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

Greatest Golfer (GGOAT)  

148 members have voted

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

    • Tiger Woods is the man
      1639
    • Jack Nicklaus is my favorite
      802


6,176 posts in this topic Last Reply

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2 hours ago, iacas said:

Short answer, very consistent, very easy: it'll be a bit tougher to win this Masters than the Masters in 1997.

Tiger will win by 6 shots instead of 12.

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I used 15 years for a very good reason - that is the period from 1997 to 2013 when TW got injured, so its his (and Jack's) first 15 years. Its very fair to compare two great athletes at the same stage of their career. Note that I am not including the years 16-21 when Jack was still going strong and Tiger was injured.

2 hours ago, turtleback said:

I didn't see one word in your post about any other factor at all.  Not total wins.  Not Vardons. Not cut streaks.  Not winning streaks.  Not MAJOR winning streak.  Not margin of victory records.  Nothing. 

Oh really? I argued that Jack had same number of wins as Tiger with more runner-ups and top tens. I argued that he had inferior technology. I argued that he had to beat some of the greatest players ever like Player, Watson, Palmer, Ballesteros, Trevino, Norman, all when in ther prime. All you Tiger worshippers can see is his purple patch in 2000 and multiple wins at Firestone and Bay Hill where he knows he has the game. PGA tour wins? Try Sam Snead. Streaks - try Byron Nelson. Major streaks - try Bobby Jones. These are highlights only. Watch Jack at nearly 80 hit the flagstick from 150 yards. GOAT. 

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1 hour ago, Chanceman said:

I used 15 years for a very good reason - that is the period from 1997 to 2013 when TW got injured, so its his (and Jack's) first 15 years. Its very fair to compare two great athletes at the same stage of their career. Note that I am not including the years 16-21 when Jack was still going strong and Tiger was injured.

Oh really? I argued that Jack had same number of wins as Tiger with more runner-ups and top tens. I argued that he had inferior technology. I argued that he had to beat some of the greatest players ever like Player, Watson, Palmer, Ballesteros, Trevino, Norman, all when in ther prime. All you Tiger worshippers can see is his purple patch in 2000 and multiple wins at Firestone and Bay Hill where he knows he has the game. PGA tour wins? Try Sam Snead. Streaks - try Byron Nelson. Major streaks - try Bobby Jones. These are highlights only. Watch Jack at nearly 80 hit the flagstick from 150 yards. GOAT. 

Have you read ANY of the posts in this thread?  Every one of the points you've raised has been examined in great detail.  And, for the most part shot down.  And since we have had this little renewal many of the older ones have been re-linked in more recent posts.  If you really care about this stuff and don't want to come off as ignorant you should really dip into some of them.  If you aren't going to bother with the facts there's isn't much we can say.  Even in your latest screed you have absolutely nothing besides total majors, between Jack and Tiger. Are you now going to add Nelson, Snead, and Jones into the GOAT mix?  If not , why do you raise their accomplishments as if somehow they buttress Jack?  If so, then is off-topic in THIS thread but we'd be happy to talk to you about it in the Offshoot thread.  But come prepared.  We know our onions.

And really?  Jack hit the flagstick from 150 yards and you think that has ANYTHING to go with who is the GOAT?  Too too funny.

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8 hours ago, Chanceman said:

I used 15 years for a very good reason - that is the period from 1997 to 2013 when TW got injured

I'm starting to understand why you don't want to think about the basic math involved in understanding strength and depth of field.

1997 to 2013 is 17 years. I'll wait while you count them.

8 hours ago, Chanceman said:

Its very fair to compare two great athletes at the same stage of their career.

And over that time period:

  • Tiger won the same number of majors.
  • He won more PGA Tour events.
  • He won more scoring titles.
  • He won by a higher margin of error.
  • He had a higher winning percentage.
  • He made more cuts.
  • He won more money titles.
  • He had more winning streaks.
  • He had longer winning streaks.
  • He won more majors in a row (four) than Jack ever did.
  • The list goes on.

So again what did Jack do "better" during those 17 years? They won the same number of majors. Top tens in majors? Dude, in many of them, he wasn't playing against anyone.

8 hours ago, Chanceman said:

Oh really? I argued that Jack had same number of wins as Tiger with more runner-ups and top tens.

… in majors only. Again, you're only considering "18 > 14." That's shorthand for "the majors are all that count" because that's about the only stat in which Jack still leads, and in my opinion, when I consider strength and depth of field, 14 from 1997 to 2008 is more impressive than 18 from 1962 to 1986. Anything Tiger would add here would be gravy IMO.

8 hours ago, Chanceman said:

I argued that he had to beat some of the greatest players ever like Player, Watson, Palmer, Ballesteros, Trevino, Norman, all when in ther prime.

All of which has gotten multiple, hundreds, of responses. Which you ignore.

8 hours ago, Chanceman said:

All you Tiger worshippers can see is his purple patch in 2000 and multiple wins at Firestone and Bay Hill where he knows he has the game.

My bullet list above that has more than that.

8 hours ago, Chanceman said:

PGA tour wins? Try Sam Snead.

As others have noted, several of those were team events. Some were super limited field events. If we get to count Tiger's Hero World Challenge events (hey, they're sanctioned by the PGA Tour and give out OWGR points), then Tiger has already eclipsed Snead's victory total.

Tiger played against (and beat) significantly stronger fields when he played in Dubai, or Australia, winning European Tour and Australasian Tour events than Sam Snead played against in some major championships.

8 hours ago, Chanceman said:

Watch Jack at nearly 80 hit the flagstick from 150 yards. GOAT. 

Surely you realize how ridiculous a comment like that is, right?

Why isn't this guy the GOAT?

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5 hours ago, iacas said:

I'm starting to understand why you don't want to think about the basic math involved in understanding strength and depth of field.

1997 to 2013 is 17 years. I'll wait while you count them.

And if I'm not mistaken (and of course I'm not) didn't Tiger's pro career start in 1996?

 

 

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2 minutes ago, turtleback said:

And if I'm not mistaken (and of course I'm not) didn't Tiger's pro career start in 1996?

Yep, September of '96. Basically after he won his 3rd U.S. Amateur that year. One more than Jack ;-)

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Let's face the simple fact that people who watched Jack when they were young will say Jack and people that watched Tiger when they were young will say Tiger. The folks that watch Hogan when they were young well most of them aren't around anymore. No use arguing about it, no minds will ever be changed.

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8 minutes ago, turtleback said:

And if I'm not mistaken (and of course I'm not) didn't Tiger's pro career start in 1996?

Yeah, but he played only a few events, so I don't have a problem thinking about his career as starting in 1997 for his first full year. He didn't play any majors as a pro in 1996.

1 minute ago, sheepdog said:

Let's face the simple fact that people who watched Jack when they were young will say Jack and people that watched Tiger when they were young will say Tiger. The folks that watch Hogan when they were young well most of them aren't around anymore. No use arguing about it, no minds will ever be changed.

Let's not, as that's not an accurate statement. @turtleback watched Jack when he was young.

People can make up their own minds. The voting here is not necessarily generational.

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2 minutes ago, sheepdog said:

Let's face the simple fact that people who watched Jack when they were young will say Jack and people that watched Tiger when they were young will say Tiger. The folks that watch Hogan when they were young well most of them aren't around anymore. No use arguing about it, no minds will ever be changed.

Only for those that refuse to think.  I grew up watching Jack and was and am a huge Jack fan.  But res ipsa loquitur, it is not even close and hasn't been since the early 2000s.  It takes exceptionally strong blinders to believe Jack is best on any basis other than the silly 18>14 argument.

It is hard to recall any sport where any amateur was as highly hyped as Tiger who, upon turning pro completely blew away even the most optimistic expectations.  And then kept it up.  No one thought, when Tiger said, "Hello world" that his career would be anything like this.  Remember how he was mocked when he said he expected to win every time he teed it up?  And the stars of the time all laughed smugly and said he'd learn better?

8 minutes ago, iacas said:

Yeah, but he played only a few events, so I don't have a problem thinking about his career as starting in 1997 for his first full year. He didn't play any majors as a pro in 1996.

Let's not, as that's not an accurate statement. @turtleback watched Jack when he was young.

People can make up their own minds. The voting here is not necessarily generational.

But he got his first 2 wins, which put him on the track to challenge Snead's record, which Jack said determined GOAT.  :ninja:

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6 hours ago, turtleback said:

It takes exceptionally strong blinders to believe Jack is best on any basis other than the silly 18>14 argument.

Even though I agree that 18>14 shouldn't be the only criteria, it's still an impressive accomplishment.

It's not that unusual to cite the number of championships won when talking about GOAT in any sport.

I can't help but think the two were just freaks of nature when it came to playing the game. Sure, if someone stuck a gun to my head, I could choose one. I just don't think it's a landslide.

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51 minutes ago, JonMA1 said:

Even though I agree that 18>14 shouldn't be the only criteria, it's still an impressive accomplishment.

It's not that unusual to cite the number of championships won when talking about GOAT in any sport.

I can't help but think the two were just freaks of nature when it came to playing the game. Sure, if someone stuck a gun to my head, I could choose one. I just don't think it's a landslide.

Literally no one in the history of this thread has argued that Jack is anything less than the 2nd greatest golfer of all time. 

Just because some people in this thread believe Tiger is the greatest doesn’t mean there isn’t an immense amount of respect for Jack. 

 

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1 minute ago, lastings said:

Literally no one in the history of this thread has argued that Jack is anything less than the 2nd greatest golfer of all time. 

Just because some people in this thread believe Tiger is the greatest doesn’t mean there isn’t an immense amount of respect for Jack. 

 

This is touching on what bothers me about this argument. We have two incredible players here. Both are leaps and bounds above their peers. I don’t think anyone would dispute that and if they did I think they’d get laughed out of the room. 

But, in building your argument for why your choice is the better of the two, it’s virtually impossible to do that without sounding like your downplaying the achievements of the other. Say you’re a jack fan and you talk about how there were more great champions in his day. More people who won stacks of majors. Inevitably someone says yeah but it was easier to win multiple then, so you say nuh uh the kids these days are spoilt and just play for a check. Each step takes you further towards my side is the best and your side sucks. It’s very easy to fall into that mode. 

I hate that. 

The bottom line is there is no way to know for certain who is better between jack and tiger. They never played each other in their primes so we can’t be sure. We can look at objective facts around who they played against and draw conclusions based on likelihoods, but they are not certainties. Given the depth of fields now, which is objectively deeper and more international it’s very likely that it’s harder to win a major now but we don’t know that for sure. It is possible (though unlikely) that the shallower fields in the 60s and 70s actually were better than the deeper fields of the 00s and 10s. The odds suggest that is highly unlikely but to not a certainty. 

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23 hours ago, mvmac said:

Tiger will win by 6 shots instead of 12.

I'd buy that, if Tiger has his A game. There's a better chance of me hooking up with Sarah Spain, than Tiger losing with his A game.

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8 hours ago, turtleback said:

Remember how he was mocked when he said he expected to win every time he teed it up?  And the stars of the time all laughed smugly and said he'd learn better?

Yep. Curtis Strange. “You’ll learn.” For which he then came back later and said to Tiger, “ I was wrong, you ARE that good.”

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10 hours ago, sheepdog said:

Let's face the simple fact that people who watched Jack when they were young will say Jack and people that watched Tiger when they were young will say Tiger. The folks that watch Hogan when they were young well most of them aren't around anymore. No use arguing about it, no minds will ever be changed.

Not true in my case. I thought Jack and Tiger were basically tied for GOAT (gun to my head I would have said Jack) before the math/@iacas/strength of field showed me a different perceptive. I obviously got that the fields were deeper during the Tiger era but never quite knew how different they really were.

I saw Jack play when he was in his mid-50's at Olympic Club against Johnny Miller, he played very well, he hit some of the purest shots I've ever seen. Also saw Tiger play several times and went to a clinic of his (late '99) where he pulled off a lot of amazing shots. What I saw with my eyes doesn't matter much, what matters is looking at their records and who they played against.

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11 hours ago, sheepdog said:

Let's face the simple fact that people who watched Jack when they were young will say Jack and people that watched Tiger when they were young will say Tiger. The folks that watch Hogan when they were young well most of them aren't around anymore.

Hey, come on, I'm just in my 60's, but I'm old enough to remember Hogan being in the running for GOAT when I first became interested in golf as a little boy.   Back then, a lot of guys in the clubhouse still thought Bobby Jones was the best ever.  But my favorite was Snead, because he was my dad's choice, and that settled it. 

Arnie became my favorite after my dad took me to see my first PGA event, the '63 LA Open that Arnie won.  And then Jack became my favorite when he blew away the field in the '65 Masters, and he remained my favorite for over 30 years, until Tiger blew away the field in the '97 Masters.  Even after that, I had no doubt that Jack was the GOAT.

I first started wondering whether Tiger was GOAT-worthy when he won the 2000 US Open by 15 shots, and by the time he completed his slam, even though it was only his sixth major win, I was pretty far along to thinking he was.  Every win after that made his case a little stronger, and I'd say I lost all doubt when he won seven events in a row in 2006.

I never, ever bought into the idea that "most majors" was what made the GOAT, because I never, ever considered Walter Hagen the GOAT, even though he had the most majors until 1973.

 

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7 hours ago, lastings said:

Literally no one in the history of this thread has argued that Jack is anything less than the 2nd greatest golfer of all time. 

Just because some people in this thread believe Tiger is the greatest doesn’t mean there isn’t an immense amount of respect for Jack. 

 

Point taken.

I understand it's a debate and part of winning debates is to downplay points made by those having opposing views. But major championships is an important, legitimate argument, certainly not a "silly" one, IMO.

I think my only disagreement with Tiger over Jack may be how far apart the two were. Since that's not really the point of the thread, it's a bit off-topic.

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54 minutes ago, JonMA1 said:

I understand it's a debate and part of winning debates is to downplay points made by those having opposing views. But major championships is an important, legitimate argument, certainly not a "silly" one, IMO.

I think what he's saying is "silly" is that it's almost the ONLY thing favoring Jack. As if the rest of a golfer's career - the other 90% - don't matter at all. Because that's where Tiger really shows Jack up.

Jack could only beat who was available to beat, and he did that in majors 18 times. We can't diminish that. We can talk realistically about who was available to beat, though, and whether 14 wins against a varsity squad trump 18 wins against junior varsity players. ;-)

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