Monday, February 25, 2008

Golf Debate

Heard a talking hairdo from Bristol bring up a good question about Tiger. I don't know anything about golf. Can't stand it, can't watch it (I'd rather watch Ping Pong), so hoping somebody can help. Obviously, Tiger is awesome. But, is his competition as good as the competition in Nicholas' days? There seem to be many players of the "million dollar arm, 10 cent head" variety these days. Conversely, Jack went against plenty of proven winners like Palmer, Player, Trevino, Watson, etc.

This isn't a "Is Tiger better than Jack" argument. Rather, "Is it easier for Tiger to win a tournament today than it was for Jack to win one back then?"


Matt said...

No. You show your love of golf when spelling Jack's name - it's Nicklaus.

I have no historical perspective on this, but my strong assumption is that the depth on tour right now is much greater than what Jack faced. There are strong players now from Scandanavia to South Africa, on top of the Americans.

I think guys like Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh, Ernie Els, etc. would have been historic players if they didn't have the bad fortune of playing during Tiger's time.

My opinion.

Anonymous said...

I think one good way of evaluating this would be to find out on average, how many tournaments did everyone else win each year. If Jack won a bunch and everyone else won only once, the field back then probably wasn't as good as it is now.

Like Matt said, Phil, Vijay and the rest get their share of wins, just like the other guys got during Jack's day, so I'm guessing it's pretty equal.

St. Nicohlas said...

I agree with Matt- the Tour has attracted world wide talent. We have a winner on the PGA from friggin Trinidad and Tobago- where ever that is?

Gary Player is about the only non-American I can think of from back in the day that won his share of tourneys and he was at the back end of his career by the time Jack got rolling.

Golf has also become more mainstream because of the Tiger influence and that's brought a wider range of young talent. The southern bumkins (Boo Weekly) to the wannabe child prodigees. (that short little Japanese kid- Tad Fugikama or whatever his name is) who will eventually make the fields even deeper.

On the other side of the coin from Jack's Masters win in '86 to Tiger's in '97 (97?) golf as a spectator sport was hurting big time due in large part to quality of the fields and in turn corporate sponsorships. Norman, Kite, Lahgner et al were the big draws- not exactly world beaters. My guess is that if Tiger had played in the late 80's early 90's he'd have lapped Jack by now.

just my opinions as well.