Who is the greatest of all time?

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Who is the greatest of all time? - Page 6 Empty Who is the greatest of all time?

Post by McLaren on Tue 22 May 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 SetupDeterminesTheMotion on Mon 20 Aug 2012, 11:41 am

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


Best with no majors Lee Westwood..............you're having a laugh, must surely be Mrs Doubtfire himself....Big Col.
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Post by incontinentia on Mon 20 Aug 2012, 12:01 pm

Yeah Monty is better than LW in fairness
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Post by mystiroakey on Mon 20 Aug 2012, 12:37 pm

Errmm monty is a good shout- but LW1 for me!!

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Post by McLaren on Mon 20 Aug 2012, 12:47 pm

Doug sanders, Harry Cooper, Macdonald Smith?
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Post by John Cregan on Mon 20 Aug 2012, 12:49 pm

Christy O'Connor Snr maybe ??................

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Post by mystiroakey on Mon 20 Aug 2012, 12:54 pm

monty never got to number1, but then played mainly in europe

LW1 got to number 1 a couple of times and also didnt play much in the states(then)

So to get that ranking is very special!

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Post by SetupDeterminesTheMotion on Mon 20 Aug 2012, 12:55 pm

Monty's record far better than Lee. Based on European Order of merit

Monty 8 Lee 1

Simples.
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Post by mystiroakey on Mon 20 Aug 2012, 12:57 pm

ermm its debatable ..

LW is still at the top of the game and also has more wins than monts

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Post by mystiroakey on Mon 20 Aug 2012, 12:58 pm

sorry they have very even records- both about 40..

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