Who is the greatest of all time?

Page 1 of 6 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  Next

Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by McLaren on Tue May 22, 2012 12:28 pm

Would it be fair to say that the player who has won the most majors is the greatest of all time? Ok, so this is a very easy question to answer; and the greatest of all time with 19 major titles is……………………….. Walter Hagen.


In fact the top ten major winners of all time looks like this;


Walter Hagen 19 (major wins)
Jack Nicklaus 18
Ben Hogan 14
Tiger Woods 14
Sam Snead 12
Jim Barnes 9
Gary Player 9
Tom Watson 8
Willie Anderson 8
Gene Sarazen 8


So these guys are the ten best players to have ever placed a club in their hands.

I assume this is not the list of all time major winners most are used to, so I had better explain how this list came to be.

Firstly we all accept that the term “major” was never a fixed set of tournaments until well into the more established professional era of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. Before that time the US amateur and the British Amatuer were also considered the most prestigious tournaments in golf along with the US open and the open championship. Even the masters and PGA championship may not always have been considered majors in the way we think of them now.

One tournament, which probably trailblazed the concepts used for the masters, and was considered the most prestigious professional tournament outside the US open and open was the North and South open. It was staged on Pinehurst’s wonderful number 2 course, the finest of all the great Donald Ross’s courses.

It was first staged in 1902 and won by Alec Ross, the brother of Donald, and would continue in its more prestigious form until 1951. The comparisons with Augusta and the masters are many; from the dogwood, azaleas and wisteria growing in prime condition around the resort to the black tie dinners that were held during the event. Here was a single course tournament played in the south which was the favourite of many greats like Hogan and Snead. There is no doubt this was the premier pro golf tournament not hosted by a governing body.

Hagen, Hogan, Snead and Donald Ross all won the event 3 times, just to illustrate that this was an event being contested by, and won by, the games greatest of the time. Byron Nelson also managed a win but maybe it is worth considering that another great player of the era would never have competed in the Event. Bobby Jones remained an amateur player throughout his career so would have been unable to compete. This is not to say the event should be viewed as depleted by his absence but rather it shows the split nature of the game and what the notion of a major was. It is odd to think that the US and British amateur championships were considered majors despite the worlds best pro’s not taking part.

Today we consider a major to be the events with the greatest history and ones where we are guaranteed to see the best players in the world compete. Back in the early years of the pro game only the Open Championship would have had any real history so the majors would just have been the very best events on tour. If you were an American based player from 1910 to around 1950 the “major” pro events you could play would have been; The north and south open, the western open, the PGA championship, The US open, the Open and possibly the masters.

I think the story of the western open is well known and now hopefully after learning of the North and South open we can better acknowledge the achievements of players from another era. Any list of all time major wins surely has to include both the Western open and the North and south open when we better understand their context in the pro game of the time.

So the list I posted above includes wins in the Western and North and south open.

What really becomes clear is that even if you don’t agree that the North and South was a major we cannot rate players who played before 1950 using our present concept of the majors. The game was not the same and we need another way to rank these guys.

So there we have it, Jack is no longer the greatest ever and tiger has an even harder task to become the greatest ever. Maybe he should have had a Hagen poster on his wall instead?
McLaren
McLaren

Posts : 14418
Join date : 2011-01-27

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by incontinentia on Tue May 22, 2012 1:35 pm

Tiger Woods is the greatest of all time. More dominant than Jack in a more competitive era. Forget Walter Hagen and all the pre-1960 boys, the reason they won so much was the lack of competition. Also the level of competition in Jack's day wasn't what it is today. I reckon if Jack was around today he would have 7-8 Majors tops.

Tiger's 14 are worth more than Jack's 18 for that reason, and that's why he is the greatest of all time.
incontinentia
incontinentia

Posts : 3214
Join date : 2012-01-06
Location : Ireland

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by Shotrock on Tue May 22, 2012 1:50 pm

Agree incontinentia. Tiger Woods is the best golfer I've ever seen - although not the most accomplished yet.

Shotrock

Posts : 3473
Join date : 2011-05-10
Location : Philadelphia

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by Eyetoldyouso on Tue May 22, 2012 2:03 pm

I hate to get involved in something so subjective however I can't let incontinentia's post go without commenting.
When Jack was winning his majors he had to compete against Gary Player - 9 majors, Arnold Palmer - 7 majors, Lee Trevino - 6 majors, Tom Watson - 8 majors, Seve - 5 majors, Raymond Floyd - 4 majors, Irwin, Nelson etc
Who has Tiger competed against - Phil Mckelson - 4 majors, Ernie Else - 3 majors, Harrington - 3 majors, Retief Goosen 2 majors etc (Please don't mention Shaun Micheel, Rich Beem, Todd Hamilton etc)
Whilst I accept that the depth of field may be stronger in Tiger's era the cream was better in Jack's.
Even ignoring Jack's numerous runners up (19 I think), for me Jack Nicklaus is the greatest of all time.


Last edited by Eyetoldyouso on Tue May 22, 2012 2:05 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typos)

Eyetoldyouso

Posts : 654
Join date : 2011-01-28
Age : 65
Location : Manchester

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by Tiler76 on Tue May 22, 2012 2:07 pm

I think most would agree Tiger and Jack were/are the greatest of their day, whether you consider Tiger's day to have passed or not.

I think what makes all sportsmen great is the ability to adapt to their environment, to find the competitive edge, and the mental strength and will to win. For this reason, I think it is impossible to say what Jack would have achieved were he around now, because he would have adapted to the modern game. For example, I think it's reasonable to assume Jack would have hit the gym. He wouldn't have wanted to give his peers any competitive advantage.

As for competitiveness, I agree the strength in depth is much greater now, but Jack had greater rivals than Tiger would seem to have had (so far). Again, whether this is because the very top of the game now is weaker, or Tiger was just so much better (i.e. are Vijay/Phil equivalent to Arnie/Gary), is impossible to say. But fun to debate!! Eyetoldyouso - snap!

Tiler76

Posts : 173
Join date : 2011-05-15

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by Shotrock on Tue May 22, 2012 2:09 pm

Eye - A common argument around Jack's competition, and one that has some definite merit. But, Tiger's competition is not done yet.

At the end of the day, it's all just opinion anyway.

Shotrock

Posts : 3473
Join date : 2011-05-10
Location : Philadelphia

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by Tiler76 on Tue May 22, 2012 2:16 pm

SR - another good point. Also, I seem to recall someone posting ages ago that most of Tom Watson's majors fell outside of the period that Jack won. So arguably they overlapped eras rather than being directly competitive.

Such is the problem with a debate before careers are finished! I blame the person who stared it..... Whistle

Longetivity is another issue here. Jack won his majors over a greater period of time. Again, remains to be seen whether Tiger can do this.

For what little it's worth, I think Jack is currently the greatest, but I also think Tiger will overtake him before he retires.

Hang on, shouldn't this debate be Rory vs Rickie, not Tiger vs Jack????

Tiler76

Posts : 173
Join date : 2011-05-15

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by Faldono1fan on Tue May 22, 2012 2:18 pm

Not a Tiger fan, but his career isn't over yet. (some may argue that point). The time to compare is when he hangs his spikes up....unless he passes Jack before then. Anyway according to Gary Player you have to include senior majors, south african pga's & junior club championships as well... Very Happy

Faldono1fan

Posts : 358
Join date : 2011-05-27

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by McLaren on Tue May 22, 2012 3:04 pm

So who agrees that Hagan has won the most majors in history?
McLaren
McLaren

Posts : 14418
Join date : 2011-01-27

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by kwinigolfer on Tue May 22, 2012 3:32 pm

Is that a Hagen/Hogan hybrid?

Always Nicklaus for me, until and unless Tiger reaches 19.

kwinigolfer

Posts : 25814
Join date : 2011-05-18
Location : Vermont

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by McLaren on Tue May 22, 2012 3:39 pm

Kwini

How many majors would you credit Hagen (I really cant spell) with?
McLaren
McLaren

Posts : 14418
Join date : 2011-01-27

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by kwinigolfer on Tue May 22, 2012 3:47 pm

Mac,
I enjoy your argument/contention but I'm quite prepared to go with the conventional line up.

For all Hagen's inability to compete at Augusta while in his prime, his competition was certainly not as deep, or international in nature, and I reckon it all evens out.

PS: If just half of Hagen's extra-curricular activites are to be believed, perhaps it was Hagen's picture that Tiger had on his wall . . . . . . ?

kwinigolfer

Posts : 25814
Join date : 2011-05-18
Location : Vermont

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by GPB on Tue May 22, 2012 4:06 pm

So we got a couple of posters claiming that 14 (today) is better than 18 from yesteryear. and 72 wins > 73 wins

Where does that leave PMick's 4 majors then?

better than :

Seve's 5 majors?
Faldo's 6 majors?
Trevino's 6 majors?
Arnie's 7 majors?
Watson's 8 majors?
Players 9 majors?

Since 14 is the new 18 what happens 40 years from now when a player (now in diapers) wins 11 majors? is that going to be the new 14 of 2010?

100 years from now what will it take to surpass Nicklaus? 7 majors?

Sorry, I am not willing to tread on this slippery slope of thin ice.

Nicklaus, IMO, is the best.

IMO, Anyone that ranks Woods ahead of Nicklaus would have to rank Mickelson into the top 10 of all time. And I can think of 10-12 players easy that would be higher ranked than Mickelson. (not necessarily in order)

Nicklaus, Woods, Hogan, Jones, Hagen, Nelson, Snead, Palmer, Player, Trevino, Seve, Faldo, Watson

GPB

Posts : 6544
Join date : 2012-02-10
Location : Midwest, USA

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by Diggers on Tue May 22, 2012 4:34 pm

Im not sure that Id rank either Faldo or Seve higher than Mickleson personally. Im not sure I think they are better than Els or VJ either, pretty much all on a par for me.
Im not sure Faldo would have made number one for as long as he did, or even at all, if he had a peak Woods to contend with.

Diggers

Posts : 8681
Join date : 2011-01-27

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by McLaren on Tue May 22, 2012 4:48 pm

I am with GPB here, in that it is a very slippery slope to attach different weightin's to major wins in different era's. Based on pure field strength I have no doubt major's won in the last 15 years will be worth more but is that really the whole story of becoming a major champion?
McLaren
McLaren

Posts : 14418
Join date : 2011-01-27

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by Faldono1fan on Tue May 22, 2012 4:50 pm

Surely you could say that about anyone outside of Wood's era. Mickelson as good as Seve or Faldo? Not in a million years. Els might be close, but not VJ.

Faldono1fan

Posts : 358
Join date : 2011-05-27

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by John Cregan on Tue May 22, 2012 5:01 pm

Faldono1fan wrote:Surely you could say that about anyone outside of Wood's era. Mickelson as good as Seve or Faldo? Not in a million years. Els might be close, but not VJ.

I rate Phil Mick on a par with Seve & Faldo.............all those above Els/Singh IMO

John Cregan

Posts : 1833
Join date : 2011-03-24
Age : 45
Location : Limerick, Ireland

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by Diggers on Tue May 22, 2012 5:03 pm

VJ got to number one while Tiger was playing brilliantly. Won the Vardon Trophy in 2004, 34 PGA tour wins plus 13 European wins. Id rate him higher than Els who I think gets a lot of the sentimental vote personally, bit like Seve.
Also the point re Faldo, Seve and Norman is they didnt have a peak Woods or a peak Nicklaus. In fact the only real great was the tail end of Watsons career.
Their era was a bit like the scenario right now as far as Im concerned, lots of decent players but no truly great players as Woods would appear to be in decline.

Diggers

Posts : 8681
Join date : 2011-01-27

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by GPB on Tue May 22, 2012 5:11 pm

Anyone interested in a top 20 poll?

I would be willing to compile it if there is some interest. I got 14 nominees listed in my 10:06 post. (Nicklaus, Woods, Hogan, Jones, Hagen, Nelson, Snead, Palmer, Player, Trevino, Seve, Faldo, Watson, Mickelson)

Ok I got the easy ones, Who else would go in a list of 30-40 golfers to choose from?

GPB

Posts : 6544
Join date : 2012-02-10
Location : Midwest, USA

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by kwinigolfer on Tue May 22, 2012 5:20 pm

No opinion of those before the Hagen / Sarazen era but Gene Sarazen has to be there. Possibly ahead of one or two you listed.

I would also add Casper, Locke, Floyd and Thomson.


kwinigolfer

Posts : 25814
Join date : 2011-05-18
Location : Vermont

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by McLaren on Tue May 22, 2012 5:51 pm

GPB wrote:Anyone interested in a top 20 poll?

I would be willing to compile it if there is some interest. I got 14 nominees listed in my 10:06 post. (Nicklaus, Woods, Hogan, Jones, Hagen, Nelson, Snead, Palmer, Player, Trevino, Seve, Faldo, Watson, Mickelson)

Ok I got the easy ones, Who else would go in a list of 30-40 golfers to choose from?

Great Idea GPB

I will put forward;

Old Tom
young Tom
Jim Barnes
Vardon
Willie Anderson
Bobby Locke


Diggers

You are correct, Vijay is a miles better player than Ernie. I would be keen to know the average OWGR points for events won by Ernie and Vijay?

I suspect Ernie would be luck to have the equivalent (to allow for changes to system) of 30-35, while vijay would be around the 40 mark.
McLaren
McLaren

Posts : 14418
Join date : 2011-01-27

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by GPB on Tue May 22, 2012 5:56 pm

Yep, Kwini, Harry Vardon is the only player prior to Jones, Sarazen, Hagen era that I would consider in my top 20.

And even then he would be pretty far down the list, probably about #20.

GPB

Posts : 6544
Join date : 2012-02-10
Location : Midwest, USA

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by Faldono1fan on Tue May 22, 2012 6:18 pm

No sentimentality in my opinion. Els & Seve were better players than VJ IMO.

Faldono1fan

Posts : 358
Join date : 2011-05-27

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by Diggers on Tue May 22, 2012 6:35 pm

Fair enough, I'd just like to know by what criteria. As far as I'm concerned they are all good but Els did nothing that VJ didn't do, in fact less IMO.

Diggers

Posts : 8681
Join date : 2011-01-27

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by robopz on Tue May 22, 2012 7:04 pm

Before we anoint Jack to quickly... let's take a quick look at the quality of the fields Jack Nicklaus faced in his day, compared to the fields Tiger Woods has faced in his. It's not just a question of Jack facing a few players who performed closer to his level, it's a case of top players of his day that did not participate or were not even invited to contest ANY the majors Jack won.

Digest this possibility. Jack Nicklaus probably never once in his career faced more than 80% of the top-50 golfers in the world in any of his MAJOR winning efforts (or ANY tournament win for that matter). And in at least 1 of Jack's major wins he faced less than a quarter of the best 50 golfers in the world, less than 50% in another and less than 70% in another. Then throw in another roughly 8 major wins where Jack faced about 75% of the top-50... and again... there is probably NO single tournament win EVER, major or otherwise where Jack faced any more than 80% of the top-50 players in the world in a single event.

Now contrast that to the quality of depth Tiger has faced in his Major wins... and probably all but 2 or 3 of his WGC wins. Bottom line... IMO the debate of Jack vs Tiger is not some 18-14 margin of majors. It's far, far closer than that number would suggest.

I don't have time to dig out all the specifics right now... but I will if this thread continues. But here's one nugget to hold you over:

The 1986 Masters may have been the BEST field Jack ever faced in a winning effort, at least in terms of top World players being represented. IMO the only other possible exception might be the '78 Open Championship. The week of that '86 Masters... the first OWGR ranking was published. It supported what many believed at the time, probably 60% of the worlds best players were Americans, and 40% were from elsewhere in the world. IF that ranking is to be believed... then you'll find that only 80% percent of worlds top-50 players were invited to the Masters, and only 76% participated (38 out of 50). Missing top players were... #23 Sam Torrence, #24 Nick Faldo, #25 Kuramoto, #29 Graham Marsh, #32 Ian Woosnam, #34 Howard Clark, #37 Scott Hoch, #39 David Frost, #40 Gil Morgan, #40 Baker-Finch, #43 T Ozaki, #48 Canizarez.


Last edited by robopz on Tue May 22, 2012 7:14 pm; edited 2 times in total

robopz

Posts : 3259
Join date : 2012-04-23
Location : Texas

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by McLaren on Tue May 22, 2012 7:12 pm

Robo

That may be one of the best posts ever. I have always liked the concept of a player beating the field as a whole and your last post backs up my theory that Jack faced a weaker field than tiger. I was also unaware that they were not even the strongest possible fields.
McLaren
McLaren

Posts : 14418
Join date : 2011-01-27

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by Faldono1fan on Tue May 22, 2012 7:25 pm

Els won two US opens & an open. The two most difficult majors to win. His record in the world matchplay was second to none. He was constantly runner up to Tiger when he was at his absolute peak around 2000. I think he was more naturally giftedf as well.

Faldono1fan

Posts : 358
Join date : 2011-05-27

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by GPB on Tue May 22, 2012 7:29 pm

How about this list of 35 nominees who have won 3 or more of the modern professional majors (leaves out Norman, Miller) (in alphabetical order)

1 Armour
2 Ballesteros
3 Barnes
4 Boros
5 Braid
6 Casper
7 Demaret
8 Els
9 Faldo
10 Floyd
11 Guldhal
12 Hagen
13 Harrington
14 Hogan
15 Irwin
16 Jones
17 Locke
18 Mickelson
19 Middlecoff
20 Nelson
21 Nicklaus
22 Old Tom
23 Palmer
24 Player
25 Price
26 Sarazen
27 Singh
28 Snead
29 Stewart
30 Thompson
31 Trevino
32 Vardon
33 Watson
34 Woods
35 Young Tom

GPB

Posts : 6544
Join date : 2012-02-10
Location : Midwest, USA

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by Diggers on Tue May 22, 2012 7:35 pm

Faldono1fan wrote:Els won two US opens & an open. The two most difficult majors to win. His record in the world matchplay was second to none. He was constantly runner up to Tiger when he was at his absolute peak around 2000. I think he was more naturally giftedf as well.

I'm not why they are harder to win , the PGA probably has a stronger field. I'd still take VJ any day, the only guy who outplayed Woods over the course of a year when Woods was in his pomp.

Diggers

Posts : 8681
Join date : 2011-01-27

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by Faldono1fan on Tue May 22, 2012 7:51 pm

Fair enough, but I am looking at how good a player was over 10-20 years rather than 4 or 5. It was very impressive how he peaked after his 40th birthday though. The masters is clearly the easiest to win & the PGA is the least important IMO. You still have to win them, but I just feel the examination of the US Open & the Open tests your all round game a bit more.

Faldono1fan

Posts : 358
Join date : 2011-05-27

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by Hibbz on Tue May 22, 2012 7:54 pm

Faldono1fan wrote:Els won two US opens & an open. The two most difficult majors to win. His record in the world matchplay was second to none. He was constantly runner up to Tiger when he was at his absolute peak around 2000. I think he was more naturally giftedf as well.

I don't understand this. If they're the two most difficult majors to win then surely they are more difficult for everybody which isn't possible. If something is more difficult for someone else than you then surely it is easier for you than them?

It's like the old joke about Jeremy Beadles hand when you say is one hand smaller than the other or is one hand bigger than the other.........people always say one hand is smaller.

Hibbz
hibbz
hibbz

Posts : 2101
Join date : 2011-01-27
Location : Right here.

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by navyblueshorts on Tue May 22, 2012 8:36 pm

incontinentia wrote:Tiger Woods is the greatest of all time. More dominant than Jack in a more competitive era. Forget Walter Hagen and all the pre-1960 boys, the reason they won so much was the lack of competition. Also the level of competition in Jack's day wasn't what it is today. I reckon if Jack was around today he would have 7-8 Majors tops.

Tiger's 14 are worth more than Jack's 18 for that reason, and that's why he is the greatest of all time.
Let's not turn this into a TW love-in but suffice to say, I think that's a load of bollards; particularly the bit about the competition and TW's 14 being worth more than Jack's 18. Great golfer - sure. Better than Nicklaus? No, at least not over more than the odd season.

As for Hagen, I think he's worth a shout. Love a story I heard about him at The Masters once. Needing to hole his approach to 18 he walked all the way up to the green, asked for the flag to be removed and then lipped out with whatever full shot he hit in. Flash Harry for definite but unlike Poulter, was pretty much as good as he claimed to be.
navyblueshorts
navyblueshorts

Posts : 8458
Join date : 2011-01-27
Location : Off with the pixies...

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by super_realist on Tue May 22, 2012 9:18 pm

Can we please stop calling Woods by his adopted, yet ridiculous forename, even though he has been one of the games greatest (yet most loathsome) players. I can't even bring myself today it, its such an embarassing thing to say, let alone insist on being called.

It suggests he is something of a dynamic, interesting, fearful and intimidating person, however he isn't anymore. Can't we call him Shrew Woods, Cow Woods or Slow Worm Woods now.


super_realist

Posts : 23501
Join date : 2011-01-29
Location : Edinburgh

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by incontinentia on Tue May 22, 2012 9:28 pm

Robo that is very interesting, great post. Strange that top players in Jack's time wouldn't be
invited or show up. Why would that be?
incontinentia
incontinentia

Posts : 3214
Join date : 2012-01-06
Location : Ireland

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by McLaren on Tue May 22, 2012 9:32 pm

Navy

Are you willing to just ignore all the information that Robo posted about the strength of the fields in majors during Jacks time?


GPB

That list looks about right.
McLaren
McLaren

Posts : 14418
Join date : 2011-01-27

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by Shotrock on Tue May 22, 2012 9:58 pm

Robo - Thanks for that info. It's always been inconceivable to me that Jack faced competition as tough as Tiger's. And obviously no fault of Jack!

With the increased ease and convenience of air travel and the escalating $ at play, more worldwide talent obviously makes it to the majors now than in Jack's time.

Shotrock

Posts : 3473
Join date : 2011-05-10
Location : Philadelphia

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by GPB on Tue May 22, 2012 9:59 pm

Re 1986 Rankings:

The OWGR has gone through many revisions since the 1986 Beta Version.

It would be nearly impossible to back calculate the 1986 rankings according 2012 rules but I suspect that 2012 version would differ from Beta version significantly.

I won't mention the IMG agenda in the early years, (oops I just did), but there is a reason why the major governing bodies did not recognize the OWGR for a significant time period after they were first published.

GPB

Posts : 6544
Join date : 2012-02-10
Location : Midwest, USA

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by robopz on Tue May 22, 2012 11:13 pm

incontinentia wrote:Robo that is very interesting, great post. Strange that top players in Jack's time wouldn't be
invited or show up. Why would that be?

I can't say for sure, but from all I've read and seen in past field comparisons I would guess it was several things...

The Open Championship - For quite a while there the Open Championship was all but ignored by the U.S. Players. In fact it wasn't even re-classified as a PGA Tour win until 1986. Arnie was the one that brought attention to it once again when he won it in 1961. But it was still a little slow to pick up steam with his PGAT counterparts. The purse was one of the reasons. In 1961 Palmer earned approx $2,200 for his Open win, about 15% of what a U.S. Open paid. If a player from America went over and traveled in style... he probably couldn't even make expenses for the trip. And even pinching pennies, probably anything outside a top-3 or 4 and there was no way to make expenses.

That's probably why Jack's 1966 Open Championship win is almost certainly the weakest on his resume. The winners share was up to close to $6,000, but that was still a pittance compared to the U.S. Open at $26,500, PGA at $25K and PGA at $20K. Probably 65-70% of the best players in the world were Americans at that time, but only 9 of them played Muirfield that year. The Big 3 of Nicklaus, Palmer and Player were there... but beyond that... the field fell off dramatically. My guess is if there would have been an OWGR similar to today... it probably would have rated a strength of field somewhere between the PGA Tour's John Deere and the Byron Nelson Classics or a "30-something" event". By 1970, 24 American's attended, and by 1978 the Americans were up to 28. I'm guessing that the 78 Open Championship probably would have field strength rated somewhere similar to Quail Hollow a few weeks ago, but well below a Riviera, the first 3 FedEx playoff events, the European BMW Championship, or any one of the WGC's EVER played in the States.

Now coming the other way... the problem was access for the Internationals to the PGA Tour and the Majors. From all I've been able to tell the Masters was at least reasonably aggressive in making some invites, but it was still tough to get guys to come over. Peter Thompson (an Australian playing mainly in Europe) is a perfect example. He won 4 Open's in the 50's, another in the 60's but only played the Masters and U.S. Open sparingly and NEVER played in a PGA. He couldn't he wasn't a member of the PGA of America. And to play in the the U.S. Open he would have needed to come over and qualify as there was no International qualifying.

I went back one time and spot checked U.S. Open's in the 70's against Euro Tour Order of Merits from the prior and same year. Usually I would find only around 3 or 4 of the top-50 Euro Tour players in the U.S. Open fields... and MAYBE a like number from South Africa and Australia combined. Since the Euro Tour was so loosely organized in 60's it's tougher to tell who the best Europeans might have been, but suffice it to say... rarely would you find more than a very few in Masters, U.S. Open's or PGA's.

If we were to estimate that 70% of the best (top-50) players in the world were American's in the 60's, 65% in the 70's and 60% in the 80's, then to get a fair representation of top-international talent in the Americans based majors in those days, then we should have been seeing averages of around 15, 17-18 and 20 top internationals in majors in each respective decade. In the 60's it's probably not impossible, but from spot checking, I think it would be difficult to find half that number in any major, maybe a little easier to find half that number in the 70's, but it still wouldn't be a common occurrence.

My guess is that if there were an OWGR since the 60's that uses field strengths like the OWGR today... it would be unlikely to find a single major that Jack won that would surpass the field strength of any of the WGC's that have been played in the U.S. since the inception of the WGC series in 1999 ( and most of them would rate out less) And as I posted earlier... I doubt you would find one single major that Jack won that would have any more than 80% of the top-50 in the world participating.... many of them far, far less.

robopz

Posts : 3259
Join date : 2012-04-23
Location : Texas

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by navyblueshorts on Tue May 22, 2012 11:30 pm

McLaren wrote:Navy

Are you willing to just ignore all the information that Robo posted about the strength of the fields in majors during Jacks time?
Yes, actually, as it proves jack (pun unintended) all. This is a pointless argument/discussion. For me, until Woods overtakes Nicklaus' Majors record, it's a moot point as I'd rate Nicklaus as better.
navyblueshorts
navyblueshorts

Posts : 8458
Join date : 2011-01-27
Location : Off with the pixies...

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by robopz on Tue May 22, 2012 11:57 pm

GPB wrote:Re 1986 Rankings:

The OWGR has gone through many revisions since the 1986 Beta Version.

It would be nearly impossible to back calculate the 1986 rankings according 2012 rules but I suspect that 2012 version would differ from Beta version significantly.

I won't mention the IMG agenda in the early years, (oops I just did), but there is a reason why the major governing bodies did not recognize the OWGR for a significant time period after they were first published.

You make some good points, but you can't just dismiss the rankings of 1986 entirely. Yes methods have changed, and you and I have discussed many details of certain bias... but in general terms I believe they do accurately illustrate the broad concept that there were substantial numbers of international players who were among the best players in the world in 1986. And an analysis of the 1986 Masters field excluded a significant portion of that international strength. So while some of the specific names may change... the concept is still valid IMO.

Bottom line...

1. If we believe that Americans so dominated the top echelons of talent worldwide in the 60's and 70's that International talent was insignificant... then we need to totally discount the worthiness of Jack's 3 British Open wins as being significant victories. The reason... VERY few Americans participated in any of Jack's British Open wins. (9, 24 and 28)

2. But if we believe that there were a significant number of International players that were among the best in the world (pick your ratio)... then we have to somewhat discount the strength of Jack's wins in the three U.S. based majors because of the relative absence of international players.


Last edited by robopz on Wed May 23, 2012 12:12 am; edited 1 time in total

robopz

Posts : 3259
Join date : 2012-04-23
Location : Texas

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by kwinigolfer on Wed May 23, 2012 12:11 am

1986 might be the tipping point. From that time (approximately) on, Europeans (and hence elite players from other countries) started to gain access to US-based Majors, not least because of consecutive Ryder Cup wins from Europe.

But leading players still competed against Nicklaus, Aoki in 1980 of course, Seve and Shark in the early 80's plus, from time to time Faldo, Lyle and Langer.

I think robo's analysis is terrific but still feel that you can only be judged on what you win, not on hypotheticals. And Nicklaus won 18 Majors on the rules available to him. I certainly won't diminish Seve's five Majors or Watson's eight and feel both accomplishments place them in history above Phil (who I happen to rate extremely highly!).

kwinigolfer

Posts : 25814
Join date : 2011-05-18
Location : Vermont

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by incontinentia on Wed May 23, 2012 12:48 am

[quote="navyblueshorts"]
McLaren wrote:
Yes, actually, as it proves jack (pun unintended) all. This is a pointless argument/discussion. For me, until Woods overtakes Nicklaus' Majors record, it's a moot point as I'd rate Nicklaus as better.

Thats a very simplistic viewpoint navy, also you must find the strength of the fields that each player faced as relevent?

The last 20 years or so has been the hardest time in golf history to win multiple majors, which make Tigers achievements all the more impressive.
incontinentia
incontinentia

Posts : 3214
Join date : 2012-01-06
Location : Ireland

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by Shotrock on Wed May 23, 2012 12:50 am

Strength of field in context of wins is important ... otherwise one might be tempted to declare the fist golfer that ever won the first golf match the best ever. No practice, but champion golfer of the world. Possible, but highly doubtful.

No one can state Jack isn't the most accomplished professional, but is he the best ever? And how would he, in his prime, have competed against Tiger in his prime? Fun conjecture but impossible to answer.

Shotrock

Posts : 3473
Join date : 2011-05-10
Location : Philadelphia

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by robopz on Wed May 23, 2012 1:21 am

kwinigolfer wrote:...but still feel that you can only be judged on what you win, not on hypotheticals. And Nicklaus won 18 Majors on the rules available to him.

And that is where you and I disagree... First of all because you can't compare apples to apples across era's... especially using majors.

First... Players in different era's played in an unequal number of majors... Old and Young Tom had 1 a year to choose from. How do we view the Hogan Slam considering Ben couldn't have played in both the PGA and British if he wanted to?

Second... Different events were considered majors in their day... For many years up until the early 60's the VAST majority of American's didn't consider the Open Championship enough of a major to bother attending, but events like the Western or North-South were. The Hagen argument made earlier has merit.

Third... Relative strength of fields has to be considered. Take for example most would probably opine that Morris, Morris and Park were the best players of their era... and some even have one or two of them in their top-20 of all time. But we have to read the history of golf to understand where golf was in their day to put all their Open wins in perspective. Those guys played in an era when it was a pool of relatively few club pro's contesting a championship. In the 8 Morris/Morris wins neither faced a field of more than 16 other players. How can we possibly judge if any one of the three were in any way comparable to a Jack, Tiger or Hogan... or heck... even a Jeff Maggert for that matter. It's almost certain... that in relative terms... the annual Lake Nona Club Championship pulls from a broader and deeper talent pool than probably the first dozen or so early Opens. (but that's not to say the Morris' and Park's aren't IMPORTANT to the history of golf... )

Granted... The fundamental change in golf between Jack and Tiger was NOTHING like it was between Morris to Jack, but still the Jack and Tiger era is 35 years apart... And Tiger's majors is not your daddy's majors. For instance, how can we possibly hold up Jack's '66 British Open win (with 9 American's in the field) up against any of Tiger's Opens? We can't.

And why should a Jack/Tiger comparison be ONLY about majors? Like I opined earlier... I think 18-14 is an easy trap to fall into (a BEAR trap actually and even Tiger got snared in it, despite the moving target of what Jack chose to call majors over the years) IMO the difference between Jack's and Tiger's era is that the BEST 50 or more in the world were NEVER brought together in a single event in Jack's era.... not once... not EVER. But Tiger faces around 7 such fields a year (perhaps minus an injured player or two) and has prevailed at least 27 times in those events (14 majors plus at least 13 out of his 16 WGC's) Did Jack win 16 other events in his career that are equivalent to Tiger's 16 WGC's?

just sayin....


Last edited by robopz on Wed May 23, 2012 1:39 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : clarity)

robopz

Posts : 3259
Join date : 2012-04-23
Location : Texas

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by GPB on Wed May 23, 2012 1:46 am

Robo: It is not like Nicklaus was beating only the players on Eastern Side of the Atlantic. He was winning championships against all comers. He wasn't someone like Peter Thomson who only won the O.C. and one other PGAT event. (not that he played that often.)

At the O.C. , From 1963-1980 (19 years) Jack Nicklaus was only beaten by 67 players total, and average finish of between 4th and 5th. and 31 of those players happened in the first year he played. Take out that first year, and he averaged 3rd place for 18 years (with a 12th place finish in 1965).

You can only beat the guys that play.

I can't help but think how good Nicklaus would have been with:

computer analysis on launch rates, matching club heads with ball technology. Graphite and titanium shafts.
Balls that do not go out of round after one hit
Gigantic Metal headed drivers
Irons that don't look like butter knives
Sharp grooves
Pristine conditions with modern agronomy and lawn mower technology.

yes, technology would have helped everyone in Jack's generation. But I think technology helps the better more than the average player.

and my evidence.

Would you want to get into a putting competition with Luke Donald:

On a pristine green with no blemishes?
Or on a green with spikes marks, fungus, bumps, pitch marks and other inconsistencies?

Take away the luck factor, and I would have no chance against Luke Donald.

GPB

Posts : 6544
Join date : 2012-02-10
Location : Midwest, USA

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by robopz on Wed May 23, 2012 1:56 am

GPB wrote:How about this list of 35 nominees who have won 3 or more of the modern professional majors (leaves out Norman, Miller) (in alphabetical order)

Considering some of the names on your list... IMO you have to have Norman and Miller on the list. If Majors are the only consideration, then no poll necessary... well just list them all from 18 (or 19 :-) and on down.

robopz

Posts : 3259
Join date : 2012-04-23
Location : Texas

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by kwinigolfer on Wed May 23, 2012 2:15 am

robo,
Yes, well, I disqualified myself from judging the era before Sarazen.

But the more important thing contextually to me is that in Nicklaus's time the top fifty weren't even identified, except in as much as the R&A were able to corral some "International" players. And I certainly don't diminish the achievements of Locke and Thomson, or Watson, in the Open Championship just because a load of guys chose to stay at home.

I admire your analysis, but don't fully agree with your interpretation of it.

Tiger's record is extraordinary, but so is that of Nicklaus.




kwinigolfer

Posts : 25814
Join date : 2011-05-18
Location : Vermont

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by robopz on Wed May 23, 2012 2:17 am

GPB wrote:yes, technology would have helped everyone in Jack's generation. But I think technology helps the better more than the average player.

Geo... I'm not dissing Jack's record... but IMO just saying 18-14 case closed, is too simplistic an approach to comparing Jack and Tiger's careers.

Sheesh... and I really, really, really don't want to sound like "you know who" here and start reciting the litany of Tiger accomplishments. :-)


But as for the technology question... I'm not sure I can agree. I've never studied the matter myself, but the conventional wisdom I've heard suggests technology brings the players closer together, not the other way around. The theory being based on mis-hits were penalized much more severely before all this perimeter weighting and ball spin technology. Thus the "poor shot" That used to go into the trees is now in the rough... the ball that used to go in the deep rough is now in the first rough cut or edge of fairway.... the ball that used to miss the green entirely, is now on the edge... etc... etc..

But I CERTAINLY agree that Jack would be a GREAT, GREAT player today. I have no doubt that he would have taken maximum advantage with this new equipment, and as strong as he already was... might have been just incredible with the advances in training, diet, flexibility. But where I think Jack might lose some edge is due to the fact that IMO he was the best in his era in understanding and applying the science of controlling the ball through spin and trajectory... But with today's launch angle and spin measurement devices... maxing of shafts to heads, to weight, to loft, to lie... more players have that benefit of that knowledge and know how to practice to produce the variables.

robopz

Posts : 3259
Join date : 2012-04-23
Location : Texas

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by robopz on Wed May 23, 2012 2:34 am

kwinigolfer wrote:
But the more important thing contextually to me is that in Nicklaus's time the top fifty weren't even identified, except in as much as the R&A were able to corral some "International" players. And I certainly don't diminish the achievements of Locke and Thomson, or Watson, in the Open Championship just because a load of guys chose to stay at home.

OH I understand where you are coming from... There is lots of merit to the concept... "you can only play the competition put before you", and Jack (nor any of the other guys you mention) never ducked anybody as far as I can tell.

And I have little doubt that had the world of golf thought it important to bring the worlds best together in Jack's era... they would have figured out how to get it done much earlier than the early 90's when the concept became more en vogue. And I've never suggested to dis any major or major winner. Instead the information I've provided is simply to add perspective in how we view major championship wins. They are NOT all equal...

So in that vein... I'm not suggesting that Jack's '66 Open shouldn't be counted, it's not HIS fault that field was so severely diluted... nor is it his fault that ALL his major win fields were diluted compared to fields of the last couple of decades. It's just fact and it's reasonable to consider when comparing players accomplishments.

EDIT: One other thing... Yes I know it probably sounds like I'm pimping Tiger over Jack bigtime... but that's not the case... What I'm suggesting is that IMO the margin between them is RAZOR thin... and nowhere near the margin that a simple comparison of 14-18 majors would suggest. I guess I don't have much history here... so you don't know me that well... but to me, yes numbers are important... but INSIDE the numbers is even more important. I have Ben Hogan right there with Jack and Tiger. Most of the time you'd probably catch me favoring Tiger as best ever... but I admit it... I WAFFLE on the issue... I have my Jack and Hogan days/weeks/months as well :-)

robopz

Posts : 3259
Join date : 2012-04-23
Location : Texas

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by GPB on Wed May 23, 2012 3:31 am

Robo:

What happens 40 years from now currently in diapers, someone emerges to dominate golf and wins 11 majors. 2052 when China and Russia and Eastern Europe have developed World Class players with a population base of 3 billion people to draw from?

We are talking about a new population of golfer that are not really in the today's equation and especially in the equation of 1996-2009

since right now, people are claiming that todays 14 is equivalent to yesterday's 18. By extrapolation in 2052, tomorrow's 11 is equivalent to today's 14.

As I said before, I am not willing to tread on this slippery slope of thin ice.

I have won 3 club Championships at my old course in the 1990's and 2000's. I am very good friends (poker buddy, gin rummy buddy) with an old phart who won 5 Club Championship back in the 70's. I don't even think about valuing my 3 over his 5, even though his was won when the club had a ~125 member and a nine hole course while mine was with ~300 members on a 18 hole course.

GPB

Posts : 6544
Join date : 2012-02-10
Location : Midwest, USA

Back to top Go down

Who is the greatest of all time? Empty Re: Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Page 1 of 6 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  Next

Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum