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

Greatest Golfer (GOAT)  

207 members have voted

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

    • Tiger Woods is the man
      1631
    • Jack Nicklaus is my favorite
      816


6,837 posts / 572505 viewsLast Reply

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1 hour ago, Hardluckster said:

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

Reason's why Jack and golfers in and before his era wouldn't win more majors than Tiger.

1. Equipment helps out less skilled golfers. There is a reason why ball speeds on centered strikes has not changed. If you have a golfer who hits the center of the clubface 99/100 times versus a guy who hits it 80/100 times, which do you think equipment benefits more? This is why Tiger has not seen the gains in distance versus the field, which has caught up to him.

2. Tiger's ceiling is higher. He proved it against tougher competition than Jack did. He didn't just beat golfers he dominated the game. He got to Jack's PGA Tour win count 8 years sooner! Against tougher fields!

3. The depth of field just bolsters these facts

Tiger made 142 cuts in a row compared to Jack's 105.
He has more PGA tour wins than Jack.

Here is a graph of Jack's and Tiger's PGA Tour cumulative winning percentage. Even with Tiger being inactive, he still is 7.6% better than Jack was at the same time in his career! Tiger had one dip down, when he made the swing change with Harmon.

2019-04-18 12_29_41-Book1 - Excel.png

Here is their winning percentage by year, ranked from largest to smallest. Tiger's highest 15 winning percentages are larger than Jack's.

2019-04-18 12_33_08-Book1 - Excel.png

Here is just number of wins per season ranked form largest to smallest. In the first 15 instances, Jack tied Tiger twice and beat him twice.

2019-04-18 12_35_14-Book1 - Excel.png

People are talking about peak, Tiger was dominate for a giant stretch of time. If you consider that Jack won his last tournament in year 25, 60% of Jack's career doesn't compare to Tiger's.

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1 hour 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.

The field argument has NOTHING to do with players getting better over time.  It is about the tremendous increase in the universe from which the fields were drawn, due to a) huge increase in money, b) greater access to the game from outside the country club path, c) satellite tours that give the slower developing players the opportunity to hone their game to big tour level, and the huge one, d) globalisation. 

Tiger already proved he would be dominant using essentially the same technology that Jack used.  What do you think he was playing when he dominated amateur golf with 6 junior and senior Amateurs, and then crushed the pro field in the '97 Masters?  As Jack saId in '96, equipment improvements make it harder to dominate.  

14 minutes ago, iacas said:

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.

Is it just me or are the Jack arguments just getting thinner and thinner.

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8 hours ago, brocks said:

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.

You're welcome Brocks! I'm glad my intent wasn't misunderstood as an insult or anything like that.

Jack's win percentage numbers are incredible and nobody who started their career after him has been even close - with one notable exception of course. I made a list of the greats career numbers up to about age 45 and after Jack and the best I could find was Vijay Singh at 8.29%. Rory is slightly higher at this moment (9.5%), but it is a tall ask for him to retain that number 15 years down the road.

1.      Ben Hogan (45) 1932-1958 - 63 wins in 265 events (23.77%)

2.      Walter Hagen (45) 1915-1938 - 45 wins in 192 events (23.44%)

3.      Sam Snead (45) 1931-1958 - 78 wins in 366 events (21.31%)

4.      Byron Nelson (39) 1933-1951 - 52 wins in 246 events (21.14%)

5.      Jack Nicklaus (45) 1961-1985 - 72 wins in 459 events (15.70%)

6.  Gene Sarazen (45) 1920-1946 - 39 wins in 261 events (14.94%)

7.  Arnold Palmer (45) 1954-1974 - 62 wins in 516 events (12.02%)

8.  Cary Middlecoff (45) 1947-1966 - 40 wins in 333 events (12.01%)

9.  Paul Runyan (45) 1930-1953 - 29 wins in 249 events (11.65%)

10.  Billy Casper (44) 1954-1976 - 51 wins in 488 events (10.45%)

11.  Vijay Singh (45) 1992-2008 - 34 wins in 410 events (8.29%)

12.  Phil Mickelson (45) 1991-2015 - 42 wins in 529 events (7.94%)

13.  Tom Watson (45) 1971-1995 - 37 wins in 530 events (6.98%)

14.  Greg Norman (45) 1979-2000 - 20 wins in 298 events (6.71%)

15.      Lee Trevino (45) 1962-1985 - 29 wins in 441 events (6.58%)

 

And a few greats who really only have data in the majors only:

1.      Bobby Jones (28) 1920-1930 - 13 wins in 31 majors (41.94%)

2.      Harry Vardon (44) 1893-1914 - 7 wins in 24 majors (29.17%)

3.      Willie Anderson (31) 1897-1910 - 4 wins in 14 majors (28.57%)

4.      James Braid (44) 1894-1914 – 5 wins in 20 majors (25%)

5.      J.H. Taylor (43) 1893-1914 - 5 wins in 24 majors (20.83%)

6.  Peter Thomson (43) 1951-1973 - 5 wins in 36 majors (13.89%)

7.  Bobby Locke (42) 1936-1959 - 4 wins in 29 majors (13.79%)

8.  Jim Barnes (45) 1916-1930 - 4 wins in 32 majors (12.50%)

Some of the numbers before 1960 are probably a little off, I just went with what I could find.

Edited by Golfnutgalen

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All the data in the world can't make this argument anything more than conjecture.

I hope TW just wraps up 3 more majors and puts the matter to bed.

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19 minutes ago, 3jacker said:

All the data in the world can't make this argument anything more than conjecture.

I hope TW just wraps up 3 more majors and puts the matter to bed.

and, he hasn't done a true season Slam yet - that's the last domino to fall (so very unlikely, but so incredibly satisfying if it happened)

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20 minutes ago, 3jacker said:

All the data in the world can't make this argument anything more than conjecture.

Sure it can. 

It is a quantifiable fact that Tiger has more wins against tougher fields, wins at a higher rate, was more dominant for longer periods of time, etc than Jack was. 

Those data points are enough for me to conclude that Tiger is the greatest golfer ever and has had a better career than Jack.

Conjecture means "an opinion or conclusion formed on the basis of incomplete information" 

Since you seem to think this argument is conjecture, then in your mind that must mean there are pieces of information that are incomplete.

What pieces of information about both of their careers to this point are incomplete?

(Yes Tiger's career is incomplete, but the data about what he has accomplished thus far in his career is complete)

Edited by klineka

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So Jack seemed to idolize Bobby Jones a bit so it makes a bit of sense his post golf career included course design.

I wonder what Tiger will do once he stops playing.....

Edited by rehmwa

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22 minutes ago, 3jacker said:

All the data in the world can't make this argument anything more than conjecture.

I hope TW just wraps up 3 more majors and puts the matter to bed.

3 more majors would just be more data. Based on what the Jack side believes Tiger could win 50 majors and we still couldn’t know if he’s the GOAT.

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7 minutes ago, rehmwa said:

So Jack seemed to idolize Bobby Jones a bit so it makes a bit of sense his post golf career included course design.

I wonder what Tiger will do once he stops playing.....

Edited since off topic

Spoiler

Tiger already designs courses so I think it's likely that he would continue to do that as one thing he does when he stops playing.

https://tgrdesign.tigerwoods.com/

Edited by klineka

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6 minutes ago, rehmwa said:

So Jack seemed to idolize Bobby Jones a bit so it makes a bit of sense his post golf career included course design.

I wonder what Tiger will do once he stops playing.....

:offtopic:

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45 minutes ago, 3jacker said:

All the data in the world can't make this argument anything more than conjecture.

I hope TW just wraps up 3 more majors and puts the matter to bed.

If you truly believe it is all just conjecture now, how would winning 3 more majors make it any less of a conjecture?  I think you just revealed yourself.

Edited by turtleback

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20 minutes ago, klineka said:

Edited since off topic

  Reveal hidden contents

Ack - my bad.  Found this on Facebook - more on topic....  and timely.

2019-04-18 13_29_06-Facebook.jpg

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

Pretty soon it's gonna be 37 > 33 or something like that. 😛

If Tiger was Jack he would have lobbied for the goalpost to have been shifted long ago to most premium events, defined as majors, WGCs, and Players.  

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35 minutes ago, klineka said:

Sure it can. 

It is a quantifiable fact that Tiger has more wins against tougher fields, wins at a higher rate, was more dominant for longer periods of time, etc than Jack was. 

Those data points are enough for me to conclude that Tiger is the greatest golfer ever and has had a better career than Jack.

Conjecture means "an opinion or conclusion formed on the basis of incomplete information" 

Since you seem to think this argument is conjecture, then in your mind that must mean there are pieces of information that are incomplete.

What pieces of information about both of their careers to this point are incomplete?

(Yes Tiger's career is incomplete, but the data about what he has accomplished thus far in his career is complete)

Saying it is quantifiable doesn't make it so.  Saying that more players/deeper fields means definitively that you "played better" does not mean it is so.  Either of them only had to beat a handful of players in any given event.  It doesn't matter how many remained in the field that could not contend.  That's just one assumption of many. 

15 minutes ago, turtleback said:

If you truly believe it is all just conjecture now, how would winning 3 more majors make it any less of a conjecture?  I think you just revealed yourself.

That's a very astute and fair comment.  

I think winning 3 more would take the biggest point of contention out of the argument - "Jack has more majors, period, thus he's the GOAT."  Of course then the number of 2nd-to-top-10 finishes would come into play, etc. etc. 

So it wouldn't really end the argument, but a lot of folks would jump ship from the "Jack" camp.

 

FTR I think TW is the GOAT.  

39 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

3 more majors would just be more data. Based on what the Jack side believes Tiger could win 50 majors and we still couldn’t know if he’s the GOAT.

Yep.

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12 minutes ago, 3jacker said:

Saying it is quantifiable doesn't make it so.  Saying that more players/deeper fields means definitively that you "played better" does not mean it is so.  Either of them only had to beat a handful of players in any given event.  It doesn't matter how many remained in the field that could not contend.  That's just one assumption of many. 

That's a very astute and fair comment.  

I think winning 3 more would take the biggest point of contention out of the argument - "Jack has more majors, period, thus he's the GOAT."  Of course then the number of 2nd-to-top-10 finishes would come into play, etc. etc. 

So it wouldn't really end the argument, but a lot of folks would jump ship from the "Jack" camp.

 

FTR I think TW is the GOAT.  

Yep.

More Majors as the criteria of GOAT was Jack’s idea. He decided that once he knew he wasn’t gonna top Snead in total wins.

Jack also said ‘Not winning means nothing. Nobody remembers who finished second.’

 

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Right but a lot of people don't say that.  And it does mean you beat the rest of the field and were therefore better. It says a lot about your consistency and performance over time.  He is no more the arbiter of the "rules" for determining who's the greatest.  In fact, he's disqualified completely due to conflict of interest.  He counted the Amateur but since TW came along I can't recall him saying much about throwing that in.  

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9 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

More Majors as the criteria of GOAT was Jack’s idea. He decided that once he knew he wasn’t gonna top Snead in total wins.

Jack also said ‘Not winning means nothing. Nobody remembers who finished second.’

 

I feel like if tiger beats Sneads record that combined with his cuts made streak would be just as impressive as winning 19 majors. His cuts made streak might never be broken. 

Edited by Groucho Valentine

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