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The Pope

Greatest golfers of all-time

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Who do you believe are the greatest golfers of all-time?

I'll go with:

Nicklaus
Woods
Bobby Jones

Hogan
Hagan
Player
Watson
Sarazan
Sneed
Nelson
Palmer

Trevino
Faldo
Ballesteros
Mickelson
Peter Thompson
Greg Norman
Floyd
Els
Casper

I left these guys out because they're impossible to rank:

Harry Vardon
Old Tom Morris
James Braid
John Henry Taylor
Young Tom Morris
Willie Anderson
Jim Barnes

Thoughts?

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Ed Sneed? He wasn't all that great. Primarily known for spitting the bit at the '79 Masters.

Or perhaps you meant Sam Snead (with an "a")?

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Nicklaus
Woods

Patrick Reed
Bobby Jones

Hogan
Hagan
Player
Watson
Sarazan
Sneed

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Nicklaus

Woods

Patrick Reed

Bobby Jones

Hogan

Hagan

Player

Watson

Sarazan

Sneed

Hagen ... Sarazen ... Snead

Apologies, but these gentlemen were good enough to have their names spelled correctly.

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How about the greatest golfer NAMES of all time:

Fuzzy Zoeller

Chi Chi Rodriguez

Eldrick Tont Woods

Gay Brewer

Seve Ballesteros

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Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

You could probably add Middlecoff, Singh, Stewart, Lema, Moe Norman, McFadden, Zaharis, Lopez, Park, Irwin, Demaret, Locke, Pak, Inkster, Sorenstam, and probably a bunch more. With all the golfers who have ever played professional golf, just the shear numbers would mean the all time greats would be a least number in the 1 to 2 hundreds.

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Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

Nicklaus and Woods are all you need for this list.  They were the greatest of the game (of their generations), with endless drive to be the best and devotion to the game.

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Nicklaus and Woods are all you need for this list.  They were the greatest of the game (of their generations), with endless drive to be the best and devotion to the game.

While I agree that Jack should be in the top 3 (I put Hogan in there with Jack and Tiger) I do not see how you put Jack into the "endless drive to be the best" category.  Where was the drive to get a decent short game (yes and I've herd the explanation that he was s good tee to green he never felt he needed one).  But those famous losses to Trevino and Watson were largely fueled by them having much better short game than Jack (anyone remember him leaving TWO balls in bunkers in his US Open playoff with Trevino at Merion?  And both Trevino and Watson getting key chip-ins)  And he was renowned for spending more time AWAY from golf, fishing, playing tennis, his golf course design business, his other extensive business interests.

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I agree with Turtleback. Nicklaus has openly stated on several occasions that he really didn't focus on golf as much by his late 20's. If you take the top 25 guys today, I would take a guess they put a lot more effort into their game than Nicklaus did. However, there really are only two contenders... Nicklaus and Woods. I give the title to Nicklaus until we see how Woods finishes up his career. Nicklaus - 73 wins, 18 major wins, 19 major runner ups, 9 major 3rd place finishes. Woods - 79 wins, 14 major wins, 6 major runner ups, 4 major 3rd place finishes. Then you have the next 20 guys that one can make an argument to be somewhere in the Top 10

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However, there really are only two contenders... Nicklaus and Woods. I give the title to Nicklaus until we see how Woods finishes up his career.

Considering that he won majors at a higher success rate than Nicklaus, how do you write Ben Hogan out of the conversation?  Or do you think Jack was right when he said majors are the way to compare players of different eras, in the full knowledge that they had far fewer opportunities than he did?

The funny thing is that Tiger supporters frequently get accused of believing that golf didn't even start until 1997, yet the reality is that the Jack supporters seem to be the ones who think golf started in 1962, since they utterly disregard guys like Hogan.

As to putting Jack over Tiger, do you have any criteria supporting that ranking other than 18>14?  It is OK if that is your reason, but I am always interested if anyone has anything ELSE, because I haven't heard much in the 250 page Jack v Tiger thread.

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Good list - I would just move Palmer up into the top 10.   As for the best of the best, Nicklaus and Woods stand alone.

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You'll notice I included 2nd and 3rd place finishes at majors as well. To me, that is the staggering number that puts Nicklaus above Tiger.... Or anyone else for that matter. Only time will tell where Tiger finishes up... His winning % is higher than Nicklaus, but we haven't seen the twilight of his career yet either. As for Hogan, I would certainly make an argument for him in the Top 5... 64 wins, 9 major wins, 6 major runner up finishes, 2 major 3rd place finishes.

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You'll notice I included 2nd and 3rd place finishes at majors as well. To me, that is the staggering number that puts Nicklaus above Tiger.... Or anyone else for that matter.

Only time will tell where Tiger finishes up... His winning % is higher than Nicklaus, but we haven't seen the twilight of his career yet either.

As for Hogan, I would certainly make an argument for him in the Top 5...

64 wins, 9 major wins, 6 major runner up finishes, 2 major 3rd place finishes.

Yes I did notice.  I also noticed that no one ever used to talk about 2nd and 3rd place finishes until it started to look like they needed to come up with more than 18>14 to put on Jack's side of the scale.

For example,I never heard anyone try to buttress Arnie's record by talking about his 10 second place finishes in majors.

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While I agree that Jack should be in the top 3 (I put Hogan in there with Jack and Tiger) I do not see how you put Jack into the "endless drive to be the best" category.  Where was the drive to get a decent short game (yes and I've herd the explanation that he was s good tee to green he never felt he needed one).  But those famous losses to Trevino and Watson were largely fueled by them having much better short game than Jack (anyone remember him leaving TWO balls in bunkers in his US Open playoff with Trevino at Merion?  And both Trevino and Watson getting key chip-ins)  And he was renowned for spending more time AWAY from golf, fishing, playing tennis, his golf course design business, his other extensive business interests.

I agree with all this. But it is also fair to say that Nicklaus's record is all the more impressive when one considers his lack of single-mindedness. Over a 25 year period he placed in the top 3 in almost half the majors that were played. That is pretty extraordinary. Comparing different generations is fraught with problems, even in sports that have more objectively measurable standards than golf. There's no argument that Usain Bolt is much faster than was Jesse Owens. But Owens was similarly superior to his contemporaries, and it must be at least arguable that had he had the same advantages in terms of nutrition, training, equipment etc. he might have found a way to run under 9.7 or jump over 29 feet. This reinforces your point about Hogan, and probably elevates the claims of even earlier players. Crappy equipment, inferior greens, I'm inclined to believe that some of the very early players must have been highly talented to shoot anything approaching a decent score. Does this mean they played as well as Woods or Nicklaus? Certainly not. Does it mean they may have been as talented, or had similar potential? Perhaps.

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