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

Greatest Golfer (GOAT)  

180 members have voted

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

    • Tiger Woods is the man
      1636
    • Jack Nicklaus is my favorite
      811


6,544 posts / 495904 viewsLast Reply

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43 minutes ago, Hardluckster said:

I do not believe that any athlete, in any sport, can be named the best ever

Fair enough. Not sure why you’re bothering to post here then.😃

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14 hours ago, turtleback said:

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.

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.

 

My whole point centers around those out who solely look at majors as to whether a person is the greatest or not. And I tried to play devil's advocate a little bit yesterday. My whole point was that if we put Jack Nicklaus in today's era with today's equipment and competition, how do people know he wouldn't win more majors than Tiger? What proof is out there that Tiger would definitely and 100% win more majors than Jack? I'm reading and hearing people say "Tiger Woods would wipe the floor with Jack Nicklaus if they were in the same era." Really? How do you know that? Yes, competition is tougher today, but who is to say Jack wouldn't beat that difficult competition, too, like Tiger has? People just flat out assume that he wouldn't.

Now for those who don't go by majors alone and bring in regular tournament play and US Amateurs and domination of tournaments, then yes, we could argue Tiger is the best ever. Everyone has a different barometer they go by and we all have to respect that.

 

 

 

 

Edited by ChrisP

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1 hour ago, Vinsk said:

Fair enough. Not sure why you’re bothering to post here then.😃

Just giving my opinion, like so many others.

Maybe you are right..... maybe I should have just kept silent.

I do enjoy the discussion, however, so long as it is kept civil.

1 hour ago, saevel25 said:

You'd be wrong then.

That's your opinion, and you are completely entitled to it.  I'd respectfully disagree with you, however.

I will give you this: If there was ever a sport where I believe that the greatest athlete could be identified, it would most likely be certain track and field events. There are far fewer variables in the competitions where many track and field events are concerned - thereby making it possible to potentially crown someone in those events.

Edited by Hardluckster

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1 hour ago, Vinsk said:

Fair enough. Not sure why you’re bothering to post here then.😃

Hell, not just post but putting forth reasons for one or the other

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A Few Good Men (1992) - Find video clips by quote. GetYarn.io now.

 

 

Edited by Wally Fairway

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17 minutes ago, ChrisP said:

My whole point centers around those out who solely look at majors as to whether a person is the greatest or not. And I tried to play devil's advocate a little bit yesterday. My whole point was that if we put Jack Nicklaus in today's era with today's equipment and competition, how do people know he wouldn't win more majors than Tiger? What proof is out there that Tiger would definitely and 100% win more majors than Jack? I'm reading and hearing people say "Tiger Woods would wipe the floor with Jack Nicklaus if they were in the same era." Really? How do you know that? Yes, competition is tougher today, but who is to say Jack wouldn't beat that difficult competition, too, like Tiger has? People just flat out assume that he wouldn't.

I agree with this, except that I'd even go so far as to even include other statistics.  They are all subject to variables that cannot be quantified for the different generations imo.  

And what proof is there that Snead, or Hogan, or Jones would not have been better than both?  There is none, other than speculation.

My view is that the best we can do is to say that each was the best of their time.  We can speculate as to who would have been the most dominant, but there is no proof.

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4 minutes ago, Hardluckster said:

My view is that the best we can do is to say that each was the best of their time.  We can speculate as to who would have been the most dominant, but there is no proof.

Ok so I'll ask you the question that I generally ask myself when I think about who the GOAT of a particular sport is.

What player had the best career in that sport?

In this case, as of right now (since Tiger is still active) who had the better overall career, Jack or Tiger?

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37 minutes ago, Hardluckster said:

My view is that the best we can do is to say that each was the best of their time.  We can speculate as to who would have been the most dominant, but there is no proof.

That’s just a super philosophy that leads to no room for debate. We’re not discussing things like ‘who’s the greatest philosopher, musician, poet..etc.’ This is about athletes performing. And performing with a set goal. To shoot the lowest score and win a golf tournament. Period. As far as not being able to cross generations and see how Hogan, Snead or Jones would’ve done is completely irrelevant. That impossibility does not preclude a competitor as the GOAT in his/her sport because it is of itself an impossibility. What we can see without question is players of golf and every other sport have gotten better. Period. You have to take what is present in the current reality and from that it’s not difficult to draw a conclusion. It’s ignorantly stubborn to believe that we can’t know if Billy Riggs was a better tennis player than Roger Federer. Period. No discussion. We can’t say ‘well..maybe if Billy in his prime played Federer he could’ve dominated him...we don’t know that.’ Sorry, no. That’s just stupid. And I’m not calling you stupid or ignorant. I am saying you’re applying a super philosophy where it’s not needed. At least not in this discussion.

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I'm not saying that Jack didn't want to win, but he sure didn't [if what has been written is to be believed] commit himself to the game to the degree that Tiger did. What Woods accomplished from 1997 - 2008 will most probably never be equaled. The degree of dominance is staggering. Jack reportedly took time off and when his dominance wained, would go back to work. We might only imagine what he could have done. Regardless, history will/should always have him on golf's Mt. Rushmore.

As much as the sentimental side of me wants Jack, the analytical side knows that Wood's work is hard to deny. Had he not come back for the Eastlake win and then the Masters, I would be staunchly standing on the side of Jack.

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11 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

That’s just a super philosophy that leads to no room for debate. We’re not discussing things like ‘who’s the greatest philosopher, musician, poet..etc.’ This is about athletes performing. And performing with a set goal. To shoot the lowest score and win a golf tournament. Period. As far as not being able to cross generations and see how Hogan, Snead or Jones would’ve done is completely irrelevant. That impossibility does not preclude a competitor as the GOAT in his/her sport because it is of itself an impossibility. What we can see without question is players of golf and every other sport have gotten better. Period. You have to take what is present in the current reality and from that it’s not difficult to draw a conclusion. It’s ignorantly stubborn to believe that we can’t know if Billy Riggs was a better tennis player than Roger Federer. Period. No discussion. We can’t say ‘well..maybe if Billy in his prime played Federer he could’ve dominated him...we don’t know that.’ Sorry, no. That’s just stupid. And I’m not calling you stupid or ignorant. I am saying you’re applying a super philosophy where it’s not needed. At least not in this discussion.

Players have gotten better over time, no doubt. Equipment has a lot to do with that. Would be nice if all eras had the same equipment so we could compare and contrast better, but we just don’t have that luxury. That’s why I believe Tiger of today would beat the daylights out of Jack of 1975 using their own equipment, but give Jack 2019 equipment and who knows what the results would be.

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19 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

It’s ignorantly stubborn to believe that we can’t know if Billy Riggs was a better tennis player than Roger Federer. Period. No discussion. We can’t say ‘well..maybe if Billy in his prime played Federer he could’ve dominated him...we don’t know that.’ Sorry, no. That’s just stupid. And I’m not calling you stupid or ignorant. I am saying you’re applying a super philosophy where it’s not needed. At least not in this discussion.

Actually, you are calling me ignorant and stupid when you espouse my beliefs to be so.  That's ok, though, because I'm used to it - I'm married.  😉   It's all good - I'm not offended.

I'm a scientist.  Scientists deal in facts that have or can be proven.  If you cannot absolutely prove it, it is hypothetical, conjecture, opinion, or whatever you wish to call it.  No amount of statistics and supposition can prove which golfer would have been more dominant had they both played in the same era.

You have your beliefs, which I respect.  I understand why you believe the way that you do.

I do not share your views.  That is OK.  We don't need approval from one another.

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1 hour ago, ChrisP said:

My whole point was that if we put Jack Nicklaus in today's era with today's equipment and competition, how do people know he wouldn't win more majors than Tiger?

Thing is, you have no evidence to support that he'd win more majors than the 18 he won and all of the evidence supports the idea that he'd win fewer.

  • He'd be playing against Tiger Woods.
  • He'd be playing against, beyond TW, stiffer competition top to bottom.
  • The equipment plays a role in further reducing Jack's advantages. Now everyone can hit a high, towering long iron or hybrid.

Everything supports that Jack would win fewer than 18 times.

I think that he'd win fewer than 15 times, which is why I say 14x or 15x > 18y.

But nothing supports Jack winning more than 18 times.

1 hour ago, ChrisP said:

What proof is out there that Tiger would definitely and 100% win more majors than Jack?

Of course there's no "proof" or there wouldn't be any debate here at all, unless people concocted other stupid reasons like "Jack was a more gracious winner" or something else. Because majors are the ONLY area where 18 > 15 and where Jack has an actual "lead" on TW (though again that means excluding strength/depth of field).

1 hour ago, ChrisP said:

I'm reading and hearing people say "Tiger Woods would wipe the floor with Jack Nicklaus if they were in the same era."

Really? You're reading and hearing that? What are the other voices in your head saying? :-D

I don't see people typing that stuff here.

1 hour ago, ChrisP said:

Yes, competition is tougher today, but who is to say Jack wouldn't beat that difficult competition, too, like Tiger has? People just flat out assume that he wouldn't.

He wouldn't beat it 18 times. I think that can pretty much be taken as a a fact.

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44 minutes ago, ChrisP said:

Players have gotten better over time, no doubt. Equipment has a lot to do with that. Would be nice if all eras had the same equipment so we could compare and contrast better, but we just don’t have that luxury. That’s why I believe Tiger of today would beat the daylights out of Jack of 1975 using their own equipment, but give Jack 2019 equipment and who knows what the results would be.

 

I mean Tiger grew up with persimmon and balata and shot some pretty amazing scores as a small child with that equipment. He has said if he made the rules, all the guys today would be forced to play with the older equipment. That's because he knows the newer equipment helps the lower ranked guys be more competitive. The older equipment allowed elite players like Jack to separate themselves from the field. 

Edited by Dr. Manhattan

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iacas said, "He wouldn't beat it 18 times. I think that can pretty much be taken as fact".

To be taken as fact takes imperical evidence. We don't have that. The "probability" is that he wouldn't win 18 majors. That I will agree with.

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7 minutes ago, LMoore said:

To be taken as fact takes imperical evidence. We don't have that.

Fact: competition is stronger/deeper now, as more golfers are playing golf (including and especially from outside the country). Equipment has also raised the level of those beneath "the best" more so than it's raised the level of the best, too, further closing the gap and making competition stronger.

So no, I stand by what I said.

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Imperical evidence would require that Jack in his prime, play the same field as Tiger in his prime. That can't/won't happen. We can only take the facts we have and come to a reasonable conclusion. You have come to that conclusion and I happen to agree with you, but we can't state "fact". It's a very reasonable assumption.

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44 minutes ago, Hardluckster said:

No amount of statistics and supposition can prove which golfer would have been more dominant had they both played in the same era.

You still haven't answered the question I asked of you earlier, which is a different way to think about the GOAT conversation and one that can be proven with statistics and facts.

1 hour ago, klineka said:

Ok so I'll ask you the question that I generally ask myself when I think about who the GOAT of a particular sport is.

What player had the best career in that sport?

In this case, as of right now (since Tiger is still active) who had the better overall career, Jack or Tiger?

 

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5 minutes ago, LMoore said:

Imperical evidence would require that Jack in his prime, play the same field as Tiger in his prime.

No it wouldn't.

The facts are that the competition is stiffer now. That's an empirical fact. I can use that to determine other facts.

That Jack may win 18 against stiffer competition would just mean that the experiment wasn't controlled very well as another factor came into effect.

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