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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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On 2/3/2018 at 12:11 PM, Jack Watson said:

@saevel25

1960 PGA at Firestone par 70 almost 7200 yards 1960.

Hogan vs Singh Augusta...53 Hogan playing 53 gear would have beaten Singh on a course the same exact length but with Singh with 2000 equipment.  If you start looking at the course lengths it becomes apparent.

Its self evident that 1950 tech is not as good as the stuff from 2000.  

Ignoring detailed arguments by throwing out virtually irrelevant factoids is not advancing your cause.

On 2/3/2018 at 12:16 PM, skydog said:

Totally forgot about that. 

I don’t really care to get into this battle but I’ve never really understood how many on here believe the period from let’s say the mid 70s (jack’ prime) to the mid 90s saw this exponential jump in field strength that has since subsided. It was somehow this miraculous 20 year period that the game of golf has never seen before or since- I can’t but that. Now I certainly thinks fields improved a lot during that time but I think top to bottom they’ve improved more over the last 20 years....because of the huge inflow of young talent that grew up watching Tiger and decided to play golf you’ve now got amazing athletes playing the game. 

 

I bring this up because people say 14>18 because of SOF. That may or may not be the case- I don’t really know. But what if someone like Spieth racks up 10-12 ( which I think he will). I’m guessing those same people won’t follow the same math.

 

Well then you haven't read the whole thread, because none of the Tiger advocates has claimed that the strengthening of fields has stopped.  And the exact question of assessing a Spieth who wins 10 majors has come up with many of us saying that would be very strong, and if accompanied by the broader achievements like POY, Vardons, money titles tour victories, etc. that grace Tiger's career he could well surpass.

It is too bad you had to attribute dishonesty and bad faith to those with whom you disagree.

 

What is really remarkable is that there seem to be folks who seem to think that the fields were strong up to 1996, unaccountably weakened  and then got strong again in about 2010.

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I took the data from PGA Tour on scoring average and came up with the following chart and table. I took data from all the even years from 1980 thru 2016.  

# of Player in each of the two seasons combined that shoot in the BIN range.
There are a few things to take from this graph. First, the scoring average for the tour has drastically increased from 1982 to 2016. Second, the number of golfers averaging a bad scoring average has drastically decreased (note how close the curve in the tail end is getting towards the tour average). Finally, we seriously under-rate the mid to late 1990's.

Scoring Average.jpg

Here is a table showing the percentage change. I took the percentage of golfers in the era (1980's, 1990's, etc...) in that BIN scoring range and subtracted it from one another. This should give us a good luck at how more golfers are scoring better. Example, 80's versus the 10's, lets say the 72-72.5 scoring average range. 21.6% of golfers shot in this range in the 1980's. Only 3.5% of averaged in this band during the 2010's so far.
Table.jpg

The definitive answer is, YES there are many more very good golfers than there was in the past. Will you have the handful of elites that show up each year, sure. In the 1980's, 3% of the golfers shot under 70.5. In the 2010's, 3.9% of golfers shot under 70.5.

I would consider averaging under 70.5 today to be a much harder task than it is in the 1980's with how the courses try to combat the advancements in golf.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

I took the data from PGA Tour on scoring average and came up with the following chart and table. I took data from all the even years from 1980 thru 2016.  

Last week I wanted to use scoring average as well, but @iacas pointed out to me that Scoring Average is not a good metric to use when comparing players from decades apart. There are too many variables where holes can be poked in the scoring average argument. Equipment being used, course conditions, course length, etc etc make it very difficult to say with certainty that the equipment accounted for X % of the decrease in score and the course conditions accounted for X %.

 

7 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

I would consider averaging under 70.5 today to be a much harder task than it is in the 1980's with how the courses try to combat the advancements in golf.

 The problem with using scoring average is I could argue that averaging under 70.5 is actually easier today since players hit the ball longer than they did 30 years ago, and neither of us will be able to prove our point with concrete data. Some of the top players can just carry bunkers that are in a 280 yd landing zone that were put there as an attempt to try to combat the advancements in golf, so I could just argue that some courses have actually done very little to combat the advancements in golf, or that the technology has advanced faster than the courses have adjusted, which could make it easier to average under 70.5.

 

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5 minutes ago, klineka said:

 The problem with using scoring average is I could argue that averaging under 70.5 is actually easier today since players hit the ball longer than they did 30 years ago

I made that point at the end of my points.

I don't mind using this sort of analysis as long as perspective needs to be taken on some things that can't be quantified. The big key for me, is not the Tour Average, but the sheer number of players that are playing better. The average isn't spread out over a wide range as it was.

When you consider that PGA Tour players have their own distribution for what they shoot. It probably looks similar to a bell curve. If you start shifting all those bell curves towards the better players, now you have more and more people able to come out and post really low scores. Which makes it tougher for the better players to win consistently.

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every single argument here in favor of Jack is based on 18>14, which is fine adn may be a valid opinion.  Not one I personally agree with, but possibly valid nonetheless.  One thing that is clearly being overlooked is that Tiger isn't done. What if Tiger wins another major?  is 18>15?  what if he wins 2? 

If Tiger's back holds up, as it looks like it might, he is definitively taking the wins lead from Snead.  in the 18 full seasons Tiger has played, he has 79 wins.  6 more than Jack had in 25 seasons, and just 3 short of what Snead had in 30 seasons.  And if you really want to talk about depth of field, you may be able to (poorly) argue that the field depth in Majors was as strong in the 70's as it was in the 2000's, but you will never be able to make a remotely logical argument that the field depth in the average tournament was the same.  it wasn't even close.  

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17 hours ago, turtleback said:

It is too bad you had to attribute dishonesty and bad faith to those with whom you disagree.

Geez, that is a bit extreme and not at all what I was doing. Dishonesty? C'mon man, that's not what I was insinuating.

By Erik's own graph that forms the basis for the thesis I was taking a bit of an issue with- the rate of increase in SOF is declining. i.e. SOFs increased more between 1970-1995 than they did between 1995-2018 says the graph and popular thought. I understand the argument as to why this is the case and for the most part I subscribe to it as do most of you. The issue I take with the graph and theory is that I believe the past ~10 years or so have seen an outsized jump in SOFs due to the fact that you now have a bunch of incredible athletes playing the game thanks to Tiger. Guys like Koepka, DJ, and Rahm (just a few examples) probably would have ended up being D1 athletes in another sport but chose golf because of the huge explosion in  the game's popularity when Tiger came on the scene. If I rack my brain for true athletes (besides Tiger) that played the game in the mid to late 90s, I can't think of many....maybe Norman and Vijay would be the closest thing? Now think about what guys playing the game look like today. It's night and day.

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I really enjoy reading this thread, and others where Jack, and Tiger are compared with each other.

Pretty much everyone has valid points as to why their guy is better. I myself have my own favorite, but I do not have concrete proof that Jack was better. I have seen them both play, and they are the best of the best.

I was in a couple of business meetings with Jack present, and I can honestly say he's s tough cookie. What he wants, he gets. I would assume he transferred that toughness to his golf game in his prime.  I can only think Tiger was that mentally strong during his best run of golf. 

What I keep thinking about is the reality these guys played in. Jack played in his own reality, which of course was different than Tiger's. If only there was a way to put both these guys, in their primes, to play each oth we, would know for sure. 

Imagine Tiger growing up and playing in Jack's time of golf. (Jack's reality) Tiger playing golf using everything Jack had available to him, back then. I think everyone can agree that not as much was known about golf technology back then, when compared to now. 

Then imagine Jack growing up, and playing in Tiger's reality. Jack having everything that Tiger had  that made him so great. Could Jack have used all of Tiger's available competition ,  technology as good as Tiger? Maybe better? 

Obviously we'll never know 100% who was better, but the discussion will always be a fun one.

I did read some where that in their best days, playing against each other, that both Jack, and Tiger would have made Arnold Palmer a simple tour journeymen player. :-P

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This thread is like asking who was the better hockey player, Gordie Howe or Wayne Gretzky!   The talent today is so much better than in the past years.   The players are bigger, stronger, faster and more athletic.   The sheer number of players playing today far exceed the numbers playing golf back when Jack was winning.      

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Looking back thru the years...and making allowances for exceptional individuals...there seem to be fewer "usual suspects" as the years recede.  That suggests that the top 100, from decades past, would have a tough time with the current top 100.  We are talking, after all, about the crop...not the cream.

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1 hour ago, skydog said:

Geez, that is a bit extreme and not at all what I was doing. Dishonesty? C'mon man, that's not what I was insinuating.

@skydog, "dishonesty" is a good word for it. You set up a straw man, were dishonest in saying that others were advancing that straw man, and then knocked it down.

1 hour ago, skydog said:

By Erik's own graph that forms the basis for the thesis I was taking a bit of an issue with- the rate of increase in SOF is declining.

Of course it is. It can only get to a certain point. I shared the basic math and the reasons for it - the differences between the top 0.00000000000000000000125% and the top 0.000000000000000000000000125% are negligible. We're not at that stage (nor will we ever be, unless we somehow figure out how to fit a trillion people on this planet or invent interstellar travel or something), but it makes simple mathematical sense why the rate of improvement would be slowing.

And, as I noted many times, my graphs aren't to scale in either direction. The slope of the line in the "closeup" graph starting with Ouimet is particularly too steep at the left side.

1 hour ago, skydog said:

The issue I take with the graph and theory is that I believe the past ~10 years or so have seen an outsized jump in SOFs due to the fact that you now have a bunch of incredible athletes playing the game thanks to Tiger.

It probably has. Again, I said the graph isn't to scale and that the graph would also not be perfectly smooth - that there could be jumps and periods where it's slower or faster than the "smooth line" version. I think I said that with this:

On 2/3/2018 at 4:26 PM, iacas said:

P.S. The graphs are likely not perfectly smooth like this, but again, if you're looking to nit-pick the graphs, the point they make is general, not specific. They're not exact, they're just an illustration to say in a picture what I've been saying in words.

So…

1 hour ago, skydog said:

If I rack my brain for true athletes (besides Tiger) that played the game in the mid to late 90s, I can't think of many....maybe Norman and Vijay would be the closest thing? Now think about what guys playing the game look like today. It's night and day.

Okay.

I still don't think the jump was as big as 1970 - 2000, but whatever. Not really the point.

40 minutes ago, Patch said:

Obviously we'll never know 100% who was better, but the discussion will always be a fun one.:-P

@Patch, I think you meant that whole thing for the other topic. This one is for strength and depth of field, not which is the GOAT overall.

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16 hours ago, iacas said:

@skydog, "dishonesty" is a good word for it. You set up a straw man, were dishonest in saying that others were advancing that straw man, and then knocked it down.

Again- geez. I know straw man is your favorite buzz word but I wasn’t attempting to be dishonest and I don’t appreciate being accused of that. My point was that if you say 14>18 because of SOF than you have to be prepared to say 10-12 > 14 in a couple decades. I hadn’t read the whole thread and hadn’t seen where you or anyone else acknowledged that so i apologize. So feel free to accuse me of ignorance of what was in the thread, but not dishonesty. 

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2 hours ago, skydog said:

Again- geez. I know straw man is your favorite buzz word but I wasn’t attempting to be dishonest and I don’t appreciate being accused of that.

Straw man is not a buzz word, nor is it something I use all that often.

Whether you were trying to do it or not, you were dishonest. You falsely represented the objections others had.

Let's limit the meta discussion, too, please.

2 hours ago, skydog said:

My point was that if you say 14>18 because of SOF than you have to be prepared to say 10-12 > 14 in a couple decades.

And as I pointed out, many, many people have already said as much. I've said as much, many times.

2 hours ago, skydog said:

I hadn’t read the whole thread and hadn’t seen where you or anyone else acknowledged that so i apologize. So feel free to accuse me of ignorance of what was in the thread, but not dishonesty. 

It's meta, but again… you stated that people were making those arguments and then knocking it down. That's dishonesty, not ignorance.

Moving on…

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2 hours ago, skydog said:

My point was that if you say 14>18 because of SOF than you have to be prepared to say 10-12 > 14 in a couple decades.

Right, I'm pretty sure everyone saying the SOF was stronger/deeper in Tiger's era than in Jack's would agree with that. It wouldn't make sense if they didn't.

If Rory wins 12 majors and 65-70 events, he is most likely the GOAT.

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On ‎2‎/‎3‎/‎2018 at 3:26 PM, iacas said:

You're in the minority.

Which is fine, just pointing it out.


 


 

Of course its fine, because I'm also right.

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32 minutes ago, MrGolfguy67 said:

So why bother "pointing out" that its in the minority?

Because you had to add a "not really even close" type thing. Not only is it "close," you're on the other side of the vast majority. Or, you're correct that it's "not really even close…", but in the opposite direction.

Anyway, this is more meta commentary.

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