a person's true win rate likely won't converge with their actual career win rate.

 

 

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45 minutes ago, Fidelio said:

You want to know what is anti-math?

Wow. Way to completely skip over the many valid posts people have made that show how your "majors are all that matter" method is a joke, and that Tiger beat fields which were much tougher to beat in regular PGA Tour events than Jack had to beat in many of his major wins (most? all?), as well as those his "challengers" (like Gary Player) had to beat.

But hey, at least you avoided calling us all stupid Americans or whatever you did the last time… 🤦🏼‍♂️

45 minutes ago, Fidelio said:

The people ( YOU, for instance) who ridiculed me for just putting forward the hypothesis that Tiger was  slightly lucky over his major career and Jack was slightly unlucky.

Sorry, but no, Tiger didn't get lucky 14 times, or 79 times. That's a crock of shit, and we haven't talked about that in a long time.

Again, you're choosing to ignore the recent conversation, and for some reason going back to some older conversation where you can't prove or demonstrate anything.

45 minutes ago, Fidelio said:

Intuitively it should make sense that luck plays a significant role in career major numbers. Someone like Greg Norman had a lot of bad luck and had a lower major count (two) than his skill level would predict.   Doesn't it seem at least plausible that Jack with 19 seconds and 9 thirds probably had a lower total major count that would be expected relative to his skill? Sure some people gave him tournaments (Doug Sanders) but he was runner up to Trevino 4 times and Watson 4 times.

So what?

Had Jack and Tiger switched places, Tiger wouldn't have had to leave it to luck, and might have won 30 majors (while working half as hard).

Winning a U.S. Open by 15 and a Masters by 12 removes luck from the equation. He could be unlucky as hell and still win by double digits.

45 minutes ago, Fidelio said:

http://www.golf.com/tour-and-news/jack-nicklaus-wasnt-far-winning-28-major-titles "Jack Nicklaus Wasn't Far From Winning 28 Major Championships"

And yet he didn't.

45 minutes ago, Fidelio said:

FWIW, the first article is almost entirely based on the second PDF you linked to.

45 minutes ago, Fidelio said:

This isn't the topic for discussing that article, but this is a ridiculous means of determining "luck" IMO:

Quote

This kind of luck cannot be directly measured. What Connolly and Rendleman do is model what a player is expected to shoot, accounting for their recent play, the course, and the weather. They then declare any deviation from that expected score attributable to "luck."

No, that's not luck. That's day-to-day variance. The same player can shoot 63 and then 73 the next day. Players who win by the very nature of winning have four pretty good, better-than-average days. Attributing all of that difference to "luck" is a joke. The players during those days just played better than they typically do.

This should give it away:

Quote

The "luckiest" performance recorded in the paper was turned in by Mark Calcavecchia at the 2001 Phoenix Open: 21.59 strokes. If you revisit that victory, it makes sense. At the time, Calcavecchia had turned 40 and was in a deep slump. That week, against a strong field that included Tiger Woods, Calc equaled the tour record for birdies, with 32, and tied another tour record by finishing 28 strokes under par.

Give me a f***ing break. He did not have over 20 strokes worth of "luck." He was in a slump and busted out. He played good golf. He didn't get "lucky" by almost six shots per round.

Quote

Connolly and Rendleman conclude that only the very best golfers of the late 1990s and early 2000s—Woods, Mickelson, David Duval, Davis Love III—were able to win a tournament without being significantly luckier than the rest of the field. The average player needs a lot of shots to go right for him—and, typically, a lot of shots to go wrong for everyone else—in order to hoist a trophy on Sunday. Think about that when someone you've never heard of—Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen—wins a major championship.

More bogus crap. But since they defined "luck" as "performing better than their scoring average of late" (paraphrased), then that is what you get.

If instead they had simply called that "performing better than their scoring average of late," you could have written that paragraph by saying "they conclude that only the very best golfers of the late 19990s and early 2000s are capable of winning a tournament by playing around their average game - their average game is so much better than their peers that they are able to win with their "B" game."

That would have been a more accurate assessment.

45 minutes ago, Fidelio said:

Tiger was 3 and 0 in playoffs and had a 1 stroke victory  and three 2 stroke victories and relatively few seconds. Tiger capitalized at a remarkable rate when he was in contention. Whereas Jack still had a high win rate but not even in the same stratosphere as Tiger's rate when he was in contention.

Maybe… oh gosh but maybe… Jack wasn't as good.

Horrible article, @Fidelio. And you dare to criticize us with that as your foundation? Ha ha ha.


So here's what has happened, IMO:

  • Tiger has a ton of better stats than Jack, so @Fidelio goes back to the "I only really care about majors" line.
  • I and others counter with the idea that 14x is more impressive than 18y.
  • He says "Jack also finished second or third pretty often."
  • Others point out that most of Tiger's 79 PGA Tour events were against stiffer competition than any of Jack's major wins.
  • @Fidelio says "oh, but Jack was unlucky, and Tiger was lucky" and cites a study that not only has incredibly flawed logic, but which has nothing at all to do with Jack, and which states that players like Tiger don't need luck to win, they are that good.
4 minutes ago, Fidelio said:

That is true. That is a saying.. You can't control luck, so that statement is a more useful mental model than believing life is up chance.  But is that saying completely accurate? Of course not. Luck plays a massive role in success.

You have a very, very different definition of "massive" than I do.

Jack was lucky to have won several of his majors. Jack was lucky to have won the Masters in 1986, with Seve hitting a nearly once-in-a-lifetime drop-kick hook on 15, Norman missing right on 18, etc. Arnie three-putted every third hole (seemingly) to hand Jack his first major. The aforementioned missed two-footer at St. Andrews. Etc.

Tiger didn't need luck to win by 15. Or 12.

I don't think Jack was any more lucky or unlucky than Tiger, and you @Fidelio can't demonstrate that he was or wasn't, either.

You simply refuse to crown Tiger the GOAT because you don't want to. Just admit it and move on.

And if you won't admit it (I suspect this to be the case), at least stop with the bullshit criticism of us for being stupid Americans or not understanding math or whatever, when it's actually you who seems to be dismissive of logic. Of math. Of reason. It seems to be you who changes his argument to ignore the many areas where Tiger beats the pants off Jack, or who pretends to care about finishing third in a major that had a weaker field than a standard PGA Tour event from 2000.

4 minutes ago, Fidelio said:

That has absolutely nothing to do with the amount of luck in their careers. Luck is going to be a bell shaped curve. What that paper does show is their is a lot of variance in golf.

I don't think the paper shows that at all. And what it does show is that Tiger Woods can play his average game and still beat people.

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2 hours ago, Fidelio said:

Intuitively it should make sense that luck plays a significant role in career major numbers. Someone like Greg Norman had a lot of bad luck and had a lower major count (two) than his skill level would predict.   Doesn't it seem at least plausible that Jack with 19 seconds and 9 thirds probably had a lower total major count that would be expected relative to his skill? Sure some people gave him tournaments (Doug Sanders) but he was runner up to Trevino 4 times and Watson 4 times..

Intuitively, it should make sense that if Jack lost four times each to Trevino and Watson, and they never finished second to him, then they were simply better players at that time than he was.  As I said yesterday, Jack had a 20ish-year stretch of being one of the best players in the world, but he was THE best only five of those years.  The rest of the time, Arnie, Billy Casper, Trevino, Miller, and Watson, at least, were clearly better in given years.

It's not bad luck if you lose to better golfers.  Bad luck is when you happen to run into a worse golfer on the best week of his life, and that happened to Tiger fairly often.  Rich Beem, Michael Campbell, and Trevor Immelman all beat Tiger for majors by playing miles above where they've ever played before or since.  Bob May, Chris DiMarco, and Rocco Mediate came within a shot of doing the same thing.  THAT is bad luck.

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4 minutes ago, brocks said:

Intuitively, it should make sense that if Jack lost four times each to Trevino and Watson, and they never finished second to him, then they were simply better players at that time than he was.  As I said yesterday, Jack had a 20ish-year stretch of being one of the best players in the world, but he was THE best only five of those years.  The rest of the time, Arnie, Billy Casper, Trevino, Miller, and Watson, at least, were clearly better in given years.

It's not bad luck if you lose to better golfers.  Bad luck is when you happen to run into a worse golfer on the best week of his life, and that happened to Tiger fairly often.  Rich Beem, Michael Campbell, and Trevor Immelman all beat Tiger for majors by playing miles above where they've ever played before or since.  Bob May, Chris DiMarco, and Rocco Mediate came within a shot of doing the same thing.  THAT is bad luck.

No, no, @brocks. The authors of that article defined "luck" as "playing better or worse than you have in the past," basically.

So a player having a hot week wasn't actually playing better - they were just getting really, really lucky. :-P


Between your post and the faulty logic in their definition… this "luck" crap should die a quick death.

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8 hours ago, Vinsk said:

They’re all flat-earthers Mike. Logic, math, nor common sense will change their minds.  

You cannot reason someone out of something he or she was not reasoned into.

Ha, yeah basically the theme of this thread.

6 hours ago, brocks said:

You must never watch golf.  Tiger won several majors when he was behind the final day, including the two you mentioned. 

Never occurs to some that he didn't have to come from behind much because of was that good 😉

4 hours ago, Fidelio said:

Luck plays a massive role in success.

A massive role? Come on.

Like @iacas said, you don't win 79 tournaments and 14 majors because you get lucky all the time.

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@Fidelio So you’ve concluded from all the data presented that Tiger is just luckier than Jack. And this from someone who claims to be ‘indifferent’ towards the  two. Right. Got it. 

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It looks like I’m a little late getting my opinion in, but......I never considered Tiger to be as good as Jack. Had they played head-to-head it would have been an excellent match. Jack did it for so many years, which I figured would be Tiger’s downfall. His game was such a huge stress on his body there was no way his body could withstand that pressure over time. I did not expect his decline to be as rapid as it was, but that’s how things go sometimes.

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5 minutes ago, BillBuckeye said:

I never considered Tiger to be as good as Jack. Had they played head-to-head it would have been an excellent match.

Really? I think Tiger wins 100 matches 65-35 or so.

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If you are comparing their stats, keep in mind the the clubs and balls they were using very different. Jack was using woods made of wood. You can’t fairly compare their driving stats because the equipment of today is so much different than the 60’s and 70’s when Jack was in his prime. I think you’re selling Jack short, he was every bit as good as Tiger was in his prime. Remember, Jack won 18 majors and 2nd place 15 times, he could handle the pressure situations. 

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20 minutes ago, iacas said:

Really? I think Tiger wins 100 matches 65-35 or so.

If Jack’s lucky, yeah. Sorry.

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40 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

@Fidelio So you’ve concluded from all the data presented that Tiger is just luckier than Jack. And this from someone who claims to be ‘indifferent’ towards the  two. Right. Got it. 

That's right. I go with the evidence.  I am capable of looking at things objectively. It is a helpful skill.

That in no way settles the debate over who had the better career. It does help  Jack's case which I guess is why I am getting push back.  It frankly is so self evident that I didn't even see the need to verbalize when I brought up the top finishes. It is implicit in bringing up top finishes. Just like field strength, reasonable people can't disagree with this.

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