Who is the greatest of all time?

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

First topic message reminder :

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?
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Post by mystiroakey on Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:59 am

Rors is just abit of a streaky golfer in all respects. His A game is the best out there at present(as long as we class tiger as the mark 2 tiger anyway) His putting isnt amazing week in week out anyway

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Post by McLaren on Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:23 am

Super

Please read my post again. What I clearly stated was that Rory, like tiger aged sub 30, has a swing only a young player can use. Rory will therefore have to change his swing over the years and face exactly the same risks as Tiger did in doing so.




Not since the pre war era and just after that have we seen the top players win a prolific amount of majors aged over 35;

majors won over 35

Palmer; 2
Jack; 5
Watson; 0
seve; 0
Tiger; 0


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Post by super_realist on Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:29 am

I don't agree Mac, mechanically Rory's swing is much more sound than Woods at that age.
As long as he stays injury free, and doesn't bulk up ridiculously like Woods or become fat like Lowry there's no reason he couldn't have that swing until he's at least 40.

40 isn't exactly geriatric and there's plenty of proper athletes who continue doing very well up until that age in sports that are much more demanding than the pedestrian sport of golf.



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Post by hend085 on Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:39 am

McLaren wrote:Super

Please read my post again. What I clearly stated was that Rory, like tiger aged sub 30, has a swing only a young player can use. Rory will therefore have to change his swing over the years and face exactly the same risks as Tiger did in doing so.




Not since the pre war era and just after that have we seen the top players win a prolific amount of majors aged over 35;

majors won over 35

Palmer; 2
Jack; 5
Watson; 0
seve; 0
Tiger; 0




Tiger is 36. its maybe a tad early to be putting him on this list

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Post by Diggers on Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:45 am

Rory has already changed his body shape in the past year big style. He was borderline podgy last year and certainly not remotely ripped, now he has the bulging biceps and the pecs.
I also think its the guys with the shorter, more compact swings that tend to hang around, Watson is maybe an example of that, Els another one.

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Post by incontinentia on Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:46 am

Agreed hend, Tiger almost won 3 majors this year, there's a few more on the way I bet.
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Post by super_realist on Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:49 am

incontinentia wrote:Agreed hend, Tiger almost won 3 majors this year, there's a few more on the way I bet.

Headscratch

What? T40 in The Masters,T21 in US Open,, T3 in Open and T11 in PGA is NOT nearly winning three majors.

Even fans of Poulter, who has done much better than that this year wouldn't say he's "nearly" won 3 majors this year.


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Post by Diggers on Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:52 am

Very true, Poulter doubled his majot top 10's this year, just shows what a god awful record he had in majors before. Truth be told on the back 9 of any major this year neither Poulter or Woods were in the reckoning to win.

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Post by incontinentia on Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:52 am

He wasn't that far away chap, in all except the Masters.
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Post by SmithersJones on Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:54 am

Come on S_R, even you've got to admit he would have won if they'd been 36 or 54 hole events. All it needed was some more rain Wink Same as Westwood nearly won all 4, just missed a couple of putts!
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Post by super_realist on Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:54 am

It's not exactly "almost won 3 majors" though is it.

Coming second isn't even nearly winning, I would say nearly winning would be missing a putt on the last for the victory, not coming outside the top 10 or 20.

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Post by mystiroakey on Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:03 pm

Adam scott nearly won a major..

Tiger has put him self out of them all rd 3. Mark 2 tiger is bigger bottler than lee westwood

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Post by Bob_the_Job on Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:04 pm

super_realist wrote:It's not exactly "almost won 3 majors" though is it.

Coming second isn't even nearly winning, I would say nearly winning would be missing a putt on the last for the victory, not coming outside the top 10 or 20.

Be fair S_R, he actually won all 4 majors this year if you ignore the pedantic, triffling fact of him taking far more shots than legions of guys ahead of him.
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Post by Diggers on Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:16 pm

mystiroakey wrote:Adam scott nearly won a major..

Tiger has put him self out of them all rd 3. Mark 2 tiger is bigger bottler than lee westwood

But nowhere near as big a bottler as Luke.

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Post by mystiroakey on Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:21 pm

Yeah luke does it on day 1!!!

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Post by navyblueshorts on Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:01 pm

super_realist wrote:I don't agree Mac, mechanically Rory's swing is much more sound than Woods at that age...
Watched McIlroy's hips in slo-mo recently? There's no way he'll be able to do that at such speed into his later career. Timing is a problem with hip action that fast - when he's on it, he's exceptional but when he's not.....
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Post by Doon the Water on Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:48 pm

Rory is like a young Tom Watson.
As they get older the swing stays the same but slows down, then the experience kicks in.

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Post by hend085 on Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:02 am

my point was that you cant use a 36 year old as an arguement for players>35 winning barely any majors!

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Post by mystiroakey on Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:12 am



best with no majors lee westwood
best with 1 major Fred Couples
2 majors, Greg norman
3 majors, vigay singh
4 majors, Ernie els
5 majors, seve ballesterous
6 majors, Nick Faldo
7 majors, Arnold Palmer
8 majors, Tom watson
9 majors, Gary Player


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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:19 pm

Doon: "Rory is like a young Tom Watson".

Couldn't agree more. Doubt if his career will have the same precipitous drop-off that Watson's had, but maybe it won't have the six or seven year really purple patch either.

Rory's future will be determined by his desire and his putter.

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Post by John Cregan on Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:41 pm

mystiroakey wrote:

best with no majors lee westwood
best with 1 major Fred Couples
2 majors, Greg norman
3 majors, vigay singh
4 majors, Ernie els
5 majors, seve ballesterous
6 majors, Nick Faldo
7 majors, Arnold Palmer
8 majors, Tom watson
9 majors, Gary Player


Cant really disagree except on the 4 Majors............Id go with Mickelson.

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Post by mystiroakey on Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:44 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:Doon: "Rory is like a young Tom Watson".

Couldn't agree more. Doubt if his career will have the same precipitous drop-off that Watson's had, but maybe it won't have the six or seven year really purple patch either.

Rory's future will be determined by his desire and his putter.

The american media want Folwer to be the new watson- offcoures the truth is he probally isnt good enough, whereas Rors is- however watson was the king of the links and rory isnt, yet folwer does have the links shots!


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Post by McLaren on Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:46 pm

hend

You have gone and done a super; missing the point and then going off on one about whatever misinterpretation you have conjured in your own mind.

“my point was that you cant use a 36 year old as an argument for players>35 winning barely any majors!”

I am sure many players over 35 win majors, the point was how many times the very best players of each generation achieved a major win when aged over 35.
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Post by mystiroakey on Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:06 pm

Mac what is your point anyway?

So you want to only consider a few golfers that havent won after there were 35 and you want to include seve and not faldo!! Faldo won 2 after he was 35!

Your point is mush lad

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Post by mystiroakey on Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:10 pm

norman also won one after he was 35- this is a golfer that was number one for yonks!!

I have no idea what you are on about..

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Post by mystiroakey on Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:11 pm

oh what about ernie els.. lol

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Post by incontinentia on Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:14 pm

McLaren wrote:I am sure many players over 35 win majors, the point was how many times the very best players of each generation achieved a major win when aged over 35.
I think hend's point was that you can't apply that to Woods, who is only 36.
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Post by mystiroakey on Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:18 pm

Incontentia- he is just talking rubbish mate, there is no point at all.

Its the most ridiculas list i have ever seen..

offcourse tiger shouldnt be on there- he could end up winning 5 as well as jack!, and if he inlcudes watson and seve, he has to include the likes of faldo, norman,singh and els..all have won a major after 35

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:25 pm

Majors over age 35?
Hogan won 8 - does he count?

The American media who think Rickie Fowler might be the next Watson should wait until Fowler has a Major on his CV first.
Maybe that expectation was written on pgatour.com by the same moron who yesterday praised Fowler's record in the 2010 Ryder Cup which "the US went on to win by one".

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Post by McLaren on Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:37 pm

Kwini

I discounted the older dead guys.

The point was that for whatever reason the very best in the game from Palmer onwards have tailed off in terms of major wins over 35.
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Post by mystiroakey on Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:46 pm

Mclaren are you actually being serious?

why did you include seve in your list but not faldo?

did it make this point better, even though there isnt a point at all..

I think its time to just admit its a badly put point.

Tiger is the only proflic major winner in this era, and he is only 36. therefore he could still win quite a few majors.

The greats before tiger would have to be considered els and singh(both won majors after 35) ,faldo who won 2 after 35,norman who won 1 after 35 and seve who didnt.. before them it was nicklaus who as you said he won 5 after 35, and watson who didnt.

Where is this trend you can see but no one else can?

The trend is that it is rightly harder for players to win multiple majors due to the competition and higher quality of fields.

Btw the other great that i forgot about is phil mickleson- also won majors after he was 35!!-

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Post by incontinentia on Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:42 pm

McLaren wrote:Kwini
The point was that for whatever reason the very best in the game from Palmer onwards have tailed off in terms of major wins over 35.

Many have posthulated that golfers peak in their mid-30's, but your analysis seems to have refuted this theory.

Harrington won 3 after 35 aswell, I'm sure there are others.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:47 pm

Mac is clearly correct, arithmetically, but surely that's not surprising given greater distractions, injuries, young pups coming through, etc, etc.?

In Woods's case you could say it's all three, and then some.

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Post by mystiroakey on Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:52 pm

He isnt clearly correct at all Kwini. Infact he couldnt be more wrong..

If he wants to only aply this rule to the best in an era- then he cant have seve or watson in there. and then we are left with palmer nickaus and woods. woods is only 36 so he could offcourse get more majors- so thats a pointless discussion at present!

However if he puts in golfers like seve and watson, he has to include els, singh, mickleson, faldo, norman etc as well- all have won majors past 35!

The reason why we had more multiple major winners, or older winners pre war is because it wasnt as competitive in those days, and goflers didnt have other avenues of work to get into. they just played golf and didnt earn that much out of it.

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Post by mystiroakey on Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:57 pm

And kwini there is no 'in woods case', the whole point of this- he is only 36, and cannot be put on this 'list'

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Post by McLaren on Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:08 pm

Mysti

Someone posted something asking how many majors rory could win/will he challenge jacks/tigers records.

I put forward the idea he had better win quite a few before he is 30 given his swing relies on the flexibility of youth (as someone pointed out above) and that historically those winning a lot of majors do it before 35. Probably for the reasons listed by kwini.

Because we are used to talking about Lee and Luke winning a major it is possible we have become used to the idea that they are of an age to win many majors. Of course there are some exceptions like vijay, norman and els but I am talking about the very best players in history not just the very good ones. So given the question was regarding where Rory could place himself within the history of the game it seems fair to talk about the all time greats if that is the level we are debating he can reach.
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Post by mystiroakey on Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:10 pm

why did you use seve and not faldo?

Do you really class seve up there with woods and Nicklaus, yand above faldo, norman, singh, els, mickleson.

You just didnt make the best list up thats all i was arguing. It was really hard to work out what you were trying to acheive with that list.

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Post by McLaren on Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:15 pm

If it makes you happy here is a Faldo line


Majors wins over 35;


Palmer; 2
Jack; 5
Watson; 0
seve; 0
Faldo 1
Tiger; 0
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Post by mystiroakey on Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:16 pm

faldo 2 isnt it,

now if you inlcude seve and faldo- you have to include els, mickleson, singh and norman

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Post by Shotrock on Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:18 pm

The thing about Tiger is that he's pretty much obliterated most of the records he faced. He's a golf freak. So, will he win 5 more majors? There's no telling in my book.

One thing is for sure. We are entering the Rory era. I suspect, when it's all said and done, we will be talking about his accomplishments in the same breath as Nicklaus and Woods.

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Post by Tinmar on Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:28 pm

I would say it has always been noticeable that those who were good enough to win Majors in their early 20's were unlikely to be still doing so past their mid 30's. There are odd exceptions and Nicklaus' major record from 1970-1980 inclusive has to be the most extraordinary in all of golf.

Some players are much later developers than others. Faldo was 30 when he won his first major. So even though he won one at 39, there is still only a 9 year gap between his first and his last. This is the same as as Seve had, he just did it at a younger age. My theory is just that every top golfer has a window during which they consistently challenge for majors. The younger they start, the earlier they finish. Els now has 18 years between his majors, which is amazing. Nicklaus had 24 although his final one was a bit out of the blue.

Tiger probably has about four years during which he might hope to consistently challenge in every major. After that, he could still win but I would expect his challenge to be more random. I bet there are probably one or two 23 year olds out there (who may not even yet be professional) who will be challenging for Majors more consistently than Rory when they all hit the 36-37 age barrier.

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Post by mystiroakey on Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:28 pm

I suppose another factor to consider here is why the 35 year cut off , when you started this debate of with mcilroy needing to get loads before he is 30 if he will challenge woods or nicklaus(by the way i actually agree with that anyway because they have so many)

All of faldos 6 majors came after he was 30..

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Post by McLaren on Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:29 pm

Mysti

You are a little slow, so I will give you the benefit of the doubt and not assume you are being an arse hole on purpose.

So here it is in the simplest form.

Question: can rory be as good as the best players ever?

I will class the best ever as my modern day legends of the game. These are the players that only come along once every ten years or so and are a class above their peers.

This players are;

Palmer
Nicklaus
Watson
Seve
Faldo
Tiger

In total they have won 58 majors, 8 of which came when they were over 35. That is 14 %.

So by the time he is 30 we should know where Rory is heading for legend status. As history does not suggest he will win many more after that, and potentially none after 35.
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Post by incontinentia on Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:30 pm

kwini/mac- there is no point including Woods in a discussion about players careers over 35 years of age, do you not see how silly that is?
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Post by mystiroakey on Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:33 pm

No mac- You are creating lists that dont make any sense. Just pointing it out..

You are still creating rubbish lists as well. How can tiger be in there when he is 36- what sort of data are you trying to realise here!! and you call me slow!


I agree that mcilroy needs to get alot of majors fast, its just your arguments are becoming ridiculas!!

so take tiger out- thats 14 gone.

add the extra faldo major that you have forgoten about and its 9 out of 44 anyway!!!

And even still its still a pretty pointless stat anyway..

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Post by incontinentia on Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:17 pm

I think they have conceded defeat mysti.
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Post by mystiroakey on Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:19 pm

I would hope so.

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Post by McLaren on Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:27 pm

Mysti

So if you do think some of the modern legends of the game won many majors over the age of 35 can you please provide examples? We are talking about players with at least 5 majors and many tour wins here.

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Post by mystiroakey on Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:30 pm

I am not sure what you are talking about. Your argument was based on the 30 year mark anyway.

then you picked and chosed players,and didnt base it on any specific stystem- you also included woods who is 36. now you are setting another arbitary figure of 5 majors..

What point is it you are trying to make with these figures you keep pulling out of the air.

If you really want to prove this theroy(which isnt actually far from the truth)- you need to learn not to manipulate data.. Use all majors wins in the modern era and what ages won them, do the same with historic wins. Work out if there is a relationship with wins and time at the top or are they sparidocally won through out a carrer. You cant just pick and choose a few players to force this argument upon others. Yes you may be correct but your data suggets you are too correct if you get my drift.

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Post by Doon the Water on Sat Aug 18, 2012 10:31 am

Mac I understand where you are coming from in your original post but that was in the days of steam liners and it took a week to cross the Atlantic.
If you wish to start a new list I would say that it should be from 1960 onwards in the days of airliners.
That was when Palmer re-invented the 'British Open'.

Prior to that I would say that you would have to bring in the News of the World match play event as this was the second biggest UK tournament.
The Western Open would also be regarded as a 'major' in those days.

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