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  #251  
Old 05-15-2013, 05:47 PM
TonySinclair is offline
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Of course I'm well aware of the PGA's racist history, but that is not at all what I was talking about.

I think every major sport had some racial restrictions at some time or another. Instead, I was suggesting a potential impact of the manner in which youth are trained, and the quality and availability of equipment and facilities.
Well, of course it was different back then. That's one of the things the diehards don't get, while they're saying Tiger fans don't get anything.

Last week during one of the pre-game shows for the Players, somebody on TGC was talking about how Rory's ball striking had improved so quickly this year. I forget the numbers, but they said when he first switched to Nike, his spin rate and launch angle on his drives was X and he couldn't hit a fairway, but he's been working with the techs and now has it to Y, and his driving is great again.

They couldn't even measure spin rate and launch angle in the 60's. All they could do was go to the range and hit balls, and some players didn't even do much of that. Without modern technology, Rory might have struggled for years trying to figure out what was wrong.

Of course, the diehards will say that if the players of the Jack era had access to the same type of technology, then they would have been much better, too. And that's right, they would. But they didn't. So only a handful of players managed to play as well as if they had access to modern technology. The rest of them didn't, which made for weaker fields.

Say you have two groups of 100 guys, with equal innate talent for golf.

But in Group #1, how they learn golf is just random. A few lucky ones have really good coaches, but for most, maybe their dad teaches them, maybe their local mediocre club pro teaches them, or maybe they just learn by reading books, or watching other players. How many of the 100 will become as good as they can be?

You might have a Hogan in the group, who practices hour after hour (while the other guys are rolling their eyes at him), and eventually develops a great swing after many years of trial and error. You might have a Snead in the group, who just happens to have a great natural swing. You might have a few guys in the group who are lucky enough to have dads or club pros who are really good at teaching. But most of those guys are not going to play as well as they could, and certainly not without a long apprenticeship.

Group #2, everybody gets coached by guys who know all about swing theory, who know how to recognize which type of swing is best for a given player, who know how to teach that swing, and who have all kinds of computer and video equipment to show a guy immediately what happens when he does this, and what changes when he does that. Launch angle, spin rate, clubhead speed, apex height, all measured and optimized. And when they're off their game, they have a swing coach and a short game coach and a putting coach and a head coach to get them back on the beam, and they have equipment techs that can tell them exactly what their ball is doing, and video and radar and all kinds of stuff to show them where they're going wrong.

The second group, assuming they work just as hard, is going to have almost all 100 golfers playing with a swing that's optimal for their physical talent, achieving close to their full potential.

Now, which 100 players would make a harder field to win against?

Even if the talent pools are the same size, which they aren't, the number of golfers who are playing at their full potential is MUCH higher today than it was 50 years ago. It's true that Miller Barber or Mason Rudolf or whoever might have been harder to beat if he had the same access to technology that Rory has, but he didn't. So Jack had to beat a bunch of guys playing at 70% of their potential, while Tiger has to beat a bunch of guys playing at 95% of their potential.

It doesn't mean Tiger would have beaten Jack; that's something we can never know. But it means that in a game where even very good players only win 10% of the time, and somebody from outside the top ten wins way more often than somebody from inside, that it's much harder to win against the fields of today than it was 50 years ago. And it means that 50 years ago, the handful of golfers who were lucky enough to play to their full potential were men among boys, racking up wins, while today, they have to beat almost a full field of players at their full potential.
  #252  
Old 05-15-2013, 06:33 PM
etv78 is offline
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Generally, when an athlete has truly godlike dominance of a sport, the kind of transcendent ultra-hyper-gigastar laps the field five times over and is absolutely utterly invincible and untouchable, his career generally follows one of these paths:

* He defines the sport for an entire generation, and, except for maybe a slight decline in his later years, is never is remotely in danger of being knocked off the throne (Richard Petty, Wayne Gretzky, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer, Greg Louganis, Alexander Karelin, Nadia Comameci, Michael Phelps, Ryoko Tani, Chiyonofuji).
* He retires too early for some reason (Bjorn Borg, Barry Sanders).
* The game changes, he can't make the adjustment, and he falls hard (George Mikan, Bill Elliott, Jeff Gordon, Barry Bonds, Royce Gracie).
* Somewhere along the line, something awful happens...a big upset, a crippling injury, a family tragedy, what have you...and he never recovers (Mike Tyson, Monica Seles).
* His head gets in the way, whether it's lack of focus, ego problems, bad work ethic, or just an unfortunate habit of making stupid decisions, and while the final tally is really good, it could've been even better (Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal, Andre Agassi, Evander Holyfield, Mario Lemieux

And that's what's most infuriating about Tiger Woods...the simple fact that there's no way that someone who's had as many catastrophic career collapses as him should be this damn good right now. And of course, the inverse is equally true; someone capable of winning three in a row should have toppled Jack Nicklaus' ultimate record, like two years ago.

I mean, sheesh, how many times has this thread been bumped, five? The heck with Jason Voorhees, he's Wolverine.

Yo, ESPN: This is the angle I'm interested in.

.............

Eh...maybe he breaks the record, maybe he doesn't. Just don't drag it out, y'know?
Super Mario belongs in category #4. He was never the same post-Hodgkins.
And in another sport, I'd say Michelle Kwan belongs in categories 3 and 4. (the scoring system changed, rewarding athleticism over artistry+she had a bum hip at the end)

Last edited by etv78; 05-15-2013 at 06:34 PM.
  #253  
Old 05-15-2013, 09:15 PM
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I would like to ask a serious question of the guys who think that this discussion should begin and end with how many majors Jack's competition won. I realize you're all experts on golf history, but bear with me as I give a little background for the newbies who may have just stumbled into this thread.

Other than seniors way past their prime, Gary Player won more majors (9) than anyone else Jack played against. He won his first at Muirfield, in 1959, three years before Jack turned pro.

Today, 2 of the top 5 players in the world rankings are Americans. Four of the top ten, 10 of the top 20, 19 of the top 40, 24 of the top 50. So it seems to be pretty evenly distributed that half of the best players in the world are Americans.

I think it's very safe to say that around 1960, it was at least half, and probably more. So you would expect a major field to be at least half Americans.

When Gary Player won the 1959 Open Championship, there were just three Americans in the field, and if they had had world rankings then, probably none of them would have been in the top 500. The low American was Bob Sweeney, a 48-year old amateur who missed the cut by 3. The other two Americans were Willie Goggin, age 52, and Robert Watson, who is so obscure I can't find anything definite about him, but he might have been a club pro from Florida.

There was only one Australian in the field, Peter Thomson. He was a great champion, but he had a bad week, and finished T23. It was one of only three times he finished out of the top ten in the Open from 1951 through 1971. Just as an aside, Thomson played only one Masters, zero US Opens, and zero PGAs during Jack's entire pro career.

In those days, everybody had to go through a 36-hole local qualifier before playing in the Open. No exceptions, not even for the defending champ. So if you lived in the US or Australia or South Africa, you were looking at very tiring and expensive travel just to play in the qualifier, with no guarantee that you would get to play for the small purse that the Open offered. First prize was just $2800, compared to $12,000 for the US Open that year, and $15,000 for the Masters. You would very likely lose money on the trip if you didn't win the title.

The result was that almost all the players were Europeans. To win the Open title, Gary Player had to hold off Fred Bullock, a British journeyman, and the immortal Flory Van Donck of Belgium, who tied for second.

Player butchered the last hole, three-putting for a double bogey six. He was despondent after his round, saying, "That six has cost me the Open and a lot more besides." He went back to his hotel, convinced he had blown it.

But two hours later, the phone rang and he was told to come back to the course, because Bullock and Van Donck had also made a mess of the last hole, and Player was the 1959 Open champ. His first of nine major wins.

So my question is this: Even if you don't think that the larger talent pools and huge money and better training and coaching have improved the quality of the top 100 golfers in the world since 1959, can you honestly deny that all four of Tiger's wins this year were against stronger competition than Gary Player beat in his first major win, with only one Australian and zero world class Americans in the field?

In fact, with the possible exception of the 30-man Hyundai, have any of this year's PGA events had weaker fields than that Open?
  #254  
Old 05-16-2013, 07:31 AM
Dinsdale is offline
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Even if the talent pools are the same size, which they aren't, the number of golfers who are playing at their full potential is MUCH higher today than it was 50 years ago. It's true that Miller Barber or Mason Rudolf or whoever might have been harder to beat if he had the same access to technology that Rory has, but he didn't. So Jack had to beat a bunch of guys playing at 70% of their potential, while Tiger has to beat a bunch of guys playing at 95% of their potential.

It doesn't mean Tiger would have beaten Jack; that's something we can never know. But it means that in a game where even very good players only win 10% of the time, and somebody from outside the top ten wins way more often than somebody from inside, that it's much harder to win against the fields of today than it was 50 years ago. And it means that 50 years ago, the handful of golfers who were lucky enough to play to their full potential were men among boys, racking up wins, while today, they have to beat almost a full field of players at their full potential.
I think you make a really valid point here. Gives me something to think about. Thanks.

I readily acknowledge that Tiger is a unique phenomena. I just don't like him. And I don't find such dominance (and the field's reaction) entertaining. Just my opinion.

As far as your most recent post - gotta admit trying to read it kinda made my eyes glaze over.
  #255  
Old 05-16-2013, 09:45 AM
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Obviously, Gary Player was a fraud as a player in 1959. He won the British Open Championship w/o any of the best players of the American PGA in the field.

Nevermind that he already won a American PGA Tournament earlier that year and finished 2nd in the US Open in 1958. Gary Player was obviously a fraud in 1959.

Rocco Mediate said something interesting in his interview with David Feherty the other night. He said everybody hits it great with the modern equipment.

Majors are the is the measuring stick no matter what anyone thinks. Tennis Grand Slams are the standard in Tennis.

Pete Sampras (and later Roger Federer) broke the Ken Rosewall's Grand Slam Singles in Tennis
Steffi Graf broke Margaret Court's Grand Slam Singles record.

Was there any Pete Sampras fans trying to minimize Ken Rosewall's record because many of his championships were won in the non-Open era and in Australia?

Before Steffi Graf broke Margaret Court record, was there anyone trying to dismiss her Australian Tennis Championship and in the non-Open era?

Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth's Homerun record, later broken by Bonds
Pete Rose broke Ty Cobb's career Base hit
Ichiro Suzuki broke George Sisler's single season record.

If the game progresses with more and better competition in golf, it ought to progress in other sports like tennis and baseball. I am sure I could cite examples in football, hockey, and basketball if I knew those sports better.

Last edited by notfrommensa; 05-16-2013 at 09:46 AM.
  #256  
Old 05-16-2013, 10:43 AM
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Rocco Mediate said something interesting in his interview with David Feherty the other night. He said everybody hits it great with the modern equipment.
So maybe the greatest player is someone like Harry Vardon - or maybe Old or Young Tom Morris! Heck, gotta give it up for someone who could shoot in the 70s on a goat track in bad weather hitting a sack of feathers or a lump of rubber with little more than a twisted stick.

I'm old enough to have grown up with persimmon woods, but I've often wondered how to assess the game the REAL old-timers played. You read something like "The Greatest Game" and they talk about them blasting monster towering drives with primitive balls and sticks, and dropping putts from all over on greens mown by sheep. Any thoughts on how one can even assess the game played in the 1800s to 1920 or so?
  #257  
Old 05-16-2013, 11:53 AM
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So maybe the greatest player is someone like Harry Vardon - or maybe Old or Young Tom Morris! Heck, gotta give it up for someone who could shoot in the 70s on a goat track in bad weather hitting a sack of feathers or a lump of rubber with little more than a twisted stick.

I'm old enough to have grown up with persimmon woods, but I've often wondered how to assess the game the REAL old-timers played. You read something like "The Greatest Game" and they talk about them blasting monster towering drives with primitive balls and sticks, and dropping putts from all over on greens mown by sheep. Any thoughts on how one can even assess the game played in the 1800s to 1920 or so?
No doubt that there was some hyperbole and poetic license when writing these books.

I wonder what Hogan would have done with modern equipment. Heck, what would have Hogan done with just a camcorder and a monitor to get near instant feedback on his swing.

No modern player that I know obsesses over Vardon's Swing (or Jones or Hagen). But they do obsess over Hogan's swing and some players swing look a lot like Nelson's swing.

I am not sure how the Pre WWII era would have done with modern equipment, but I am pretty sure the great players of post WWII until the metal wood era would be great players with the technology improvements. You got to remember that not only has actual golf equipment has improved enormously but modern technology has improved agronomy, and instruction.

Remember practice in the pre computer age involved a player, a piece of turf and kid with a shag bag.

Now players are getting their swing analyzed by computer to determine lie and loft, launch angles, optimum spin rates.
  #258  
Old 05-16-2013, 12:34 PM
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Obviously, Gary Player was a fraud as a player in 1959.
You're slipping. Usually, you don't start flailing at straw men like this for two or three cycles. Now you're doing it right off the bat.

I have never called Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Billy Casper, or any other golfer a fraud. I think the closest I ever came was when I called Rickie Fowler overrated, back before he had any wins. In fact, I've never even said that any of the greats of previous eras couldn't beat Tiger, given the same technology. It's just unknowable. All I've ever said was that the fields are deeper now, and that makes it harder to win.

Player, especially, is the last guy I would call a fraud, because he was the only international player to go through the onerous travel required to play every American major he could. I honestly don't know how he did it, with the cards stacked against him the way they were. It wasn't just the travel time and expense; it was also the exclusionary policies of American golf --- some deliberate, some just short-sighted.

It's not Gary's or Arnie's or Jack's fault that the majors of their era had 40 to 60 percent of the top golfers missing from the field; all they could do was play against whoever showed up. But it's not my fault, either, and when you say Gary Player is clearly better than Phil Mickelson because he has nine majors to four, I have to call bullshit. There is no way to know whether Gary was better or worse than Phil, but it is OBVIOUS that the fields he played against were weaker.

Phil faced more world class players in his Waste Management wins than Player did in his British Opens. That's just a fact, and it's relevant.

As for tennis, I know nothing about it. So you're right, I don't pay any attention to it except during Wimbledon and the US Open, and then only for the highlights. If you asked me who were the best tennis players of all time, my answer would be based on the very, very limited knowledge I have of their major records.

And if it turned out that you were an avid tennis fan, and could cite all kinds of reasons why there was more to a tennis career than four weeks a year, I would defer to your knowledge of the game. And if you had valid reasons to show that even in the majors, tennis competition was much weaker when Laver or whoever played, then I would look at your evidence. If it turned out that some of his majors were won in Australia with no Americans in the field, at a time when American tennis was the world's strongest, I would concede that those majors should be discounted. Not ignored, but discounted. And it would have nothing to do with calling Laver a fraud; it would just be an acknowledgment of the facts.

So you're right --- most people only look at majors in golf. But most people don't follow golf closely. Diehard Jack fans frequently accuse Tiger fans of knowing nothing about golf, thinking golf began in 1996, etc. But then, like you, they turn around and use the most simplistic measurement possible when evaluating 20-year careers. Joe had four major wins, Jim had two, so Joe was better than Jim. You only look at six weeks out of 20 years.

That is what I'd do when evaluating tennis players, because I know nothing about tennis. And it's what somebody who knows nothing about golf would do. If you want to put yourself in that class, I won't disagree.
  #259  
Old 05-16-2013, 12:55 PM
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Golf is no different than any other sport, records are meant to be broken over time, but comparisons can be quite useless across eras. I mean its funny, nobody complains about the 100m record being broken, because we understand people are different, equipment is different. But in other sports all we want to do is compare eras for some reason.
  #260  
Old 05-16-2013, 02:07 PM
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Golf is no different than any other sport, records are meant to be broken over time, but comparisons can be quite useless across eras. I mean its funny, nobody complains about the 100m record being broken, because we understand people are different, equipment is different. But in other sports all we want to do is compare eras for some reason.
In sports we can objectively measure, what happens is exactly what you would expect to happen --- when you have larger talent pools and better training and coaching, people run faster, jump higher, lift more, and swim faster. Even once in a lifetime anomolies, like Bob Beamon's long jump record, have been beaten.

Yet for some reason, people persist in believing that in sports where you compete against an opponent, i.e. sports where there is no objective measurement like the tape or the clock, the old-timers are just as good as today. I know guys who still maintain that Jack Dempsey was the greatest heavyweight of all time. But he wouldn't even be a heavyweight today. He weighed about 175 when he won the title. In his day, guys weighing over 200, like Willard, were overweight and clumsy. Today, there are so many cut, fast, 230-pounders that they had to make a new weight class to keep guys under 200 pounds from getting killed. Lennox Lewis would have destroyed Dempsey.

It's just obvious. Don Schollander was the hero of the 1964 Olympics, winning four gold medals, more than any other athlete. He broke the world record in the 400 meter freestyle, with a time of 4:12.2.

The gold medal winner in the recent London Olympics didn't set a world record, but still beat Schollander handily, with a time of 4:01.45. Ten seconds is a huge margin in swimming.

OOPS! I made a mistake. That 4:01.45 was for the WOMEN'S gold medal winner at London. The male champion, Sun Yang, also didn't break the world record, but his time was 3:40.14. He would have had time to towel off and call his mom before Schollander finished. The bronze medalist finished in 3:44.69, also a time zone ahead of Schollander.

That doesn't make Schollander a fraud. He beat the guys he swam against, and that's all you can ask of him. And he has more gold medals than Yang. But it doesn't change the fact that Yang would have to give Schollander a 50-yard head start to make it competitive.

If you ask who compiled the greatest record in swimming, it's not Yang. It might not even be Michael Phelps, with his 18 or whatever gold medals. It might be Johnny Weissmuller, who was undefeated his entire career, and set a slew of Olympic and world records back when Bobby Jones was winning US Opens.

But if you ask who is the best swimmer of all time, then you have to take the current guys. Spitz and Schollander and Weissmuller were great champions, but they just weren't as fast as Yang.

Mensa and DiFool would have us believe that golf is the only sport where, in spite of the larger talent pools, vastly more money attracting athletes to golf, vastly more international competition, and all the improvements in training and coaching and technology, the players have actually gotten worse over the last 50 years.

They can't give any reason for it. They just think there was something in the water or something that resulted in a dozen super genetically gifted golfers in the Jack era, but only one since then.

It really boggles the mind.
  #261  
Old 05-16-2013, 04:28 PM
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I am only a little more than a casual tennis fan and have been since the Connors/Evert days.

It is not a question of Rosewall's and Court's Grand Slam wins were being denigrated it just that no one ever did. Those wins stood on their own merit. And despite probable more competition in the Graf and Sampras era, no Graf or Sampras felt the need to denigrate those wins.

Graf and Sampras (and later Federer) win out an broke those Grand Slam records because that is who they were. Their fans did not make excuses or possible reasons why they didn't break those records.
  #262  
Old 05-16-2013, 07:17 PM
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It is not a question of Rosewall's and Court's Grand Slam wins were being denigrated it just that no one ever did. Those wins stood on their own merit. And despite probable more competition in the Graf and Sampras era, no Graf or Sampras felt the need to denigrate those wins.
Not true. There were multiple articles and shows that talked about the fact that "back in the day" the defending champ at some majors automatically played in the final the next year. Further for Wimbledon specifically, you have the Amateur Era and the Open Era issue to deal with.

Rules, equipment, and eligible players change over time. Makes era-to-era comparisons a no-win situation.

TonySinclair, really, REALLY well-written posts! Much food for thought in there.
  #263  
Old 05-16-2013, 08:37 PM
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It is not a question of Rosewall's and Court's Grand Slam wins were being denigrated it just that no one ever did. Those wins stood on their own merit. And despite probable more competition in the Graf and Sampras era, no Graf or Sampras felt the need to denigrate those wins.
It's not denigrating a win to look at the circumstances; it's just being aware of history. Young Tommy Morris gets credit for a major win as the 1872 Open Champion, but nobody with any knowledge of golf history equates it to a modern Open, because there were only 8 players in the field, and they were all local club pros. It's possible that Tommy could have beaten Tiger with modern equipment, but that's not the way I'd bet.

My opinion about field strength has nothing to do with Tiger. If I'm still alive 40 years from now, and half of the world's top 100 golfers are Asian, then I will cheerfully admit that the fields of 2053 are much stronger than the fields were back in 2013, and that some kid who has compiled 40 wins and ten majors against those fields might well be the best of all time. I'd have to look at his entire career before making that judgement, though.

And by the way, Tiger's career needs no excuses. He's ahead of Jack's pace in every significant category, including major wins. He's already blown by Jack in career wins, getting his 73rd ten years younger than when Jack got his, even after a two-year slump, and he might even break Snead's record this year.

The upcoming US Open will be Tiger's 62nd attempt to win a major since he turned pro. Jack won his 15th major in his 67th attempt. Vegas is taking bets that Tiger won't win any majors this year. If you think he won't continue to beat Jack's pace, you should grab some of that easy money.
  #264  
Old 05-16-2013, 09:37 PM
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Introducing Young Tom Morris into the argument is not relevant. Reductio ad Absurdum. No one is saying that Young Tom is one of the all time greats, nor is anyone saying that Abner Doubleday is on of the all time greats of Baseball.

As far as Tiger being on pace to break Jack's majors, all I can say, if he breaks his records he breaks the records. Extrapolation is a poor statistical technique. He was well ahead of that pace 59 months ago and has done nothing but stall since June 2008. He has not finished closer than 3 shots of the lead since August 2009 only been a serious threat in a final round one time since he got a nine iron to the back of the head.

Sampras, Federer and Graf beat the Grand Slam records of Rosewall and Court. Tiger has had almost 5 years to notch #15 and he has yet to do it.

BTW, Court and Rosewall did not pad their Grand Slam victory total by being seeded automatically into the Championship match.
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Old 05-17-2013, 03:37 AM
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Introducing Young Tom Morris into the argument is not relevant.
Why are you denigrating his wins? And speaking of denigrating wins, do you remember when you wrote this about the WGC's?

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How many players are in those events? Certainly not a full field of ~144 players with a cut. No more than 80 players and as little as 64.
So a field of 80, all from the world top 100, is a joke to you, but a field of 90 (which was the field size for the 1959 Open), with no Americans, one Australian, and probably no more than 30 others from the world top 100, is to be spoken of only in hushed reverence.

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Extrapolation is a poor statistical technique.
OK.

Quote:
He has not finished closer than 3 shots of the lead since August 2009 only been a serious threat in a final round one time since he got a nine iron to the back of the head.
Wait, when did extrapolation become a great statistical technique?

And can you really not see an improvement in his play when you compare this year to 2010-12?
  #266  
Old 05-17-2013, 05:15 PM
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This is completely off-topic, but since all the golfers are in this thread, I'll ask it here:

Whatever happened to PING? In the 80's and 90's, PING equipment was everywhere, first with putters but later all clubs. It was the most innovative equipment company and it's name was everywhere, on the pro's bags and hats. Now it is nearly non-existant. You used to see the company's founder, that Colonel Sanders looking dude, at tournaments all the time. (He may be dead.)

I think the only guy with a PING bag now is Angel Cabrera, and that might be wrong. It's as if the company just shut down some time in the 00's.
  #267  
Old 05-17-2013, 05:29 PM
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This is completely off-topic, but since all the golfers are in this thread, I'll ask it here:

Whatever happened to PING?
A couple of the pros use their putters -I saw one quite similar to mine last week. And I think a couple of the last few winners had some PING in their bags. But you are right - others have stolen old Karsten's thunder.
  #268  
Old 05-17-2013, 06:43 PM
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This is completely off-topic, but since all the golfers are in this thread, I'll ask it here:

Whatever happened to PING? In the 80's and 90's, PING equipment was everywhere, first with putters but later all clubs. It was the most innovative equipment company and it's name was everywhere, on the pro's bags and hats. Now it is nearly non-existant. You used to see the company's founder, that Colonel Sanders looking dude, at tournaments all the time. (He may be dead.)

I think the only guy with a PING bag now is Angel Cabrera, and that might be wrong. It's as if the company just shut down some time in the 00's.
Bubba Watson, Lee Westwood, Louis Oosthuizen, and Hunter Mahan all use PING clubs.

There is a pretty big marketing campaign centered around Bubba, Lee, and Hunter.


Tony Sinclair: Seriously? is that the best you got?

Last edited by notfrommensa; 05-17-2013 at 06:45 PM.
  #269  
Old 05-17-2013, 07:01 PM
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Tony Sinclair: Seriously? is that the best you got?
No. But it seemed adequate for the task.
  #270  
Old 08-04-2013, 10:26 PM
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Bump. Five wins so far this year. One strong regular PGA event, one very strong regular PGA event, a Players, and two WGCs. He'll be world #1 by nearly 6 points tomorrow, about the same as the difference between Graeme McDowell and me. Leads the tour in almost every important stat by such a large margin that just average play for the rest of the season will probably guarantee he'll end up with the most wins, the money title, and the Vardon Trophy. Probably also Player of the Year, unless Phil, Adam, or Justin wins the PGA or the FedEx Cup.

His irons and short game looked very sharp this week. His distance control was superb. His driver was super long, and his missed fairways were by a couple of yards, rather than a different zip code like before.

Golf, and especially putting, is fickle. He might not win next week, because IMO he puts too much pressure on himself to win majors. But the ability to build up seven shot leads takes a lot of the pressure off.
  #271  
Old 08-05-2013, 08:39 AM
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No question that he is the best player in golf this year, has been the best through the span of his career, and is probably the best player ever. Only reason I say probably is because of the difficulty of such comparisons.

I am happy so long as he doesn't win too many more majors, and was glad he didn't get that 58 on Friday.

Gotta say, smart money would be on him to win the PGA. But I think I'd take the field, just because I prefer cheering against him.
  #272  
Old 08-05-2013, 12:35 PM
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He'll soon enough have the record for most tour wins over Sam Snead. I think the days of the field versus Tiger being an even money bet are past us (unless the old Tiger returns...not likely), so I wouldn't take him against the field. But I do think he is the favorite. I also wouldn't bet on him passing Jack's Majors record, although if I woke up ten years from now and he had done it I wouldn't be amazed, either. One thing that is amazing about Nicklaus is that in addition to his 18 Majors he finished 2nd 19 times, Tiger has finished 2nd six times.
  #273  
Old 08-05-2013, 01:40 PM
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Just thought of another thing - which I'm sure has been mentioned above.

Tho I think Tiger an incredible jerk, have to acknowledge many/most old-time golfers benefit from the different media climate. For example, it was relatively recently that I learned freckle-faced Tom Watson had been a pretty hardcore drinker for many a year. And divorces aren't exactly rare among tour members. Who knows how big of a jerk Old Tom might have been absent live coverage, extensive post-round video interviews, paparazzi, etc.?
  #274  
Old 08-05-2013, 07:36 PM
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Just thought of another thing - which I'm sure has been mentioned above.

Tho I think Tiger an incredible jerk, have to acknowledge many/most old-time golfers benefit from the different media climate. For example, it was relatively recently that I learned freckle-faced Tom Watson had been a pretty hardcore drinker for many a year. And divorces aren't exactly rare among tour members. Who knows how big of a jerk Old Tom might have been absent live coverage, extensive post-round video interviews, paparazzi, etc.?
Let's just say the sheep were very nervous around him.
  #275  
Old 08-05-2013, 07:57 PM
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No question that he is the best player in golf this year, has been the best through the span of his career, and is probably the best player ever. Only reason I say probably is because of the difficulty of such comparisons.

I am happy so long as he doesn't win too many more majors, and was glad he didn't get that 58 on Friday.

Gotta say, smart money would be on him to win the PGA. But I think I'd take the field, just because I prefer cheering against him.
I wouldn't have taken Tiger against the field even in 2000. The fields are just too deep -- almost anyone in the field can win if he has the week of his life. You only have to look at the PGA that year, when Tiger played spectacular golf, set the all time scoring record for most under par, and was still taken to a playoff by a relative unknown.

It was a far cry from the days when Jack could enter a PGA Championship that had over 110 club pros in the field, or a British Open with only half a dozen US pros in the field. No wonder he got so many seconds. Especially in that era, it would be like having a World Sumo Wresting championship with only a couple of contestants from Japan.

On the other hand, I would cheerfully take Tiger against the field if he has a seven shot lead after 36 holes, which he just proved he can do against the best players in the world. He seems to still be improving, so that scenario is not as far-fetched as it used to be.
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Old 08-06-2013, 07:17 AM
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He seems to still be improving, so that scenario is not as far-fetched as it used to be.
I think Lindsay Vonn deserves some credit!
  #277  
Old 08-06-2013, 09:02 AM
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I think Lindsay Vonn deserves some credit!
I can just see Tiger getting his game in perfect shape, and then tearing up his knee again trying to keep up with her on the slopes this winter.
  #278  
Old 08-06-2013, 04:54 PM
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Heard a tv talker on the Akron tourney last weekend say that had 48 of the top 50 players in the world were present. I recall reading that at a Brit Open that Jack won.... perhaps his 1st, in 1966 they had just 1 of the top 25 players in the world competing. Why is that win considered a major?

Golf mag or somesuch had an article on both Snead's and Wood's total wins I saw in my doc's office. Many of Snead's were bogus that no one would consider a tourney win.
  #279  
Old 08-06-2013, 06:39 PM
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Heard a tv talker on the Akron tourney last weekend say that had 48 of the top 50 players in the world were present. I recall reading that at a Brit Open that Jack won.... perhaps his 1st, in 1966 they had just 1 of the top 25 players in the world competing. Why is that win considered a major?

Golf mag or somesuch had an article on both Snead's and Wood's total wins I saw in my doc's office. Many of Snead's were bogus that no one would consider a tourney win.
It's a major because it's the oldest tournament in the world and is often held in the home country of golf.

As for Snead's wins, eh. Stuff changes over time. Richard Petty raced in an era when they had WAY more than 36 races a year. Babe Ruth faced fewer pitchers pitching WAY more innings per game. You can't reset all the records every time the landscape changes a little, but add up 70 or 100 years of little changes and it's a different game.
  #280  
Old 08-06-2013, 11:52 PM
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Heard a tv talker on the Akron tourney last weekend say that had 48 of the top 50 players in the world were present. I recall reading that at a Brit Open that Jack won.... perhaps his 1st, in 1966 they had just 1 of the top 25 players in the world competing. Why is that win considered a major?

Golf mag or somesuch had an article on both Snead's and Wood's total wins I saw in my doc's office. Many of Snead's were bogus that no one would consider a tourney win.
"Bogus" is pretty strong, but it's true that some of his wins would not be counted today. If memory serves, there were five team events, with a very small number of teams.

On the other hand, Sammy was robbed of several years of his prime, when he joined the Navy during WW2.

On the third hand, during and shortly after WW2, the fields were so weak that he (and Hogan, and Nelson) racked up 10+ wins per season, which has never been done before or since.

No matter, Tiger is now just three behind Snead in official PGA wins. He could break the record this year, and it will be a major upset if he doesn't have it by sometime next year. Given his strength of schedule, IMO it's a greater feat than matching Jack's 18 majors, but that is a distinctly minority opinion.
  #281  
Old 08-08-2013, 07:50 AM
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So - is he going to win this week? I'd have to think this would be a good chance for him. But he's been whining about the greens...

Another guy and I pick 4 players each and get points for being in the top 10 after each round. This week I've got Tiger, Senson, Day and Keegan. I picked first and took Tiger. Went a long time refusing to pick him just cause I didliked him, but lost way too many bets. Even when he doesn't win, he's good for being in the top 10 after several rounds.
  #282  
Old 08-08-2013, 03:07 PM
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He'd better hope this is his throwaway round, cause several other guys appear to have come to play.
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Old 08-09-2013, 05:58 AM
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Did all of Snead's wins have a cut? That also influences the legitimacy of the win.
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Old 08-09-2013, 08:42 AM
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Did all of Snead's wins have a cut? That also influences the legitimacy of the win.
Why? If you win the tournament, you have finished in the money.
  #285  
Old 08-09-2013, 08:43 AM
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He'd better hope this is his throwaway round, cause several other guys appear to have come to play.
I'm no expert, but I think in the PGA, you have to count all four rounds.
  #286  
Old 08-09-2013, 10:28 AM
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Why? If you win the tournament, you have finished in the money.
It's easier to win IMO when you don't have to worry about a cut.
  #287  
Old 08-09-2013, 10:57 AM
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It's easier to win IMO when you don't have to worry about a cut.
Why? Seems to me that if you have a shot at winning, the cut could be at the top 25 and ties and it wouldn't make a whit of difference.
  #288  
Old 08-09-2013, 11:42 AM
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Also, I'd imagine at least some of Tiger's wins came in no-cut events.
The season opener for example - tho not sure how that counts. Or the season ending championship.

I think Tiger went some insane number of tourneys w/o missing a cut - further proof for those who want to argue he is the best ever.

I don't know the issue of Snead having had to make cuts is terribly relevant. The best players have off weeks. I don't see whether they miss the cut or finish down the leaderboard being of any significant difference.

Tony, I know you make a good case contending Tiger got his wins against far stiffer competition. Have you tried to calculate the other side as well? Whether Tiger - as a modern golfer - has factors in his favor making things easier than his predecessors? I don't have an opinion, just curious, as you seem to have given this much thought.

-The modern pro has a lot more money, has a lot of people doing things for him, has people making equipment just for him, benefits from training/medical/diet/etc, and play perfectly manicured courses.
-Also, after banking the first 10 million or so, does it actually get easier to win, knowing that you are financially set for life?
-Along the same lines, is it easier for Tiger to win a big event now - knowing his rep is already established - as opposed to some guy eager to win a big event to MAKE his rep?

I don't think such factors can be definitively answered, but they sure seem possibly relevant to any discussion of athletes from different eras.
  #289  
Old 08-09-2013, 01:12 PM
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Tiger PGA Tour wins in no Cut events.

18 WGC's
2 Mercedes (Tournament of Champions)
2 BMW (playoff events)
2 Tour Championships

24 PGA Tour wins in No Cut events

Last edited by notfrommensa; 08-09-2013 at 01:13 PM.
  #290  
Old 08-10-2013, 02:02 AM
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Also, I'd imagine at least some of Tiger's wins came in no-cut events.
The season opener for example - tho not sure how that counts. Or the season ending championship.

I think Tiger went some insane number of tourneys w/o missing a cut - further proof for those who want to argue he is the best ever.

I don't know the issue of Snead having had to make cuts is terribly relevant. The best players have off weeks. I don't see whether they miss the cut or finish down the leaderboard being of any significant difference.

Tony, I know you make a good case contending Tiger got his wins against far stiffer competition. Have you tried to calculate the other side as well? Whether Tiger - as a modern golfer - has factors in his favor making things easier than his predecessors? I don't have an opinion, just curious, as you seem to have given this much thought.
I still don't see why anybody cares about no-cut events in the context of career wins. Other things being equal, I would think having a cut makes it easier to win, because you only have half as many guys to beat. There's not a great chance that a guy in the bottom half of the field after 36 holes will end up winning, but anything is possible.

No-cut events IMO are significant only if you're talking about a cut streak, and in Tiger's case, he would still have the record for consecutive cuts even if you disallowed any no-cut event he didn't win.

However, it's true that some of the no-cut events have very small fields, and that definitely makes it easier to win. The two events you mention only have about 30 players in the field, but Tiger hasn't played the Hyundai in several years, and only has a total of four wins like that. I haven't looked it up, but I'd bet money that Sam and Jack have at least that many official wins with at least that small a field.

The WGCs* and the BMW have 70 or more world class players, so that's about as many players with a real chance to win as most Masters fields. Good enough for me.

*(The WGC Matchplay has the top 64 players in its field, but the unpredictability of match play makes it the hardest event to win of the year.)

As for Tiger's advantages, IMO Jack had it a lot better. Yes, Tiger has no money worries, a private jet, and can tailor his schedule around the majors, but all the world class players can say the same thing, so he doesn't really have an advantage. I guess he can buy more mansions than Ian Poulter, but I don't see how that helps him on the golf course.

On the other hand, Jack had all those same advantages at a time when only he and Arnie and maybe a couple other guys had them, so it gave them a huge edge over the competition. Super-agent Mark McCormack guaranteed Jack $100K in endorsements his first year as a pro, even if he didn't earn a nickel in official winnings, at a time when the median family income was $6K a year, so he had no money worries. Jack bought his own plane in 1964, and flew first class before that. And Jack was building his schedule around the majors, and getting extra practice in at the sites, when nobody else even played all four each year.

As for technology, that favored Jack, too. Modern balls and clubs tend to level the playing field, and make it harder for the best players to separate themselves from the pack. For example, for Jack's entire career, and Tiger's first couple of years on tour, they had a big advantage over the other players because they could hit high, soft 2-irons that held the green. Now that advantage is gone, because the rest of the players just hit a hybrid.
  #291  
Old 08-10-2013, 05:04 PM
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Has any reporter ever pressed Woods on his need to portray himself as always having a chance to win, even when it's obvious he's out of it?

It looks like he'll be at least a dozen strokes off the lead in the PGA after today, with a horde of competitors in front of him, and he's playing mediocre golf at best. Still, in the press conference after today's round, he comes out with this typical gem:

"As far as overall game plan and the way I'm playing, I've been there in enough of these things where I've been right there in the back nine on Sunday with a chance."

Does even Tiger still buy this crap?
  #292  
Old 08-10-2013, 05:38 PM
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Still, in the press conference after today's round, he comes out with this typical gem:

"As far as overall game plan and the way I'm playing, I've been there in enough of these things where I've been right there in the back nine on Sunday with a chance."

Does even Tiger still buy this crap?

Considering that he never has once come from behind in a major after 54 holes, my guess is that he is trying to convince himself rather than convince the public.

He will be finished with his round about 30 minutes before the leaders start. My guess, that Lindsey will have the private jet gassed & packed and he will be airborne about the time the leaders walk off the first green.
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Old 08-10-2013, 06:59 PM
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Has any reporter ever pressed Woods on his need to portray himself as always having a chance to win, even when it's obvious he's out of it?

It looks like he'll be at least a dozen strokes off the lead in the PGA after today, with a horde of competitors in front of him, and he's playing mediocre golf at best. Still, in the press conference after today's round, he comes out with this typical gem:

"As far as overall game plan and the way I'm playing, I've been there in enough of these things where I've been right there in the back nine on Sunday with a chance."

Does even Tiger still buy this crap?
Does Tiger buy it? Almost certainly not, but what do you EXPECT any athlete to say when he (or his team) is getting skunked- "It's hopeless, there's no chance of a comeback, so I plan to just phone it in the rest of the way and go home?"

That might be a realistic answer in many cases, but fans would lose respect for anyone who said that on camera. It's better and safer to speak in optimistic cliches, to say "It's not over yet, and I'm going to keep playing my best to the very end," whether that's true or not.

Last edited by astorian; 08-10-2013 at 07:00 PM.
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Old 08-11-2013, 10:04 AM
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Does Tiger buy it? Almost certainly not, but what do you EXPECT any athlete to say when he (or his team) is getting skunked- "It's hopeless, there's no chance of a comeback, so I plan to just phone it in the rest of the way and go home?"
It has nothing to do with trying to do your best. I've never seen any other athlete build up a facade of invincibility to such a ludicrous extreme.

One wonders when a reporter will finally call him on it.
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Old 08-11-2013, 12:14 PM
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It has nothing to do with trying to do your best. I've never seen any other athlete build up a facade of invincibility to such a ludicrous extreme.

One wonders when a reporter will finally call him on it.
Right. Just once, I'd like to hear him say something like, "I didn't play very well today. I didn't hit it very good, didn't make anything, kept blocking every putt."

Oh wait, that's exactly what he said about Saturday's round. And it's typical of what he says when he doesn't play well. There really is a difference between hitting bad shots, and hitting good shots but being fooled by the wind, or how hard or soft the greens are, or just plain bad bounces.

Some guys, including some reporters who resent the fact that he won't give them an exclusive interview, look for any excuse to bash him. He can say he pulled or blocked putts 99 times, and they ignore it. If he says the greens are bumpy the hundredth time, they are all over it --- oh look, Tiger's whining about the greens, he always blames somebody else.
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Old 08-11-2013, 01:04 PM
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I've never liked Tiger, but it's not hard to understand why he tends to speak in cliches. His first big interview as a pro golfer was the famous GQ interview in which he told some dirty jokes and took a lot of flak for it.

After that, he learned never to let his guard down when doing interviews- and who can blame him?
  #297  
Old 08-11-2013, 01:24 PM
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I've never liked Tiger, but it's not hard to understand why he tends to speak in cliches. His first big interview as a pro golfer was the famous GQ interview in which he told some dirty jokes and took a lot of flak for it.

After that, he learned never to let his guard down when doing interviews- and who can blame him?
Not only that, but most of the questions he gets are the same ones he gets every week. And he often has to give interviews to the greenside reporter, the Golf Channel reporter, the Sky Sports reporter, an Asian pool reporter, and the regular US press pool, one after the other, and getting the same stupid questions in each one. It's a wonder he can keep his eyes open.
  #298  
Old 08-12-2013, 11:32 AM
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Not only that, but most of the questions he gets are the same ones he gets every week. And he often has to give interviews to the greenside reporter, the Golf Channel reporter, the Sky Sports reporter, an Asian pool reporter, and the regular US press pool, one after the other, and getting the same stupid questions in each one. It's a wonder he can keep his eyes open.
Yeah, and all that for barely over minimum wage! I bet he wishes he was pouring tar in the summer instead!

There was a time - quite a lengthy time - that Tiger did NOT give endless interviews the same as mere mortals...
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Old 08-12-2013, 08:21 PM
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Yeah, and all that for barely over minimum wage! I bet he wishes he was pouring tar in the summer instead!

There was a time - quite a lengthy time - that Tiger did NOT give endless interviews the same as mere mortals...
Absolutely, Tiger is making millions and millions of dollars per year, in part because his face is in front of microphone after every round.

And if you don't think it is true, why did he go through that fake dog and pony show 3.5 yrs ago after the scandal. The main reason for the show was to curry favor to placate sponsors who were abandoning like rats off a sinking ship.
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Old 08-12-2013, 09:30 PM
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Absolutely, Tiger is making millions and millions of dollars per year, in part because his face is in front of microphone after every round.

And if you don't think it is true, why did he go through that fake dog and pony show 3.5 yrs ago after the scandal. The main reason for the show was to curry favor to placate sponsors who were abandoning like rats off a sinking ship.
I doubt it. IMO the best thing for the sponsors would have been to just let things die down until he started winning again. I don't see how humiliating himself like that would make anyone want to buy his line of clothing or whatever.

I speculate that the public mea culpa was a condition that Elin imposed to save his marriage. Reporters focused on what he said about himself, but a very prominent and emphatic part of that speech was an exoneration of Elin -- how she absolutely didn't hit him with a golf club or anything else, which is almost certainly false.

I think she wanted a divorce, so he promised he would do anything if she changed her mind, so she made him jump through a bunch of hoops like giving that speech, and going through addiction therapy, and not playing golf for several months. I have no idea how much all of that convinced her that he was going to change.

And then the news came out that he had also boinked the young (but not underage) neighbor girl, and that was it.

Last edited by TonySinclair; 08-12-2013 at 09:32 PM.
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