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brocks

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brocks last won the day on May 19

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About brocks

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  • Birthday 11/30/1952

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  1. They could pair him with Robert Mueller.
  2. Pretty sad when we have better records from first-century chariot racing than from pre-1970 pro golf. Thanks for a very interesting post. BTW, at first I misread Lance Armstrong as Louis Armstrong, and I thought he was a pretty good example, too.
  3. Can you give some examples? The only sports I've followed even casually for the past few years are golf and football, so I may be way off, but it seems to me that Brady has replaced Montana, James is about to replace Jordan if he hasn't already, Federer has replaced Sampras, etc. I guess Ruth might still be the GOAT in baseball for people who consider drug-enhanced results invalid.
  4. When Brooks Koepka was born, he drove his mom home from the hospital.
  5. If you Google Varner 81 worst final group, you will see a ton of articles saying Varner had the highest score from the final group in a major. I happened to see one of those articles, and like an idiot, I trusted it. The same article said it was the first round in the 80's from a final group. Last night while I was brushing my tooth (I'm very old), I thought, wait a minute, Rory shot 80 in the 2011 Masters. So I knew then that the article was wrong. I checked just now, and at least in USA Today, they have corrected it to say Varner's score was the highest in the final round of this year's PGA, which is about as different as you can get, and hardly worth a separate AP article. I guess it's possible that it's the first time that the highest score of the final round came from the final group, which would be worth an article, but I'm too lazy to check if that's true. It was from the AP. Ten years ago or so, on the old Golf Channel board, I used to get into arguments with a guy called Robo about Doug Ferguson, the chief golf reporter for the AP. Robo was evidently a friend of his, and took it personally when I would complain that Ferguson got his stats wrong in almost every article. No excuse for that with somebody having the resources of the AP to back him. I don't think Ferguson wrote this one, but it looks like the AP is still very sloppy on its stats. So, you are right, I was wrong, and I will never use info from an AP article again without checking it first.
  6. I don't know if it's the highest, but Fred Herd shot 84-85-75-84 to win the 1898 US Open. And I can tell you that Varner's 81 today broke the record for worst score by a player in the final grouping on the final day of a major (they typically didn't assign tee times by score until the TV era). If you allow events where they only played two rounds, Bob Martin won the 1876 Open with 86-90.
  7. The change in the fields between 15-20 years ago and now is incremental. The players are from the same talent pools. Yes, they are better on average, but the very best players are always outliers, so it's not likely that, say, the five best players of 2005 are much worse than the five best players of today. The change between 1965 and 2005 was not incremental; it was a quantum leap. We went from having only 40-60% of the world's best players in the majors, to having nearly all of them. We also went from having European fields still feeling the effects of WWII's devastation to being full strength. It was probably twice as hard to win a major in 2005 than in 1965. It may or may not be 10% harder today than in 2005. The fact that a 43-year old golfer with a fused back just won the Masters indicates that 10% may be too generous. There is another quantum leap coming, when Asian golf reaches its potential, stoked by golf now being an Olympic sport. Koreans have practically taken over the LPGA. 20 years from now, half of the world's top men golfers may be Asians. When that happens, I'll acknowledge that it's a new era, with a new talent pool, and that winning 10 majors may be a greater accomplishment than 15 today, or 20 in the Jack era.
  8. The PGA has usually had 98 or 99 of the top 100 for decades now --- a conscious decision to try to distinguish itself as the strongest field in golf. And this is why some of us are so adamant that you can't compare majors in this century with majors in Jack's era. In the 1960's, the PGA had only about 50 of the top 100, the US Open maybe 65, the Masters maybe 60, and the British Open maybe 40.
  9. In this century, in most years, the PGA is the strongest field in golf. Occasionally, the British is stronger. The British and US Opens are usually 2 and 3, and the Players is usually 4th. The Masters was as low as 7th as recently as 2014, with the Players and two WGCs, along with the other three majors, ahead of it. It makes sense if you think about it. The Masters is a short field to start with, and a dozen or more of the players have no chance to win -- amateurs, seniors, or players from very weak Asian tours who got invitations. Honestly, I'm surprised that it isn't behind two or three WGC's every year. You can find the strength of field of events on the world golf ranking site. Click on events, pick a year, and click on the strength of field column header to sort them. www.owgr.com
  10. Wait, did I say Varner? I meant DJ.
  11. That hundred grand I put on Harold Varner III is beginning to look better.
  12. Very interesting survey of guys who are the ultimate insiders. The last question was who's the GOAT, and the results were: Tiger Woods 71.4% Jack Nicklaus 26.8% Ben Hogan 1.8%
  13. Yup, only one behind Bernhard Langer's 42 wins for second place. Seve is #1 with 50. Tiger has played more pure European Tour events than most PGA members, but of course the main reason he's so high is all the majors and WGCs he's won. I may be misremembering, but I dimly recall that he actually did lead the official Euro money list in 2000, by a mile, and they weren't happy about it, so they changed the criteria to require membership, and made it retroactive. I'm a little more sure that a few years later, he had played enough Euro events during a season that he only needed one more to be eligible for membership that season, and he was already in England for a WGC or Ryder Cup or something, and people speculated he might play in Europe the following week so he'd be eligible for both titles, but he passed.
  14. The bad news is that I am really strapped for time right now, because I'm hosting several family members from around the country as we gather for a funeral. The good news is that I posted some material last month when you asked for foundational posts, that I think might translate well to twitter. In particular, the year-by-year analysis of Jack's alleged dominance in post #6430 could probably be trimmed down into one tweet for each year, especially if you remove my editorial snark. I've found that most golf fans are surprised to see how thin Jack's "dominance" was when you look at the Jack era year by year. He really had only one year that compared in dominance to any of seven years of Tiger's career. He had five years where he was clearly the best in the world (but not necessarily dominant), compared to 10 for Tiger. He only wins when you look at how many years he was arguably in the wold top ten -- 20 years to Tiger's 16 (so far). Being top ten in the world is very hard to do, but it's not domination. And I am as puzzled as you are how Brandel can be so oblivious to the strength of the fields in the pre-1980's majors. You only have to look at the Open.com website to see that in the 11 years 1959-1969, when the "Big Three" won five British Opens, there were never more than a dozen Americans in the field, and if you eliminate the amateurs and seniors, seldom more than half a dozen (zero in 1959, when Player won his first Open). There were never more than 30 (including seniors and amateurs) all through the 1970's. To be specific, look at 1968. The British Open paid $7200 to the winner. All but five regular PGA events paid over twice that much in 1968, and the Greater Milwaukee Open, played the same week as the British Open, paid the winner $40,000. In today's terms, that would be like having a regular PGA event with a first prize of 11 million dollars played the same week as the Open. There were 11 Americans in the field, but only six of any distinction, along with an amateur and four pros with a combined total of one career PGA win. And as inconvenient as trans-Atlantic travel was then, it wasn't nearly as tiring or expensive as travel to Britain from Australia or South Africa, which meant that even though the Open had far more prestige outside of the US than in it, it was missing a large percentage of international stars, as well as 90% of US stars. The field of the 1968 PGA Championship was described by Jack himself as "absurd and unfortunate," with about 50 touring pros and about 110 club pros. Just about the only way a non-PGA member could get in was to win one of the other majors, so foreign players who didn't want to devote a year or more to the PGA Tour were effectively shut out. The US Open was indeed open, but you had to qualify in the US a few weeks before the tournament, which meant that someone in Europe, South Africa, or Australia had to either commit to over a solid month of his time away from home, with no guarantee he would actually get to play, or make two overseas round trips in a month. As a result, only a handful of international players entered. All but one of Europe's leading money winners for the years 1955-1975 never played in either the US Open or the PGA Championship in their entire careers. The one exception, Peter Oosterhuis, never did it before 1975. After discounting amateurs and seniors, the 1968 Masters had only about 60 players in the field. Credit to the ANGC, they did make an effort to invite international players, but the time and expense (plus the fact that majors weren't MAJORS then) caused many invitees to decline. Peter Alliss was one of the best players in Europe for nearly 20 years. He won the Order of Merit twice, and beat the biggest American stars like Palmer, Venturi, and Casper in his Ryder Cup matches, but he was invited to the Masters only five times, and he only accepted twice. Too far to travel, he said. The result of all this is that the US Open was probably the strongest event of the Jack era, but with a virtually all-American field, it was only about half as strong as a full field major today. The PGA Championship, with two club pros for every touring pro, was probably no stronger than a regular PGA event of that era, and weaker than a regular PGA event of today. The Masters, with only 60 touring pros, was not much stronger. And the British Open, with just a handful of players from outside of Europe, was weaker than almost any regular tour event then, and much weaker than any of Tiger's official wins. Since the GOAT debate though most of the 60's was between Snead and Hogan, neither of whom had as many majors as Hagen, there was nothing like the pressure of majors today. A major was especially nice to win, but it wasn't a life-changing event like it is today. "Most majors" wasn't the most important stat until around 1975, thanks largely to years of lobbying by Jack, the only man who played all four majors every year. Note that this comparison doesn't depend on the fact that there is a much larger talent pool today, or that athletes in every sport have gotten much better than they were 50 years ago. Even if the players of the Jack era were as good as the players today, from the best in the world to the 100th in the world, it's still an incontrovertible fact that it was rare for half of them to show up for any given major. Also note that the relative strength of the US versus the rest of the world doesn't matter. Today, the world golf rankings show a pretty even distribution of Americans and non-Americans in the world's top players. But suppose it was 90-10 in favor of Americans in the Jack era. That would make the US Open relatively stronger, but still nowhere near today's majors. It wouldn't help the Masters or PGA much, since there were still only about 50 Americans in their fields. And it would make the British Open even weaker. The bottom line is, the reputations of the "Big Three" were built on winning majors with fields no stronger, and sometimes much weaker, than a regular PGA event today. Jack was less dominant, for fewer years, over weaker fields, than Tiger.
  15. It that rough is as bad as it looks in the pictures, a missed fairway will mean a pitch-out. I'm glad Tiger seems to have found his driver swing.
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