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Strength and Depth of Field in Jack's Day and Tiger's Day


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  1. 1. Loosely Related Question (consider the thread topic-please dont just repeat the GOAT thread): Which is the more impressive feat?

    • Winning 20 majors in the 60s-80s.
      12
    • Winning 17 majors in the 90s-10s.
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@Jack Watson, you're trolling at this point. That article is one guy's opinion. Cool. Who cares? The only opinion I've cited is Jack Nicklaus's own opinion, and HE disagrees with Al Barkow or wha

Those are equally bad numbers to use, though, because we have no idea what gains equipment has made, what course setup is like, etc. etc. etc. Plus you're probably using the adjusted scoring average,

I have now had this conversation with another person on another forum. I've said things like "the math bears this out." I was then criticized for not sharing the "math" and even "making it up" or

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11 hours ago, DataGolf said:

This post shows how much deeper golf has gotten in past 25 years. Something we must consider when we try to compare players across generations.

 

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50 minutes ago, Jack Watson said:

@mvmac

Here’s some numbers.  Won’t be posting about field strength again.

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

If you can't see how plainly flawed that type of analysis is, there's no hope for you.

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1 hour ago, Jack Watson said:

@mvmac

Here’s some numbers.  Won’t be posting about field strength again.

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

In 2017 there were 122 players that had scoring averages lower than 71.

In 1980 (the earliest available on PGA tour stats website) there were 11 players that had scoring averages under 71.

That means there were probably even fewer number of players that had scoring averages under 71 in the 60s and 70s.

There are more good players now than there were in the 60s and 70s. That's a fact that can be proven without a doubt. 

The number of tournament winners doesnt have much to do with the strength or depth of the field. Here's two scenarios to illustrate my point:

  1. Lets pretend one year 10 tournament wins are spread out between 3 people, and they each had a scoring average of 70 in the wins and everyone else that played in those tournaments had scoring averages of 75.
  2. The next year, 10 tournament wins are spread out between 7 people, with the winners scoring average also being 70, but everyone else that played in those tournaments had scoring averages of 72. 

Which of those scenarios would you say have the stronger/deeper field? 

The answer should be quite obvious, the second scenario clearly has a stronger/deeper field, made up of better overall players, even though the tournament win distribution was spread out across more golfers.

 

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@Jack Watson-I played against Jack. Same field as him-Many times. Any event within about 200 miles me and the boys would pack up the car and qualify-Try to-and play. Got into the vast majority.

With the exception of some local kid who plays on one of three sponsor exemptions or whatever they have now-Every one of the guys playing in the Tiger era would have whupped our asses 99 times out of 100. No questions asked. We were playing on a lark-these guys these days are doing everything but treating their game like a lark. They are after serious money.

Why are guys like Leadbetter-Love him or hate him and I will do the latter-the first tour coaches? Cuz nobody could afford a tour coach back then. Gusy playing the tour back then did not have an entourage.-They could not fly their wives and girlfriends around. The women who were out there were driving the car through the nights so their husbands could sleep.

You have got to be one of the dumbest sons of bitches if you think the fields in the 70s even remotely compare to the fields in the 2000s.-I think someone said it in the other thread-But the Web.com tour guys could-On average-kick the snot out of the TOUR field in the 70s. Sure Jack and Tom and a few guys would beat their counterparts-But the majority would lose and say thank you sir may I have another in doing so to the Web.com guys.

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7 minutes ago, iacas said:

Those are equally bad numbers to use, though, because we have no idea what gains equipment has made, what course setup is like, etc. etc. etc. Plus you're probably using the adjusted scoring average, not the raw.

I did use the raw scoring averages from here https://www.pgatour.com/stats/stat.108.html

Without a doubt equipment and course setup have also changed, but the difference is massive between 122 and 11. Its not like there were 100 golfers averaging under 71 in 1980 and 122 under 71 in 2017. Its over a 100 golfer difference.

A 72 raw scoring average in 1980 put you in a T61. That was upper-middle of the pack. A 72 scoring average in 2017 put you in 186th, which would have been 6th from the bottom.

Surely the fact that golfers are better and more skilled now than they were 40 years ago has at least something to do with the scoring average decrease, right?

Maybe scoring average isn't the best stat to use since we cant say for certain that equipment caused X% decrease while skill level accounted for X% of decrease and course setup caused X% decrease in scoring average, but I still think it's pretty safe to say that the higher skill levels of the players now has to account for at least a portion of the scoring average drop.

 

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3 minutes ago, Jack Watson said:

@Phil McGleno

I am concerned with the top of the field.

IMO, strength of the field should include the entire field. Its not called "strength of the top of the field". Its called strength of the field. Meaning the entire field as a whole.

Also, "top of the field" is very vague. Top what? Top 10% of the field? Top 30% of the field? Top 50% of the field?

 

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16 minutes ago, Jack Watson said:

Also how does an almost sixty year old Watson come inches from another major against the field in 2009?  

That should be impossible if what you imply is true.

The same reason Danny Willett won the Masters and hasn't been heard from since.  Some people can have a really good week.

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@iacas-I am getting old so forgive my memory of events back in the 60s-actually forgive my memory from the 60s for other reasons besides old age ha ha-but to the best of my recollection that seems like a pretty accurate thing there.

30 minutes ago, Jack Watson said:

@Phil McGleno

I am concerned with the top of the field.

You know the more you type the more I realize you do not understand golf anywhere near as well as you think you do.-THE FIELD is everyone playing. Jack had substantially fewer people to beat than Tiger.

30 minutes ago, Jack Watson said:

Also how does an almost sixty year old Watson come inches from another major against the field in 2009?  

That should be impossible if what you imply is true.

It is an outlier. I do not pretend to be good at math or probabilities or anything like that but you are much worse than me if you toss the word impossible out there like that.

It was highly improbable-But Trump is President now too and that was improbable. Yet here we are.

It is a quirky course that does not reward length-It rewards a different flavor of golf that Watson has always excelled at.-Not to mention he made about 800 feet of putts that week.

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33 minutes ago, Jack Watson said:

@Phil McGleno

I am concerned with the top of the field.

Also how does an almost sixty year old Watson come inches from another major against the field in 2009?  

That should be impossible if what you imply is true.

:doh:

@Jack Watson, you're embarrassing yourself.

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I’ll say one thing,  the fields today from say 08 on are much much stronger at the top than 97-2006 or so.

Sure depth overall is one component of field strength.  My question is more about winners or guys who know how to win.  I am not going on a simplistic assumption that the relationship of going forward in time and field strength are a 1-1 relationship.

Its already been pointed out about agronomy and equipment and if one were to assume the older equipment was harder to use,  I think that begins to poke holes in @klineka s argument and also is a testament to skill of older gen players.  

Golf is nothing like other sports,  @iacas so imo pointing to other sports athletes based on physicality does also not transfer 1-1 to golf.  Again,  your assumption about time vs field DEPTH is unarguable.  I simply make the distinction as well of depth vs strength.

 

 

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10 minutes ago, Jack Watson said:

Its already been pointed out about agronomy and equipment and if one were to assume the older equipment was harder to use,  I think that begins to poke holes in @klineka s argument and also is a testament to skill of older gen players.  

Ok so take my argument out of this then. Wasn't my best idea to try to quantify and apply numbers to something that has so many other variables like you mentioned.

I dont agree its a testament to the skill of older gen players but you can keep believing what you wish and I'll do the same. No hard feelings from me. :beer:

 

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18 minutes ago, Jack Watson said:

I’ll say one thing

You've said "one thing" countless times.

18 minutes ago, Jack Watson said:

the fields today from say 08 on are much much stronger at the top than 97-2006 or so.

It's not just about "at the top."

And the fields from "say '97 to '08" are much stronger at the top, in the middle, and WAY stronger at the bottom than in 1962 to 1986.

18 minutes ago, Jack Watson said:

Sure depth overall is one component of field strength.

Fields during the Tiger era are both significantly stronger and significantly deeper than they were in Jack's day.

18 minutes ago, Jack Watson said:

My question is more about winners or guys who know how to win.  I am not going on a simplistic assumption that the relationship of going forward in time and field strength are a 1-1 relationship.

The basic math as to why that Bleacher Report "article" sucked? Because the most separate winners you could have is exactly equivalent to the number of tournaments held. Play 400 events and get 400 winners? Cool.

But as soon as you start to get multiple winners, things get muddied. If 10 guys win ten times out of 400, now you're down to a maximum of 310 winners in 400 events. If twenty more guys win five times, and 50 guys win two times out of those ten years of 40 events per year, why, you're down to 80 guys winning 3/4 of the events, and a maximum of 180 winners of 400 events.

Not to mention that, suppose you have a field of a bunch of D players. In 400 events, let's say you get 250 different winners. They're almost all equal, but some get hot two or three times in 400 events and win a few times.

But make them all B players, but have one A+ player, or two, and you're going to severely cut down on the # of different players that win. The A+ player might win 100 himself, and if the same random ratio plays out with the other 300, you've now got only about 170 winners. Yet which field was stronger and deeper?

Oh, and never mind this bit of crap:

Quote

Please note that the winners number is not  the total amount of different golfers who won over the time span.  It is simply the combined total of winners from each individual season.

So, if Tiger Woods won an event in each season, he counts each season as a separate winner. Wow.

Thing is… there's no evidence whatsoever to support your idea, @Jack Watson. Jack Nicklaus knows it.

18 minutes ago, Jack Watson said:

I am not going on a simplistic assumption that the relationship of going forward in time and field strength are a 1-1 relationship.

It's not an assumption.

18 minutes ago, Jack Watson said:

Its already been pointed out about agronomy and equipment and if one were to assume the older equipment was harder to use,  I think that begins to poke holes in @klineka s argument and also is a testament to skill of older gen players.

And I told him that using the scoring average is a non-starter of an argument, too. It is. Too tough to tell what contributes to what.

18 minutes ago, Jack Watson said:

Golf is nothing like other sports,  @iacas

Bullshit.


You're deluding yourself. You're conning yourself. You're telling yourself that the "top" competitors are all that matter, because they're the only ones capable of winning. Yet… the number of people capable of winning on the modern PGA Tour extends beyond 100.

Again, in Jack Nicklaus's own words, from 1996:

"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." -- Jack Nicklaus, 1996

So the whole heap of golfers in the "middle" have become "as good as the players at the top were when I started out" and "those in the top have become the equals of superstars of my generation." Not just stars, either, superstars.

And the whole middle - some 80+ golfers - are the equivalent of those "at the top" when Jack played.

If you want to concern yourself with the "top" only, then in modern golf you're going past the superstars (20 or so) and including the 80+ players after that.

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