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


Greatest Golfer (GOAT)  

212 members have voted

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

    • Tiger Woods is the man
      1631
    • Jack Nicklaus is my favorite
      817


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On 10/16/2020 at 11:48 PM, Vinsk said:

Norman shot a 78. Faldo didn’t have to be too stone cold to win that one. Norman only had to shoot even par to win. Faldo played great. But it wasn’t an astronomically good round as much as Norman’s was astronomically bad. 

I remember watching this unfold. It was the first time I really remember my whole family watching a sporting event together since before my sister and I had moved out. I don't remember why but my sister and I were back visiting my folks while this was happening. What made it so much fun was my Mom and my sister were both really into it. I don't remember my dad and I caring too much about who won, but we're both golf fans. My mom was routing for Greg Norman, because she thought he was a handsome man. My sister was routing for Nick Faldo, because she thought he was a handsome man. 

... Ah, the memories. 

Oops, I just realized how off topic that paragraph was... so ... um .... In my opinion Tiger =#1 and Jack =#2 all time. There back on topic. 

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For some reason, you have missed hundreds of posts that do accept that.  I've often said I can't even prove that Tiger would beat Vardon head to head, although I'd bet on him. What I CAN prove is

Here ya go, right our of Jack's 1996 autobiography.  He is giving the third of his three reasons (equipment and fitness being the other) for the decline of the superstar in golf (re

That's very unfair to Jack, since he played events well into his 60's.  It also distorts Tiger's record, since he played injured for several years. It would be more fair to look at the the period

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3 hours ago, ChetlovesMer said:

I remember watching this unfold. It was the first time I really remember my whole family watching a sporting event together since before my sister and I had moved out. I don't remember why but my sister and I were back visiting my folks while this was happening. What made it so much fun was my Mom and my sister were both really into it. I don't remember my dad and I caring too much about who won, but we're both golf fans. My mom was routing for Greg Norman, because she thought he was a handsome man. My sister was routing for Nick Faldo, because she thought he was a handsome man. 

... Ah, the memories. 

Oops, I just realized how off topic that paragraph was... so ... um .... In my opinion Tiger =#1 and Jack =#2 all time. There back on topic. 

... and some people rooted for Nick Faldo because they thought he had a hot Fanny.

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5 minutes ago, Double Mocha Man said:

... and some people rooted for Nick Faldo because they thought he had a hot Fanny.

He must work out8jGH16.gif.873502b52845c80445943d9583767156.gif

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1 hour ago, ChetlovesMer said:

He must work out8jGH16.gif.873502b52845c80445943d9583767156.gif

He meant Nick's caddy, Fanny Sunesson.

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2 minutes ago, turtleback said:

He meant Nick's caddy, Fanny Sunesson.

Hey, remember ChetLovesMer went through the Chicago public school system... 😁

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21 hours ago, The Flush said:

Possibly already discussed here

 

 

In a similar vein, here is what Jack wrote in 1996 (notably when he had no idea his records and position as GOAT could ever be challenged) about why there weren't any more superstars in golf and never would be again:

 

Quote

“Then there is the incentive factor.”

“Except for the Masters, the biggest purse on the tour in my first year as a professional in 1962 was the Thunderbird Classic’s $100,000, with most tournaments offering between one-third and one-half that amount, to be divided between thirty-five to forty players. Win and you generally took home between $5,000 and $9,000. Finish last and you hardly made the bus fare to the next event – usually well under $100.”

“Thirty-four years later, in 1996, the average purse on tour was $1,400,000, with highs of $3,000,000 (Players and Tour Championship).” …

“In evaluating these numbers, consider if you will how many more contenders your business would have attracted, and how much more competitive it would have become, given comparably huge increases in financial incentive over the same time span. By then imagining how much harder it would have become for you to remain a market dominator, you will get a sense what it takes to become a dominating golf champion as we approach the second millennium.”

“Whether for the above reasons or any others, the fact is that, to be able to hold onto their cards, and earn a decent living, the golfers in the middle of the pack today have had to become as good as the players at the top were when I started out thirty and more years ago, while those in the top have become the equals of superstars of my generation.”

 

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4 hours ago, turtleback said:

He meant Nick's caddy, Fanny Sunesson.

Yes, I know. But I was hoping to build on the Double Entendre that @Double Mocha Man built. 

Plus, any time you can reference Dumb and Dumber.....

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3 minutes ago, ChetlovesMer said:

Yes, I know. But I was hoping to build on the Double Entendre that @Double Mocha Man built. 

Plus, any time you can reference Dumb and Dumber.....

Okay, stop right there!  My understanding is that the term "double entendre" is not taught in Chicago public schools.

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3 minutes ago, Double Mocha Man said:

Okay, stop right there!  My understanding is that the term "double entendre" is not taught in Chicago public schools.

Rpq3yhp.jpg.3a7ed7d72debbc5516736bef21c43b83.jpg

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7 hours ago, mvmac said:

I love the "If Ben Hogan played today" thing. 

For what its worth I totally agree. If you somehow got into a time travelling phone booth ("Be excellent to each other") and went back in time. Grabbed Ben Hogan. Brought him back to the present day and made him play golf against the best of today's golfers. I honestly don't think he'd stand much of a chance. 

However, if Ben Hogan had been born in 1995, who knows how different he would be. Perhaps his passion for the game would have caused him to go all Bryson DeChambeau on us and build his body differently? Or perhaps he would have said "Hey, look at all these kids playing soccer... I'm going to devote my life to that sport." And never played golf at all. I contend that the butterfly effect would always play some part in the "If so and so played today...." argument. 

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9 hours ago, mvmac said:

Yeah...but the vault used in the modern clip is so much more technologically advanced. 🤭

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4 hours ago, ChetlovesMer said:

I love the "If Ben Hogan played today" thing. 

For what its worth I totally agree. If you somehow got into a time travelling phone booth ("Be excellent to each other") and went back in time. Grabbed Ben Hogan. Brought him back to the present day and made him play golf against the best of today's golfers. I honestly don't think he'd stand much of a chance. 

However, if Ben Hogan had been born in 1995, who knows how different he would be. Perhaps his passion for the game would have caused him to go all Bryson DeChambeau on us and build his body differently? Or perhaps he would have said "Hey, look at all these kids playing soccer... I'm going to devote my life to that sport." And never played golf at all. I contend that the butterfly effect would always play some part in the "If so and so played today...." argument. 

Which is exactly why these 'if so and so played today' discussions are essentially absurd.

 

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Here are some reasons why I (currently) rank Jack Nicklaus GOAT ahead of Tiger Woods. Despite Tiger being a hero of mine, starting all the way back when I was a kid:

Most Top 3 Finishes, Majors:
Nicklaus: 46
Woods: 26
Mickelson: 23
Snead: 22

Most Top 10 Finishes, Majors
Nicklaus: 73
Snead: 46
Watson: 46
Player: 44
Hogan: 39
Woods: 39

Nicklaus finished runner up in Majors 19 times. Tiger only 7 times.

Top Tier HOF players Jack had to face, mostly through their primes, also:
Watson
Palmer
Player
Casper
Trevino
Floyd
Miller
Ballesteros

Jack lost 7 Major Championships to Tom Watson and Lee Trevino alone.

Top Tier HOF Players Tiger had to face a ton:
Mickelson
Singh
Els
McIlroy (possibly)

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@csh19792001 some simple questions:

  1. How many great players were in the 1959 British Open won by Gary Player?
  2. How many players week to week had a chance to win the event in the 60s and 70s?
  3. If Jack compiled his statistics against a bunch of 10-year-old golfers making up the rest of the field would he still be your GOAT?
  4. How much of the topic did you read before posting?

Honest questions.

Tiger is the GOAT.

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7 minutes ago, iacas said:

@csh19792001 some simple questions:

  1. How many great players were in the 1959 British Open won by Gary Player?
  2. How many players week to week had a chance to win the event in the 60s and 70s?
  3. If Jack compiled his statistics against a bunch of 10-year-old golfers making up the rest of the field would he still be your GOAT?
  4. How much of the topic did you read before posting?

Honest questions.

Tiger is the GOAT.

@iacas Hi Eric!! How are you! Nice to meet you!!! 🙂

Answers:

1. A ton fewer than Tiger Woods had to face. I agree the British Open was much weaker, field wise, in Jack's Era than Tiger's.  But that's just one tournament.

2. Ibid. Just one tournament. Let's talk about the field strength in all the tournaments they played in.

https://bleacherreport.com/articles/1687496-the-myth-of-deeper-pga-tour-fields-during-tiger-woods-era

3. Obviously not. And that's epic reductio ad absurdum.  

4. Clearly not enough, in your opinion! 🙂  Edify me. I didn't read 6,000 posts. I will read more, now.

Full disclosure: Tiger is a Hero of mine. I've been following him very closely since 1994. Of course, he may be the GOAT. I'm presenting the strongest case for Nicklaus because I'm on the fence and want to hear the most cogent, incisive cases for each. 

Convince me. Thank you. 🙂

-Chris

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15 minutes ago, csh19792001 said:

Tiger switched to the Nike Tour Accuracy (forerunner to the Pro V!) from a wound ball in May 2000. Like most pros, he had been using a Titleist Tour Balata (wound ball with liquid core). Here's what they/he said about it:

At the 2000 Masters, one month before Woods officially put the Nike Tour Accuracy into tournament play in Germany, 59 of the 95 players had used a wound ball. In the ensuing year, Woods won nine events. When he capped off the Tiger Slam in 2001 at Augusta National, all but four players in the field used a solid-core ball.

The effect that the development of the Nike Tour Accuracy and Woods’s use of it had on other players and golf history wasn’t lost on Woods. Years later, in 2014, he said, “The biggest transition I ever made was in 2000.  I won four straight majors with that ball. Everyone switched later. Being a part of that wave of innovation was exciting for me.”

The second week of October, Titleist reps showed up at the Tour event in Las Vegas packing 400 dozen prototype Pro V1s. Forty-seven Tour players immediately put Pro V1 in play, making it the largest pluralistic shift of equipment at one event in golf history. Billy Andrade played the ball and won the tournament. Due to the incredible momentum Pro V1 experienced in its first few months on Tour , Titleist accelerated the market launch of Pro V1 forward from March 2001 to December 2000. The damage to the Nike Tour Accuracy’s future was done, because in the old ball game, what PGA Tour players play is what sells to the masses.

Devlin remembers thinking, “F—, we missed the window.”

Citation (hell of an article!!!). Enjoy it!! 

https://golf.com/gear/golf-balls/tiger-woods-golf-ball-nike/

The switch to a drastically better golf ball than everyone else was using, in 2000, was a huge part of him putting up the greatest back to back seasons of all time. And it's another reason why he did so incredibly well relative to the field in 2000; as we all know the Pro V1 construction three-piece ball flew drastically further and straighter than the balata balls.

Back directly on topic.....here are some contemporaneous quotes from greats about Nicklaus being the greatest ever, from Jack's peers, during Tiger's Prime:

"You saw the greatest player who has ever played the game come up the 18th hole of the Old Course, his favorite course in golf. I think the emotions and pictures spoke for themselves." -Tom Watson

-Miami Herald, 7/16/05

"Nicklaus was the greatest to ever hold a golf club." -Lee Trevino

-Philadelphia Daily News, 6/4/13

"Trevino has always called Nicklaus the greatest player he has known. 'Don't think for a second that Tiger could outdrive Jack in his best days. He hit the ball 280 to 300 yards with persimmon drivers. If he had modern equipment, he might drive it 400.'" -Lee Trevino

-Palm Spring Desert Sun, 1/23/04

"You have to admire everything." Woods said. "No one played the Majors as well. No one was as consistent for as long. Jack is the greatest that ever lived in our sport." -Tiger Woods

-Miami Herald, 1/16/2005

Much more to come. For now- and... I'm sure everyone hates him here , but as a coda to this post:

“Once you start looking at Hogan, Hogan then comes into the argument in a much, much bigger way,” Chamblee continues. “The idea that only majors defines who the greatest players are is a ridiculous argument. Hogan only won nine majors. He only played in 58. Jack played in 164. Tiger played in 84. Who’s going to win more majors? The guy who plays in the most. But Hogan was handicapped obviously because of the injury, and because, let’s just say, WWII interrupted things.”

-Brandel Chamblee, Golf Channel, 1/12/20

In Majors...

The players who Woods finished runner up to averaged 4 wins and 2 Majors. 

The players who Nicklaus finished runner up to averaged 30 wins and 5 Majors.

Beat Nicklaus:

Watson 4x

Palmer 3x

Trevino 3x

Player 1x

Sutton 1x

Lema 1x

Marr 1x

Johnny Miller 1x

Nichols 1x

DiVicenzo 1x

Ballesteros 1x

Coody 1x

 

Beat Woods: 

Beem: 1x

Campbell: 1x

Zack Johnson: 1x

Cabrera: 1x

Immelman: 1x

YE Yang: 1x

Koepka: 1x
 

Nobody ever was great enough and/or gusty enough to stand up to and beat Tiger Woods. 
 

Nicklaus wasn’t so lucky. Hence 19 runner ups to Tiger’s 7.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. We read all this before in the previous 380 pages. Tigers has more wins against tougher fields period.

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51 minutes ago, csh19792001 said:

He hit the ball 280 to 300 yards with persimmon drivers. If he had modern equipment, he might drive it 400.'" -Lee Trevino

Wrong. Tiger and many other current players have hit persimmon and older drivers and they hit it as far and further than Jack. Be real. Have you compared youthful Jack to some of these guys today? Physically?

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