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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 / 519224 viewsLast Reply

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2 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

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. 

My opinion is that you are correct.

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13 minutes ago, Jay28 said:

I am glad you said that GOAT is not a science - that is exactly my point.  It's an opinion.

Nobody is disputing that.  Nobody here has claimed that they know that Tiger could beat Jack head to head; they agree that is opinion. 

But it's not opinion that there were no US touring pros in the 1959 Open --- that is a fact.  And it is not opinion that the absence of half or more of the world's best players makes a field weaker --- that is also a fact.   It is not provable that the presence of the 50 top American players in 1959 would have kept Player from winning, but it is a fact that they would have made the field stronger.

That means it was harder to win majors in the Tiger era than in the Jack era.  How much harder?  I don't know.  I think it was enough harder to make 15 > 18.  You are welcome to disagree.   I agree it's not provable. 

So if you want to say that the increase in field strength was not enough to make 15 > 18, I can't prove you're wrong.  But if you want to say that the fields in the Tiger era weren't any stronger, or even that they were weaker, I think that's just bonkers.

Edited by brocks

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11 minutes ago, brocks said:

Nobody is disputing that.  Nobody here has claimed that they know that Tiger could beat Jack head to head; they agree that is opinion. 

But it's not opinion that there were no US touring pros in the 1959 Open --- that is a fact.  And it is not opinion that the absence of half or more of the world's best players makes a field weaker --- that is also a fact.   It is not provable that the presence of the 50 top American players in 1959 would have kept Player from winning, but it is a fact that they would have made the field stronger.

Why exactly would they have made the field stronger?  How do you know those players were more capable? Because they were on the US Tour? How do you know the Europeans and home grown players who played were not more adept on the course they were playing in that era?  You are making assumptions, which forms your opinion - all good as I said, but don't dress it up as fact.

I remain of the view that there is no definitive way of determining which of two great players in history, in different eras, was greater beyond the simple (and also inadequate, but best we have) measure of actual performance. All the other stuff is conjecture. Gary Player's Open win is no less impressive just because some Americans who MIGHT have played well didn't turn up. Any one of the players in the actual field had the potential to play 4 great rounds and it was Player who did the best.  He beat the course by more than anyone else. 

Edited by Jay28

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19 minutes ago, brocks said:

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. 

So it's rare then.

So the argument is something that is rare MIGHT have happened (but couldn't possibly have happened with any of the players who did play) . We'll never know but because it might have happened, well we need to assume the field was weaker?  No.

I can take the point further.  All the tour pro's who didn't play in the US Masters this year might have shot lower than Tiger, so his win doesn't mean as much.  OK, agree?  I mean it's fair to say that with such a depth of field these days, more so than in Jack's era, more players DON'T get to play the majors, so they mean less... right?  Obviously, no.

 

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20 hours ago, TigerIsNumeroUNO said:

But you ignored the most important part. He was more accurate relative to the average player on tour than Tiger is to the average today.

 

Ummm.. No I didn't. He said nothing in that post. Nothing. That was a zero value added post. And he still thinks it is isn't clear Jack was more accurate. You are not smart enough to have an opinion.

Ahhh, we're just not SMART enough to have an opinion.

OK, wiseguy, show us the difference in degrees offline it takes to hit a ball 260 yards and running out another 15 and still hold a 30-35 yard fairway compared to hitting it 285 yards with another 25 yards of rollout and still hold a 20-25 yard wide fairway.  A clue - one of the reasons Calvin Peete routinely had the best fairway accuracy was that he was so short.  So he had a much bigger margin of error because of simple geometry.

Or maybe you'll accept a challenge I've made before that no one on Jack's side ever wants to take me up on.  You go ahead and list Jack's 18 best seasons in order, best to worst.  I'll do the same for Tiger.  Then we'll have a little match play between their seasons.  Or you can save your time and simply accept that Tiger wins that 10&8.

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48 minutes ago, Jay28 said:

So it's rare then.

So the argument is something that is rare MIGHT have happened (but couldn't possibly have happened with any of the players who did play) . We'll never know but because it might have happened, well we need to assume the field was weaker?  No.

I can take the point further.  All the tour pro's who didn't play in the US Masters this year might have shot lower than Tiger, so his win doesn't mean as much.  OK, agree?  I mean it's fair to say that with such a depth of field these days, more so than in Jack's era, more players DON'T get to play the majors, so they mean less... right?  Obviously, no.

 

I admit I fell for it. I thought you were being serious. Pretty harmless trolling, annoying but harmless. I would suggest you take a gander at the Flat Earth Society. They’d welcome you whole heartedly. You’ve got their kind of logic. Cheers. I’m done with ya.

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20 hours ago, james_dunder said:

It is all speculation period.  People do seem passionate about their opinions though.

Really?  So anything that cannot be proven with mathematical precision is speculation?  I did notice that my 'speculation' was supported by the actual facts and the history of the events and their qualification standards, not to mention actual world history, while your 'refutation' consisted of . . . nothing.

 

20 hours ago, brocks said:

Actually it was more like two thirds club pros:

https://www.si.com/vault/1968/09/16/614249/rebuttal-to-a-searing-attack

"There were only 56 touring pros in the starting field of 168 players at San Antonio. One day a writer asked me about this ratio, and I said, "It's absurd and unfortunate." Only a third of the players at the PGA were regular tour competitors—or, in other words, the best players in the world. The PGA's antiquated qualifying system prevented top players such as Bob Murphy, Lee Elder and Deane Beman from playing at San Antonio. " --- Jack Nicklaus

And of all the British or European Order of Merit winners from 1955 through 1975, all but one of them never played in either the US Open or PGA in their entire lives.  The one exception, Peter Oosterhuis, never did it before 1975.

 

 

 

 

Oh, you and your speculation, LOL.

Thanks, I knew I could count on you to have the actual facts. 

17 hours ago, james_dunder said:

You mean this post from 4 years ago?  They are all facts, but the premise is speculation.  There is no way of knowing what either would do in different eras against different competition with different equipment.  So yes cherry picked stats that help one side of an argument is speculating that the other one would not be able to match similar production. 

Cherry picked.  LOL

From the side that has 18>15 and NOTHING ELSE.

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7 hours 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.

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.

One of Jack's earliest 'drafts' of what it would take to be the GOAT was beating Snead's record.  Then he figured out he couldn't/wouldn't break that record and switched to an intellectually dishonest standard he had already achieved, but in which he had a HUUUUGE structural advantage over his GOAT rivals.

And if we 'normalize' number of your victories by using a common set of criteria, between Tiger and Sam, of what it takes for an event to 'count' then Tiger is already significantly ahead of Sam.

7 hours 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.

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.

 

 

Statistical inference is most assuredly math.  It is even maths.

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7 hours ago, Jay28 said:

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.

 

So the fact that at a time when American golf was absolutely dominant, only 4 Americans - none of which you ever heard of - entered the '59 British Open wouldn't weaken the field as compared to, say, the field in EVERY major won by Tiger.

I think you just jumped the shark.

I remember when the arguments on the other side had a little rationality here, but I think either @Vinsk is right and you are just a troll, or you are sitting there with you fingers in your ears saying 'nah nah, I can't hear you'.

Edited by turtleback

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In my humble opinion, Jack is #1 with Tiger a very close #2. Jack has 18 majors to Tiger's 13, I think it's going to be tough for Tiger to catch Jack's major title record. Ceck out what Dustin Johnson did with Jack's old persimmon wood and #1 driving iron: https://www.golfdigest.com/story/dustin-johnson-hit-jack-nicklaus-old-1-iron-and-persimmon-driver-really-really-far

 

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35 minutes ago, turtleback said:

One of Jack's earliest 'drafts' of what it would take to be the GOAT was beating Snead's record.  Then he figured out he couldn't/wouldn't break that record and switched to an intellectually dishonest standard he had already achieved, but in which he had a HUUUUGE structural advantage over his GOAT rivals.

And if we 'normalize' number of your victories by using a common set of criteria, between Tiger and Sam, of what it takes for an event to 'count' then Tiger is already significantly ahead of Sam.

Statistical inference is most assuredly math.  It is even maths.

There's no statistical inference.

Maths is how we say it in England.  Americans use 'math' which is odd.

Interesting that you state with fact what Jack was thinking.  Another example of opinion dressed up as fact.

 

 

25 minutes ago, turtleback said:

So the fact that at a time when American golf was absolutely dominant, only 4 Americans - none of which you ever heard of - entered the '59 British Open wouldn't weaken the field as compared to, say, the field in EVERY major won by Tiger.

I think you just jumped the shark.

I think you missed the point. Spectacularly.

I think i will leave you to x + y - bias * whatever = my favourite golfer is the best.

😃

By the way, "American golf" has never been "absolutely" dominant.  America had a few really great golfers that THEY dominated especially against GB&NI in the Ryder Cup, but that changed (reversed) as soon as America begain competing against a union of states of similar size.. But 'American golf' dominating? The US tour is the biggest because of money in the richest country in the world.   I think you over rate your players over there... I think the depth of your players lack the variety of skills to play on different types of course... this become evident when it's suggested that because some lower ranked Amercians didn't compete againts your most successful golfer ever, he is somehow diminished. Weird.

 

Edited by Jay28

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7 minutes ago, Jay28 said:

There's no statistical inference.

Maths is how we say it in England.  Americans use 'math' which is odd.

Interesting that you state with fact what Jack was thinking.  Another example of opinion dressed up as fact.

 

 

You are right.  How could what Jack actually said have anything to do with what he was thinking. 

You must lead a very strange life where you do not believe anything that is not proven, in the mathematical sense.  But of course that is just your posture here, not in real life, because very few things you rely on in real life have been 'proven' in the sense you are using the word here.


Since I do not believe someone could put forth such a stream of irrationality in good faith, I am going with the troll diagnosis.

 

Edited by turtleback

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20 minutes ago, turtleback said:

You are right.  How could what Jack actually said have anything to do with what he was thinking. 

You must lead a very strange life where you do not believe anything that is not proven, in the mathematical sense.  But of course that is just your posture here, not in real life, because very few things you rely on in real life have been 'proven' in the sense you are using the word here.


Since I do not believe someone could put forth such a stream of irrationality in good faith, I am going with the troll diagnosis.

 

There in black and white, fella.

"Then he figured out he couldn't/wouldn't break that record and switched to an intellectually dishonest standard he had already achieved"

Can you show me where he said that about himself?  

You also haven't actually followed the thread properly.

My point is that I do not believe the maths argument that was put forward and hold it as invalid - and just an opinion.  It was not that I don't believe something in the absence of maths.  I am perfectly fine with accepting someone else's OPINION of who was the greater golfer - as long as it is not forced on people as a maths exercise.

My opinion remains the same - players from different times with similar records can't be put in a rank order with any real objectivity beyond actual wins/ finishes - and for that reason Tiger is behind Jack in the big tournaments and behind Sam Snead in tournaments overall.

Edited by Jay28

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8 minutes ago, Jay28 said:

Can you show me where he said that about himself?  

He's done it many times before.

I was teaching all day and have only a few minutes, but @brocks and to a lesser (but still important) extent @turtleback have said more than I would have anyway, having said all of this stuff many, many times already.

7 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?

He's not. Imagine if the British Open was contested only amongst British citizens. Or imagine if instead of beating the strongest major field ever, Brooks got to replace almost 80 PGA Tour players with PGA club pros.

3 hours ago, brocks said:

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.

He's demonstrating that he's beyond reason.

2 hours ago, Jay28 said:

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

Nobody's claimed to have had that algorithm. If you have that algorithm, then you'd have a definitive answer for who the GOAT is.

2 hours ago, brocks said:

Nobody is disputing that.  Nobody here has claimed that they know that Tiger could beat Jack head to head; they agree that is opinion. 

Correct.

2 hours ago, brocks said:

But it's not opinion that there were no US touring pros in the 1959 Open --- that is a fact.  And it is not opinion that the absence of half or more of the world's best players makes a field weaker --- that is also a fact. It is not provable that the presence of the 50 top American players in 1959 would have kept Player from winning, but it is a fact that they would have made the field stronger.

That means it was harder to win majors in the Tiger era than in the Jack era.  How much harder?  I don't know.  I think it was enough harder to make 15 > 18.  You are welcome to disagree.   I agree it's not provable. 

So if you want to say that the increase in field strength was not enough to make 15 > 18, I can't prove you're wrong.  But if you want to say that the fields in the Tiger era weren't any stronger, or even that they were weaker, I think that's just bonkers.

Yup.

47 minutes ago, turtleback said:

Statistical inference is most assuredly math.  It is even maths.

Indeed.

37 minutes ago, turtleback said:

I think you just jumped the shark.

I'm with @turtleback on that one.

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3 minutes ago, iacas said:

He's done it many times before.

I was teaching all day and have only a few minutes, but @brocks and to a lesser (but still important) extent @turtleback have said more than I would have anyway, having said all of this stuff many, many times already.

He's not. Imagine if the British Open was contested only amongst British citizens. Or imagine if instead of beating the strongest major field ever, Brooks got to replace almost 80 PGA Tour players with PGA club pros.

He's demonstrating that he's beyond reason.

Nobody's claimed to have had that algorithm. If you have that algorithm, then you'd have a definitive answer for who the GOAT is.

Correct.

Yup.

Indeed.

I'm with @turtleback on that one.

That's cool.

I accept you opinion, I just disagree with it and have not seen anything that leads me to believe that maths has proven you correct.  That's all.

Edited by Jay28

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1 minute ago, Jay28 said:

That's cool.

I accept you opinion, I just disagree with it and have not seen anything that leads me to believe that maths has proven you correct.  That's all.

The math demonstrates how likely it is that the fields are stronger/deeper now than in the past. Again, "prove" is a bit strong, but if something is ~99.99% likely to be true, then I'm using shorthand when I say "fields are stronger/deeper" or that the math "proves" something.

If you can't see that fields are a good bit stronger/deeper now, for the many reasons I and others have laid out (both recently and within the years this topic has been going on), then once again you're beyond reason. I try very hard to heed the advice held in the saying that "You Cannot Reason People Out of Something They Were Not Reasoned Into."

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15 minutes ago, iacas said:

The math demonstrates how likely it is that the fields are stronger/deeper now than in the past. Again, "prove" is a bit strong, but if something is ~99.99% likely to be true, then I'm using shorthand when I say "fields are stronger/deeper" or that the math "proves" something.

If you can't see that fields are a good bit stronger/deeper now, for the many reasons I and others have laid out (both recently and within the years this topic has been going on), then once again you're beyond reason. I try very hard to heed the advice held in the saying that "You Cannot Reason People Out of Something They Were Not Reasoned Into."

I do believe the depths of the fields are stronger - on average.  I don't actually believe there are more players at an elite level, though, for the time. 

Having a bunch of players that are better on average does not factor into how difficult a tournament is to win in my view.  Each player plays the course - in any given tournament a group of players (usually a handful) will compete at the pace being set by the leader.  Some of those will be great players, some good, some others not so good *they just play out of their skins for a few days in time). There is nothing to refer to that suggests that the American players who did not go to the British Open in a past era would be in that small group of players that would have performed on that course on that weekend - and certainly nothing to suggest they would have beaten the winner.

We could say maybe, but we could also say that maybe some players who didn't play in Tiger's 15 majors and 81 tour victories would have beaten him if they played.  If's, but's and maybe's  are worth squat.

It's really not me being unreasonable. I am not the one trying to show how 18 majors might compare to 15 for two players who started their careers 35 years apart a using maths exercise.  I mean, seriously, come on.   Just stick to opinion - because that is all there is on this subject, until such a time Woods passes and goes well beyond Jacks record. I mean if he gets to 25 majors and 120 tour wins it goes beyond opinion.

 

Edited by Jay28

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