Who is the 'Greatest Of All Time'?
By mustang6560 on 9/14/12
According to Brandel Chamblee, it's not Tiger Woods.
To identify the best player over a career, however, you must consider a player's longevity and the competition that he faced. Here, Nicklaus takes a bigger lead than Secretariat's on the home stretch at Belmont. At various points, Jack faced Hogan, Snead, Palmer, Gary Player, Billy Casper, Lee Trevino, Ray Floyd, Tom Watson, Hale Irwin, Johnny Miller, Seve Ballesteros and Greg Norman. Collectively, this group won 65 majors and 447 PGA Tour titles. Jack's competition was the greatest any player has ever faced. In his record 19 runner-up finishes in the majors, Nicklaus was edged four times by both Watson and Trevino, twice by Palmer, and once by Player, Miller, and Ballesteros.

Conversely, Woods has just six runner-up finishes in the majors, and he has never finished second in a major to Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson or Padraig Harrington, the players who've shined the brightest in the Tiger era. Yes, Tiger has won 14 majors, but in golf winning is neither everything nor the only thing. If you finish second in football, you've lost; in golf, you've beaten 150 other players. So while Jack is only four majors ahead of Tiger, he's 13 runner-up finishes ahead—against much stiffer rivals. A player can only beat the competition he plays against, but that doesn't change the fact that Jack dueled legends. Tiger dueled Bob May.
As usual, Brandel's opinion is logical. If you factor in the number of second place finishes in the GOAT conversation, then Jack clearly leads Tiger. However, I think the GOAT discussion is as much emotional as it is logical. My generation is more emotionally linked to Tiger because we grew up watching him play golf (just like my Dad's generation watched Jack Nicklaus). So, when we grow up and long for the "Good Ole Days", we'll tell our kids about the time we watched Tiger (just like my Dad does about Jack).

If Tiger fails to break Jack's record of 18 major championships, then it will be tough to make the case that Tiger is the GOAT. But, if Tiger does pass Jack, then it will be nearly impossible to not to say that Tiger is the GOAT.

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Image via Flickr, Ed


[ comments ]
legitimatebeef says:
Let's just say that Nicklaus and Tiger are the two greatest players of the modern era. This topic is seriously played out. "JACK NICKLAUS WON 18 MAJORS TIGER WON 14" Enough already. If either of those two numbers change, then maybe talk about it if you want. Right now, seriously, it's way more interesting to discuss whether Nathan is going to break 80. Will it happen sooner or later? Can it be done in 2012? These are the questions I'm way more interested in. This is the stuff that matters.

These golf pundits, screw em, they are so boring at what they do, they have no clue about how to talk up the game in a lively interesting relevant way. They pound you over the head with the same tired crap week in week out. All you need to do is venture a little bit off the mainstream track and you see there are plenty of interesting golf questions to discuss, why keep bringing up the same lame Joe Schmoe topics.
9/14/12
 
mjaber says:
How about we wait until his career is over before we start comparing him to someone who's career is over?
9/14/12
 
bkuehn1952 says:
I agree with both legit and mjaber.

On the subject of Mr. Trifone breaking 80, I think it will happen this autumn. He has flirted with that magic number for the past couple years, posting "81" several times, quite often after the summer is over. Perhaps the cooler temperatures and changing course conditions favor his game.

Of course, once he smashes that barrier there will be the inevitable comparisons with past great oobers. Commentators will point out his age when he broke "80", the number of times he is projected to play over the next 30 years, etc ... Soon there will be heated discussions about his potential to be the GOOAT. I am getting dizzy just thinking about it.
9/14/12
 
legitimatebeef says:
That's optimistic Brian. He's gonna have to shore up the ballstriking if he hopes to get it done this year. GIR's have been pretty stagnant as of late. Anyways I think he has a long way to go before being in the GOOAT discussion, even if he does break 80 in the next few months.
9/14/12
 
Backquak says:
I totally agree, breaking 80 is way more important, I made a goal to break 80 before I turned 30, which didn't happen, maybe because I didn't get to play enough, maybe I put to much pressure on myself, but 2 months after my 30th birthday on my 7th wedding anniversary with my bride as my playing partner I shot 76, and since then I break 80 about once every 10 rounds. Then it was shoot par on nine, but did that the 2nd time I broke 80, so now its shoot even par or better before I hit 40. Just 2 1/2 years left, I better get to the course.
9/14/12
 
GBogey says:
10.6 is a pretty good index to play without breaking 80 - can't accuse him of playing only easy courses.
9/14/12
 
cjgiant says:
Although I tend to agree with Chamblee's analysis, I will fight the other side. While Tiger, in my mind, definitely played lesser competition, he did tend to dominate them. Tiger won 7 of 13 majors in 3 years (end of 1999-2002) and another 5 in 3 years 2005-2007; Nicklaus never had more than 4 in any 3 yer period.

But I tend to think that the reason Tiger hasn't come closer to Jack's record is that he inspired more golfers, and he is now facing the tougher competition he helped to create. So are Dustin, Rory, Bubba, et al better than Watson, Trevino, Player, et al? Can you compare Tiger's more recent results to Jack's? Or are the new PGA pros better than Jack's competition, meaning Tiger actually now has it tougher than Jack to win? I tend to think they are now on more even footing in this comparison.
9/14/12
 
joe jones says:
The only thing missing in Tigers game right now is the superior putting in the 10' to 15' foot range that used to be automatic. If and when that comes back Brandel will quickly jump back on the band wagon and if his past history is repeated will claim he never had a single negative thing to say about Tiger.Golf pundits are all the same. If you can speak ill about someone, do it.
9/14/12
 
3put says:
Why is it that Brandel is all of a sudden a credible authority to make such claims? Who the heck is he? What has he accomplished that is so worthy to be an authority? All he has is an opinion and A-hole and I have both too.
9/16/12
 
ToddRobb says:
Wasn't Hogan considered the GOAT at one time? So what happens when Tiger gets to 20 and Rory get to 24?? I guess greatest of all time means greatest of all time right now.
9/16/12
 
coojofresh says:
there is no way to say tiger plays lesser comp. all these guys are bigger stronger fast with better equipment & super R&D backing them with coaches & therapist. right now jack is still the greatest, but not because of majors. just because he is great. tiger is at the door step. he just needs a little bit more.
9/16/12
 
mjaber says:
In the world of sports, it is very rare to be able to say while a player is still competing that he is, without a doubt, the greatest of all time. The only 2 that come to my mind in recent history are Michael Jordan and Jerry Rice, and some will question the Jordan statement. There is no debate that Jerry Rice is simply the greatest wide receiver to play in the NFL. There was very little debate when he was playing. Looking back over time, once a players career is complete, it is much easier to compare 2 players than it is while one is still playing the game. It's difficult to even compare 2 players who are still playing (Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning, anyone?). Let the players play, and then when they are done, make your judgement.
9/17/12
 
nicksgolf1956 says:
I see where Brandel mentions Snead and Hogan in who competed against Jack. Those 2 players accounted for 16 of those majors and 146 PGA tour wins. Hogan's last win was 2 years before Jack became professional. Snead had just 1 win after Jack turned professional.

Obviously, when you pick guys names out of the air to list as competition for Jack is a sign that Brandel has an "agenda"!! Heck even Greg Norman was not even part of Jack's career since he won his first event after Jack turned 44 years old!

Brandel it would just be better if you just said I don't like tiger and leave it at that!!
12/8/12
 
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