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Phil McGleno

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.
      133


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8 hours ago, Chanceman said:

That's because I and many others are tired of presenting reasonable arguments and having you guys resort to the same silly tripe

:loco:

You've presented reasonable arguments? That's hilarious.

And I don't just mean because you've only now made two posts in this actual topic. Trust me, I'm including your posts in the other topic too.

Your posts over there continue the same tired arguments:

  • Jack has 18 majors and more second place finishes in majors, etc.
  • Jack played against Arnie, Tom, Gary, etc.

When those comments are refuted… you just laugh at them. Or make comments about equipment that actually contradict your opinion.

Last I checked, you couldn't even count 15 years… and the "stats" in that time frame greatly favor Tiger Woods except one: majors, of which they'd both earned 14.

What sort of a reasonable argument was "Watch Jack at nearly 80 hit the flagstick from 150 yards. GOAT.", exactly?

8 hours ago, Chanceman said:

eg the fields are bigger so they must be better.

The fields are about the same size these days, really. The players in those fields are significantly better.

8 hours ago, Chanceman said:

Taken to its logical conclusion, this means that as the population increases the current champion becomes the de facto GOAT.

Only if the current "champion" racks up a significant record. Nobody's calling Rory the GOAT, or any of the current major championship winners the GOAT. Their records aren't significant enough.

8 hours ago, Chanceman said:

Its natural of course to think that our current Man is the best ever.

As @saevel25 said, the opposite is often more true: we romanticize the past.

8 hours ago, Chanceman said:

I beg to differ and that with reasonable inferences you can have a fair assessment of the best over time. Not provable in any conclusive way of course but yet some people insist it is. And despite my having presented a host of reasons why modern performances might be better than before, and not due entirely to the athlete's ability.

Like what? Again, what arguments have you actually made?

8 hours ago, Chanceman said:

Its much more difficult with Jack and Tiger because Jack's results in Majors are actually superior, so you have to find a reason dont you? Depth of field - bingo.

Off to golf, cheerio.

It's a logical and reasonable argument.

One you've yet to refute, and one you've yet to address, among many, many other things, like the fact that even in your chosen 15 (cough, ahem, 17) year period, Tiger's win total in the majors was the same but literally just about every other fact favors Tiger. Regular Tour wins. Player of the Year awards. Money titles. Scoring titles. Dominance/margins of victory.

Etc.

That's not the topic here, though. The topic here is strength and depth of field, and here, you've yet to address anything or present any argument.

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9 hours ago, Chanceman said:

That's because I and many others are tired of presenting reasonable arguments and having you guys resort to the same silly tripe, essentially avoiding the question and resorting to circular thinking. eg the fields are bigger so they must be better. Taken to its logical conclusion, this means that as the population increases the current champion becomes the de facto GOAT. Its natural of course to think that our current Man is the best ever.  I beg to differ and that with reasonable inferences you can have a fair assessment of the best over time. Not provable in any conclusive way of course but yet some people insist it is. And despite my having presented a host of reasons why modern performances might be better than before, and not due entirely to the athlete's ability.

As @iacas pointed out, the fields aren't that much bigger but they are deeper, it's just common sense dude. 

Take me for example, as a +2, do you think I have a better chance at winning my city am, Southern Cal am, state am or national am? The answer is obvious and why do you think that is?

Another example. Yesterday I played in the Southern Cal mid-am (25 years+) qualifier where 74 made the cut. For the US Mid-Am I played in last year 71 made it, for the US Am -9 made it (36 holes).

Does that make sense to you that the qualifying scores would be lower as you expand the scope of the players you're pooling from?


@GrandStranded, @Chanceman, What do you think of this quote from Johnny Miller? As you know he competed with Nicklaus and all the other greats from that era. Also matches up with what Nicklaus said in his book.

https://www.golfdigest.com/story/johnny-miller-on-best-era-of-golfers

Quote

"You know, I said my era was a pretty darned good era with like a dozen really, really good players, and it seems like we're now in an era with an equal number of big stars, so to speak," Miller said on an NBC Sports conference call previewing the 2015 golf season. "You've got obviously Tiger and Rory and Martin Kaymer and Bubba and all these guys, Kuchar and Stenson and Rose and Scott and all these guys, Rickie Fowler and Sergio. You've got this really great core group."

"It's crowded at the top, more crowded I think maybe than ever. It's not going to be easy to break out," Miller added.

But if Miller recognizing today's top players are possibly better as a whole than the collection of golf legends he competed against is a new thing, his characterization of the tour's depth preventing anyone from separating himself is not. In an AP story from June 11, 1974, Miller said the era of any golfer lording over the sport, specifically, Jack Nicklaus, was over.

"I just think that the time is past when any one man will dominate the game," Miller said. "There are too many good players for that to happen now."

 

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Of course the depth of talent is much greater now. First of all there are more really good golfers. Second, the top 125 in the Tour rankings are exempt from qualifying. Back in the day, only the top 50 (I believe) were exempt from qualifying. Everybody else had to play in a Monday qualifying tournament to fill out the field. My Uncle, a country club pro, qualified for several tournaments like the old Hershey Open, Pennsylvania Open, and Pittsburgh Open. Mind you, we're talking pre WWII, and he was one Hell of a golfer!  That would be unheard of today except at the PGA Championship which sets aside a certain number of slots for club pros.

David Feherty addressed this quite well in an essay he wrote some years back titled What's Old Is New Again.Long story short, he said that despite, or maybe because of, bulging purses and advances in golf technology, it's just as hard, or harder, to make a living playing golf now as then!

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1 hour ago, Buckeyebowman said:

Of course the depth of talent is much greater now. First of all there are more really good golfers. Second, the top 125 in the Tour rankings are exempt from qualifying. Back in the day, only the top 50 (I believe) were exempt from qualifying. Everybody else had to play in a Monday qualifying tournament to fill out the field. My Uncle, a country club pro, qualified for several tournaments like the old Hershey Open, Pennsylvania Open, and Pittsburgh Open. Mind you, we're talking pre WWII, and he was one Hell of a golfer!  That would be unheard of today except at the PGA Championship which sets aside a certain number of slots for club pros.

David Feherty addressed this quite well in an essay he wrote some years back titled What's Old Is New Again.Long story short, he said that despite, or maybe because of, bulging purses and advances in golf technology, it's just as hard, or harder, to make a living playing golf now as then!

I think he is clearly wrong, as there are far more opportunities to play in events at a variety of venues, and the simple fact is that more tournament golfers are making a living at it than any previous time.

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This is not a GOAT comparison. 

Since this thread was about strength of field, I'll pick some players in each decade of this "study" for the topic. Then you guys can decide for yourselves... I will go through and name all 40 major winners of each decade (I probably will have to Google some of the 60s, because I honestly don't remember back that far). If a player won multiple majors in the decade I will put the number they won that decade in parenthesis and only mention them once.

1960s: Arnold Palmer (6), Kel Nagle, Jay Hebert, Gary Player (4), Gene Littler, Jerry Barber, Jack Nicklaus (6), Julius Boros (2), Ken Venturi, Tony Lema, Bobby Nichols, Peter Thomson, Billy Casper, Al Geiberger, Gay Brewer, Roberto Di Vicenzo, Bob Goalby, Lee Trevino, George Archer, Orville Moody, Tony Jacklin, Ray Floyd

1970s: Billy Casper, Tony Jacklin, Jack Nicklaus (9), Dave Stockton (2), Charles Coody, Lee Trevino (4), Gary Player (4), Tommy Aaron, Johnny Miller (2), Tom Weiskopf, Hale Irwin (2), Lou Graham, Tom Watson (3), Ray Floyd, Jerry Pate, Hubert Green, Lanny Wadkins, Andy North, John Mahaffey, Fuzzy Zoeller, Seve Ballesteros, David Graham

1980s: Seve Ballesteros (4), Jack Nicklaus (3), Tom Watson (5), David Graham, Bill Rogers, Larry Nelson (3), Craig Stadler, Ray Floyd (2), Hal Sutton, Ben Crenshaw, Fuzzy Zoeller, Lee Trevino, Bernhard Langer, Andy North, Sandy Lyle (2), Hubert Green, Greg Norman, Bob Tway, Larry Mize, Scott Simpson, Nick Faldo (2), Curtis Strange (2), Jeff Sluman, Mark Calcavecchia, Payne Stewart

1990s: Nick Faldo (4), Hale Irwin, Wayne Grady, Ian Woosnam, Payne Stewart (2), Ian Baker-Finch, John Daly (2), Fred Couples, Tom Kite, Nick Price (3), Bernhard Langer, Lee Janzen (2), Greg Norman, Paul Azinger, Jose Maria Olazabal (2), Ernie Els (2), Ben Crenshaw, Corey Pavin, Steve Elkington, Steve Jones, Tom Lehman, Mark Brooks, Tiger Woods (2), Justin Leonard, Davis Love III, Mark O'Meara (2), Vijay Singh, Paul Lawrie

2000s: Vijay Singh (2), Tiger Woods (12), Retief Goosen (2), David Duval, David Toms, Ernie Els, Rich Beem, Mike Weir, Jim Furyk, Ben Curtis, Shun Micheel, Phil Mickelson (3), Todd Hamilton, Michael Campbell, Geoff Oglivy, Zach Johnson, Angel Cabrera (2), Padraig Harrington (3), Trevor Immelman, Lucas Glover, Stewart Cink, Y.E. Yang.

2010-2017: Phil Mickelson (2), Greame McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen, Martin Kaymer (2), Charl Schwarzel, Rory McIlroy (4), Darren Clarke, Keegan Bradley, Bubba Watson (2), Webb Simpson, Ernie Els, Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Jason Dufner, Jordan Spieth (3), Zach Johnson, Jason Day, Danny Willett, Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson, Jimmy Walker, Sergio Garcia, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas

If you look through every major champion of the two eras and there was a little time before Jack Nicklaus on here (actually he was involved in the whole first 4 decades). There were a lot of guys in the first half (1960-89) that we're one and dones didn't have a lot of other wins in their careers... but there were also players in that era who should of won a major or two (Tom Kite comes to mind) or won more majors than they did (Hal Sutton comes to mind), But this era was dominated by Jack until the end of it, where it was dominated in the second half of the era by Ballesteros, Watson, Norman, and Faldo.

The transistion period (1990-94), is when some of the other players broke through, Kite comes to mind here as does Fred Couples and Payne Stewart.

The next generation, by all means everyone and their mother knows was dominated by Tiger. However look at how many other guys had multiple majors when Tiger was in a "slump". Tiger's era by far has deeper field than Jack's. Jack's era was more broken into sections, where Tiger's is more "halves" if you will. Does it make Tiger's 14 majors more impressive than Jack's 18? Who knows. Have the fields been stronger since Tiger has been around? Yes... The transition period was full of Faldo and Price winning multiple majors, and a lot of guys getting one. Once Tiger showed up, if you won one, you earned it. Why because Tiger raised the bar so high, that the other players knew they had to get better to stand a chance against him, that's why. Did Jack do the same thing? Absolutely. But not nearly as many could get to Jack's level, as there are that could compete with Tiger.

 

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9 hours ago, turtleback said:

I think he is clearly wrong, as there are far more opportunities to play in events at a variety of venues, and the simple fact is that more tournament golfers are making a living at it than any previous time.

The amount of people playing the sport has grown at a much faster rate than the number of opportunities to play in professional events where you can make enough money to make a living, which means its actually more difficult to make a living now than it used to be. 

Example of this (100% made up numbers) 1960s you might have had 100,000 golfers good enough to play golf for a living who competed for 50,000 spots. Today, there might be 1,000,000 golfers competing for 250,000 spots. So in the 1960s there were 2 guys competing for every spot, now there might be 4 guys (or more) competing for every spot. So yes the number of tournaments increased 5x during that timeframe, but when the number of players increased 10x during the same period, it just became significantly more difficult now than in the 1960s.

I'm willing to bet there were players that played in Monday qualifiers and qualified for PGA events in the 1960s who wouldnt even be good enough for the WEB.com tour today.

Edited by klineka

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The main argument here is simple.

Let's imagine high school football does away with "divisions" based on the size of your school, and that every school makes the playoffs.

Two teams, from SmallTown and BigCity, meet in the first round of the playoffs.

SmallTown has 100 boys in high school from which to create a team of about 30 players. BigCity has about 2,000 boys to create a team of about 30 players.

Which team is most likely to win? Which team is most likely, at every position, to be better?

It may be true that a future HOF NFL quarterback lives in SmallTown, but he can only do so much, and the strength and depth of his overall team is simply not going to hold up against BigCity.


PGA Tour fields haven't grown in size, but the pool of applicants is significantly, significantly larger now. It was much more difficult for Tiger to win each of his majors than it was for Jack to win any of his.

That is why - even ignoring the other things that almost all favor Tiger, I am of the opinion that 14 > 18.

That is also why arguments which cite "Palmer, Player, Watson, etc." miss the point that they, too, benefited from the weaker fields.

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2 hours ago, klineka said:

I'm willing to bet there were players that played in Monday qualifiers and qualified for PGA events in the 1960s who wouldnt even be good enough for the WEB.com tour today.

No doubt about that in my mind. I had an uncle who played with Johnny Miller on tour (briefly) and a great-great uncle and great grandfather that played with Hogan/Snead when the tour went through the west coast, no chance those guys would have been on the Web now.

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8 minutes ago, mvmac said:

No doubt about that in my mind. I had an uncle who played with Johnny Miller on tour (briefly) and a great-great uncle and great grandfather that played with Hogan/Snead when the tour went through the west coast, no chance those guys would have been on the Web now.

strength_and_depth.jpg

I'd be curious if you showed them my graph if they felt it was accurate.

So far I'm about 12 for 12 when I've asked anyone who has ever played a PGA Tour event in the 90s or earlier.

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3 minutes ago, iacas said:

I'd be curious if you showed them my graph if they felt it was accurate.

So far I'm about 12 for 12 when I've asked anyone who has ever played a PGA Tour event in the 90s or earlier.

Unfortunately my uncle passed away a couple years ago but he would be in agreement because he would talk about how good the pros are now. He would use his "major", the San Francisco City tournament, as an example, which he won in '82, a few years after getting his amateur status back. He played and beat a lot of local greats (some went on to turn pro) and said the "kids" playing today are much better, and better at a younger age. He played and qualified for match play in The City almost 40 straight years so he saw it all up close. 

He would also joke that if Tiger played with the old equipment he might never lose because he would have more of an advantage.

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7 minutes ago, mvmac said:

He would also joke that if Tiger played with the old equipment he might never lose because he would have more of an advantage.

An under-rated piece of the puzzle.

And one that Jack supporters weirdly often trot out as supporting Jack…

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

The main argument here is simple.

I can make it even simpler than that.

Before about 1975, very few international players played in the 3 US majors, or on the PGA Tour.  That is easily verified by simply looking at the fields in each event.  The reason they didn't play really doesn't matter.

Now look what happens when international players do enter the top events.  Here is this week's Rolex World Top Ten Rankings for women's golf:

1    —    Shanshan Feng    CHN    49    7.13    349.25    
2    —    Lexi Thompson    USA    43    6.92    297.44    
3    —    So Yeon Ryu    KOR    47    6.42    301.65    
4    —    Sung Hyun Park    KOR    54    6.22    335.80    
5    +2    Ariya Jutanugarn    THA    57    5.43    309.76    
6    −1    Anna Nordqvist    SWE    46    5.41    248.70    
7    −1    I.K. Kim    KOR    38    5.22    198.20    
8    —    In Gee Chun    KOR    48    5.07    243.27    
9    +10    Inbee Park    KOR    29    5.01    175.18    
10    −1    Hye Jin Choi    KOR    31    4.82    168.85   

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16 minutes ago, brocks said:

I can make it even simpler than that.

I don't think that's any simpler. The nationality doesn't matter all that much… except that it's a sign of how many more people are playing golf.

What used to be the top 1% of golfers in the world who had a chance to win any big tournament (Scotland in the 1500s?) became the top 0.1%, which became the top 0.01%, which became the top 0.001%… and so on.

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13 minutes ago, brocks said:

I can make it even simpler than that.

Before about 1975, very few international players played in the 3 US majors, or on the PGA Tour.  That is easily verified by simply looking at the fields in each event.  The reason they didn't play really doesn't matter.

Now look what happens when international players do enter the top events.  Here is this week's Rolex World Top Ten Rankings for women's golf:

1    —    Shanshan Feng    CHN    49    7.13    349.25    
2    —    Lexi Thompson    USA    43    6.92    297.44    
3    —    So Yeon Ryu    KOR    47    6.42    301.65    
4    —    Sung Hyun Park    KOR    54    6.22    335.80    
5    +2    Ariya Jutanugarn    THA    57    5.43    309.76    
6    −1    Anna Nordqvist    SWE    46    5.41    248.70    
7    −1    I.K. Kim    KOR    38    5.22    198.20    
8    —    In Gee Chun    KOR    48    5.07    243.27    
9    +10    Inbee Park    KOR    29    5.01    175.18    
10    −1    Hye Jin Choi    KOR    31    4.82    168.85   

I'm not sure what that has to do with this topic, but everyone knows the LPGA is totally dominated by Asian players. It was said last year the hardest Olympic team to make in years was the Korean womens golf team. That's why I find the Solheim Cup laughable. What are they playing for exactly???  Second best as compared to a small Asian country? They should be playing for the right to go against South Korea, or combine the 2 squads, South Korea would still beat them.

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16 minutes ago, GrandStranded said:

I'm not sure what that has to do with this topic, but everyone knows the LPGA is totally dominated by Asian players.

Exactly.  And the LPGA was dominated by American players during the Jack era.

So the question is, was that because American players have suddenly gotten much worse, or because Asians suddenly started being born with mega golf talent, or simply because Asians didn't play the tour back then?

If there had been men's world rankings in the 60's, the top 20 would all have been Americans, because the fields on the PGA Tour and in the three US majors were the next thing to all American.  Today, five of the top ten and 12 of the top 20 golfers are non-Americans.  How can anyone think that the American golfers of the 60's, even given all the modern tech and training, would have the same number of wins in PGA events and majors if they played today?

Edited by brocks

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1 minute ago, brocks said:

Exactly.  And the LPGA was dominated by American players during the Jack era.

So the question is, was that because American players have suddenly gotten much worse, or because Asians suddenly started being born with mega golf talent, or simply because Asians didn't play the tour back then?

If there had been world rankings in the 60's, the top 20 would all have been Americans, because the PGA Tour and the three US majors were the next thing to all American.  Today, five of the top ten and 12 of the top 20 golfers are non-Americans.  How can anyone think that the American golfers of the 60's, even given all the modern tech and training, would have the same number of wins in PGA events and majors if they played today?

I'm not trying to argue here, I'm simply asking your, and others opinion of something I just thought about when I mentioned the Solheim Cup. Back in Jack's era, there were very few Europeans playing the PGA Tour. When the 2 teams met in the Ryder Cup the U.S. dominated. I realize the European team later expanded to include more countries, but the Europeans have now dominated for many years. Does that mean the top U.S. players were better in Jack's era, and the top Europeans better in Tiger's era? I'm not sure how many Europeans played over here full time early 90's thru early 2000's, but I don't think there were many. Not sure how this would affect the Tiger/Jack argument, except would it help the "Jack played against more top players " argument? Since those guys dominated in International competition?

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15 minutes ago, brocks said:

How can anyone think that the American golfers of the 60's, even given all the modern tech and training, would have the same number of wins in PGA events and majors if they played today?

That's a different way of thinking about it.

If Jack played during the same era as Tiger Woods, in place of Tiger Woods… I think he wins 10 majors and 44 PGA Tour events. That's just over half. And if given the numbers 10.5 and 44.5, I'd take the under. (Not that any of this is provable… just a comment on how much deeper and stronger fields are these days.)

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4 minutes ago, iacas said:

That's a different way of thinking about it.

If Jack played during the same era as Tiger Woods, in place of Tiger Woods… I think he wins 10 majors and 44 PGA Tour events. That's just over half. And if given the numbers 10.5 and 44.5, I'd take the under. (Not that any of this is provable… just a comment on how much deeper and stronger fields are these days.)

I realize you said it's only your opinion, but I'm surprised (to say the least) at how MUCH better you think Tiger is then Jack, given the numbers you just gave.

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