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

Greatest Golfer (GOAT)  

194 members have voted

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

    • Tiger Woods is the man
      1634
    • Jack Nicklaus is my favorite
      815


6,761 posts / 519437 viewsLast Reply

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2 minutes ago, Jay28 said:

There is  no way of measuring the strength of a field from the 60s'70s to one today, no matter how may golfing 'statisticians' try to convince you otherwise.

That’s just pure ‘flat earther’ mentality there. And this isn’t cut and dry like Usain Bolt having the fastest 100m time measured. It’s golf. Discussing GOAT doesn’t ask ‘who would beat who.’ It’s asking who had the greatest accomplishments in the sport of golf up til now. And that answer is Tiger. 

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19 minutes ago, Jay28 said:

It's not really possible to say who was best between Tiger and Jack.  Different era, different technology, different courses.  I am not even sure why it's important to know, but on a subjective basis neither are the best ever.

Sez you. Plenty of other people have had plenty to "say" on that. 😄

19 minutes ago, Jay28 said:

Probably the only way to get any objective measure of the best ever PGA Tour player is tournament wins - and even then that is pretty thin.  But, on that measure, Tiger wins over Jack.. but it's Sam Snead who is the best.

Yeah, sure, let's just count Snead's four-ball tournament wins and other regional little events.

9 minutes ago, Jay28 said:

I did go back and look and your strength in depth arguments are not maths.  You have not considered all the variables.

Then you didn't look at the actual mathematical posts. I'm not saying there's going to be a ton of formulas in them or anything like that, but they're based on simple math. They're based on many things, including people playing the sport, but also the fact that human performance (of the average, not single individuals) continues to increase as we learn more about how to play, train, eat, prepare, etc.

And it doesn't take math to look at the field of the 1959 British Open field (Gary Player's "major count" should be reduced by at least one), or to realize that top players STILL weren't traveling to play in the British Open as late as the 1990s, or that good foreign players (who have increased exponentially since Jack's day) didn't often travel to the U.S. to play, or that club pros made up a ton of the field(s).

9 minutes ago, Jay28 said:

For example, it may well be that your 'strenght in depth' is actually just a weaker standard at the very top of the game, thus allowing more players to compete for wins.

That's not the angle I've taken.

9 minutes ago, Jay28 said:

There is  no way of measuring the strength of a field from the 60s'70s to one today, no matter how may golfing 'statisticians' try to convince you otherwise.

There is, and I've covered it, and don't want to again. Summer is an incredibly busy time for me.

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2 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

That’s just pure ‘flat earther’ mentality there. And this isn’t cut and dry like Usain Bolt having the fastest 100m time measured. It’s golf. Discussing GOAT doesn’t ask ‘who would beat who.’ It’s asking who had the greatest accomplishments in the sport of golf up til now. And that answer is Tiger. 

Tour wins - Snead

Majors - Jack

How has Tiger had the greater accomplishments?

As for flat earther, well I guarantee you there is no argument you can make in terms of field comparison that can't be quickly squashed.  There is no way to compare 'strength in depth' from different eras.

 

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16 minutes ago, Jay28 said:

Tiger wins over Jack.. but it's Sam Snead who is the best.

190503-tiger-trophy.jpg

How many PGA Tour titles should Tiger Woods have? Using the same 'Sam Snead criteria,' quite...

 

7 minutes ago, Jay28 said:

For example, it may well be that your 'strenght in depth' is actually just a weaker standard at the very top of the game, thus allowing more players to compete for wins.  There is  no way of measuring the strength of a field from the 60s'70s to one today, no matter how may golfing 'statisticians' try to convince you otherwise.

It’s more likely people like to romanticize the past.  

Heres the thing, every other sport recognizes that their sport has advanced and there are more great athletes today then in the past... Golf seems to want to be the unicorn in the room. 

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9 minutes ago, iacas said:

Sez you. Plenty of other people have had plenty to "say" on that. 😄

Yeah, sure, let's just count Snead's four-ball tournament wins and other regional little events.

Then you didn't look at the actual mathematical posts.

And it doesn't take math to look at the 1959 British Open field, or to realize that top players STILL weren't traveling to play in the British Open as late as the 1990s, or that good foreign players (who have increased exponentially since Jack's day) didn't often travel to the U.S. to play, or that club pros made up a ton of the field(s).

That's not the angle I've taken.

There is, and I've covered it, and don't want to again. Summer is an incredibly busy time for me.

You're still not making a valid argument.  Just stating an opinion as a maths formula.

Why would players not travelling weaken a field?  There are numurous other factors to consider - you keep isolating single variables to reach back 60 years to try and mathmatically determine field strength compared to today.  It's simply not possible to do that, so I reject your argument and will agree to disagree.

 

 

8 minutes ago, saevel25 said:
190503-tiger-trophy.jpg

How many PGA Tour titles should Tiger Woods have? Using the same 'Sam Snead criteria,' quite...

 

It’s more likely people like to romanticize the past.  

Heres the thing, every other sport recognizes that their sport has advanced and there are more great athletes today then in the past... Golf seems to want to be the unicorn in the room. 

So, change reality to make a new reality.

The only reality is that Snead has more wins.  Tiger is certainly motivated to get 2 more wins. I doubt you'd hear him saying he already has the most.

I think it's more that people like to believe they are witnessing the greatest in their time.  It's often not the case.

Edited by Jay28

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12 minutes ago, Jay28 said:

Tour wins - Snead

Majors - Jack

How has Tiger had the greater accomplishments?

As for flat earther, well I guarantee you there is no argument you can make in terms of field comparison that can't be quickly squashed.  There is no way to compare 'strength in depth' from different eras.

 

Tour wins including World Wide - Tiger by far. Snead is not even close. Major wins where the field wasn't filled with also-rans like the 66 PGA (2/3 of the field were club pros) and many of the Open Championships, Tiger. 

As for fields, there are so many credible posts in this thread. You just chose to ignore them. 

It is fun to romanticize about the past. But it starts to become the Paul Bunyan process with folks claiming Jack would average 360 yards with his drives today. And we have an actual club pro, who actually got to play against Jack, who actually is telling you how much better the players are today and you still ignore it. 

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11 minutes ago, boogielicious said:

Tour wins including World Wide - Tiger by far. Snead is not even close. Major wins where the field wasn't filled with also-rans like the 66 PGA (2/3 of the field were club pros) and many of the Open Championships, Tiger. 

As for fields, there are so many credible posts in this thread. You just chose to ignore them. 

It is fun to romanticize about the past. But it starts to become the Paul Bunyan process with folks claiming Jack would average 360 yards with his drives today. And we have an actual club pro, who actually got to play against Jack, who actually is telling you how much better the players are today and you still ignore it. 

Tour wins worldwide - ok, who has the most?

I did not say that players are not better today - of course they are.  The game has evolved considerably.  

I am talking about strength in depth in a given era. Not the same argument.

I have no idea how far Jack would drive the ball in his prime, transported to this era, with all the benefits for today's golfers. Neither do you.  That's not my argument either. To be honest I am not sure he'd want to drive it 360 yards anyway.  Would seem like an odd goal to have. 

 

Edited by Jay28

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31 minutes ago, Jay28 said:

Why would players not travelling weaken a field? 

You’re kidding right? So let’s say 2/3 of the top US players don’t go to PortRush for THE OPEN. You’re saying that wouldn’t affect the SOF? That it wouldn’t affect Rory’s chances of winning?

Edited by Vinsk

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2 hours ago, Jay28 said:

I have no idea how far Jack would drive the ball in his prime, transported to this era, with all the benefits for today's golfers. Neither do you.  That's not my argument either. To be honest I am not sure he'd want to drive it 360 yards anyway.  Would seem like an odd goal to have. 

Spoiler

It's off topic, but come on! Today's pros also have documented drives of over 400yds. Jack only at 360yds pfft, that's nothing... try again.

 

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3 hours ago, Vinsk said:

You’re kidding right? So let’s say 2/3 of the top US players don’t go to PortRush for THE OPEN. You’re saying that wouldn’t affect the SOF? That it wouldn’t affect Rory’s chances of winning?

Depends on a whole host of factors...to name a few...

Which ones didn't go, how they were playing, what you mean by 'top player'. How are you comparing a top US player to a top European player on links style courses? Are they players staying away who had any reasonable chance of winning? How well do the players travel abroad? I've seen American 'top players' get absolutely trounced by the types of courses The Open uses.  For example, I remember watching Curtis Strange when he was #1 in the world get mashed at Portmarnock in Ireland in the Irish Open  Saw it up close too as I was on the fairway with the players for the pro-am.  He had not a clue how to deal with the course and got soundly beaten on the day by an amateur.

The point being, making a broad statement that because some US players stay away from The Open it somehow diminishes the Champion Golfer is bunk. Some guy who might finish 10th on a US style course not being at The Open means squat.   He wouldn't be as good as a decent club pro who's used to playing links golf.  I'm of the opinion that it's easier to win The Open when a deeper US field of players is in it.  Take the top 15 of the top 50 US players and leave the other 35 at home.  The Open challenge doesn't suffer at all and is certainly not easier to win it.  Let's take an example - the 25th ranked US player in the world is Andrew Putnam.  You think that guy missing The Open makes it easier to win??? There's a dose of reality to your argument.

 

Edited by Jay28

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14 hours ago, james_dunder said:

I disagree.  Your entire premise seems to be that the fields are much better now.  There is no way of knowing that the players in the 60s would not be able to beat the current fields normalizing for equipment and technology.  You can weigh facts and try and make the connection, but there is speculation in coming to that conclusion.

I'm going to "speculate" that you grew up thinking Jack was the GOAT (as I did), and that belief makes it hard for you to concede that his competition was weaker than Tiger's.

So let's leave Jack out of it, and look at Young Tom.  He won the 1872 Open by 12 shots, while Tiger's best margin of victory in the Open is only 8 shots.

If all you look at is the MOV, then Young Tom was better than Tiger.  And I agree that it is speculation to say that Tiger could beat Young Tom under equitable conditions, although that's the way I would bet.

But would you agree that it is not mere speculation to say that Tiger beat a stronger field? 

There were only 8 players in the field in 1872.  Two were amateurs, and the other six would be considered club pros today.  All were from Scotland or England.

Can you really not see that although we can't 100% prove that the field of 140+ touring pros (156 total) from all over the world that Tiger beat in 2000 was stronger than the 7 local pros and ams that Young Tom beat in 1872, it's not mere speculation to say that it was?

If you really can't see that, then you are beyond reason.

If you can see that, then it's not much of a leap to say the the field of 90 in the 1959 Open containing zero US touring pros (there were three Americans in the field, but none were touring pros, and the low American was an amateur who missed the cut by three shots), where Gary Player won his first major, was also weaker than the field in 2000.  And there were less than a dozen US touring pros in the Open all through the 60's, when the "Big Three" took turns winning Claret Jugs.

So no, we can't 100% prove which field was stronger.  But for cases like the above, we can be about 99% sure, and very confident all the way up to 1980 or so, even if we completely disregard the improvement in athletes over time.  To dismiss such obvious facts as mere speculation is ludicrous.

 

 

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30 minutes ago, brocks said:

I'm going to "speculate" that you grew up thinking Jack was the GOAT (as I did), and that belief makes it hard for you to concede that his competition was weaker than Tiger's.

So let's leave Jack out of it, and look at Young Tom.  He won the 1872 Open by 12 shots, while Tiger's best margin of victory in the Open is only 8 shots.

If all you look at is the MOV, then Young Tom was better than Tiger.  And I agree that it is speculation to say that Tiger could beat Young Tom under equitable conditions, although that's the way I would bet.

But would you agree that it is not mere speculation to say that Tiger beat a stronger field? 

There were only 8 players in the field in 1872.  Two were amateurs, and the other six would be considered club pros today.  All were from Scotland or England.

Can you really not see that although we can't 100% prove that the field of 140+ touring pros (156 total) from all over the world that Tiger beat in 2000 was stronger than the 7 local pros and ams that Young Tom beat in 1872, it's not mere speculation to say that it was?

If you really can't see that, then you are beyond reason.

If you can see that, then it's not much of a leap to say the the field of 90 in the 1959 Open containing zero US touring pros (there were three Americans in the field, but none were touring pros, and the low American was an amateur who missed the cut by three shots), where Gary Player won his first major, was also weaker than the field in 2000.  And there were less than a dozen US touring pros in the Open all through the 60's, when the "Big Three" took turns winning Claret Jugs.

So no, we can't 100% prove which field was stronger.  But for cases like the above, we can be about 99% sure, and very confident all the way up to 1980 or so, even if we completely disregard the improvement in athletes over time.  To dismiss such obvious facts as mere speculation is ludicrous.

 

 

Tom Jr won by 3 shots in 1872.

It's not really Jack Niklaus's era.  When he was playing British Opens with the top 12 or so US tour players competing, he was arguably playing a tougher field than he was used to in the US, because he was up against European players far more used to the type of conditions.

The current Open field - modern times - is actually weaker in my opinion because it has too many American tour players in it. 

Just my opinion as I have no maths algorithm to use - because there isn't one.

Edited by Jay28

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10 minutes ago, Jay28 said:

Tom Jr won by 3 shots in 1872.

Mea Culpa.  The 1872 field was so small that when I scrolled down to see his score, it scrolled to the previous Open, 1870 (there was no Open in 1871), where he did win by 12.

 

10 minutes ago, Jay28 said:

The current Open field - modern times - is actually weaker in my opinion because it has too many American tour players in it. 

Thank you so much for that.  I now see how hopeless this is, and I won't waste any more time on it.  But I wonder how you view the US Opens and PGA's of the 60's and 70's, with only a handful of non-Americans?

And in other news, the last Sumo tournament I saw was very weak --- too many Japanese contestants.

Edited by brocks

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12 minutes ago, brocks said:

Thank you so much for that.  I now see how hopeless this is, and I won't waste any more time on it.

Probably good, because until i get shown the algorithm that calculates how great players are from era to era, i'll continue to take the view that crunching some numbers (beyond simple wins) to calculate comparitive greatness is futile nonsense.

Opinion is all there will ever be, which is all good, but for goodness sake let's not pretend we have a formula to use.

As for US players - I make this challenge.  Have a look at the world rankings and list the US players outside the top 20 or so Americans that would somehow make the British Open easier to win if they were not playing.

As you asked - in terms of the US Open and US PGA - they would be made no weaker by only a handful of non americans playing. You only need the top non American players there. That's it.  Unless you think missing out on Lucas Bjerregaard being there is going to make those tournaments easier to win (he's about #25 in the world excluding US players).

 

  

 

Edited by Jay28

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20 minutes ago, Jay28 said:

 

24 minutes ago, brocks said:

Thank you so much for that.  I now see how hopeless this is, and I won't waste any more time on it.

Probably good, because until i get shown the algorithm that calculates how great players are from era to era,

 

You’re actually the one with the futile argument. Complete stubbornness. There’s no algorithm to show which is more painful between a slap on the ass or a compound fracture of your femur. And I suppose you’d be hesitant to admit the slap is less painful. There doesn’t need to be an algorithm. There are stats. Number of wins, dominance, MOV, and of course, who each had to beat to achieve those accomplishments. You’re wrong. Period. And your  need to have an algorithm places you in an outlier group of ridiculousness. GOAT isn’t a science. It’s not difficult to compile stats and compare them. 

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9 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

You’re actually the one with the futile argument. Complete stubbornness. There’s no algorithm to show which is more painful between a slap on the ass or a compound fracture of your femur. And I suppose you’d be hesitant to admit the slap is less painful. There doesn’t need to be an algorithm. There are stats. Number of wins, dominance, MOV, and of course, who each had to beat to achieve those accomplishments. You’re wrong. Period. And your  need to have an algorithm places you in an outlier group of ridiculousness. GOAT isn’t a science. It’s not difficult to compile stats and compare them. 

You saying something and just repeating your opiniion doesn't make it so.

I am willing to be swayed if I see the formula you are using and can adequately assess it. Saying 'the field was weaker' is nonsense.

As for pain measurement: Here's just one paper taking on the challenge - as with many things it's not an exact science, however much work has been done and articulated.  I doubt in the medical professin you'd get away with such broad brush statements dressed up as fact  I've seen in this thread

m_cover.gif?Expires=1624172895&Signature

The often complex, multidimensional, and subjective nature of pain makes it very challenging to assess both in terms of intensity and in terms of relief...

I am glad you said that GOAT is not a science - that is exactly my point.  It's an opinion.  Glad we can agree on something.

Edited by Jay28

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3 minutes ago, Jay28 said:

Saying 'the field was weaker' is nonsense.

The NY Yankees could beat my 12U baseball team. I’m certain they could despite never going head to head.  You’re not. Show me how I’m wrong. 

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18 minutes ago, Jay28 said:

As for US players - I make this challenge.  Have a look at the world rankings and list the US players outside the top 20 or so Americans that would somehow make the British Open easier to win if they were not playing.

Looking just at winners in this century, Ben Curtis was ranked 396th when he won the Open in 2003, right after Micheel won the PGA while ranked #169.  The very next year, Todd Hamilton won the Open, ranked 56th.  In 2009, Stewart Cink #30 barely beat Tom Watson #1374.  There have been three other major champions in the last ten years who were ranked outside the top 100.  

Any PGA touring pro today is good enough to win a major if he plays his best.  The difference between the superstars and the journeymen today is not so much how low they can go with their A game, but how well they can score with their B or C game, and how consistently they can bring their A or B game.  Any touring pro in a major field on the strength of his recent play has a chance to win. 

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