Tiger is back. all Hail tiger

Wasn’t claiming it is was his fault…I am just saying it is easier for a horse to win a two horse race than a 20 horse race.

How is that wrong? FTR…Bobby Locke was banned in 1948 and reinstated in 1951 and his banishment has nothing to do with his citizenship. There was no prohibition of international players during Jack’s prime on tour. The presence of Player, Charles, Devlin, Crampton, DiVicenzo is de facto proof of that. They were international players. Yep, no (or few) Europeans on tour. But that is not because they were prohibited. They simply chose not to play.

To nitpick for clarity, O’Connor and Alliss won the British OoM, not the European Tour OoM. The European Tour did not form until 1972.

Ok one hand you are saying the British had weak fields in before the 1980s. But on the other hand, you are saying US Majors were tainted because the players that were playing the British Open, were not playing the US Majors.

So what is it. British Opens were tainted because the fields were weak, US Majors were tainted because they lacked International competition?

Can’t have it both ways.

Tiger is playing better than I expected. Although his club choice on the 18th tee yesterday was strange, considering he had to make birdie to tie Casey (already in the clubhouse). That tells me that he has little trust in the big stick or even his three wood. Wondering what is going to happen when he plays Augusta, where he will need to hit driver 9-10 to compete instead of 4-5 times like at Honda and Valspar.

Considering the width of Augusta’s fairways and lack of rough, it’s unlikely to be a problem. Besides, his driving was not the problem. It was his long irons.

Great, we agree on that. Now let me try something different, since most Jack fans can’t be logical talking about Jack. Let’s talk about women’s golf.

50 years ago, the LPGA was almost entirely American, just like the PGA. Here are the current world rankings for women’s golf:

1 Shanshan Feng
2 Lexi Thompson
3 So Yeon Ryu
4 Sung Hyun Park
5 Anna Nordqvist
6 I.K. Kim
7 Ariya Jutanugarn
8 In Gee Chun
9 Cristie Kerr
10 Hye Jin Cho

Isn’t it blindingly obvious that it’s MUCH harder for an American to accumulate wins and majors when international players regularly compete? Isn’t it blindingly obvious that if players from Sweden and Korea weren’t on the tour, then there would be a lot of American players with 20+ wins and 5+ majors, instead of very few with half those numbers?

That is the mistake Jack fans make. They think that since Jack had to beat a lot of guys with multiple majors, that proves that he had tougher competition than Tiger. But the truth is that since the mid 80’s or so, when it became common for all the best players in the world to play all four majors every year, there are probably four or five times more players in the field capable of winning, so it’s four or five times harder to win. So a guy like, say, Phil Mickelson, who famously has not won the US Open, might have won in 2004 when he finished second to Goosen, or in 2006 when he finished second to Ogilvy, or in 2013 when he finished second to Rose, if international players mostly skipped it.

So I entirely agree, it’s easier to win a two horse race than a 20 horse race.

I didn’t say it did. Here’s what wikipedia has to say about it, with a direct quote from Claude Harmon, which I have helpfully emphasized. If you can find a more authoritative source that contradicts it, I’ll be happy to read it:

I didn’t say they were prohibited, I said they had to jump through hoops. Back then, even for Americans, the PGA had a lot of stupid rules — required courses in clubhouse management, for example, which even Jack complained about. That would be an annoyance for someone who lived in the US to do during the off season. It would be unendurable for an Australian, who had a family back home, to waste his time on.

So yes, there were a handful of international players who for whatever reason were willing to put up with the stupid rules and the enormous expense of travel and temporary lodging, and the time away from home. But the vast majority of top international players didn’t think it was worth it. Because travel was so slow and expensive, most of them didn’t want to play even in the Masters, as evidenced by Alliss turning down most of his Masters invitations, and other prominent Euros turning down all of them (go ahead, argue that the Masters wasn’t that big a deal back then). So you’re right, they chose not to play. Which means that the PGA fields were missing many of the best players in the world.

Correct. But there is no evidence that the top mainland Euro pros played the majors any more frequently before 1972. And since you bring it up, it’s also true that the Ryder Cup was the USA against the British, rather than all of Europe, until 1979, which made it much easier to win both individual matches and the overall trophy, and which most people seem to forget when comparing Ryder Cup records as evidence of the superiority of American golfers 50 years ago.

Correct. The Opens of the 60’s had weaker fields than the average PGA tour event today, and maybe even weaker than the weakest PGA tour events. How can anyone deny it, with exactly zero American touring pros in the field when Gary Player won in 1959, and less than ten all through the 60’s?

No, I didn’t say that. I said the US majors of 50-60 years ago had much weaker fields than today, because only a handful of international players played in the US majors, and that is easily verified by simply looking at the list of entrants. But I don’t claim that all the best international players played the Open.

Because of the time and expense of travel back then, I would guess that the majority of good players from South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, etc. didn’t play ANY of the majors, including the Open, with any regularity, although they may have played the Open a time or two as a bucket list item. For one thing, until the early 60’s, everybody had to go through local qualifying to play the Open. So you would have to invest more than first place money in travel and lodging to go there with no guarantee you would even get to play. Incredibly, there were no exemptions, not even for the defending champ, or the current US Open champ.

Obviously, the few who were willing to invest the time and money it took to play the Open were also more likely to play a US major. And in fact, winning the Open was arguably the easiest way to qualify for a US major back then.

Sure I can. Good Lord, that’s the whole point. ALL the majors had weaker fields than today, because (assuming half the best players in the world were Americans) half the best players were missing from all of the majors — the Open had hardly any Americans, and the other three had hardly any international players.

By the way, according to the official world golf rankings, 12 of the top 20 players this week are international players, and before the fairly recent ascension of Fowler, Dustin, Spieth, and Thomas, there was a period of years when the ratio was even worse for Americans. There is no reason to believe that the genetics of American golfers have gotten much worse in the last 50 years, or that international players’ genetics have gotten much better. The percentage of babies born with the talent to play elite golf is the same now as then, and the same around the world as here. The difference is that the huge purses now available, and the increased ease of jet travel, including many private jets, now makes it feasible for a higher percentage of top international players to play in the US, and vice versa.

I am just saying it is easier for a horse to win a two horse race than a 20 horse race.

I hadn’t been following the thread and just decided to see what the hubbub was about.

As a poor recreational player whose knowledge of golf history has come mostly from reading Golf Digest while waiting to get a haircut, I appreciate your post.

[expletive deleted because this ain’t the Pit] I haven’t chimed into your little bullshit thread precisely because I knew you would be (and have been) up to your usual little sophistry-laden tricks and snide sideways insults. So instead you up and try to bait me. [expletive deleted because this ain’t the Pit]

I won’t waste any more breath on the interminible field depth thing (which, note, I never argued against, per se) vs. Tiger’s main rivals all mysteriously going AWOL whenever he was in contention, since you obviously aren’t the least bit interested. Your little Vardon Trophy two step from several years ago (“Oh, let’s see if I can cherry pick something that Tiger did that Jack didn’t do…except that Jack actually led the tour in scoring average numerous times but always fell a few rounds short of the required number of qualifying rounds, you say?”)

You revealed your true colors there, where instead of sacking up like a man and conceding the point, went off on how hugely significant a few extra rounds has to be, revealing your total and complete ignorance of all things statistical by doing so. So you just keep on going on about how perfectly “logical” you are, and how anybody who argues against Tiger’s competition isn’t. [And we won’t even discuss your threadshit from c. a year ago, which another Doper called you out on too, where again you tried to bait me] It is 100% obvious now that you have ZERO interest in discussing this in anything remotely resembling good faith. Goodbye. [expletive deleted because this ain’t the Pit]

I’m sorry, who are you again? Apparently you’re somebody who is still furious over a post I made in 2015, but I honestly didn’t remember it, or you, until I followed your link. And if I had been trying to bait anyone, I wouldn’t do it in a post buried at the bottom of a seven year old thread. And just by the way, it’s not my thread.

On the contrary, I would be extremely interested to learn how you figure Tiger’s opponents went AWOL whenever he was in contention, since one of the most popular refrains from Jack fans is that Tiger never won a major from behind. He was in contention from behind plenty of times. I especially remember the 2005 US Open, when Michael Campbell played the best golf of his life, and poured in long putt after long putt on the final nine holes to hold off a charging Tiger. And I think most people would agree that YE Yang, Bob May, Chris DiMarco, and Rocco Mediate, to name just four, also played the best golf of their lives when they were head to head against Tiger in the final pairing of a major. Yang actually won, the others took him to a playoff, and none of them crumbled – it took spectacular clutch putts and/or chip-ins by Tiger to beat them.

So please, tell me more about how Tiger only had to show up to win.

Um, I hate to tell you this, but that post isn’t about Tiger at all, it’s about Billy Casper. And it’s not even about Billy versus Jack, it’s about Billy versus the Big Three of Arnie, Jack, and Gary. And it’s considered by some dishonest to allege a direct quote from someone, when the record clearly shows he never said it. Here is an accurate quote from the thread regarding cherry-picking, incidentally before anyone else mentioned it:

See how easy it is to make accurate quotes?

Wait, conceding what point? That Jack lost Vardon Trophies during the time span (1964-70) I was talking about because he didn’t play enough rounds? Well, he didn’t.

The only years in that time span that Jack claims he had the lowest scoring average were 1964 and 1965. Jack played 26 rounds in 1964 and 24 rounds in 1965, more than enough to qualify for the Vardon. The reason he didn’t win it was not because of minimum rounds, it was because the PGA had some stupid rule about having to be a Class A member to be eligible for the Vardon (and the Ryder Cup), and Jack hadn’t been on tour long enough to be a Class A member.

I have made a number of posts knocking Jack for claiming scoring titles that he wasn’t entitled to, because it is an obvious fact that it’s easier to score better when you only play when and where you want to, instead of having to play 80 rounds (the minimum of the time), including at times and courses that you really don’t want to. It was Jack’s choice to play tour events less and play practice rounds at the major venues more — in retrospect, a very smart choice, but he knew he was breaking the rules for the Vardon while he was doing it. So I refuse to go along with him awarding himself scoring titles for years when he didn’t play the minimum number of rounds. I notice that he doesn’t refuse to accept the official wins and money he received for playing team events (with Arnie as his partner, no less!), or for events with 20 or fewer players in the field, which were also a feature of the PGA of his era. So he should take the good with the bad.

That said, I have always acknowledged that he has a legitimate case for the Vardons he didn’t win in 1964 and 1965, because he did play the minimum number of rounds those years. I even said Jack was robbed of those two Vardons, in the very thread you’re claiming I ignored Jack’s right to them. How’s that for sacking up?

No, you’ve convinced me that Jack fans are a model of logic and accuracy. And tranquility.

I have seen the argument about the US major field from the 1960 and 1970’s were not as strong because of the lack of integration of American and International players.

a. Few American didn’t play the British
b. Few Internationals didn’t play the US Majors

FWIW, to prevent one of the Strawman arguments, I agree with “A” and “B”. Those statement are true

What these advocates have never provided is a detailed list of World Class Elite Int’l Players that did not play the PGATour.

A few posts back, Christy O’Connor and Peter Alliss were mentioned. There is no evidence to support that they would be competitive on the PGATour. NONE. Alliss never finished better than 8th in the British Open, and O’Connor wasn’t much better. Only one Brit won the British Open in 32 years. And it was their “turf”.

I don’t think you can name 10 World Class Elite players that never tried to play the PGATour, between 1960 and 1980

This is like your mom saying, “Eat your vegetables, there are people starving in India,” and you saying, “Name ten of them.”

I’m not going to bother trying to name them, because you wouldn’t accept them as world class, because they didn’t win a bunch of majors – as you just did with Alliss and O’Connor, even though they played only one major per year, and even though they beat the likes of Palmer, Casper, and Venturi head to head. Just like you base Tiger vs Jack on one number, you dismiss their entire careers based on how they played one week per year.

Besides, it would take a lot of research to find such players. You would have to go back to the records of events played in South Africa or Australia 60 years ago, and find people who beat the likes of Thomson or Locke with some frequency, but who didn’t choose to invest the time and money it took to play majors, let alone spend an entire season on the PGA tour.

So all I can do is ask you a question:
The US Open was won by non-Americans only three times between 1925 and 1994, but was recently won by non-Americans eight out of 11 years (2004-2014). Is this because babies overseas started being born with tremendous golf talent around 1970, or is it because American stopped being born with tremendous golf talent around then?

Your “Eat your Veggies” analogy…is…is fascinating. Did not anticipate that Strawman argument. Honestly don’t know how to respond.

Sure, I would expect the US Open to mostly won by Americans…since they dominated the field

Just as I would expect the British Open from the 1950’s through 1980 to be won mostly won by Brits, since the field was predominantly British.

and your damn right it would take a lot of research. Because you would be hitting a lot of dead ends. But it sure is a lot more easier for you to prove who was a world class players than me to show you that there weren’t any world class players (proving a negative)

Your LPGA analogy is fascinating too. do you think there were a bunch of world class Asian lady golfers (Koreans, Chinese, Japanese, Thais) being oppressed either by their country or prohibited from playing by the LPGA?

The 1955 US Womens Open was won by a Uruguayan who won 10 other times on the LPGA. The 1967 US Womens Open was won by a French women (an amateur). Back in the 1970’s and 1980’s there were LPGAer from South Africa (Sally Little), from Spain (Marta Dotti), from Australia (Jan Stephenson) and Japan Ayako Okamoto. Chako Higuichi won the LPGA Championship in the 1970’s. Women’s golf in other countries did not develop past the amateur level. Many golf fans think Se Ri Pak was the first Korean to win on the LPGA Tour in 1998 Actually it was 10 years prior in 1988, Ok Hee Ku won an LPGA event in Arizona.

Just like it wasn’t Tiger’s fault that those WGC events were short field, it was not Mickey Wright’s fault that there were not many female Int’l players world class elite golfers.

There wasn’t anything preventing players from taking the wares to the US based tours. Other than talent. The ones with talent came to America

Rhetorical? If not, then the answer is neither.

Of course it wasn’t.

That may be the most ridiculous thing you have ever written. Probably 9 out of 10 Korean women born with elite golf talent in the 1950’s never touched a club in their lives, because they were working on a farm. Probably 9 out of 10 of the ones who did play golf couldn’t possibly afford to travel to the US at all, let alone spend a year on tour. And judging from the fact that the US Women’s Open paid the winner less than $2000 as late as 1963, tenth place in a regular tour event probably paid a couple hundred bucks, at most, so there was very little incentive. If you have a link that shows what it actually paid, I’d be happy to be corrected.

But you know what, let’s say you’re right about all this. Let’s say that there weren’t more than a dozen “world class elite” players, men or women, outside the US during the Jack era.

Can you really not see that it doesn’t matter? It’s still a fact that unless 50 world class elite Americans suddenly stop playing golf, then the addition of 50 world class elite international players to the fields makes the fields much deeper.

It doesn’t matter whether the international players of Jack’s day chose not to play, or weren’t good enough to play. Either way, they are good enough today. 12 of the top 20 players in the world rankings this week are international players. That means that to win a tournament today, you are facing more than twice as much competition as in the Jack era — unless you believe that American golfers have suddenly gotten worse.

It’s so simple. Think of the best football player in your high school. Maybe he got a scholarship to a big university, but probably he didn’t. And the chances are about 1 in 100 that he got into the NFL. He was a star when he was in a small pond, but expand the talent pool, and he can’t make the practice squad.

And once again, just to be clear, I’m not saying this means Jack couldn’t beat Tiger. I’m saying it means that Jack didn’t compete against fields as deep as Tiger.

Not what you said in your previous post. You said the only reason American women dominated the LPGA during the Jack era was because there were few to zero talented Asians. So obviously, Asian women suddenly evolved into talented golfers sometime after 1970.

I am so dizzy from the Sinclair Merry-Go-Round

Sorry, I don’t get the reference. But regarding the strength of PGA Tour fields in the 60’s, you might find this post, from a golf discussion board, interesting. An excerpt:

Gee, times change. Who would have thunk it?

Whats remarkable is that Scoring Averages from the elite golfers hasn’t changed much. Sure courses are longer, and greens are faster and more contoured.

But look what has more than mitigated and offset the increased yardage increases and faster putting surfaces.

Better agronomy. Modern irrigation, better application of chemicals (pesticides, fungicides, fertilizer etc). Golf course are in pristine shape vs 50 yrs ago. Faster greens are smoother greens. Smoother green mitigate the increased difficulty of faster greens. Mark Broadie in his Strokes gained says the avg pro is 50/50 from 7 ft 10 inches. Studies from back in the 60’s says the 50/50 distance was 7 ft.

Better Golf Course equipment. Triplex and “Norelco” mowers, fairway mowers, aerators

Laser range finders: Players know the exact yardage from various landmarks

Better Putters: Computers can analyze the putting strokes to optimize a golfers putting stroke

Better Irons. Irons from the 1960’s and 70’s, are as thin as the letter opener on my desk

Hybrids: Didn’t exist in the 1960’s and 1970’s

Woods: They were actually made of wood and were 200 cc in the 1960’s. Now made of Graphite/Titanium 465 CC.

Balls: Golfers used thin skin balatas that easily got scuffed and out of round. Now there is the three piece Pro V generation golf ball.

and TRAC-MAN…where science can optimize a golfers distance with shaft, ball, club head based on launch angles, ball speed and spin rate.

The Modern golfer has all this technology available, and and the top players scores are not much better.

Increased distance: More than offset by the golf ball by itself, let alone the technological improvements in driver, wedges and irons. And the introduction to of Hybrid. Senior Tour golfer keep saying that they drive the ball as far or farther than they did 30 years ago when they were in their 20’s.

Faster Greens: Mitigated by modern agronomy, smoother and more consistent greens. Champions and Mini verde Bermuda greens in the south versus the grainy and common bermuda of 50 years ago.

Translation: I can’t refute what the ex-pro said, so I’ll just zoom off in a completely different direction, and make the second stupidest argument in the history of golf boards. The only thing dumber would be to say, “Tiger won way more money than Jack, how do you explain that?”

Tweaking golf courses to control the score is the easiest thing in the world. Forget 60 years and completely different venues, they can do it on the same course in the same year.

Tiger’s winning score in the 2008 Buick Invitational, played at Torrey Pines: 67-65-66-71=269
Tiger’s winning score in the 2008 US Open, played 4-1/2 months later at Torrey Pines in perfect weather: 72-68-70-73=283

Yes, they play the North Course one day out of four at the Buick, but Tiger didn’t shoot 14 under that day.

Not to pile on – well, OK, I’m piling on. The only other course in recent history that has hosted a regular PGA event and a US Open the same year is Pebble Beach. It’s more difficult to compare, because at the Pebble Beach pro-am, they play 3 different courses. But they always play the same course the US Open uses in the last round, so we can compare the last round scoring. Note that since it’s the last round, only the pros who made the cut are considered here.

In 2000, the final round scoring average for the 60 pros who made the cut at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am was 71.63. Four months later, the final round scoring average at the same course for the 63 “world class elite” pros who made the cut in the US Open was 73.2. Note that includes what most consider the single best major performance in history, when Tiger won by 15 shots.

In 2010, the final round scoring average for the 69 pros who made the cut at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am was 73.2. Four months later, the final round scoring average at the same course for the 83 “world class elite” pros who made the cut in the US Open was 74.9.

The Pebble Beach field is about average for a PGA Tour event, usually worth about 50 world ranking points to the winner, where 100 is the max. And yet, on the same course just four months apart, the average field outscored the very best players in the world by an average of over a shot. And even that understates the difference, because when the Pro-Am is played, it’s a par 72 course, but when the US Open is played, some of the par 5 holes are shortened to make it a par 71 course. So the average field is over two shots better than the major field when compared to par.

As I said in the previous post, it’s the easiest thing in the world to make the scoring average higher, even in the same year. Narrow the fairways, lengthen the tees, let the rough grow, and put the pins near the edges of the greens. If you take a longer view, you can plant more trees, add some water hazards, etc.

This is exactly why the events with the weakest fields typically produce the lowest scores. It’s very common to see rounds in the low 60’s in weak field events, because the tournament officials know that the crowd wants to see birdies and eagles, and if a weak field plays a US Open type course, you are going to see more bogeys than birdies. So they make the course a bit easier, and you regularly see rounds of 61, 60, even an occasional 59 or 58. But in the entire history of the majors, there has only been one round below 63.

And it’s exactly why comparing scoring averages from 50 years ago to today is dumb.

I think we have a candidate for the next scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz remake!

Okay, so, uh, does this mean that we’re not allowed to find the apocalyptic level of hype surrounding the man right now, especially relative to what he’s actually accomplished recently, absolutely insufferable? Because if I didn’t before, I sure as hell do now. Seriously, I never begrudged a single second of the wall-to-wall scream machine when he was running roughshod over tournaments and winning majors and being #1 for 683 weeks. But things have changed a bit since then, to the point where I’m fairly certain NBC would’ve been vastly better served giving a wee bit more airtime to the man who actually WON the freaking Valspar Championship*. Y’know, if it’s not too much trouble.

The other thing is, exactly what kind of reaction am I expected to give the next time he wins something? Because…how do I put this…Tiger Winning Something is bigtime been there, done that territory, and it’s impossible for me to get excited over it. I mean, don’t get me wrong, good on him that he’s doing well enough to keep his card for another year; gotta be relevant before you can be anything else. But he’s done huge, huge things over his career, and the idea that “He got one!” now is cause for wild celebration strikes me as patronizing, if not downright insulting. As an ESPN analyst once said about Se Ri Pak: “The good news, she made the cut. The bad news, that making the cut qualifies as good news.” Let’s be perfectly honest: there is one mark left that has any meaning for him. Majors. When he picks up #15, I promise that I will cheer with as much enthusiasm as I can convincingly fake. Until then, I’m just going to wish him well and call it a day. All right?

Unless this has become a “let’s see how many times we can bump this thing before an enraged moderator drops the hammer” thing, in which case, have fun, guys. :slight_smile:

  • Paul Casey!

No, feel free. You are totally welcome to that opinion.

The thing is, a lot of people are excited about it. Naturally, NBC, the PGA, and lots of other folks are going to take that into serious consideration. If most people felt the same way you did, the hype wouldn’t exist. But the hype does exist, which only means that there are a large number of people who don’t share your opinion. That doesn’t make your opinion or their opinion wrong per se, but it does put it in the minority, golf-wise.

Where you are measurably wrong is that NBC would be better served by putting more attention on the man who won the tournament. Clearly, that’s not the case. Networks chase ratings. End of story.

It would take some real mental gymnastics to justify a narrative that didn’t involve Tiger Woods if that’s what most people wanted to talk about. High minded principles are fine and all, but TV networks have always been more concerned with ratings and berating them for not following principles they never had in the first place (not to mention not chasing the clear money-making story) is a mug’s game.