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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


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10 hours ago, iacas said:

Ehhhhhh… no. Jack was third on the money list in 1962 and won over $61k. https://www.carinsurancedata.org/calculators/inflation/61000/1962 - that's the equivalent of $514,686.57 in 2019 dollars.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1962_PGA_Tour

You can look these things up if you want.

 

Third on the money list in 2018 was Rory at $5.3 million, which kinda makes my point about changes in the tour. The equivalent of $514,686 gets you #127 Jason Dufner.
And #10 on the 1962 list is Phil Rogers who earned just over $32,000, which is why there were exhibitions and money games to supplement that income. For comparison there were 72 players on the PGA tour who earned >$1,000,000 in prize money, the last one being Patrick Rodgers who only earned $$1,028,000, with 0 wins and 3 top 10's.

The money in the game has changed more than 10x (over inflation), and it has produced great growth in the sport, not just for the Tour. 
And just like today the pros had to pay for travel and out of pockets, so that $61,000 though decent money wasn't going to make the pros very much true wealth. Nobody was paying them clothing or equipment deals worth 6 or 7 digits - let alone 9 digit deals for todays top players.


Thanks for the link

Edited by Wally Fairway
more flavor added

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39 minutes ago, Wally Fairway said:

Third on the money list in 2018 was Rory at $5.3 million

No it doesn't. You said prize money was "negligible." Half a million dollars is not "negligible." It's smaller than today, but it's nowhere near negligible. And that's 1962, which is the first full year Jack was a pro. It continued to get better from there.

42 minutes ago, Wally Fairway said:

And #10 on the 1962 list is Phil Rogers who earned just over $32,000, which is why there were exhibitions and money games to supplement that income.

$32k then was $266,207.15. Again, nowhere near "negligible."

43 minutes ago, Wally Fairway said:

Nobody was paying them clothing or equipment deals worth 6 or 7 digits - let alone 9 digit deals for todays top players.

They had sponsorship contracts/agreements.

Now, had you gone back to the 30s-50s, you'd have been more correct about pros needing the exhibitions, etc. But 1962? Not so much.

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46 minutes ago, Wally Fairway said:

Third on the money list in 2018 was Rory at $5.3 million, which kinda makes my point about changes in the tour. The equivalent of $514,686 gets you #127 Jason Dufner.
And #10 on the 1962 list is Phil Rogers who earned just over $32,000, which is why there were exhibitions and money games to supplement that income. For comparison there were 72 players on the PGA tour who earned >$1,000,000 in prize money, the last one being Patrick Rodgers who only earned $$1,028,000, with 0 wins and 3 top 10's.

The money in the game has changed more than 10x (over inflation), and it has produced great growth in the sport, not just for the Tour. 
And just like today the pros had to pay for travel and out of pockets, so that $61,000 though decent money wasn't going to make the pros very much true wealth. Nobody was paying them clothing or equipment deals worth 6 or 7 digits - let alone 9 digit deals for todays top players.


Thanks for the link

 

Jack's first paycheck was $33.33 for 50th place tie at the Los Angeles Open.  Nobody who makes the cut earns such a minuscule amount in a tournament today, even when adjusted for inflation.  The famous Cody Gribble (ranked 200 in 2019), of whom nobody has ever heard, in making only 31 cuts in 76 career tournaments, and still has earned $1.9 million with only 2 top 10's (one was a surprise win at the Sanderson Farms Open in 2017, mostly against the other outliers on Tour).  Jack wouldn't even have made expenses with that sort of a record.  As previously mentioned, most of his competition could not dedicate themselves 100% to Tour competition because they had to work a real job for a living to feed themselves and their families.  There was no real financial incentive to do the work necessary to succeed on Tour until Arnold and Jack sparked a new popularity in the game.

I'm not sure where this ramble is really going.  Just interesting for me to compare different generations and to see how much the influx of big money has changed the game.  With only 2 top 10's in his career (including that one win), Cody has made a total of nearly $1.9 million, unimaginable in 1962.  He is averaging over $300,000 per year for his 6 years and 76 events on tour, and until I started this post I'd ever even heard his name before.  Not a bad deal if you can make it work.

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2 hours ago, Wally Fairway said:

Third on the money list in 2018 was Rory at $5.3 million, which kinda makes my point about changes in the tour. The equivalent of $514,686 gets you #127 Jason Dufner.
And #10 on the 1962 list is Phil Rogers who earned just over $32,000, which is why there were exhibitions and money games to supplement that income. For comparison there were 72 players on the PGA tour who earned >$1,000,000 in prize money, the last one being Patrick Rodgers who only earned $$1,028,000, with 0 wins and 3 top 10's.

The money in the game has changed more than 10x (over inflation), and it has produced great growth in the sport, not just for the Tour. 
And just like today the pros had to pay for travel and out of pockets, so that $61,000 though decent money wasn't going to make the pros very much true wealth. Nobody was paying them clothing or equipment deals worth 6 or 7 digits - let alone 9 digit deals for todays top players.


Thanks for the link

 

In 1962, Bob Cousy, Hall of Fame NBA player with 6 Championships and 13 All Star appearances held out for around $11,000 dollars. Mickey Mantle made $100,000 in 1963 in a vastly more popular sport. Bart Starr made $100,000 in 1967. Jack was doing pretty good.

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3 minutes ago, boogielicious said:

In 1962, Bob Cousy, Hall of Fame NBA player with 6 Championships and 13 All Star appearances held out for around $11,000 dollars. Mickey Mantle made $100,000 in 1963 in a vastly more popular sport. Bart Starr made $100,000 in 1967. Jack was doing pretty good.

Yup. It wasn’t “negligible” income.

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3 hours ago, iacas said:

No it doesn't. You said prize money was "negligible." Half a million dollars is not "negligible." It's smaller than today, but it's nowhere near negligible. And that's 1962, which is the first full year Jack was a pro. It continued to get better from there.

$32k then was $266,207.15. Again, nowhere near "negligible."

They had sponsorship contracts/agreements.

Now, had you gone back to the 30s-50s, you'd have been more correct about pros needing the exhibitions, etc. But 1962? Not so much.

I think I went too far into the weeds, my original comments were related to Jack playing club pros, one of the reasons is that not many players could earn a living playing on the tour. By your link, it looks like only the top 10 players earned over $30,000 that year. It explains why the field was so weak, because many could only play events near their home, not like today when Web.com guys make several $100,000 while learning to play tour golf.
Jack isn't the example, as clearly he was one of the best every year he played. But there were Monday qualifiers, so there weren't exempt fields - it was just a much different landscape then what you see today.

The whole point of my original post was why it is hard to compare era's; sure depth of field but there is a reason for the changes in the depth of field. One is money, another is population growth - you see those affecting all sports as @boogielicious pointed out. Hell as a kid I remember that spring training was required for baseball because the players all had off season jobs and they had to get back into baseball shape. Jobs they had to supplement their baseball earnings. And these were good players on the Tigers, who won a World Series when I was a kid.

So we can really forget all of this - it's probably in the wrong thread anyway - Tiger is the GOAT, until someone else comes along and dominate the even deeper fields...Rory looked like he could be it, so did Spieth, now maybe it's Brooks...but likely that although they will all have HOF careers they are not the next choosen one.

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4 hours ago, Wally Fairway said:

my original comments were related to Jack playing club pros, one of the reasons is that not many players could earn a living playing on the tour. By your link, it looks like only the top 10 players earned over $30,000 that year. It explains why the field was so weak, because many could only play events near their home, not like today when Web.com guys make several $100,000 while learning to play tour golf.

Yes, Jack's financial situation is yet another reason that "most majors" is biased toward Jack.   He was guaranteed so much money from endorsements (McCormack guaranteed him $100K his first year, even if he didn't win a nickel in prize money) that he was able to pick and choose which events he played, build his schedule around the majors, and scout and practice at the major venues weeks in advance.  He also had his own plane to get from place to place.  It gave him a tremendous advantage over 99% of his competition, who didn't have those luxuries.  Today, almost all the top players do all of those things, so a player like Tiger has no advantage over them.

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On 3/20/2007 at 11:30 AM, mstuk said:

jack

The competition argument is really overblown, to be frank. We often hear people say that it is true that Jack played with other historic great players, but the depth of the field, top to bottom, was simply substantially weaker over his career than during Tiger's career. This is often said as a means of countering the argument as to Jack's absolutely unbelievable level of consistent competitiveness in major championships, therefore diluting, in relative terms, his records as to top-two, top-three, top-five and top-ten finishes in major championships. The problem is that this argument makes little sense because these other historic great players, the greatest of the greats, who we refer to here, Watson, Trevino, Player, Palmer, Casper, e.t.c. have records in major championships which look nothing like Jack's. If the competition issue was a substantial factor, as we are sometimes told, we should expect to see far higher rates of top-ten finishes for these players, as well, relative to the greatest players of later generations. Yet, that is not what we find, at all. Take Lee Trevino, for instance and compare his top-ten finishes in major championships to Ernie Els, or to Phil Mickelson. For visual purposes, a good way to do this is to look at them side by side, at the bottom of their respective Wikipedia pages. So, such was obviously not the factor in play here. The simple reason is that there were many great players in the 60's and 70's, many of who won one or two major championship ls over their careers, as is the case today. Jack is simply an outlier.

Edited by TryingtoPlay
Added substance

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I would also say that I think that several of Jack's statements in his autobiography have been used in a misleading fashion here. It is true that Nicklaus stated in his autobiography, published in 1996, that the fields at the time were superior overall to the fields which he had played in, whether in the 60's or the 70's. I would say that this was probably, on the whole, true. However, he also stated, on numerous occasions, in the early to mid 2000's that the fields were somewhat weaker then they had been in the past, which I also agree with. In the 2010's, especially as the decade has progressed, he has been very positive about the overall quality of the competition at the highest level of the game, saying that the quality of the fields right now are as good as they have ever been and are possibly the best that they have ever been. I think that this is very clearly the case, as well. So, Nicklaus' comments in his autobiography should not be understood to substantiate the notion that the competition continuously and indefinitely improves, or anything like that. That would not be easy to square with the full breadth of his comments over the years.

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35 minutes ago, TryingtoPlay said:

I would also say that I think that several of Jack's statements in his autobiography have been used in a misleading fashion here. It is true that Nicklaus stated in his autobiography, published in 1996, that the fields at the time were superior overall to the fields which he had played in, whether in the 60's or the 70's. I would say that this was probably, on the whole, true. However, he also stated, on numerous occasions, in the early to mid 2000's that the fields were somewhat weaker then they had been in the past, which I also agree with. In the 2010's, especially as the decade has progressed, he has been very positive about the overall quality of the competition at the highest level of the game, saying that the quality of the fields right now are as good as they have ever been and are possibly the best that they have ever been. I think that this is very clearly the case, as well. So, Nicklaus' comments in his autobiography should not be understood to substantiate the notion that the competition continuously and indefinitely improves, or anything like that. That would not be easy to square with the full breadth of his comments over the years.

 But here’s the thing. Jack isn’t the authority  on what makes the GOAT. Jack’s opinions really don’t mean anything. They have been used to support some trains of thought, opinions, but they don’t negate the countless volumes of facts presented by the members here. It still remains that Jack won majors, in his early years especially, that had incredibly weak fields. Period. Jack having 18 majors is the only stat that makes people claim him as the GOAT. It’s no different than the claim that Snead has more wins. That’s a joke. If we moved the goal posts for Tiger to fit what they were for Snead, Tiger easily surpasses Snead in total wins. That’s just a fact. The competition does continue to improve. It’s depth we’re speaking of. Not how many superstars are present at any given time. Jack never played a Major where there were 75 legitimate players with a good shot at winning. He may have had a tournament where the top 10 were stronger than the top ten of a later time, but the rest of the field were bottom feeders. 

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2 hours ago, Vinsk said:

 But here’s the thing. Jack isn’t the authority  on what makes the GOAT. Jack’s opinions really don’t mean anything. They have been used to support some trains of thought, opinions, but they don’t negate the countless volumes of facts presented by the members here. It still remains that Jack won majors, in his early years especially, that had incredibly weak fields. Period. Jack having 18 majors is the only stat that makes people claim him as the GOAT. It’s no different than the claim that Snead has more wins. That’s a joke. If we moved the goal posts for Tiger to fit what they were for Snead, Tiger easily surpasses Snead in total wins. That’s just a fact. The competition does continue to improve. It’s depth we’re speaking of. Not how many superstars are present at any given time. Jack never played a Major where there were 75 legitimate players with a good shot at winning. He may have had a tournament where the top 10 were stronger than the top ten of a later time, but the rest of the field were bottom feeders. 

The point pertaining to Nicklaus' comments in his autobiography though was simply that his comments there do not actually mean what some here seem to be proclaiming that they do.

As for the quality of the field, I simply just do not accept your conclusions, as I briefly covered in my first comment above. 

I also do not accept that Nicklaus "moved the goalposts" as to what would lead to someone being characterized as the greatest player in the history of the game. Nicklaus has freely admitted that he is not universally viewed as such by everyone and that some would choose Woods, Hogan, Hagen, Sarazen, Vardon or Jones ahead of him. Also, Tiger set out from early childhood to try to break Nicklaus' records in the game, amatuer, professional and cumulative and of these records, from day one, the most prized was always Nicklaus' major championship record of eighteen professional major championships. So, I am not sure exactly where you are going with that. Maybe you could clarify?

Edited by TryingtoPlay
Fixed typo

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4 minutes ago, TryingtoPlay said:

The point pertaining to Nicklaus' comments in his autobiography though was simply that his comments there do not actually mean what some here seem to be proclaiming that they do.

Or maybe they did, and when he saw Tiger winning so much, so frequently, Jack - as he has done in the past - tried to protect his legacy by downplaying the fields of the 2000s.

4 minutes ago, TryingtoPlay said:

As for the quality of the field, I simply just do not accept your conclusions, as I briefly covered in my first comment above. 

At this point, then, you're just being obtuse.

4 minutes ago, TryingtoPlay said:

I also do not accept that Nicklaus "moved the goalposts" as to what would lead to someone being characterized as the greatest player in the history of the game.

Take that up with @brocks and especially @turtleback then. I don't even care about that side of things: I think 15+81 >> 18+72 given the field considerations.

4 minutes ago, TryingtoPlay said:

Nicklaus has freely admitted that he is not universally viewed as such by everyone and that some would choose Woods, Hogan, Hagen, Sarazen, Vardon or Jones ahead of him.

You don't think that's just him trying to sound nice? C'mon.

4 minutes ago, TryingtoPlay said:

Also, Tiger set out from early childhood to try to break Nicklaus' records in the game, amatuer, professional and cumulative and of these records, from day one, the most prized was always Nicklaus' major championship record of eighteen professional major championships. So, I am not sure exactly where you are going with that. Maybe you could clarify?

I believe Tiger himself has said that his list of Jack's accomplishments was primarily tied to the first time Jack did something and the AGE at which Jack did it, and that Tiger set out to achieve things at the same or earlier AGES as Jack Nicklaus.

But regardless, as with Jack, I also don't allow Tiger to define what it means to be the GOAT for me. I make up my own mind.

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8 minutes ago, ChetlovesMer said:

This is one of those arguments where I can see both sides. 

I can see it, I don't agree with one side, but one can always 'see' their rationale.  The trick is to see the other side from their perspective instead of just dismissing it or putting it off.  That's the basis for respectful debate of any topic.

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30 minutes ago, iacas said:

Or maybe they did, and when he saw Tiger winning so much, so frequently, Jack - as he has done in the past - tried to protect his legacy by downplaying the fields of the 2000s.

At this point, then, you're just being obtuse.

Take that up with @brocks and especially @turtleback then. I don't even care about that side of things: I think 15+81 >> 18+72 given the field considerations.

You don't think that's just him trying to sound nice? C'mon.

I believe Tiger himself has said that his list of Jack's accomplishments was primarily tied to the first time Jack did something and the AGE at which Jack did it, and that Tiger set out to achieve things at the same or earlier AGES as Jack Nicklaus.

But regardless, as with Jack, I also don't allow Tiger to define what it means to be the GOAT for me. I make up my own mind.

Well, I am certainly not being obtuse. It just makes little sense when considered fairly. Furthermore, why would it apply only when comparing winners of major championships? Certainly, it must not. How about a great player who one major championship in the 70's as compared to a very strong player today, who has not. Kevin Kisner>Tom Weiskopf? Or how about one of my favorite players, who I would love to see win a major championship, but to this point has two top-ten finishes in majors, Kevin Na. Kevin Na>Tom Weiskopf?

You are right that Tiger set out to achieve what Nicklaus had achieved, particularly as to scoring, faster and earlier than Jack had. He used Nicklaus as a benchmark in this way. That doesn't change the fact that the most prized possession was Nicklaus' major championship record and that his ultimate goal in golf was to break it. He said so many times. It was certainly an absolutely extraordinary goal to set, but it was always the ultimate and final objective for him. 

Edited by TryingtoPlay
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30 minutes ago, TryingtoPlay said:

Well, I am certainly not being obtuse. It just makes little sense when considered fairly.

I don't agree, nor does the math. The fields are much stronger/deeper now than in Jack's day, and were also stronger in the 2000s.

30 minutes ago, TryingtoPlay said:

Furthermore, why would it apply only when comparing winners of major championships? Certainly, it must not. How about a great player who one major championship in the 70's as compared to a very strong player today, who has not.

I didn't talk about such things. Nor do I really look to compare one player against another single player. I think stuff like that is pointless outside of comparing Jack to Tiger. I'm not up for comparing the supporting cast one-on-one, and ultimately, a Kevin Kisner type compares favorably to maybe 70-80% of the guys Jack played against - he easily defeats the 30-60% of the fields that were club pros back then, for example.

30 minutes ago, TryingtoPlay said:

That doesn't change the fact that the most prized possession was Nicklaus' major championship record and that his ultimate goal in golf was to break it.

Nor does it change the fact that Tiger, like Jack, does not get to determine for me how I define GOAT.


As this is retread stuff a hundred times over, I'd ask that you only reply to me if you have something new to bring to the table. That's highly unlikely, given both the age and the post count of this topic.

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