Friday, June 20

Is Tiger Woods Already the Greatest?

ARTICLES, POSTS AND COMMENTS that declare Tiger Woods as the greatest golfer of all time are increasing. So here’s an informal Friday survey as I wait to board a flight at LAX.

Is Tiger Woods already the greatest? Or does he need to break Jack Nicklaus’ record for major wins to earn that distinction?

I know what I think, but I want to hear from y’all. Give me your take and rationale.

−The Armchair Golfer


Craig Weeks said...

Yes, he has already proven himself to be the greatest of all time, even if this knee injury is the end of his golden years.

What he has done in just over 10 years is amazing and I wish him no ill, but I'm glad some others will have a chance to win this year. I've never understood why TV ratings are so good on Sunday afternoon when he is leading. After all, it's not like we don't all know exactly what is going to happen.

Tom Blogical said...

No. Jack Nicklaus not only won 18 majors, but he finished second in majors 19 times. And, Bobby Jones won the calendar Grand Slam, so I'm giving him a razor-thin edge for now.

When Tiger surpasses Jack, then I'll give the "greatest" title to him.

Note that I said "when". I'm hoping he didn't ruin his career with the knee injury. With anyone else I think we'd be worried if he came back after the injury as the same golfer.

Anonymous said...

I'll say both Jack and Tiger are equally great. They're great in their era. Tiger now. Jack was in the 60-70's.

Since I live in Tiger's era, I'll say he's my greatest golfer. If I ask my Dad, he'll say Jack.

I know this doesn't answer your question. Sorry. :-)

Jim McCarthy said...

There is something called 'recency error' where people tend to overstate the value of something more recent and undervalue the greatness of things that happened a long time ago.

For example, sites like consider Lebron James a greater player than Wilt Chamberlain. Tracy McGrady the 12th greatest player ever?

Oh, yeah? Based on what?

Tiger is probably going to end up being remembered as the greatest player ever, but my question would be the same: based on what is he greater than Jack Nicklaus?

"Because I watch him and didn't watch Nicklaus," isn't a good enough answer. :)

Average Golfer said...

I watched them both. Nicklaus had better "individual" competition. Arnie, Watson, Trevino, etc. The size and depth of field is stronger with Woods' era. When he breaks Jack's major record he could be called the greatest. Longevity plays a part in the crown, otherwise Bill Walton could be in "The Greatest" conversation in basketball.

Tom Blogical said...

Jim McCarthy:

I watched both as well. So, to answer your question, here goes. I think we have to remember that Tiger is playing against the game of golf as well as his opponents. We saw at the Masters this year what happens if his putting goes south, He doesn't win.

He hadn't won a US Open for 6 years, a tournament which puts a premium on driving, and he's had trouble with driving accuracy since changing equipment in 2004.

Despite those two points and the fact that Nicklaus was more accurate off the tee, Woods' iron play rivals Nicklaus', and Woods' short game is far superior to Niclaus'. Course management and putting are probably equal. Woods is a better overall player than Nicklaus was, based on the differences in their short games.

Just think of the game without Tiger Woods. Mickelson, Els, Furyk and Singh would be locks for the Hall-of-Fame.

When Woods wins his 19th major, I'd say he's earned the title of the greatest player ever.

Great question, thanks for the challenge of attempting to answer it!

Anonymous said...

Too many well meaning golfers load on accolades for Nicklaus and woods without knowing the true history of the wold's greatest golfer: Robert Tyre Jones. Like unto: Jones wasn't a full time, on the course or practice range on a daily basis like pros of today (oh did I mention that Jones remained an amateur his whole short career?). Jones earned a degree and then passed the legal bar while taking winner honors in major tournaments... Lets see if any of todays greats can accomplish anything like that.

Tom Blogical said...


Outstanding point. Jones left his clubs in the closet during the winter time also.

Can you imagine what he would've done today if he dedicated himself full-time to the sport? Wow.

The Armchair Golfer said...

Great comments and insights by all. I'll weigh in soon.

Anonymous said...

They are not playing on a level playing field. When Jack was playing there was not as much Technology about.
Still cant deny that what Tiger has achieved is in a word, incredible.
However, how do you measure success? Trophy wins, money earned... it is all about completing persoanl goals. But to be honest who knows?