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Greg Norman Says Players Content with Top 20s over Wins


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Originally Posted by Fourputt

I've felt like this was the case for some time now.  It's not that recent a phenomenon either.  Bruce Lietske and Scott Hoch were classic "journeyman" players.  They were good enough to make a good living - even win on rare occasions, but were never stars.  Lietske took weeks off from the Tour when he didn't even practice, then came back and almost always seemed to pick up a decent paycheck.  I can't see it as any different now, except that there is more opportunity for a similar approach, because there is more money to be made, even if you compare 1985 dollars to 2015 dollars.  I'm not saying that there is no interest in winning, but that there are many players out there now who become "comfortable" with the money and realize that they can be wealthy without having to make the same effort that they would make to actually contend at the top.

No, really - I want to know what you really think!  I guess I'm a jerk in your eyes too, because I tend to agree with Norman.

There are a lot of guys who work their asses off to get into the money, then they find that they can stay there without working quite so hard.  The money is good, they get to play golf and make a few million and not work quite as hard as they did getting there.  The fire to win burns a bit less brightly for some as they reach a certain level of financial stability.  If you don't believe that then you are denying human nature.  That doesn't mean that they wouldn't be happy to win a tournament or two, but winning is no longer mandatory for that type of person to feel successful.  One time winners are no less obscure in the golf history books than non winners who still made a full career on Tour.

I'm having a tough time believing a guy who busted his butt to make it to the PGA Tour suddenly becomes complacent because he realizes he can make a decent living without winning.  I might believe there are a few older guys that have made a good living on the tour and are willing to coast into retirement or the Champions Tour but I can't see this being the thought process among younger kids or those in their prime.

I never said it was a thought process, but it is human nature.  With very few exceptions, the initial impetus to strive to get on Tour is the money - to make a good living by playing golf.  If you don't see that then we don't really have anything to discuss.  I really can't believe that the average guy really believes going in that he has the talent to be at the top.  If he does, then he's pretty good at fooling himself.  Most of these guys aren't Tiger Woods.  They haven't been groomed for stardom since they were potty trained.  When they finally do make the grade and get a tour card, then for many, reality sets in.  Yeah, they're good, but good is relative.  However, try as they might, they make cuts, earn a paycheck, make a top ten here and there, but that's about it.  Now they have a wife, a kid, a nice home, and they still have big bucks coming in, but they've never really been that close to winning.

You're trying to tell me that that doesn't have any effect on their general approach to the Tour?  You don't think that no matter how competitive they might be, they don't have a tendency to become a bit complacent?  Not everyone is cut out for stardom.  Some people prefer not to give up their privacy.  If they can do that while still getting rich, so much the better.

Look at how many young players have been projected as superstars when they hit the tour, and look at how many never really lived up to their billing.  Were they really that poor?  Did something happen after they had played for a year or 2?  Did they just find that the easy money dampened some of the burning desire to win?  I don't really know, but that's what I suspect happened to some of them.  Not all succumb to it - some just aren't good enough to reach the top - but to say that it doesn't happen is just burying your head in the sand.

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Agree totally.  Let's have Greggy ask Padraig Harrington if he was fine with being a sheep.

Greggy...?  Seriously... :roll:

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No, really - I want to know what you really think!

LOL ... yeah, I was a little fired up there.  That's what I get for thinking about it for the whole commute to work and then quickly writing it out. ;)

I guess I'm a jerk in your eyes too, because I tend to agree with Norman.

Nope, not at all.  It's not so much that he thinks it (although I will still disagree) but it's that he feels the need to grab a microphone and say it.  Pretty sure you're not screaming "SHEEP!!!" from the mountaintops over there, so we're all good. :beer:

I've felt like this was the case for some time now.  It's not that recent a phenomenon either.  Bruce Lietske and Scott Hoch were classic "journeyman" players.  They were good enough to make a good living - even win on rare occasions, but were never stars.  Lietske took weeks off from the Tour when he didn't even practice, then came back and almost always seemed to pick up a decent paycheck.

This is funny, because during my aforementioned commute, I thought of Bruce Lietzke as well - but to actually support my argument. :-P Norman (and presumably you as well) is making these assumptions about players not "wanting it" from, I can only guess, his feeling that they are not practicing the way he feels they should be.  But that assumption relies on the idea that every player is wired the same and must practice the same way.  Why is it automatic that Lietzke wasn't trying as hard just because he didn't practice as much?  Who's to say he didn't find out at a younger age that he actually played better when he didn't press as hard?

A microcosm of this same belief can be seen in some peoples views over the playing of single holes.  Guys who lay up on par 5's are frequently labeled as guys who didn't want it enough or chickened out, when in reality, all they did was make a decision that laying up offered them the best chance to succeed.  Sometimes its the wrong decision (JB Holmes at Torrey a couple of weeks ago) and sometimes its not (Zach Johnson at the Masters).  What it never is, though, is somebody trying NOT to win.

Norman also gave credit to Jason Day for saying that he wants to be the best.  By criticizing nameless others, it can be inferred that he's suggesting that some guys unwillingness to say bold things like that plays into his opinion.  That's equally silly.  Perhaps they all don't want to get roasted like Patrick Reed was a year ago for being bold?  (Ironic, BTW, that he doesn't praise Reed, but actually says the jury's still out on him.  The guy who's won more than almost anybody in the last couple of years and has been at least as bold verbally.  This tempts me to write off his comments as simply nationalistic - or whatever the proper word is to say that Norman just wants to promote Australians.)

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Quote:

Originally Posted by newtogolf

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fourputt

I've felt like this was the case for some time now.  It's not that recent a phenomenon either.  Bruce Lietske and Scott Hoch were classic "journeyman" players.  They were good enough to make a good living - even win on rare occasions, but were never stars.  Lietske took weeks off from the Tour when he didn't even practice, then came back and almost always seemed to pick up a decent paycheck.  I can't see it as any different now, except that there is more opportunity for a similar approach, because there is more money to be made, even if you compare 1985 dollars to 2015 dollars.  I'm not saying that there is no interest in winning, but that there are many players out there now who become "comfortable" with the money and realize that they can be wealthy without having to make the same effort that they would make to actually contend at the top.

No, really - I want to know what you really think!  I guess I'm a jerk in your eyes too, because I tend to agree with Norman.

There are a lot of guys who work their asses off to get into the money, then they find that they can stay there without working quite so hard.  The money is good, they get to play golf and make a few million and not work quite as hard as they did getting there.  The fire to win burns a bit less brightly for some as they reach a certain level of financial stability.  If you don't believe that then you are denying human nature.  That doesn't mean that they wouldn't be happy to win a tournament or two, but winning is no longer mandatory for that type of person to feel successful.  One time winners are no less obscure in the golf history books than non winners who still made a full career on Tour.

I'm having a tough time believing a guy who busted his butt to make it to the PGA Tour suddenly becomes complacent because he realizes he can make a decent living without winning.  I might believe there are a few older guys that have made a good living on the tour and are willing to coast into retirement or the Champions Tour but I can't see this being the thought process among younger kids or those in their prime.

I never said it was a thought process, but it is human nature.  With very few exceptions, the initial impetus to strive to get on Tour is the money - to make a good living by playing golf.  If you don't see that then we don't really have anything to discuss.  I really can't believe that the average guy really believes going in that he has the talent to be at the top.  If he does, then he's pretty good at fooling himself.  Most of these guys aren't Tiger Woods.  They haven't been groomed for stardom since they were potty trained.  When they finally do make the grade and get a tour card, then for many, reality sets in.  Yeah, they're good, but good is relative.  However, try as they might, they make cuts, earn a paycheck, make a top ten here and there, but that's about it.  Now they have a wife, a kid, a nice home, and they still have big bucks coming in, but they've never really been that close to winning.

You're trying to tell me that that doesn't have any effect on their general approach to the Tour?  You don't think that no matter how competitive they might be, they don't have a tendency to become a bit complacent?  Not everyone is cut out for stardom.  Some people prefer not to give up their privacy.  If they can do that while still getting rich, so much the better.

Look at how many young players have been projected as superstars when they hit the tour, and look at how many never really lived up to their billing.  Were they really that poor?  Did something happen after they had played for a year or 2?  Did they just find that the easy money dampened some of the burning desire to win?  I don't really know, but that's what I suspect happened to some of them.  Not all succumb to it - some just aren't good enough to reach the top - but to say that it doesn't happen is just burying your head in the sand.

I can see them having ups and downs throughout the year.  It is hard to be on top form all the time.  We see that in other sports. But I can't see them coasting the whole year as Norman eludes.  It is not easy to stay on tour if you aren't making cuts.

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I can see them having ups and downs throughout the year.  It is hard to be on top form all the time.  We see that in other sports. But I can't see them coasting the whole year as Norman eludes.  It is not easy to stay on tour if you aren't making cuts.

Exactly, I can't imagine making it on the PGA Tour and then adopting the attitude that Top 10 is good enough.  I want to win all the time, I can't remember a time when I didn't want to win so the mentality that less than best is good enough is something I can't relate to.

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There are a lot of guys who work their asses off to get into the money, then they find that they can stay there without working quite so hard.

I haven't met that guy in the hundreds of PGA Tour players I've seen, worked with, talked to, etc.

Seriously, not a one of them falls into that category in my opinion. They continue to work their asses off. Their drive to WIN is huge. Winning, remember, grants them all kinds of additional status that you can't get just by finishing in the top 100 to 125 each year.

They ALL want to win.

Am I going to pretend that if they've made the cut and they're out early on Sunday that they're all giving it 100% the entire 18 holes? No. But that's not saying that someone who is three shots back of the lead is coasting to a top ten "because that's good money too" and they're lazy. HELL NO. They're grinding their asses off to win.

If there WERE some lazier players, they're actually some of the older, established players who have won already, maybe won a major, have lifetime status or very close to it, have their retirement package sewn up, etc. And those guys just go through spurts, or they go full Steve Stricker and literally just spend more time with their families, etc.

It's NOT the young guys, not at all.

And to say otherwise (as Norman did) is to denigrate a whole ton of people who work as hard or harder at their game than he did.

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I take anything Norman says with a grain of salt. He has to be one of the most self-serving players in the history of the tour. Of course that's only my opinion of the man based on his public behavior and comments. He may be a completely different person in a one to one setting but somehow I doubt it.

cubdog

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Some interesting facts:

US median household income in 1980 dollars $16,354 in 2012 adjusted dollars $46,995

US median household income in 2012 $49,486

Source - http://www.davemanuel.com/median-household-income.php

So the average family income increased by $2,491 from 1980 to 2012 in adjusted 2012 dollars.

1980 PGA earnings:

1  Tom Watson (7 wins) $530,808  (2012 adjusted $1,523,419)

10  Raymond Floyd (1 win) $192,393 (2012 adjusted $552,168)

20  Tom Kite (0 wins) $152,490  (2012 adjusted $437,646)

50  Ed Sneed (0 wins) $83,573  (2012 adjusted $239,854)

100  Jim Nelford (0 wins) $33,769  (2012 adjusted 96,917)

2012 PGA earnings:

1  Rory McIlroy (4 wins) $8,047,952

10  Keegan Bradley (1 win) $3,910,658

20  Robert Garrigus (0 wins) $3,206,530

50  Jonathan Byrd (0 wins) $1,616,789

100  Davis Love III (0 wins) $989,753

Sources -

http://www.pgatour.com/stats/stat.109.1980.html

http://www.pgatour.com/stats/stat.109.2012.html

Observations:

In 1980 the 100th placed PGA pro earned 2.06 times what the median family made whereas in 2012 that number is 20.00 times.

In 1980 the 50th placed PGA pro earned 5.11 times what the median family made whereas in 2012 that number is 32.67 times.

In 1980 the 20th placed PGA pro earned 9.32 times what the median family made whereas in 2012 that number is 64.79 times.

Clearly in 1980 a top 50 PGA pro simply made a good income above the average family but didn't make enough money to set his family up for life.

In 2012 the top 50 PGA pro had an income that was significantly greater than the average family and the income is so large that it is possible to set up his family financially for life AND THIS CAN BE ACHIEVED WITHOUT A SINGLE WIN.

Even a couple of years at 100th money position would enable one to be financially secure for life.

I wonder if this has any impact on the drive to win ??????????????

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Professional athletes almost all want to win.  The amount that don't care is miniscule.  A better description for guys like Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan is that they hate to lose more than anyone else.

I've largely liked Norman over the years but sometimes he says some dumbass things.

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Fourputt

There are a lot of guys who work their asses off to get into the money, then they find that they can stay there without working quite so hard.

I haven't met that guy in the hundreds of PGA Tour players I've seen, worked with, talked to, etc.

Seriously, not a one of them falls into that category in my opinion. They continue to work their asses off. Their drive to WIN is huge. Winning, remember, grants them all kinds of additional status that you can't get just by finishing in the top 100 to 125 each year.

They ALL want to win.

Am I going to pretend that if they've made the cut and they're out early on Sunday that they're all giving it 100% the entire 18 holes? No. But that's not saying that someone who is three shots back of the lead is coasting to a top ten "because that's good money too" and they're lazy. HELL NO. They're grinding their asses off to win.

If there WERE some lazier players, they're actually some of the older, established players who have won already, maybe won a major, have lifetime status or very close to it, have their retirement package sewn up, etc. And those guys just go through spurts, or they go full Steve Stricker and literally just spend more time with their families, etc.

It's NOT the young guys, not at all.

And to say otherwise (as Norman did) is to denigrate a whole ton of people who work as hard or harder at their game than he did.

I don't want to make the wrong impression here that I'm defending Norman.  He has made too many outrageous statements over the years after his active time on Tour.  I still find it hard to believe that there aren't guys there who have been on Tour for 5+ years, have done well enough to be fixed for life financially without ever winning, and are willing to just cruise from week to week as sort of a lifelong vacation.  I'm not saying that they never work on the game, but they may not work as hard on it as they once did or the work may not be quite as focused as it once was.

They are the Bruce Lietske's of the modern Tour.  They don't try to tweak their swings to get that last little bit of something from it.  Lietske was a player who, from what I read many times, never even attempted to play a draw.  His shot was a fade, it worked dependably for him, and he stuck with it for as long as he competed.  He even skipped some tournaments when the course was a hookers course.

Not everyone works as hard as Tiger or Singh.  Some players stick with what they brought because it's good enough to get them what they need from the game.  I don't doubt that they wouldn't admit it, even to themselves.  They may not even be aware that the inner drive that got them to the Tour has lost a little impetus.  Being comfortable can play tricks with one's subconscious mind, to the point that a person doesn't even realize that a change has occurred.  As you and others have pointed out many times, there's a very fine line between the top 10 and the the next 10.  Between the guys who are able to keep that drive alive, and those who let it slip just the tiniest bit.

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What's the alternative job, if not on tour, for many of these guys?  Club pro, teaching pro, sales rep, internet golf sales, ???

Obviously, many of these very good players have no alternative source of income any where near comparable to the money they can make by making the cut 30x per year. Make the cut: that's the first task.

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They ALL want to win.

Not only do they all want to win, they virtually all work a lot harder at it than the guys who were competing with Norman - or Jack - or Ben - or Walter, or Bobby, or  . . . . . .

Funny how Jack is never criticized for not wanting to win because he played only part time.

They are the Bruce Lietske's of the modern Tour.  They don't try to tweak their swings to get that last little bit of something from it.  Lietske was a player who, from what I read many times, never even attempted to play a draw.  His shot was a fade, it worked dependably for him, and he stuck with it for as long as he competed.  He even skipped some tournaments when the course was a hookers course.

And how many guys screwed themselves up by trying to tweak things?  What is wrong with the career of a guy who had double digit win on the Tour?  Who was the guy recently who convinced himself he had to learn to hit a draw to play the Masters and screwed himself up for a couple of years?  Is Lietzke any less because he DIDN'T make that mistake?

What do you expect from a guy who dumps his spouse, steals his best friends wife then marries her. Only the best for ole Greg no matter the price you pay.

And then divorces HER because they cannot decide whose multi-million dollar house they will live in, his or hers.

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Fourputt

He even skipped some tournaments when the course was a hookers course.

I think those are the types of courses Eldrick prefers ;)

BTW, great work on the stats ay33660!

Welcome to the board.  But man, step up your game.  Lame Tiger hooker jokes were already old about 3 years ago.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourputt View Post

He even skipped some tournaments when the course was a hookers course.

I think those are the types of courses Eldrick prefers ;) BTW, great work on the stats ay33660!

[quote name="turtleback" url="/t/80534/greg-norman-says-players-content-with-top-20s-over-wins/30#post_1112824"] Welcome to the board.  But man, step up your game.  Lame Tiger hooker jokes were already old about 3 years ago. [/quote]I laughed,

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