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


sungho_kr

Greatest Golfer (GOAT)  

214 members have voted

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

    • Tiger Woods is the man
      1629
    • Jack Nicklaus is my favorite
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10 hours ago, lastings said:

It honestly wouldn’t surprise me if Tiger won all 4 majors this year, passed Snead, won the grand slam, tied Jack’s majors record and people would still say, “but jack has more top 10’s!”

A dozen or so years ago, when it looked like Tiger was on pace to win 25 majors, I was debating a guy on the old Golf Channel board, now defunct.  He had scientifically analyzed the number of majors Jack's top opponents had won compared to Tiger's, completely oblivious not only to the strength of the fields in the 60's, but to the fact that he was comparing a 25-year span to a ten-year span. 

And he concluded that Jack's competition was five times as strong as Tiger's, and that Tiger therefore needed to win 90 majors before he would challenge Jack as the GOAT.  I am not joking.

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10 hours ago, Beastie said:

I wouldn't say "cherry picking" just out all the names Pretzel listed, it struck me straightaway that DiMarco didn't really match up to the others on that list , never mind to a guy with 8 majors........... 

 

DiMarco would have won two majors within about 15 months if Tiger didn't pull off some incredible golf to beat him. Who knows where DiMarco's career might have gone if Tiger wasn't standing in the way.

Likewise for Sergio Garcia who would have gotten the major monkey off his back at age 19 instead of it sitting there for almost 20 years. The career trajectory for these guys probably would have turned out a lot better without TW in the way. 

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8 hours ago, Dr. Manhattan said:

 

Who knows where DiMarco's career might have gone if Tiger wasn't standing in the way.

Likewise for Sergio Garcia who would have gotten the major monkey off his back at age 19 instead of it sitting there for almost 20 years. The career trajectory for these guys probably would have turned out a lot better without TW in the way. 

Interesting, or we can go with what Phil says (even if he's just being political) that Tiger raised the bar and this made them all play better.

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2 minutes ago, rehmwa said:

Interesting, or we can go with what Phil says (even if he's just being political) that Tiger raised the bar and this made them all play better.

yep, thats normally the case in most sports. Nothing makes you play better than getting your arse kicked week in week out.

I say normally the case as my football team have had their butts kicked all season and didn't improve :cry:

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20 hours ago, Vinsk said:

They will. Some people simply can not grasp that facts don’t care about feelings. They feel putting is where the real money is. They feel Jack having 18 majors is better than Tiger’s 15. If any current top ten player went and played on the Mckenzie Tour and picked up a bunch of wins (he would) then those same people would say...’yeah but that’s among a lot weaker field.’ But if you then point out that several of Jack’s early major wins had a large number of club pros who had no chance of winning they would then reply, ‘oh yeah...well he had to beat Player, Watson, Weiskop and Plamer...you call them weak players!?’ They’ll never get it because they don’t want to get it.

 

There are folks who, as you say, base their views purely on emotion (or feelings) - and they are on both sides of this issue.  There are also people who bring facts and figures to support their side of the issue - but not facts that can be prove the answer to the question.

 

This entire thread is discussing a hypothetical.

 

There is no proof available and never will be, regardless of the side of the fence that you stand.

 

It is interesting to discuss and debate, I suppose, but in the end it is simply a question that cannot be answered with anything resembling 'proof' (except in the minds of those who 'feel' that they are right).

 

I don't know who the best golfer was.  I just know that they were both the greatest of their time.

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15 minutes ago, Hardluckster said:

 

There are folks who, as you say, base their views purely on emotion (or feelings) - and they are on both sides of this issue.  There are also people who bring facts and figures to support their side of the issue - but not facts that can be prove the answer to the question.

 

This entire thread is discussing a hypothetical.

 

There is no proof available and never will be, regardless of the side of the fence that you stand.

 

It is interesting to discuss and debate, I suppose, but in the end it is simply a question that cannot be answered with anything resembling 'proof' (except in the minds of those who 'feel' that they are right).

 

I don't know who the best golfer was.  I just know that they were both the greatest of their time.

Well I get your point but don’t entirely agree. It’s really being a bit stubborn to not recognize that Jack’s fields in his earlier major wins were not nearly as deep and competitive as Tiger’s. The point made regarding the chances of winning with x number of ranked, quality players compared to y is true. It’s not opinion. It’s also a fact that Tiger’s winning percentage is greater than Jack’s. It’s also fact that Tiger has won more tournaments and in a shorter time period than Jack. 

This isn’t a question of taking Jack from his day and playing Tiger who would win. And that doesn’t matter because it’s golf. Any golfer can beat any golfer. That of course is impossible to know. The question is taking both their careers who is the greatest golfer of all time. More stats, data, and facts point to Tiger. At least if you read through the points that @iacas, @turtleback and @brocks have presented It appears that way.

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53 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

Well I get your point but don’t entirely agree. It’s really being a bit stubborn to not recognize that Jack’s fields in his earlier major wins were not nearly as deep and competitive as Tiger’s. The point made regarding the chances of winning with x number of ranked, quality players compared to y is true. It’s not opinion. It’s also a fact that Tiger’s winning percentage is greater than Jack’s. It’s also fact that Tiger has won more tournaments and in a shorter time period than Jack. 

This isn’t a question of taking Jack from his day and playing Tiger who would win. And that doesn’t matter because it’s golf. Any golfer can beat any golfer. That of course is impossible to know. The question is taking both their careers who is the greatest golfer of all time. More stats, data, and facts point to Tiger. At least if you read through the points that @iacas, @turtleback and @brocks have presented It appears that way.

Up front, I want it to be clear that I don't think that Jack is the GOAT.  I also don't think that its Tiger.  I believe that the GOAT in any sport is a mythical creature that can never truly be identified.  That is just my view (that doesn't make it correct 😊).

I don't disagree with you, Vinsk.  I'm not disputing that there are facts that can suggest which golfer might be the best.  More of those facts point to Tiger than to Jack.  I totally agree that many of the fields that Jack competed against were not nearly as deep as the current fields of golf.  Tiger's win percentage is higher than Jack's percentage at the same age.  Tiger's win total is higher than that of Nicklaus.  All are facts.

My view is that we simply cannot know which golfer possessed the most skill because there are too many variables.  Head-to-head, both in their prime with equal equipment, training, and preparation it would have been an incredible thing to watch I'd bet.  

If numbers are all that you use to determine which of these two was the greatest, then Tiger wins I think - even with the 18>14 argument that is espoused by so many.  I simply don't necessarily think that numbers can tell us which was the greatest golfer of all time - to me that would be the most skillful golfer ever to play and I don't think that numbers can tell us that (again, just my view).

Who is the greatest?  It might well be Tiger.  It might be Jack.  It may even be someone else completely.

Just my $0.02.

Edited by Hardluckster
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32 minutes ago, Hardluckster said:

Sure it is.  You cannot prove that either is better than the other.

Huh? Of course you can. And it’s been well presented. 

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14 minutes ago, Hardluckster said:

Head-to-head, both in their prime with equal equipment, training, and preparation

The topic of equipment has been discussed  and even Jack himself admitted that the improvement of equipment has lessened his advantage because it helped the lesser skilled stay closer to beating him.

Training? Nobody forced Jack to smoke and eat ice cream rather than hitting the gym. He trained as he saw fit. Even if you disagree with that, it’s still falls as a reason Tiger is better whether it’s an advantage to Tiger or not.

Preparation. Jack had his own preparation. Nobody prevented him from preparing. And how many times did Jack have to fly to Asia for a PR event then return immediately and play a four day event? If you want to say there are advantages for Tiger in preparation that weren’t available for Jack then again..just another reason Tiger’s better. 

It’s not a hypothetical argument. When we discuss athletes and their accomplishments it’s their accomplishments that we use to evaluate their status. Serena is easily considered a superior tennis player to Gabriella Sabatini. Why? They never played so how can we say that? 

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9 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

The topic of equipment has been discussed  and even Jack himself admitted that the improvement of equipment has lessened his advantage because it helped the lesser skilled stay closer to beating him.

I never said otherwise.

9 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

Training? Nobody forced Jack to smoke and eat ice cream rather than hitting the gym. He trained as he saw fit. Even if you disagree with that, it’s still falls as a reason Tiger is better whether it’s an advantage to Tiger or not.

Preparation. Jack had his own preparation. Nobody prevented him from preparing. And how many times did Jack have to fly to Asia for a PR event then return immediately and play a four day event? If you want to say there are advantages for Tiger in preparation that weren’t available for Jack then again..just another reason Tiger’s better. 

You don't think that players of Jack's era would have trained and prepared differently if their fellow competitors were doing so?  Jack trained and prepared in accordance with what was required to compete during his era.

9 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

It’s not a hypothetical argument. When we discuss athletes and their accomplishments it’s their accomplishments that we use to evaluate their status. Serena is easily considered a superior tennis player to Gabriella Sabatini. Why? They never played so how can we say that? 

It's all subjective, based on statistics.  If they didn't compete against one another then you can never know for certain who had the highest amount of skill and talent.

I suppose we'll just agree to disagree. 👍

You can believe that Tiger is the GOAT (that's ok by me).  I'll continue to believe that both were the greatest golfers of their time, but that beyond that we can never be certain.

Edited by Hardluckster
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43 minutes ago, Hardluckster said:

My view is that we simply cannot know which golfer possessed the most skill because there are too many variables.  Head-to-head, both in their prime with equal equipment, training, and preparation it would have been an incredible thing to watch I'd bet.  

I (and I feel like most others in this thread) look at this from the point of view for what player had the best overall career, not what player is the most skillful to ever play. 

You can use numbers to compare two players and determine which one had the better career without talking about which one was a more skillful golfer.

I dont agree with looking at it from the "which golfer possessed the most skill" perspective because at the end of the day, they play to win the tournament, they're not playing to be the most skillful. 

My question to you now is, which golfer had the better career, Jack's career or Tiger's career thus far?

43 minutes ago, Hardluckster said:

even with the 18>14 argument that is espoused by so many.  

It's 15  ;-)

Edited by klineka
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10 minutes ago, Hardluckster said:

If they didn't compete against one another then you can never know for certain who had the highest amount of skill and talent.

This I guess is where we disagree. An athletes results/accomplishments are based on their skill and talent. The better skill and talent, the more accomplishments.

So by your logic Bjeergard is a greater golfer than Tiger because they did compete and Tiger lost. 

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16 minutes ago, klineka said:

I (and I feel like most others in this thread) look at this from the point of view for what player had the best overall career, not what player is the most skillful to ever play. 

You can use numbers to compare two players and determine which one had the better career without talking about which one was a more skillful golfer.

I dont agree with looking at it from the "which golfer possessed the most skill" perspective because at the end of the day, they play to win the tournament, they're not playing to be the most skillful. 

My question to you now is, which golfer had the better career, Jack's career or Tiger's career thus far?

It's 15  ;-)

So it is.  Creature of habit, I am...... 😳

Qualifying it in that manner, in my opinion, it becomes a more objective discussion.  Discussing accomplishments during a career to attempt to quantify who had the best career is much more doable, imo.

Tiger clearly has the statistical advantage if you are basing your decision on that criteria (except for the 18>15 category).  If choosing one or the other based solely on current stats, I'd choose Tiger in spite of the 18>15 (which Tiger, I think, said was the benchmark).

I was blessed to be able to watche both Jack and Tiger play.  They were both great golfers, but I think that Tiger is the more skillful of the two.  I think that, given an even playing field and a career to compete against each other, Tiger would have beaten Jack more than he would have lost.  My contention is that we simply cannot know that.

11 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

This I guess is where we disagree. An athletes results/accomplishments are based on their skill and talent. The better skill and talent, the more accomplishments.

Its not quite that simple, imo.  There can be a multitude of factors that could potentially affect the statistics.

11 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

So by your logic Bjeergard is a greater golfer than Tiger because they did compete and Tiger lost. 

Now, you are just being silly and trying to put words in my mouth.

One tournament does not make a career.  One victory does not make one team or individual better than all others for perpetuity.

Edited by Hardluckster
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1 hour ago, Hardluckster said:

 

There are folks who, as you say, base their views purely on emotion (or feelings) - and they are on both sides of this issue.  There are also people who bring facts and figures to support their side of the issue - but not facts that can be prove the answer to the question.

 

This entire thread is discussing a hypothetical.

 

There is no proof available and never will be, regardless of the side of the fence that you stand.

 

It is interesting to discuss and debate, I suppose, but in the end it is simply a question that cannot be answered with anything resembling 'proof' (except in the minds of those who 'feel' that they are right).

If you mean 'prove' in the mathematical sense of taking agreed upon postulates and applying rigorous logical reasoning to arrive at a result that is 100% guaranteed to be true forever (say the way we prove the Pythagorean Theorem) then obviously you are correct - but irrelevant.

Because that isn't how we use that term in a sports context.  But the fact is that there is nothing on Jack's side of the argument other than the simplistic 18>14, now 15.  Nothing.  Not.A.Thing.  Every other argument for Jack (fields, technology, etc.) has been completely and comprehensively debunked - usually by Jack himself, (maybe inadvertantly) in his '96 autobiography.  

The other thing I find interesting is how we went from 'Jack is the GOAT' to 'it is impossible to say who the GOAT is' as soon as it became evident that he wasn't the GOAT anymore.  The same people who had no trouble ignoring previous generations to pronounce Jack the GOAT (and in an old thread we had a spirited discussion on whether Hogan had a strong claim that was being completely ignored due to major mania) now claim it is impossible to compare players from different generations.

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