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

Greatest Golfer (GOAT)  

199 members have voted

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

    • Tiger Woods is the man
      1633
    • Jack Nicklaus is my favorite
      816


6,793 posts / 542902 viewsLast Reply

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8 minutes ago, klineka said:

 

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???

 

Impressive as in beating what I think are deeper fields, yes. That doesn't take away Jack's accomplishments of winning 18 majors and it isn't to say Jack wouldn't beat the same fields. I still hold that winning 18 majors is a bigger feat than winning 15 majors. End of story.

You are living on this dream that Tiger would automatically have more major than Jack if they played in the same era; therefore, Tiger's the greatest ever. Fields are a great arguing point for making wins appear more impressive, but it doesn't impact your total number of majors.

Work is over. Happy hour time. Time for a drink 🙂

Edited by ChrisP

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25 minutes ago, ChrisP said:

 I still hold that winning 18 majors is a bigger feat than winning 15 majors. End of story.

That's not what you said 2 hours ago

2 hours ago, ChrisP said:

I will concede the fact that I do think Tiger's 15 majors are more impressive than Jack's 18

If you are going to argue a point at least be consistent man.

 

26 minutes ago, ChrisP said:

That doesn't take away Jack's accomplishments of winning 18 majors and it isn't to say Jack wouldn't beat the same fields.

I already said this once but I guess I'll say it again, NOBODY is trying to take away or diminish anything that Jack has done, and nobody is saying Jack wouldn't beat the same fields. We are simply stating that we think what Tiger has done is better than what Jack has done.

28 minutes ago, ChrisP said:

You are living on this dream that Tiger would automatically have more major than Jack if they played in the same era; therefore, Tiger's the greatest ever. 

 No matter how many times you keep repeating this, that doesn't change the fact that I have never said anything remotely close to that.

30 minutes ago, ChrisP said:

Fields are a great arguing point for making wins appear more impressive

Because it's true. 

32 minutes ago, ChrisP said:

but it doesn't impact your total number of majors.

Arguing that Jack is better only because of the number of majors is equivalent to saying that MJ is better only because he has more rings, it's narrow minded and doesn't take the entire body of work into consideration.

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54 minutes ago, ChrisP said:

No it doesn't

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? 

 

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.

We do not penalize Jack for the level of his competition.  We merely note that despite facing weaker competition his record is nowhere near as dominant as Tigers in 25 different areas, and the only area he leads in is 18>15.  As I have maintained for years 18>14(now 15) is the only argument the Jack supporters have - and stop the second place nonsense - no one achieves greatness by losing.  @iacas used to argue with me about this, but I think it is fair to say he has come around.

If you were to read back through the thread you will see that other than noting Jack's comments that tour cardholders in 1996 are the equivalent to the top players of his era, and top players in 1996 were the equivalent of superstars of his era, I have made my arguments independently of the the field issue.  Partly because @iacas deals with that issue better than me but mostly because I DON'T NEED IT.  If I stipulate, for the sake of argument, that they faced equally strong fields the Jack folks STLL have nothing besides 18>14/5.  In any other measure of dominance Tiger is not only ahead of Jack, he is miles ahead.  Whether we are talking cut streak, winning margin, winning percentage, consecutive wins - everything.

I've made this challenge before - list Jack's seasons in order from best to worst.  I'll so the same for Tiger.  Then we can have a little match play, comparing their best seasons, second best seasons, third best season, etc.  Don't bother, Tiger wins that 10 & 8.

43 minutes ago, ChrisP said:

Impressive as in beating what I think are deeper fields, yes. That doesn't take away Jack's accomplishments of winning 18 majors and it isn't to say Jack wouldn't beat the same fields. I still hold that winning 18 majors is a bigger feat than winning 15 majors. End of story.

You are living on this dream that Tiger would automatically have more major than Jack if they played in the same era; therefore, Tiger's the greatest ever. Fields are a great arguing point for making wins appear more impressive, but it doesn't impact your total number of majors.

Work is over. Happy hour time. Time for a drink 🙂

You are setting up a silly situation of transplanting them into each other's era and then claiming that because of the silly situation we really don't know anything.  No one is dreaming anything about Tiger in the 60s or Jack in the 21st century.  Maybe if Jack's record was remotely comparable to Tigers it might make sense, but the inescapable fact is that except for 18>14/5, Tigers record dwarfs Jacks.  

It is like comparing 2 basketball players at free throws.  A shoots from 15 feet at a standard sizes basket.  B shoots from 20 feet at a basket that is 10% smaller in size.  B sinks a significantly higher percentage of baskets.  Now you can apply your logic and claim that we can't say B is better than A because we don't know how they would each shoot under the other's condition.  And it would be nonsense, just as it is when comparing Jack and Tiger's records.

 

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1 hour ago, brocks said:

That's very unfair to Jack, since he played events well into his 60's.  It also distorts Tiger's record, since he played injured for several years.

It would be more fair to look at the the periods when Tiger and Jack were in their primes --- 1996 through 2009 for Tiger, and 1962 through 1978 for Jack.  For both men, those are the years from their rookie season to the year before they first went winless, and fell out of the top 50 in the money list.

Tiger played 239 official PGA events from turning pro through 2009, including 50 majors and 30 WGCs, leaving 159 "regular" events.  

He won 41 of the 159 regular events, or 25.8%.
He won 14 of the 50 majors, or 28.0 %.
He won 16 of the 30 WGCs, or 53.3%.

Jack played 345 official PGA events from 1962-1978 inclusive, including 68 majors (and obviously this was before WGC's were established), leaving 277 "regular" events.  

He won 67 of the 277 regular events, or 24.2%.
He won 15 of the 68 majors, or 22.1%.

It's interesting that Jack won nearly the same percentage of majors as regular events, and Tiger won a higher percentage of majors than regular events.  There could be several explanations for it, but it certainly seems to show that for the top golfers, winning a major is not a lot harder than winning a regular event.  Many of the young pros today continue that trend.  Yet another reason why "most majors" should not be the sole determinant of GOAT.

And one more thing I always have to add when discussing Tiger's winning percentage:  the WGC stat above includes the WGC match play.  Single-elimination, 18-hole match play (which it was during those years) is always a crap shoot, and not nearly as accurate as a 72-hole stroke play event in determining the best golfer.  The WGC stroke play events typically had the top 70 or 80 players in the world, with no amateurs, no Asian Tour affirmative action players, no legacy champs who hadn't won in decades, and no club pros.  When Tiger was making his comeback last year after several years of dismal results, he still qualified for the Players, and all four majors, but he didn't qualify for the WGCs.

I think it's fair to say that almost all of the WGCs Tiger won had stronger fields than almost all of the majors Jack won.

Of the stroke play WGC events of Tiger's 14-year prime, he won 13 out of 20, an unbelievable 65% winning percentage.  That, my friends, is sustained dominance, the like of which we have never seen before and will never see again.

 

 

Just because Jack played past his prime doesn't even remotely bring his winning percentages into Tiger's range.  Tiger lost a raft of chances to increase his lead when the personal and back issues all cropped up.  He is still competing at a high level into his mid 40's after a nearly 2 year hiatus, at an age when Jack was starting to lose his edge.

Edited by Fourputt

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8 hours 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. 

 

 

Here's an interesting scenario I've been thinking about. Let's say he wins a U.S. Open and British Open but stops at 17 majors. This actually gives him more Career Grand Slams (4) than Jack's 3 Career Grand Slams.

And then there is issue of total wins. A hypothetical 90 and 17 is better than 73 and 18. I don't think anyone believes a 1-major guy is better than a 17 time winner on Tour (without a major). 

Just throwing that out there because it would make the debate pretty awkward to say the least, haha 

Edited by Dr. Manhattan

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It's really great to see these threads back on top of the first page, I haven't posted much as of late but I do believe Tiger woods is the greatest player of all time. When and if he simply ties Jack's professional majors record should settle it for everyone. Tiger will at least have 84 PGA tour victories at that time which will be the most passing Sam Snead at 82 also Tigers 3 US amateur titles gives him the edge over Jack.

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3 hours ago, brocks said:

Tiger played 239 official PGA events from turning pro through 2009, including 50 majors and 30 WGCs, leaving 159 "regular" events.  

He won 41 of the 159 regular events, or 25.8%.
He won 14 of the 50 majors, or 28.0 %.
He won 16 of the 30 WGCs, or 53.3%.

Jack played 345 official PGA events from 1962-1978 inclusive, including 68 majors (and obviously this was before WGC's were established), leaving 277 "regular" events.  

He won 67 of the 277 regular events, or 24.2%.
He won 15 of the 68 majors, or 22.1%.

I just wanted to add that the data you have for Nicklaus is a little off as far as I know. You forgot to remove the majors from his regular event total. Also the tour's website doesn't include the Open in their total starts stat up until 1995 the date it became an official event. I'm not trying to be rude, I just spent a lot of time on gathering the stats myself a while back.

Here's Jack from his first pro event in 1962 to the end of 1978:

Won 53 of the 285 regular events, or 18.6%.
Won 15 of the 68 majors, or 22.1%.

Total win percentage: 19.26%

And Tiger from 1996-2009

Won 57 of the 189 regular events, or 30.2%.
Won 14 of the 50 majors, or 28%.

Total win percentage: 29.71%

Even after a brutal next decade Tiger's numbers are absurd. Jack's are as well, they just seem to pale in comparison.

Tiger up to the 2019 Masters (age 43)

Won 66 of the 263 regular events, or 25.1%.
Won 15 of the 75 majors, or 20%.

Total win percentage: 24%

Jack up to 1983, age 43

Won 54 of the 341 regular events, or 15.8%.
Won 17 of the 88 majors, or 19.3%.

Total win percentage: 16.6%

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4 hours ago, Golfnutgalen said:

I just wanted to add that the data you have for Nicklaus is a little off as far as I know. You forgot to remove the majors from his regular event total. Also the tour's website doesn't include the Open in their total starts stat up until 1995 the date it became an official event. I'm not trying to be rude, I just spent a lot of time on gathering the stats myself a while back.

Here's Jack from his first pro event in 1962 to the end of 1978:

Won 53 of the 285 regular events, or 18.6%.
Won 15 of the 68 majors, or 22.1%.

Total win percentage: 19.26%

And Tiger from 1996-2009

Won 57 of the 189 regular events, or 30.2%.
Won 14 of the 50 majors, or 28%.

Total win percentage: 29.71%

Even after a brutal next decade Tiger's numbers are absurd. Jack's are as well, they just seem to pale in comparison.

Tiger up to the 2019 Masters (age 43)

Won 66 of the 263 regular events, or 25.1%.
Won 15 of the 75 majors, or 20%.

Total win percentage: 24%

Jack up to 1983, age 43

Won 54 of the 341 regular events, or 15.8%.
Won 17 of the 88 majors, or 19.3%.

Total win percentage: 16.6%

Thanks for the correction.  I don't know how I managed to forget to subtract the majors, but in my defense, I'm a moron.  The British Open's unofficial status is a more subtle error, so congrats for spotting it. 

I actually got my stats from a saved copy of a post I made several years ago to the old Golf Channel board, so I'm not sure what herb or beverage might have influenced me at the time I did the original calculation, but henceforth I'll double-check when I copy from an old post.  Thanks again for your very polite correction.

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15 hours ago, Vinsk said:

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.  

While incredibly impressive, none of this proves that Tiger is the greatest golfer of all time.  It proves that he has the best records and statistics (excluding major wins), but not that he is the greatest person to ever play professional golf, imo.

 

15 hours ago, Vinsk said:

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.😃

Upset over opinions from people who I do not know posting on a message board?  No, not me.  We can all have different opinions and discuss them rationally, if we choose to do so.

I do not believe that any athlete, in any sport, can be named the best ever.  There are simply too many variables for me to believe that anyone can ever positively be crowned in that fashion.  That is my view.

Have a great day!

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13 hours ago, ChrisP said:

Impressive as in beating what I think are deeper fields, yes. That doesn't take away Jack's accomplishments of winning 18 majors and it isn't to say Jack wouldn't beat the same fields. I still hold that winning 18 majors is a bigger feat than winning 15 majors. End of story.

Even if you consider that the fields are 20% stronger from Tiger's era, which is probably an understatement, Tiger's achievements match Jacks in Majors.

13 hours ago, ChrisP said:

Fields are a great arguing point for making wins appear more impressive, but it doesn't impact your total number of majors.

This line makes no sense.

5 minutes ago, Hardluckster said:

proves that he has the best records and statistics (excluding major wins), but not that he is the greatest person to ever play professional golf, imo.

This is about greatest golfer not greatest person. Still, some of the greatest athletes of all time were jerks. Golfers do not have to be good guys.

Keep to the topic please.

7 minutes ago, Hardluckster said:

do not believe that any athlete, in any sport, can be named the best ever.  There are simply too many variables for me to believe that anyone can ever positively be crowned in that fashion.  That is my view.

So you will not say Usain Bolt isn't the sprinter runner of all time? It's easy to tell he is. That one fact takes out your claim about not claiming athletes as great.

It's not difficult. People just don't want to admit it because they want to keep hold of their icons.

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20 minutes ago, Hardluckster said:

While incredibly impressive, none of this proves that Tiger is the greatest golfer of all time.  It proves that he has the best records and statistics (excluding major wins), but not that he is the greatest person to ever play professional golf, imo.

Not the topic.

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8 hours ago, flopster said:

It's really great to see these threads back on top of the first page, I haven't posted much as of late but I do believe Tiger woods is the greatest player of all time. When and if he simply ties Jack's professional majors record should settle it for everyone. Tiger will at least have 84 PGA tour victories at that time which will be the most passing Sam Snead at 82 also Tigers 3 US amateur titles gives him the edge over Jack.

Yesterday I posted this link, in the Tiger Woods catch all thread, an article about Snead's 82 win total - it is not without controversy
There are many arguments that can be made that Tiger really has already passed Snead in Tour victories - but that is really not part of the GOAT discussion (unless someone wants to make it into Jack vs. Tiger vs. Sam for the GOAT...I'd throw Walter into that discussion, but there really isn't much point to that as it is Jack.

Snead-Trophies-1320-StanBadz.jpg

In his autobiography, “The Education of a Golfer,” Sam Snead recalled a conversation he had one afternoon at Griffith Park, site of the 1937 Los...

 

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5 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

This is about greatest golfer not greatest person. Still, some of the greatest athletes of all time were jerks. Golfers do not have to be good guys.

Keep to the topic please.

My response has nothing to do with the personality of the individual.  As I read it, my response is on topic, you just misinterpreted.

 

6 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

So you will not say Usain Bolt isn't the sprinter runner of all time? It's easy to tell he is. That one fact takes out your claim about not claiming athletes as great.

I never said anyone wasn't great, just that I don't believe in identifying athletes as the greatest ever.

 

8 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

It's not difficult. People just don't want to admit it because they want to keep hold of their icons.

I have no dog in this hunt, other than an opinion  I don't claim to support anyone for GOAT.

3 minutes ago, iacas said:

Not the topic.

Misinterpreted.  I probably should have just said the greatest to ever play professional golf.

 

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6 minutes ago, Hardluckster said:

I never said anyone wasn't great, just that I don't believe in identifying athletes as the greatest ever.

You'd be wrong then.

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