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

Greatest Golfer (GGOAT)  

120 members have voted

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

    • Tiger Woods is the man
      1640
    • Jack Nicklaus is my favorite
      792


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9 minutes ago, iacas said:

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. ;-)

Agreed, it shouldn't be the only thing. I wouldn't go as far as "silly". I think one has to consider everything and put the appropriate weight on what they think matters. We are not all going to agree exactly on that, even if we are equally objective.

As far as strength of field, equipment, etc., I've expressed opinions on that here and in other threads. It's as important with Jack and Tiger as in any other discussion about GOAT in any other sport. Those things will almost always change from one era to another. I don't put the same weight towards it for that reason. The JV squad - while weaker overall (and I get the importance of that) - still had some very good players at the top who had to be beaten 18 times. Tiger faced that high level of talent AND a higher level at the bottom half of the field. @Phil McGleno put that argument to rest, IMO.

Before this thread, I really didn't know that much about the two players other than both were dominant against their respective fields. I believed Tiger slightly more so and that's my main reason for having the opinion I do. FWIW, it's been a bit of an education.

I think what gives many of you credibility, is that you are willing to apply the same logic to future arguments. In other words, 12 may be better than 14 at some point.

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14 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. 

 

You shouldn't go around making claims about things you weren't around for, because a few years ago I made a hell of a case in this thread for Hogan v Jack.  Which is literally arguing that Jack is less than the 2nd greatest golfer of all time.  I am prepared to make that case again in the Offshoot thread should any one want to take it up there. 

And I am also in the camp that not only is Tiger > Jack, but the margin is wide.  I've looked at the SPECIFIC fields of their majors and it isn't close.  

In fact  in the GOAT debates I think there is a great case for the proposition that the gap between Tiger and Jack is much bigger than the gap, if there even is one, between Jack and Hogan.

6 hours ago, JonMA1 said:

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.

As one fact in a sea of facts certainly noting it is not silly.  It is silly when it is posited that it swamps every other fact in the sea.  As is the case if you scratch most Jack supporters to see if there is anything underneath.

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5 hours ago, JonMA1 said:

I think what gives many of you credibility, is that you are willing to apply the same logic to future arguments. In other words, 12 may be better than 14 at some point.

Many of us have said this very thing many, may times.

5 minutes ago, turtleback said:

In fact  in the GOAT debates I think there is a great case for the proposition that the gap between Tiger and Jack is much bigger than the gap, if there even is one, between Jack and Hogan.

I could probably be on board with that, but I care less about people duking it out for second and third over first and second, so I've never given it much thought.

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41 minutes ago, iacas said:

Many of us have said this very thing many, may times.

I know. My post was meant as an acknowledgment and compliment towards that.

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I just don't get "the more great players" argument between 1998 and 2013. Who were they exactly? Chose '98 because I think that's when Faldo was ending his run. Phil and Ernie Els are the only two legitimately great players I can think of. I agree with the argument about fields being deeper from twenty and down. But how often do those level players challenge the best ones? In any sport?  I think Rory and this generation he was the first of will end up having many more great players then the previous one. It might already have. I'm not trying to diminish Tiger's accomplishments, he beat everyone he went up against in dominating fashion and that's all he could possibly do. I just would've loved to have seen him challenged by better players. The ones who took him head on and didn't back down always seemed to be "one hot week" guys like Yang, Bob May, Hal Sutton, Rocco, etc. Finally, I also don't buy the argument that Tiger was so great he didn't allow anyone else to be. "Great" doesn't back down, even to "greater". "Great" always battles. Rarely saw any "great" battling Tiger.   

Edited by GrandStranded

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20 minutes ago, GrandStranded said:

I just don't get "the more great players" argument between 1998 and 2013. Who were they exactly? Chose '98 because I think that's when Faldo was ending his run. Phil and Ernie Els are the only two legitimately great players I can think of.

Vijay had almost twice as many wins as Ernie.

Quote

I agree with the argument about fields being deeper from twenty and down. But how often do those level players challenge the best ones?

Very often.  I haven't done it lately, but I kept track of the world rankings of major winners for a few years after Tiger stopped winning in 2008.  In 2009, all four major winners were ranked outside the top 20 --- Cabrera was 69, Glover was 71, Cink was 33, and Yang was 110.  In 2010, Mickelson was 3 and Kaymer was 13, but McDowell was 37 and Oooosthuizen was 54.  In 2011, Rory was 8, but Schwartzel was 29, and the year ended with two consecutive majors won by players outside the top 100 -- Clarke and Bradley.

Quote

I just would've loved to have seen him challenged by better players. The ones who took him head on and didn't back down always seemed to be "one hot week" guys like Yang, Bob May, Hal Sutton, Rocco, etc.

Well, that's kind of the point.  Everybody in the field is good enough to win if he has his A game.

But like many Jack apologists, you seem to think that he had to fend off Arnie, Gary, Lee, Watson, and Casper every week.  The record shows that he didn't.  Last week Turtleback confused an old post of mine with one by Jugglepin, and I said it was an honor.  Here's why.  What follows is part of an actual post by Jugglepin from several years ago, showing how much pressure "the greats" put on Jack when he won his majors:

’62 US Open –Palmer had 10 3-putts in regulation, and took 38 putts on Saturday; with any kind of putting from Palmer there never would have been a playoff.
’63 Masters – Player bogeyed the last two holes to finish 3 shots back; Palmer shot 37 on the back 9 the last day and finished 5 shots out.
’63 PGA – Player was 7 shots back, Palmer 14 shots back, never in it.
’65 Masters – Jack blew the field away, just like Tiger did in ’97.
’66 Masters – Palmer shot 38 on the back 9, finishing 2 shots out of the Brewer – Nicklaus – Jacobs playoff; Player finished 11 shots back.
’67 US Open - Jack legitimately beat Palmer in this one, though by then he knew he could beat Palmer; unheard of Trevino finished 5th 8 shots back, Player was 11 shots back.
’70 Open – best known for Sanders blowing the 3-footer to give Jack a chance; nonetheless Trevino finished 2 shots back, Palmer 7 shots back, and Player missed the cut.
’71 PGA – Player was the only one close at 4 shots back, Trevino 7 shots back, Palmer 8; Player shot a final round 73 so he didn’t exactly put the pedal to the metal.
’72 Masters – Player finished 5 shots back, Trevino and Palmer both finished 14 shots back at +12; this tournament was similar to 2002 for Tiger in that absolutely no one challenged Jack the last day.
’72 US Open- Palmer shot 76 to finish 4 shots back; Trevino shot 78 to finish 5 shots back, and Player never contended, finishing 15 shots back.
’73 PGA – Watson finished 8 shots back, Trevino and Miller 9 shots back; Player 17 shots back; and Palmer missed the cut.
’75 Masters – Miller admits he chickened out shooting at the pin on 18 when he needed a birdie to tie Nicklaus; Watson was 9 shots back, Trevino 10 shots back; Palmer 11 back.
’75 PGA – Watson was 9 shots back; Palmer and Player 15 shots back; Trevino 21 shots back.
’78 Open – Watson closed with a 76 to finish 6 shots back; Trevino was 10 shots back; Player 11 shots back; Miller was cut.
’80 US Open – Watson was 4 shots back, Trevino 11 shots back.
’80 PGA – Trevino was 11 shots back, Watson 14 back in a Nicklaus runaway.
’86 Masters – great comeback by Jack, but Norman did bogey 18 to miss out playing off.

 

 

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1 hour ago, GrandStranded said:

I just don't get "the more great players" argument between 1998 and 2013. Who were they exactly? Chose '98 because I think that's when Faldo was ending his run. Phil and Ernie Els are the only two legitimately great players I can think of. I agree with the argument about fields being deeper from twenty and down. But how often do those level players challenge the best ones? In any sport?  I think Rory and this generation he was the first of will end up having many more great players then the previous one. It might already have. I'm not trying to diminish Tiger's accomplishments, he beat everyone he went up against in dominating fashion and that's all he could possibly do. I just would've loved to have seen him challenged by better players. The ones who took him head on and didn't back down always seemed to be "one hot week" guys like Yang, Bob May, Hal Sutton, Rocco, etc. Finally, I also don't buy the argument that Tiger was so great he didn't allow anyone else to be. "Great" doesn't back down, even to "greater". "Great" always battles. Rarely saw any "great" battling Tiger.   

 

Michael Campbell's win at the 2005 U.S. Open is a good example. If you go back 30 years from that, he would NOT have been in the field as an international guy. Tiger finished 2nd to him. 

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Those greats that Jack beat also had their stats pumped.  @iacas has already pointed out that Gary Player's first major was a British Open in which only 3 Americans were in the field and none of them was a top tournament player.  At a time when American golf was at it most dominant.  There is no objective golf-based reason to consider that a major.  It is counted as a major because of tradition and courtesy, but the reality is that that field was weaker than just about every PGA tour event that year.  I pointed out the difference between Jack's 1966 Open in which only 5 of the top 10 money leaders played compared to today's majors.  In the weakest major in Tiger's list, the '97 Masters, the top 30 money money winners played.

Rinse and repeat over and over again, and Jack's 'great' competitors don't seem nearly as strong.  Which is why I have no problem saying Tiger is better by a wide margin.

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@turtleback, I’d love to be credited but it wasn’t me. I’ve known Jack’s fields were comparatively weaker but haven’t ever really gotten into the specifics.

I have pointed out that the weak fields also benefited the other “greats” of the time.

Player might not have won a single major if he played 1997-2018. But his stats pump up Jack’s in the minds of some.

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11 minutes ago, Dr. Manhattan said:

 

Michael Campbell's win at the 2005 U.S. Open is a good example. If you go back 30 years from that, he would NOT have been in the field as an international guy. Tiger finished 2nd to him. 

Actually, you only have to go back one year for Campbell, because 2005 was the first year the USGA had a European sectional qualifying site, and Campbell said he wouldn't have entered without that.

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50 minutes ago, brocks said:

Vijay had almost twice as many wins as Ernie.

Very often.  I haven't done it lately, but I kept track of the world rankings of major winners for a few years after Tiger stopped winning in 2008.  In 2009, all four major winners were ranked outside the top 20 --- Cabrera was 69, Glover was 71, Cink was 33, and Yang was 110.  In 2010, Mickelson was 3 and Kaymer was 13, but McDowell was 37 and Oooosthuizen was 54.  In 2011, Rory was 8, but Schwartzel was 29, and the year ended with two consecutive majors won by players outside the top 100 -- Clarke and Bradley.

Well, that's kind of the point.  Everybody in the field is good enough to win if he has his A game.

But like many Jack apologists, you seem to think that he had to fend off Arnie, Gary, Lee, Watson, and Casper every week.  The record shows that he didn't.  Last week Turtleback confused an old post of mine with one by Jugglepin, and I said it was an honor.  Here's why.  What follows is part of an actual post by Jugglepin from several years ago, showing how much pressure "the greats" put on Jack when he won his majors:

’62 US Open –Palmer had 10 3-putts in regulation, and took 38 putts on Saturday; with any kind of putting from Palmer there never would have been a playoff.
’63 Masters – Player bogeyed the last two holes to finish 3 shots back; Palmer shot 37 on the back 9 the last day and finished 5 shots out.
’63 PGA – Player was 7 shots back, Palmer 14 shots back, never in it.
’65 Masters – Jack blew the field away, just like Tiger did in ’97.
’66 Masters – Palmer shot 38 on the back 9, finishing 2 shots out of the Brewer – Nicklaus – Jacobs playoff; Player finished 11 shots back.
’67 US Open - Jack legitimately beat Palmer in this one, though by then he knew he could beat Palmer; unheard of Trevino finished 5th 8 shots back, Player was 11 shots back.
’70 Open – best known for Sanders blowing the 3-footer to give Jack a chance; nonetheless Trevino finished 2 shots back, Palmer 7 shots back, and Player missed the cut.
’71 PGA – Player was the only one close at 4 shots back, Trevino 7 shots back, Palmer 8; Player shot a final round 73 so he didn’t exactly put the pedal to the metal.
’72 Masters – Player finished 5 shots back, Trevino and Palmer both finished 14 shots back at +12; this tournament was similar to 2002 for Tiger in that absolutely no one challenged Jack the last day.
’72 US Open- Palmer shot 76 to finish 4 shots back; Trevino shot 78 to finish 5 shots back, and Player never contended, finishing 15 shots back.
’73 PGA – Watson finished 8 shots back, Trevino and Miller 9 shots back; Player 17 shots back; and Palmer missed the cut.
’75 Masters – Miller admits he chickened out shooting at the pin on 18 when he needed a birdie to tie Nicklaus; Watson was 9 shots back, Trevino 10 shots back; Palmer 11 back.
’75 PGA – Watson was 9 shots back; Palmer and Player 15 shots back; Trevino 21 shots back.
’78 Open – Watson closed with a 76 to finish 6 shots back; Trevino was 10 shots back; Player 11 shots back; Miller was cut.
’80 US Open – Watson was 4 shots back, Trevino 11 shots back.
’80 PGA – Trevino was 11 shots back, Watson 14 back in a Nicklaus runaway.
’86 Masters – great comeback by Jack, but Norman did bogey 18 to miss out playing off.

 

 

There was nothing great about Vijay. Ever. He was very good (couldn't putt at all though), but nowhere as good as Phil and Ernie. The others you talked about speak to the randomness of the sport, nothing else. The third part, detailing past majors, all gobbled gook. Nothing else. Random finishes in random events. 

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1 minute ago, brocks said:

Actually, you only have to go back one year for Campbell, because 2005 was the first year the USGA had a European sectional qualifying site, and Campbell said he wouldn't have entered without that.

 

Perfect example of the lack of competition in the previous eras. 

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12 minutes ago, Dr. Manhattan said:

 

Michael Campbell's win at the 2005 U.S. Open is a good example. If you go back 30 years from that, he would NOT have been in the field as an international guy. Tiger finished 2nd to him. 

Random event by random player. I should've remembered him in my "one hot week list". He's a classic example

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Just now, GrandStranded said:

Random event by random player. I should've remembered him in my "one hot week list". He's a classic example

 

If you read Brock's post above, they didn't even have those international qualifying events until 2004. So it's NOT a classic example in the sense of comparing it to Jack's era. It's extra competition that the players of the last 20 years have had to deal with. 

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4 minutes ago, GrandStranded said:

There was nothing great about Vijay. Ever. He was very good (couldn't putt at all though), but nowhere as good as Phil and Ernie. The others you talked about speak to the randomness of the sport, nothing else. The third part, detailing past majors, all gobbled gook. Nothing else. Random finishes in random events. 

Sorry, didn't mean to confuse you with facts.

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Just now, brocks said:

Sorry, didn't mean to confuse you with facts.

My earlier post never mentioned if jack was better or not.. But here comes the cavalry with the same old same old. It simply asked WHO WERE THE GREAT PLAYERS TIGER BEAT? (besides Jack and Ernie?) THAT'S ALL I'M ASKING. OKAY?

Just now, GrandStranded said:

My earlier post never mentioned if jack was better or not.. But here comes the cavalry with the same old same old. It simply asked WHO WERE THE GREAT PLAYERS TIGER BEAT? (besides Jack and Ernie?) THAT'S ALL I'M ASKING. OKAY?

Thanks for the apology, but your facts don't relate to my question. At all. 

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Just now, GrandStranded said:

My earlier post never mentioned if jack was better or not.. But here comes the cavalry with the same old same old. It simply asked WHO WERE THE GREAT PLAYERS TIGER BEAT? (besides Jack and Ernie?) THAT'S ALL I'M ASKING. OKAY?

 

Vijay won 9 times in 2004 including a major and you said he's never been great. None of the current players have had a season like that. He also won over 30 times on the Tour including 3 majors as a late bloomer. Pretty damn good career. 

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13 minutes ago, GrandStranded said:

There was nothing great about Vijay. Ever. He was very good (couldn't putt at all though), but nowhere as good as Phil and Ernie. The others you talked about speak to the randomness of the sport, nothing else. The third part, detailing past majors, all gobbled gook. Nothing else. Random finishes in random events. 

Hogwash.

Dude won over 30 PGA Tour events and 3 majors.

11 minutes ago, GrandStranded said:

Random event by random player. I should've remembered him in my "one hot week list". He's a classic example

Random players back in the field weren’t capable of winning in Jack’s era.

2 minutes ago, GrandStranded said:

My earlier post never mentioned if jack was better or not.. But here comes the cavalry with the same old same old. It simply asked WHO WERE THE GREAT PLAYERS TIGER BEAT? (besides Jack and Ernie?) THAT'S ALL I'M ASKING. OKAY?

ALMOST ALL OF THEM.

Dude, you’re seriously not understanding that Player’s stats, for example, were also pumped by the weak fields?

Player probably wins less than Singh playing in Singh’s era.

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