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


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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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9 hours ago, sheepdog said:

You don't win at Augusta without being a great putter.

Vijay, Bubba, Scott, Garcia, Cabrera aren't great putters.

11 hours ago, sheepdog said:

This place is full of Tiger fanboys so you're in for a rough ride for saying that.

While I'm in the Tiger GOAT camp I'm by no means a fanboy. If Spieth or Rory get 12/13 majors and 60+ wins, I think they're better than Tiger. Most posters in the Tiger GOAT camp have said that feel the same way.

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1 minute ago, mvmac said:

 

While I'm in the Tiger GOAT camp I'm by no means a fanboy. If Spieth or Rory get 12/13 majors and 60+ wins, I think they're better than Tiger. Most posters in the Tiger GOAT camp have said that feel the same way.

Nobody loves Tiger more than me. But if Jordan gets those numbers, he’d more than likely be my pick for the GOAT. Truth is truth, after all.

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1 minute ago, mvmac said:

While I'm in the Tiger GOAT camp I'm by no means a fanboy. If Spieth or Rory get 12/13 majors and 60+ wins, I think they're better than Tiger. Most posters in the Tiger GOAT camp have said that feel the same way.

 

1 minute ago, jbishop15 said:

Nobody loves Tiger more than me. But if Jordan gets those numbers, he’d more than likely be my pick for the GOAT. Truth is truth, after all.

Yep. All we can do is try to be objective.

For all I know, Woods is an a-hole. It still wouldn't take away from how great he was. Same with Nicklaus, and whoever is the next.

How can you not be a fan of that level of golf?

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13 minutes ago, mvmac said:

Vijay, Bubba, Scott, Garcia, Cabrera aren't great putters.

 

While Bubba may not be known as a great putter inside of 10 feet, I have always heard he was a great lag putter though. There is a formula to win at Augusta. Play all the holes even par except the par 5's hit in 2 and 2 putt birdie.

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8 hours ago, Fidelio said:

That Player of the Year award is not a good a measure though. Jack didn't win a Player of the Year award until his sixth year on tour even though he  could have won it every year up to that point. Jack won two majors in 1963 and wasn't player of the year. He won the money title in 64 and 65 but no player of the year.

The fact that he won two majors in '63 and didn't win POY should tell you something.  Majors were not as big a deal back then, especially the Masters and British Open.  They had tradition and prestige, but they had weaker fields than some regular tour events, and the players knew it.  That's why two majors didn't guarantee POY.  And that's why "most majors" is a very bad way to decide GOAT -- it's bad enough to judge entire careers by one number, but it's ridiculous to use it for players who weren't especially trying to win the most majors, which was just about everybody before Jack.

You also exhibit a very common fault of Jack apologists, namely asserting that he was the best player on tour almost every year.  He wasn't.  He was very good for a very long time, but there were IMO only five years when he was clearly the best player on tour.

Let's look at the six years you claim he should have won POY.  The next few paragraphs are excerpted from a much longer article I wrote years ago, examining Jack's entire career.

****************************************

===================

1962 --- Jack: 26 starts, 3 wins, 3rd on money list.
POY -- Arnold Palmer.  Vardon winner --- Arnold Palmer.  Money leader --- Arnold Palmer.  Most wins --- Arnold Palmer (8).  Major winners (in order): Arnie, Jack, Arnie, Gary Player.

Jack had a very strong rookie year, debuting at number 3 on the money list.  But it was no contest - Palmer DOMINATED 1962, leading every category, and coming within one shot of winning three majors in a row.  He was clearly the best golfer in the world.

My 1962 POY: Arnie (dominant).
===================

1963 --- Jack: 25 starts, 5 wins, 2nd on money list.
POY -- Julius Boros. Vardon winner -- Billy Casper.  Money leader -- Arnie.  Most wins -- Arnie (7). Major winners: Jack, Boros, Bob Charles, Jack.

This is a very tough year to call.  Jack's two majors would make him a shoo-in today, but majors weren't as big a deal then, except for the US Open, which is the only conceivable reason Boros won POY.  Arnie had the most wins and most money, and Casper won the Vardon (and not even Jack claims this as one of the years he was jobbed out of it), so there was no dominant golfer.

I'm giving 1963 to Arnie by a whisker, for the following reason: the Western Open was bigger than the British Open back then, and Arnie won it in a playoff against Jack and Boros, his chief rivals for best of the year.  I consider that a pretty good tiebreaker, in a week they were all playing well. 

My 1963 POY: Arnie (Jack was close).
========================

1964 --- Jack: 26 starts, 4 wins, first on money list.  This is also the first year Jack claims he had the actual low scoring average, even though he didn't win the Vardon.
POY -- Ken Venturi. Vardon winner: Arnie.  Money leader: Jack. Most wins: Tony Lema (5).  Major winners: Arnie, Venturi, Lema, Bobby Nichols.

Once again, it seems that anyone who wins the US Open plus anything else is the automatic POY winner by the standards of that time.  But it appears to me that Tony Lema had the best year, with five wins including the Open (where Jack finished second by five shots).  Jack beat Lema for the money title only because the very limited-field Tournament of Champions (the equivalent of today's SBS/Mercedes) paid three times more than the Open, and the Open was unofficial money.  Jack's other wins were at second-tier events. Lema beat Arnie in a playoff for one of his wins, and if a tiebreaker is needed, Lema won another $50,000 in unofficial money by beating the other three major winners in the World Series of Golf that year.

My 1964 POY: Tony Lema (Jack contending).
==============

1965 --- Jack: 24 starts, 5 wins, first on money list, claimed scoring title.
POY: Dave Marr. Vardon winner: Billy Casper.  Money leader: Jack.  Most wins: Jack (5).  Major winners: Jack, Player, Peter Thomson, Marr.

Marr's PGA Championship was his first win in over three years, and the third and last win of his career.  It really makes you wonder what the POY voters were smoking.  At any rate, IMO this was the first of Jack's truly dominant years.  First in every important category.  Easy call.

My 1965 POY: Jack (dominant).
=====================

1966 --- Jack: 19 starts, 3 wins, 2nd on money list.
POY: Billy Casper. Vardon winner: Casper.  Money leader: Casper.  Most wins: Casper (4). Major winners: Jack, Casper, Jack, Al Geiberger.

Not much to say here --- Casper ran the table.  Jack had two majors, but one was the then weak-field British Open, which was still so little regarded that many Americans, including Casper, didn't play it.  The US Open that Casper won was much more prestigious.

My 1966 POY: Casper (Jack contending).
======================

1967 --- Jack: 23 starts, 5 wins, first on money list.
POY: Jack.  Vardon winner: Arnie. Money leader: Jack.  Most wins: Jack (5). Major winners: Gay Brewer, Jack, Roberto DeVicenzo, Don January.

Jack's first official POY, and he's obviously a worthy choice. 

Not even Jack claims he would have beaten Arnie for the Vardon in 1967, so he didn't have Tiger-like dominance, but it was still a dominant year for him.

My 1967 POY: Jack (dominant).
============================

****************************************

So even by today's standards, IMO an objective evaluation shows that Jack was only denied one POY title that he deserved during those six years, in 1965.  He did get the POY he deserved in 1967.  And after that, he was outplayed every year until 1972 by the likes of Casper and Trevino.

He won four POYs in the five years 1972-76, but IMO he didn't deserve it in 1976, so that makes up for 1965.  He had only two wins in 1976, neither majors, and one had only 20 players in the field.  But it paid $100K to the winner, in a year when the British Open paid only $13.5K, so Jack won the money title.

After 1976, Tom Watson dominated the tour, and Jack was never again the best in the world.

So five POYs is IMO exactly right for Jack.  He was robbed in 1965, but he was gifted in 1976, and every other year, maybe the best man didn't win, but Jack won it every time he deserved it.  He just didn't deserve it as often as the hazy memory of his fans would indicate.   Jack fans think he dominated like Tiger did, but it's simply not true. 

Jack was one of the best players in the world for nearly 25 years, but he was clearly THE best for only five of those years --- 1965, 1967, 1972, 1973, and 1975.

In comparison, Tiger was clearly the best golfer in the world 12 different years.  He won the POY 11 of those times, the exception being 2008, when he only played half a year, but still won five events.

 

 

 

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17 minutes ago, MuniGrit said:

 There is a formula to win at Augusta. Play all the holes even par except the par 5's hit in 2 and 2 putt birdie.

Easier said than done. :-)

 

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1 hour ago, mvmac said:

If Spieth or Rory get 12/13 majors and 60+ wins, I think they're better than Tiger. 

 

I would agree with this with an asterisk. They need to win multiple career Slams. Tiger has 3 of them. Jack also has 3 of them, though his 1966 British Open is pretty questionable in terms of the field he faced. If Rory never wins the Masters and Jordan never wins the PGA, that's a pretty big hole in the resume. They have a ton of time on their side and both are very talented. Be interesting to see how things play out for them. 

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2 hours ago, sheepdog said:

They were Masters week.

Bull.

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/golf/sergio-garcia-masters-results-in-numbers-stats-a7675746.html

Garcia was 26th in the field for putting. The reason Garcia won is because he hit 75% of greens in regulation or better.

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9 hours ago, brocks said:

Jack was one of the best players in the world for nearly 25 years, but he was clearly THE best for only five of those years --- 1965, 1967, 1972, 1973, and 1975.

In comparison, Tiger was clearly the best golfer in the world 12 different years.  He won the POY 11 of those times, the exception being 2008, when he only played half a year, but still won five events.

Great write up! I didn't know all that history behind the POY back then. Especially how they highly ranked the US-Open.

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10 hours ago, brocks said:

You also exhibit a very common fault of Jack apologists, namely asserting that he was the best player on tour almost every year.  

Let's look at the six years you claim he should have won POY.

I am not a Jack apologist.

I never made any assertion that Jack was the best player almost every year. I believe just the opposite and a careful reading of my posts would lead you to that conclusion. Jack being consistently number one or dominant is not an argument I made for him.

I never made any claim Jack should have won the POY those 6 years. I said COULD have and the point was the POY is very subjective and probably tilted against Jack his first few years.

Try making less dishonest  arguments.

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20 hours ago, Fidelio said:

Jack was a more consistently good player in majors. There have been people who have done analytics on this. 

A big part of that is because Jack played against weaker fields.

It really isn't analytics, it's just counting. Analytics would be showing that his stats are inflated by the competition he played against.

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20 hours ago, Fidelio said:

Tiger was a more dominant player and certainly a superior player in his prime.  Nobody disagrees.  That Player of the Year award is not a good a measure though. Jack didn't win a Player of the Year award until his sixth year on tour even though he  could have won it every year up to that point. Jack won two majors in 1963 and wasn't player of the year. He won the money title in 64 and 65 but no player of the year.

1963:

10 hours ago, brocks said:

1963 --- Jack: 25 starts, 5 wins, 2nd on money list.
POY -- Julius Boros. Vardon winner -- Billy Casper.  Money leader -- Arnie.  Most wins -- Arnie (7). Major winners: Jack, Boros, Bob Charles, Jack.

This is a very tough year to call.  Jack's two majors would make him a shoo-in today, but majors weren't as big a deal then, except for the US Open, which is the only conceivable reason Boros won POY.  Arnie had the most wins and most money, and Casper won the Vardon (and not even Jack claims this as one of the years he was jobbed out of it), so there was no dominant golfer.

I'm giving 1963 to Arnie by a whisker, for the following reason: the Western Open was bigger than the British Open back then, and Arnie won it in a playoff against Jack and Boros, his chief rivals for best of the year.  I consider that a pretty good tiebreaker, in a week they were all playing well.

My 1963 POY: Arnie (Jack was close).

Arnie was potentially robbed here more than Jack.

1964:

10 hours ago, brocks said:

1964 --- Jack: 26 starts, 4 wins, first on money list.  This is also the first year Jack claims he had the actual low scoring average, even though he didn't win the Vardon.
POY -- Ken Venturi. Vardon winner: Arnie.  Money leader: Jack. Most wins: Tony Lema (5).  Major winners: Arnie, Venturi, Lema, Bobby Nichols.

Once again, it seems that anyone who wins the US Open plus anything else is the automatic POY winner by the standards of that time.  But it appears to me that Tony Lema had the best year, with five wins including the Open (where Jack finished second by five shots).  Jack beat Lema for the money title only because the very limited-field Tournament of Champions (the equivalent of today's SBS/Mercedes) paid three times more than the Open, and the Open was unofficial money.  Jack's other wins were at second-tier events. Lema beat Arnie in a playoff for one of his wins, and if a tiebreaker is needed, Lema won another $50,000 in unofficial money by beating the other three major winners in the World Series of Golf that year.

My 1964 POY: Tony Lema (Jack contending).

Doesn't look like Jack was really robbed here.

1965:

10 hours ago, brocks said:

1965 --- Jack: 24 starts, 5 wins, first on money list, claimed scoring title.
POY: Dave Marr. Vardon winner: Billy Casper.  Money leader: Jack.  Most wins: Jack (5).  Major winners: Jack, Player, Peter Thomson, Marr.

Marr's PGA Championship was his first win in over three years, and the third and last win of his career.  It really makes you wonder what the POY voters were smoking.  At any rate, IMO this was the first of Jack's truly dominant years.  First in every important category.  Easy call.

My 1965 POY: Jack (dominant).

There you go, give him one more win. But give Tiger a win for 2008 and you've not changed the difference between them at all.

But @Fidelio, why are you talking about POY stuff (where Tiger is the clear winner) if majors are all that matter?

9 hours ago, sheepdog said:

They were Masters week.

No, they weren't. Like I said, you're entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.

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33 minutes ago, iacas said:

 

But @Fidelio, why are you talking about POY stuff (where Tiger is the clear winner) if majors are all that matter?

 

Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm................ Ugghhhhhhhhhhh...................... Ummmmmm

Because YOU brought it up. And literally  whole point of the response was point out that it is not a good way to measure the differences. Geez.

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1 minute ago, Fidelio said:

Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm................ Ugghhhhhhhhhhh...................... Ummmmmm

Because YOU brought it up. And literally  whole point of the response was point out that it is not a good way to measure the differences. Geez.

You missed my point.

I don't care about top tens in majors. I deal with that by saying "I don't care about those." I don't debate them, or list them, or talk about why. To me, wins are what count.

To you, you've said majors are what count. So why get suckered into discussing POY awards?

Tiger POY awards > Jack POY awards.

Another bullet point in favor of Tiger.

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4 hours ago, Fidelio said:

Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm................ Ugghhhhhhhhhhh...................... Ummmmmm

Because YOU brought it up. And literally  whole point of the response was point out that it is not a good way to measure the differences. Geez.

'Nuff said.

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5 hours ago, saevel25 said:

A big part of that is because Jack played against weaker fields.

It really isn't analytics, it's just counting. Analytics would be showing that his stats are inflated by the competition he played against.

Gee. Thanks for that great explanation. Very helpful comment. I didn't know. That adds a lot to the discussion.  The breakdown of the Masters that looks at the Masters makes a useful comparison when adjusting for fields, even if the conclusions that should be drawn aren't quite right. close enough because relative scores are what matter.)   http://www.golfwrx.com/126704/tiger-vs-jack-a-definitive-answer/

 

 

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