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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
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    • Jack Nicklaus is my favorite
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Just now, turtleback said:

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.

If you bothered to read my posts, you would see that I'm not advocating for Jack as the GOAT.

 

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43 minutes ago, Hardluckster said:

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.

 

 

.

So statistics, which are based on facts, numbers and analysis are subjective but musings about talent and skill are more objective?  Did you get your dictionary from George Orwell?

26 minutes ago, Hardluckster said:

If you bothered to read my posts, you would see that I'm not advocating for Jack as the GOAT.

 

I never said you were.  I was challenging you reasoning process.  If you had bothered to read MY post.

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1 hour ago, Hardluckster said:

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

That’s not what makes it a hypothetical.

Or in the case if this discussion, NOT a hypothetical.

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52 minutes ago, turtleback said:

So statistics, which are based on facts, numbers and analysis are subjective but musings about talent and skill are more objective?  Did you get your dictionary from George Orwell?

Comparing statistics from two completely different experiments, with different parameters, makes it subjective.  If all athletes competed with the same parameters, the statistics would become more objective. 

In science, you do not set up two completely different experiments to test two opposing viewpoints.  That is the case whenever comparing any athlete from one generation to an athlete from a completely different generation.

52 minutes ago, turtleback said:

I never said you were.  I was challenging you reasoning process.  If you had bothered to read MY post.

In that case, the previous post you submitted with all of the reasons Jack was not the GOAT was not necessary.  If I misinterpreted, I apologize.  I think you should be able to see how that post seemed to me to suggest that I was espousing Jack as the GOAT.

38 minutes ago, iacas said:

That’s not what makes it a hypothetical.

Or in the case if this discussion, NOT a hypothetical.

Definition of hypothetical  : involving or being based on a suggested idea or theory : being or involving conjecture

In my view, it does.

 

Regardless, I've enjoyed the discussion and I'm off to play a round of golf.  Maybe I'll end up the goat (although it will no doubt carry a completely different meaning when applied to me).  😀

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I don't quite get the argument (Other than fun over a round of golf or beer).

The conditions are different, the equipment is different, the courses are different and the competition is different. 

If this was track and field, no one would discount what Jesse Owens did in the 1940s because Usain Bolt is faster.

Jack beat everyone out to play in 18 majors. He was the best of his era, hands down. Jack redefined the game in terms of Power, distance and clutch putting. He set a new bar for kids to aspire to. 

Tiger beat everyone out to play in 14 (no 15 Majors). He was the best of his era, Hands down. Tiger redefined the game in terms of power, distance, athleticism and clutch putting. He set a new bar for the next generation to aspire to.

Would Jack at his prime have beat Tiger at his best??? Who knows? What would Jack have been like with modern greens and equipment? NO IDEA

The question in my mind is how long will Tiger's era last? Will he surpass Jack's achievements? YES and NO. 

I will speculate that if you put Jack with his equipment at this prime vs Tiger with his equipment at his prime, Tiger would win because he would be hitting wedge vs Jack's 5i due to the gains in distance. But I would never bet against either of them in a fair fight.

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3 minutes ago, criley4way said:

The conditions are different, the equipment is different, the courses are different and the competition is different. 

Yes the competition is different, but that doesn't mean the competition was equal. If player A has 50 wins against elite competition and player B has 50 wins against average competition, obviously player A had the better career and should be considered the better player.

6 minutes ago, criley4way said:

If this was track and field, no one would discount what Jesse Owens did in the 1940s because Usain Bolt is faster.

Nobody is discounting what Jack did, we are just saying what Tiger has done is better than what Jack did.

Bolt is faster than Owens, thats a fact.

Tiger has more wins against tougher competition than Jack, thats a fact.

That's not discounting what Jack did, it's just saying that what Tiger did is more impressive.

9 minutes ago, criley4way said:

Jack beat everyone out to play in 18 majors. He was the best of his era, hands down. Jack redefined the game in terms of Power, distance and clutch putting. He set a new bar for kids to aspire to. 

Tiger beat everyone out to play in 14 (no 15 Majors). He was the best of his era, Hands down. Tiger redefined the game in terms of power, distance, athleticism and clutch putting. He set a new bar for the next generation to aspire to.

As a whole the people Jack beat out to win 18 majors are an inferior group of golfers compared to the people Tiger beat out to win 15 majors.

10 minutes ago, criley4way said:

Would Jack at his prime have beat Tiger at his best??? Who knows? What would Jack have been like with modern greens and equipment? NO IDEA

Since there is no way to actually make that happen, none of that really matters when determining which golfer had the better career.

11 minutes ago, criley4way said:

I will speculate that if you put Jack with his equipment at this prime vs Tiger with his equipment at his prime, Tiger would win because he would be hitting wedge vs Jack's 5i due to the gains in distance. But I would never bet against either of them in a fair fight.

And that's all speculation on your part. People have provided facts indicating why Tiger has had the better career and is the better golfer.

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I know I'm in the minority here, and I think Tiger is the greatest player I've ever seen at his peak, but I still think he needs to get to 18 to be considered the greatest. I'll give him the tiebreaker. And I do think if he stays healthy over the next 7 years or so, he'll get there, even though that's a big IF with his health.

I agree, the competition is much stronger now than in Jack's time. I agree it's much harder to win majors today than in Jack's time. It's harder to win majors now than in the beginning of Tiger's time. I agree the technology is more advanced. But if the fields back in the 60s and 70s were just as international and deep as they were over the last 20 years, there's still no guarantee Jack wouldn't reach 18. No one knows that for an absolute fact. Would he likely reach 18? No. But it's still no guarantee. Kind of like if you go to court..."yeah, he probably committed the crime." Not the same as committing the crime. 

It's so hard to compare eras for me. I hate the MJ-Lebron debate and Federer-Sampras debate because eras are different (although I think MJ and Federer are the best). But put it this way...if Jack was the same age as Tiger and had the technology he had, who's to say he wouldn't win more majors than Tiger? Maybe Jack would have 11 and Tiger 7. Who knows? No guarantee.

I'll never forget Tiger on the hot seat on ESPN back in 2007 or something like that. Forget when it exactly was but it was when he was at his prime. But he was asked, "Do you believe you're the best player to ever live" and Tiger's only response was "18". He didn't say anything else. And they asked him again, "So you're saying you're not the greatest ever" and he responded again "18". Me and my brother still talk about that interview. That's Tiger acknowledging himself, to be the best, he has to get to 18. 

 

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7 minutes ago, ChrisP said:

I'll never forget Tiger on the hot seat on ESPN back in 2007 or something like that. Forget when it exactly was but it was when he was at his prime. But he was asked, "Do you believe you're the best player to ever live" and Tiger's only response was "18". He didn't say anything else. And they asked him again, "So you're saying you're not the greatest ever" and he responded again "18". Me and my brother still talk about that interview. That's Tiger acknowledging himself, to be the best, he has to get to 18.

I love that - both Tiger and Jack really acknowledge the achievements of the other every single time they are asked - some is just good PR, but I believe most of it is sincere and wired into how they look at success.  The competitiveness of a true winner is that they want to earn their spot outright.  I like how this translates into a hard goal that gives the other the entirety of the benefit of the doubt - such that surpassing them isn't just by a nose, but by a mile.  I speaks to how the mind a real competitor works.

Edited by rehmwa
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5 minutes ago, ChrisP said:

I know I'm in the minority here, and I think Tiger is the greatest player I've ever seen at his peak, but I still think he needs to get to 18 to be considered the greatest. I'll give him the tiebreaker. And I do think if he stays healthy over the next 7 years or so, he'll get there, even though that's a big IF with his health.

I agree, the competition is much stronger now than in Jack's time. I agree it's much harder to win majors today than in Jack's time. It's harder to win majors now than in the beginning of Tiger's time. I agree the technology is more advanced. But if the fields back in the 60s and 70s were just as international and deep as they were over the last 20 years, there's still no guarantee Jack wouldn't reach 18. No one knows that for an absolute fact. Would he likely reach 18? No. But it's still no guarantee. Kind of like if you go to court..."yeah, he probably committed the crime." Not the same as committing the crime. 

It's so hard to compare eras for me. I hate the MJ-Lebron debate and Federer-Sampras debate because eras are different (although I think MJ and Federer are the best). But put it this way...if Jack was the same age as Tiger and had the technology he had, who's to say he wouldn't win more majors than Tiger? Maybe Jack would have 11 and Tiger 7. Who knows? No guarantee.

I'll never forget Tiger on the hot seat on ESPN back in 2007 or something like that. Forget when it exactly was but it was when he was at his prime. But he was asked, "Do you believe you're the best player to ever live" and Tiger's only response was "18". He didn't say anything else. And they asked him again, "So you're saying you're not the greatest ever" and he responded again "18". Me and my brother still talk about that interview. That's Tiger acknowledging himself, to be the best, he has to get to 18. 

 

You lost me when you said MJ or Lebron, when according to the logic you've used don't you have to pick Bill Russell?
He has 11 championships, no telling what would have happened if he played at the same time as Jordan or James, but until someone gets more than 11 it has to be Russell - what am I missing here?

 

{other than common sense and some perspective}

full disclosure - my point in continuing to reply to this thread is to see how long it takes to get to 500 pages

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4 minutes ago, rehmwa said:

I love that - both Tiger and Jack really acknowledge the achievements of the other every single time they are asked - some is just good PR, but I believe most of it is sincere and wired into how they look at success.  The competitiveness of a true winner is that they want to earn their spot outright.  I like how this translates into a hard goal that gives the other the entirety of the benefit of the doubt - such that surpassing them isn't just by a nose, but by a mile.  I speaks to how the mind a real competitor works.

Agree. Both men are very humble to the other. I like that. I also think Tiger wants there to be no question in people’s minds, including his own, and if he gets to 18, it ends the debate for 99% of the public. There will always be that 1%.

3 minutes ago, Wally Fairway said:

You lost me when you said MJ or Lebron, when according to the logic you've used don't you have to pick Bill Russell?
He has 11 championships, no telling what would have happened if he played at the same time as Jordan or James, but until someone gets more than 11 it has to be Russell - what am I missing here?

 

{other than common sense and some perspective}

full disclosure - my point in continuing to reply to this thread is to see how long it takes to get to 500 pages

Good point on Russell. I’m not a big NBA guy, I just know everyone debates M.J. vs Lebron so that’s why I brought those two up.

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13 minutes ago, ChrisP said:

 But put it this way...if Jack was the same age as Tiger and had the technology he had, who's to say he wouldn't win more majors than Tiger? Maybe Jack would have 11 and Tiger 7. Who knows? No guarantee.

Ok let's reverse that.

If Tiger was the same age as Jack who's to say he wouldn't win more majors than Jack (especially since it would have been against MUCH easier fields)? Maybe Tiger would have 20 and Jack would have 5.

23 minutes ago, ChrisP said:

I agree, the competition is much stronger now than in Jack's time. I agree it's much harder to win majors today than in Jack's time. It's harder to win majors now than in the beginning of Tiger's time.

So if it's harder to win majors today than in Jack's time AND it's harder to win now than in the beginning of Tiger's time, shouldn't that mean that by default every single one of Tiger's majors are more impressive than Jack's, thus the sum total of JTiger's 15 wins is more significant than the sum total of Jack's 18 wins?

You acknowledged the facts about the technology, the level of competition, even contradicted yourself about the majors, but then chose to ignore those things and instead focused on hypothetical scenarios framed in ways that supported your point? C'mon man.

 

18 minutes ago, ChrisP said:

 

I'll never forget Tiger on the hot seat on ESPN back in 2007 or something like that. Forget when it exactly was but it was when he was at his prime. But he was asked, "Do you believe you're the best player to ever live" and Tiger's only response was "18". He didn't say anything else. And they asked him again, "So you're saying you're not the greatest ever" and he responded again "18". Me and my brother still talk about that interview. That's Tiger acknowledging himself, to be the best, he has to get to 18. 

 

This is also terrible logic because you said you think MJ is the best, but Lebron has stated in interviews that Lebron believes he (Lebron) believes he is better than MJ. 

So when Tiger uses the number 18 as a response to is he the greatest ever question that (in your mind) means Jack is still the greatest but when Lebron states he believes he is the greatest you still go with Jordan? Again, C'mon man.

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22 minutes ago, klineka said:

Ok let's reverse that.

If Tiger was the same age as Jack who's to say he wouldn't win more majors than Jack (especially since it would have been against MUCH easier fields)? Maybe Tiger would have 20 and Jack would have 5.

 

Maybe. But that's my point about comparing eras. You don't know how the other person would do in that other era. It's very possible Tiger would have more. Maybe Jack has more. We don't know. We can only speculate.

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  35 minutes ago, ChrisP said:

 But put it this way...if Jack was the same age as Tiger and had the technology he had, who's to say he wouldn't win more majors than Tiger? Maybe Jack would have 11 and Tiger 7. Who knows? No guarantee.

Ok let's reverse that.

If Tiger was the same age as Jack who's to say he wouldn't win more majors than Jack (especially since it would have been against MUCH easier fields)? Maybe Tiger would have 20 and Jack would have 5.

 

So if it's harder to win majors today than in Jack's time AND it's harder to win now than in the beginning of Tiger's time, shouldn't that mean that by default every single one of Tiger's majors are more impressive than Jack's, thus the sum total of JTiger's 15 wins is more significant than the sum total of Jack's 18 wins?

You acknowledged the facts about the technology, the level of competition, even contradicted yourself about the majors, but then chose to ignore those things and instead focused on hypothetical scenarios framed in ways that supported your point? C'mon man

So you're saying that there's no doubt in your mind that if Tiger played in Jack's day, he would have more majors than Jack? You have absolute facts that show Tiger Woods would have more majors than Jack Nicklaus if he played in his time or if Jack played in today's time? I will concede the fact that I do think Tiger's 15 majors are more impressive than Jack's 18, but that doesn't mean to me Tiger would have beat Jack head-to-head more times than not in Jack's time and vice versa. We can only go by the numbers in front of us. I'm sorry you're so against me believing that Tiger needs to get to 18 to prove he's the greatest. That's what I believe. A lot of other people believe the same thing. You need to understand that. 

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  35 minutes ago, ChrisP said:

 But put it this way...if Jack was the same age as Tiger and had the technology he had, who's to say he wouldn't win more majors than Tiger? Maybe Jack would have 11 and Tiger 7. Who knows? No guarantee.

Ok let's reverse that.

If Tiger was the same age as Jack who's to say he wouldn't win more majors than Jack (especially since it would have been against MUCH easier fields)? Maybe Tiger would have 20 and Jack would have 5.

  35 minutes ago, ChrisP said:

So if it's harder to win majors today than in Jack's time AND it's harder to win now than in the beginning of Tiger's time, shouldn't that mean that by default every single one of Tiger's majors are more impressive than Jack's, thus the sum total of JTiger's 15 wins is more significant than the sum total of Jack's 18 wins?

You acknowledged the facts about the technology, the level of competition, even contradicted yourself about the majors, but then chose to ignore those things and instead focused on hypothetical scenarios framed in ways that supported your point? C'mon man.

 

  35 minutes ago, ChrisP said:

 

I'll never forget Tiger on the hot seat on ESPN back in 2007 or something like that. Forget when it exactly was but it was when he was at his prime. But he was asked, "Do you believe you're the best player to ever live" and Tiger's only response was "18". He didn't say anything else. And they asked him again, "So you're saying you're not the greatest ever" and he responded again "18". Me and my brother still talk about that interview. That's Tiger acknowledging himself, to be the best, he has to get to 18. 

 

Read more  

This is also terrible logic because you said you think MJ is the best, but Lebron has stated in interviews that Lebron believes he (Lebron) believes he is better than MJ. 

So when Tiger uses the number 18 as a response to is he the greatest ever question that (in your mind) means Jack is still the greatest but when Lebron states he believes he is the greatest you still go with Jordan? Again, C'mon man.

First of all, I think Lebron is an egotistical POS. That statement to me showed it. But my point in using Tiger's quote is, in his mind, it's about major titles. And I answered it above, I think Tiger wants to get to 18 to make sure it's clear and convincing to everyone, including himself. 

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3 hours ago, Hardluckster said:

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

Exactly my point. So what does? Character? No. Charisma? No. Fan base? No. How about this ....Number of wins, domination of the sport, shots never seen before, putting other golfers including Hall of Famers in awe, coming back from tremendous injuries, laid out for almost 3 years then coming back to win a major..ya know...golf stuff.  

In all honesty you’re doing exactly what others have done just more politely. Naming a GOAT isn’t really as difficult as you want it to be. Hell, you even agree it’s Tiger but just seem hesitant to flat out accept it. It’s ok, you’ve come further than most. No hard feelings at all...hope you don’t think I have any as it wasn’t my intent.😃

1 hour ago, rehmwa said:

but I believe most of it is sincere and wired into how they look at success

Maybe. Of course it was Jack who made the snarky move of saying number of majors is the determining factor of greatness, not total wins...once he realized he wasn’t gonna beat Snead. Then he deemed Amateur Champ to not count once Tiger won three. Jack has been manipulative to pat himself on the back. He’s far from thrilled that Tiger is approaching his 18 major wins. However to anyone with a sense of logic and reason Tiger passed Nicklaus as GOAT quite some time ago. If Tiger gets 19 and Jack is still around...he’ll come up with some passive comment to somewhat soften the blow I guarantee you.

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36 minutes ago, ChrisP said:

So you're saying that there's no doubt in your mind that if Tiger played in Jack's day, he would have more majors than Jack? You have absolute facts that show Tiger Woods would have more majors than Jack Nicklaus if he played in his time or if Jack played in today's time?

I never said anything close to that. 

36 minutes ago, ChrisP said:

I will concede the fact that I do think Tiger's 15 majors are more impressive than Jack's 18, but that doesn't mean to me Tiger would have beat Jack head-to-head more times than not in Jack's time and vice versa. We can only go by the numbers in front of us. I'm sorry you're so against me believing that Tiger needs to get to 18 to prove he's the greatest. That's what I believe. A lot of other people believe the same thing. You need to understand that. 

So let me make sure I understand this right. You acknowledge that Tiger's 15 wins are more impressive than Jack's 18, but won't admit Tiger is the greatest until he gets to 18?

Since you acknowledge 15 > 18, How is Jack greater than Tiger? What else has Jack done that supports your point?

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14 minutes ago, klineka said:

I never said anything close to that. 

So let me make sure I understand this right. You acknowledge that Tiger's 15 wins are more impressive than Jack's 18, but won't admit Tiger is the greatest until he gets to 18?

Since you acknowledge 15 > 18, How is Jack greater than Tiger? What else has Jack done that supports your point?

How is Jack greater than Tiger? He has 18 majors in an individual sport. He also has 17 runners-up. And majors are what many people go by as the comparison. To me, and it's my argument and MANY other golf experts and players' argument, that majors are how we can compare the two. Just because I think Tiger did it in tougher fields, and yes, I acknowledge his peak was better than Jack's, does not mean he is a better all-time player than Jack.

It goes back to my point--we have no reason or proof to think Jack wouldn't do the same thing. According to you, we should just shrug off all of Jack's majors because "the fields weren't great". According to you, Jack wouldn't win any majors nowadays because he's not as superior as Tiger or the current golfers. What proof do you have that shows Jack would not win more majors than Tiger in today's day and age?

You can throw all the science and crazy logorithms out there I've seen. It doesn't fully answer the question that if they were both the same age today, Tiger would definitely and undeniably 100% have more majors than Nicklaus.

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32 minutes ago, ChrisP said:

o me, and it's my argument and MANY other golf experts and players' argument, that majors are how we can compare the two. Just because I think Tiger did it in tougher fields, and yes, I acknowledge his peak was better than Jack's, does not mean he is a better all-time player than Jack.

Yes it does

36 minutes ago, ChrisP said:

It goes back to my point--we have no reason or proof to think Jack wouldn't do the same thing. According to you, we should just shrug off all of Jack's majors because "the fields weren't great".

No one said that. It does mean we should value them differently. 

36 minutes ago, ChrisP said:

What proof do you have that shows Jack would not win more majors than Tiger in today's day and age?

Jack had 18 majors against weaker competition. If you even take Tiger out of the equation, I don't think he gets past 14 if he started his career the year Tiger did. It's just easy to see that as something highly possible. 

38 minutes ago, ChrisP said:

You can throw all the science and crazy logorithms out there I've seen. It doesn't fully answer the question that if they were both the same age today, Tiger would definitely and undeniably 100% have more majors than Nicklaus.

I don't need 100% certainty. 

I am 95% certain Tiger would have more Majors that Jack if they played in the same era. You could even throw Tiger back into the 70's and he would have more majors. 

Tiger is an all around better golfer. 

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9 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

Yes it does

No it doesn't

Quote

Jack had 18 majors against weaker competition. If you even take Tiger out of the equation, I don't think he gets past 14 if he started his career the year Tiger did. It's just easy to see that as something highly possible. 

So we should penalize Jack because of the competition? We should just throw up our hands and say "Jack played weaker guys, therefore he's not the best." That's kind of unfair to Jack, don't ya think? My whole point is if you put Tiger in that era, how do you know for a fact Tiger would win more than Jack? Simply because he beat a deeper field, that makes him better one-to-one? Kind of a faulty comparison, don't ya think? 

 

Quote

Tiger is an all around better golfer. 

And that's your opinion. You're entitled to it. A lot of people feel the other way, and they're entitled to their opinion as well.

Listen, I like Tiger and I hope he beats Jack. My personal opinion deep down is if he would play in Jack's era or vice versa, he'd win more majors. That's just what my internal gut tells me. But we don't have that luxury; we can only go by the numbers in front of us, 18 and 15. Both Tiger and Jack have admitted as much.

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53 minutes ago, ChrisP said:

How is Jack greater than Tiger? He has 18 majors in an individual sport. 

You already acknowledged Tiger's 15 is greater than Jack's 18 so you can't use Jack's 18 as a supporting argument for why he is greater than Tiger.

53 minutes ago, ChrisP said:

And majors are what many people go by as the comparison. To me, and it's my argument and MANY other golf experts and players' argument, that majors are how we can compare the two.

FFS man, you admitted that Tiger's 15 is greater than Jack's 18, so then following basic logic, if you are using majors as the way to compare the two, then Tiger logically has to be ahead!!! 

53 minutes ago, ChrisP said:

According to you, we should just shrug off all of Jack's majors because "the fields weren't great". 

I never said that.

53 minutes ago, ChrisP said:

According to you, Jack wouldn't win any majors nowadays because he's not as superior as Tiger or the current golfers. 

I never said that either.

53 minutes ago, ChrisP said:

What proof do you have that shows Jack would not win more majors than Tiger in today's day and age?

For the 3rd time, I never said that.

 

Let's recap:

  • YOU stated that Tiger's 15 wins are more impressive than Jack's 18 wins.
  • YOU stated that many people, including yourself, use majors as the comparison point for comparing Tiger and Jack.

Yet somehow, you still think Jack is ahead???

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