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brocks

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Everything posted by brocks

  1. The cut was at 149, top 70 and ties. 76 players made it, including 56-year-old Sam Snead. Jack shot 71-79 to just miss. Here is a media guide (PDF) that has the full results of PGA Championships from 1916 through 2011. If anyone knows of a more recent version, please post a link. http://images.pgalinks.com/vmc/pressReleases/MG_2012_PGAChamp.pdf
  2. To be scrupulously fair, the PGA Championship that Jack is talking about (1968) was not one of his wins. In fact, he missed the cut against that stellar field. It was won by Julius Boros, then 48 years old, and hardly ever mistaken for Brooks Koepka. Boros had a long career, finishing 7th in the US Open as late as 1973, 21 years after his first of two wins in that event. But like most top US pros of that era, he didn't consider the British Open worth the time and expense to play. He played in majors over a 30-year span, but played the Open only once. Another piece of data indicating that the majors of the 60's, with the possible exception of the US Open, were weaker than most of Tiger's regular tour wins.
  3. That's like saying young people never heard the Beatles. Highlight reels of Jack are very frequently shown on TV, and are widely available on YouTube. The only broadcaster conspiracy is to show as much of Tiger as they can, because Tiger = ratings. What I am trying to get through to you is that every player hits bad shots in almost every round, but we rarely see them, while we see almost all of Tiger's bad shots. And a lot of old people compare how often they see Tiger hit a bad shot with how often they saw Jack hit a bad shot, and conclude that Jack was better than Tiger. They don't realize that the broadcasters in the 60's were, in effect, cherry-picking Jack's shots. Not as a pro-Jack conspiracy, but out of necessity, because they only had time to cover the contenders.
  4. You have it backwards. It's old people who really don't have a sense of how good Jack was. I know, because I'm old. Jack was my favorite player for over 30 years, from the time he won the Masters by nine in 1965 to the time Tiger won the Masters by 12 in 1997. So I watched every event he played that was on TV, and attended half a dozen or so. Unless you were a touring pro, a touring caddie, or a PGA groupie, I assume that you also depended on TV to see him. And the thing is, there was nothing like the coverage there is today. There was zero coverage of play on Thursday and Friday, and usually only two hours on Saturday and Sunday, showing only the leaders on the final nine. Which means that if you saw Jack, he was in contention. You never saw him miss a cut, because that happened before Saturday. You never saw him when he had a bad weekend, because he was done by the time coverage started. The only time you saw a lot of him was when he was either winning or in contention down the stretch. It's no wonder old people think he never missed a crucial shot or putt. On the other hand, thanks to the Golf Channel showing as much of Tiger as they possibly could almost from the day they went on the air, we've seen more of Tiger's Thursday and Friday rounds than we ever saw of Jack's weekend rounds. And with Tiger greatly increasing the popularity and ratings of TV golf, we also got expanded coverage from the networks. We see Tiger whether he's playing well or not. On Thursday and Friday, if Tiger's round is in the TV window, we typically see every shot he hits, even if he's playing horribly. Really, I sometimes wonder why Tiger is so popular with young people, because it often seems like he's the worst player out there, even when he's playing fairly well. Here's how a typical broadcast goes when Tiger's playing OK, but not great: They show the leader hit a great drive down the middle. He hasn't won in two years, he has rarely been seen on TV in the last two years, but this week he's hot, and he is hitting great shots. Same for the guys in second and third. Then they cut to Tiger, and he hits one into the junk. Then they cut to some guy out of contention, but who holes one from the fairway. Then they cut to another guy out of contention who makes a 30 foot breaking putt. Then they cut back to the leader who hits a great approach. Then they cut back to Tiger who hits into a bunker. Then they cut to another also-ran who hits his tee shot to within a couple of feet on a par-3. Then they cut back to the leader who sinks his birdie putt. Then they cut back to Tiger whose bunker shot is just OK. Then they cut to one of the contenders sinking a birdie putt. Then they cut back to Tiger missing his par putt. And so on. This may be exaggerated, but not much. Somebody watching golf for the first time would think that Tiger is the worst player on the course. It seems like everybody is hitting great shots except for him. How many times did you hear even the announcers, who should be used to it, say something along the lines of "The way he was playing, it looked like he was shooting a 75," when Tiger shoots a 70? We see all of Tiger's bad shots. We rarely saw Jack hit a bad shot, because he did it off camera. So no, old people don't know how good Jack was. They think he never missed a shot. But he must have, because he won less often than Tiger.
  5. Nobody is disputing that. Nobody here has claimed that they know that Tiger could beat Jack head to head; they agree that is opinion. But it's not opinion that there were no US touring pros in the 1959 Open --- that is a fact. And it is not opinion that the absence of half or more of the world's best players makes a field weaker --- that is also a fact. It is not provable that the presence of the 50 top American players in 1959 would have kept Player from winning, but it is a fact that they would have made the field stronger. That means it was harder to win majors in the Tiger era than in the Jack era. How much harder? I don't know. I think it was enough harder to make 15 > 18. You are welcome to disagree. I agree it's not provable. So if you want to say that the increase in field strength was not enough to make 15 > 18, I can't prove you're wrong. But if you want to say that the fields in the Tiger era weren't any stronger, or even that they were weaker, I think that's just bonkers.
  6. Looking just at winners in this century, Ben Curtis was ranked 396th when he won the Open in 2003, right after Micheel won the PGA while ranked #169. The very next year, Todd Hamilton won the Open, ranked 56th. In 2009, Stewart Cink #30 barely beat Tom Watson #1374. There have been three other major champions in the last ten years who were ranked outside the top 100. Any PGA touring pro today is good enough to win a major if he plays his best. The difference between the superstars and the journeymen today is not so much how low they can go with their A game, but how well they can score with their B or C game, and how consistently they can bring their A or B game. Any touring pro in a major field on the strength of his recent play has a chance to win.
  7. Mea Culpa. The 1872 field was so small that when I scrolled down to see his score, it scrolled to the previous Open, 1870 (there was no Open in 1871), where he did win by 12. Thank you so much for that. I now see how hopeless this is, and I won't waste any more time on it. But I wonder how you view the US Opens and PGA's of the 60's and 70's, with only a handful of non-Americans? And in other news, the last Sumo tournament I saw was very weak --- too many Japanese contestants.
  8. I'm going to "speculate" that you grew up thinking Jack was the GOAT (as I did), and that belief makes it hard for you to concede that his competition was weaker than Tiger's. So let's leave Jack out of it, and look at Young Tom. He won the 1872 Open by 12 shots, while Tiger's best margin of victory in the Open is only 8 shots. If all you look at is the MOV, then Young Tom was better than Tiger. And I agree that it is speculation to say that Tiger could beat Young Tom under equitable conditions, although that's the way I would bet. But would you agree that it is not mere speculation to say that Tiger beat a stronger field? There were only 8 players in the field in 1872. Two were amateurs, and the other six would be considered club pros today. All were from Scotland or England. Can you really not see that although we can't 100% prove that the field of 140+ touring pros (156 total) from all over the world that Tiger beat in 2000 was stronger than the 7 local pros and ams that Young Tom beat in 1872, it's not mere speculation to say that it was? If you really can't see that, then you are beyond reason. If you can see that, then it's not much of a leap to say the the field of 90 in the 1959 Open containing zero US touring pros (there were three Americans in the field, but none were touring pros, and the low American was an amateur who missed the cut by three shots), where Gary Player won his first major, was also weaker than the field in 2000. And there were less than a dozen US touring pros in the Open all through the 60's, when the "Big Three" took turns winning Claret Jugs. So no, we can't 100% prove which field was stronger. But for cases like the above, we can be about 99% sure, and very confident all the way up to 1980 or so, even if we completely disregard the improvement in athletes over time. To dismiss such obvious facts as mere speculation is ludicrous.
  9. Actually it was more like two thirds club pros: https://www.si.com/vault/1968/09/16/614249/rebuttal-to-a-searing-attack "There were only 56 touring pros in the starting field of 168 players at San Antonio. One day a writer asked me about this ratio, and I said, "It's absurd and unfortunate." Only a third of the players at the PGA were regular tour competitors—or, in other words, the best players in the world. The PGA's antiquated qualifying system prevented top players such as Bob Murphy, Lee Elder and Deane Beman from playing at San Antonio. " --- Jack Nicklaus And of all the British or European Order of Merit winners from 1955 through 1975, all but one of them never played in either the US Open or PGA in their entire lives. The one exception, Peter Oosterhuis, never did it before 1975.
  10. Not the same, since Hagen won 4 in a row.
  11. At the Masters, Koepka was in the penultimate group, and missed a makeable birdie putt to allow Woods to make bogey to win. Now in the US Open, exactly the same thing happens, only it's Woodland instead of Woods.
  12. I agree, it's too easy this week. Tiger is having a terrible week, and he's still 2 over. When he won in 2000, the players tied for second were 3 over.
  13. Seems like a sunny day would make it especially tough for the late groups, because the poa will sprout more.
  14. Rory looked amazing on the range yesterday. They were using the shot tracer on TGC, and first they showed Tiger hitting his fairway wood and driver. They left the traces up so you could see the paths of several shots at once. Tiger's shots were within a few yards of each other, and I thought that was pretty impressive. Then they showed Rory, and he hit three or four shots where the traces looked like one shot. It reminded me of the Robin Hood movies where he shoots a bullseye with his first shot, and then splits the first arrow with his second shot.
  15. No doubt about it. Trevino had a lower rate of top tens than Ernie or Phil. But he was a fortunate choice for you, because he's the only one of the players you named of whom that is true. Here is the percentage of top tens in majors of the players you named, plus players in the Hall of Fame who were born after 1955, i.e., who hit their primes about the time majors started to have most of the world's best players in the field. In all but two cases, I started counting with the first major in which they had a top ten, and stopped with the last major in the year of their 40th birthday. The two exceptions were Vijay and O'Meara, who both had career years after age 40, so it didn't seem fair to stop there. I stopped at age 41 for O'Meara, and 42 for Vijay. Your examples: Trevino: 14/42 33.3% Casper: 20/42 48.6% Player: 38/69 55.1% Watson: 36/62 58.1% Palmer: 31/49 63.3% Every Hall of Famer born 1955 or later: Phil: 31/67 46.3% Vijay: 22/48 45.8% (thru age 42) Els: 30/68 44.1% DLIII: 17/40 42.5% Norman: 24/59 40.7% Faldo: 23/61 37.7% Couples: 21/60 35.0% Stewart: 6/49 32.7% Goosen: 14/48 29.2% Seve: 20/74 27.0% Price: 13/56 23.2% Olazábal: 15/65 23.1% Strange: 12/55 21.8% O'Meara: 10/56 17.9% (thru age 41) Lyle: 4/45 8.9% So, if my aging eyes and brain copied the data correctly, four out of five of your examples had higher top ten percentages than all 15 HOFers who began their careers in the modern era. I don't claim that proves anything, but it sure doesn't help your case. That is insulting and false. It's not like we used an offhand remark Jack made, and it's not like we took it out of context. The context was a book that he wrote in his retirement, when he had plenty of time to consider what he was saying, and no doubt it went through several drafts and editing revisions before it was published, so it said exactly what he thought at the time. The context was also that it summarized several paragraphs of reasoning about the depth of fields in 1996 compared to his day. Jack is of course entitled to change his mind, but I agree with @iacas and @turtleback that it's strange how his assessment of field strength seems to be inversely proportional to the threat to his record that Tiger poses --- no threat in 1996, big threat in the early 2000's, and seemingly no threat again after 2010. Personally, I would rather play against all five of your guys than Rory and Koepka alone. Throw in DJ, YJS, JT, etc. and there's just no comparison. Somewhere back in this thread is a copy of an article I wrote several years ago, that documents in Jack's own words his shifting standards for GOAT from the late 50's to the early 70's, from the Amateur Grand Slam, to most PGA wins, to Hogan's three majors in a year, and finally settling on most career majors when that seemed the most achievable for him. And I don't begrudge him any of that; as I said, he's entitled to change his mind. What made me lose respect for him was when he said that majors were "the only fair way" to compare golfers of different eras, because at that time, his only competition for GOAT were players who had far fewer majors to play. In particular, Walter Hagen hit his prime before the PGA was founded, was past his prime before the Masters was founded, had to commit to a month-long ship voyage to play the Open, and had several years of majors cancelled for WWI. In spite of all that, he won 11 pro majors, a record that stood for over 40 years, but was never acknowledged as the GOAT during those years, and is rarely even in the top five today. It's just a fact that any of the stroke play WGCs Tiger won had stronger fields than any of the majors played before 1970, and probably 1980. Yet as you pointed out yourself, Tiger has never wavered from his goal of 18 majors. Never even hinted that his WGCs should be included in the mix, although it would be just as fair as comparing Jack's major total to Hagen's. I would expect my mom to just look at one number, like major wins, because she doesn't know anything about golf. I truly don't understand how anyone who considers himself a golf fan would be satisfied with that analysis.
  16. brocks

    U.S. Open Epics

    I never get tired of watching that back nine on Saturday, where he made the two incredible eagle putts, plus the chip-in on 17.
  17. He got that from the helpful tape I sent him:
  18. Yes, Jack's financial situation is yet another reason that "most majors" is biased toward Jack. He was guaranteed so much money from endorsements (McCormack guaranteed him $100K his first year, even if he didn't win a nickel in prize money) that he was able to pick and choose which events he played, build his schedule around the majors, and scout and practice at the major venues weeks in advance. He also had his own plane to get from place to place. It gave him a tremendous advantage over 99% of his competition, who didn't have those luxuries. Today, almost all the top players do all of those things, so a player like Tiger has no advantage over them.
  19. They could pair him with Robert Mueller.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. When Brooks Koepka was born, he drove his mom home from the hospital.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
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