Tuesday, July 28, 2009

An Extensive Look at the State of Tiger Woods

Over at FanHouse, I put together a lengthy piece about Tiger Woods' game, and asked a few questions about what exactly we should take from the previous few weeks and what we should expect from his upcoming three-in-a-row that concludes at the PGA Championship.

If you have a minute, go check it out, and let me know what you think. Throwing tomatoes is totally acceptable.

David Cannon, Getty Images


Charles Boyer said...

"People argue all the time that Jack Nicklaus had tougher competition than Tiger does currently. I throw that argument to the curb."

You toss out Brian Gay and Chex Reavie (zero majors each) and then mention Rich Beem (1) and the large group of guys that could beat Tiger on any given week.

Except they rarely do. When they do it in an important tournament, it is an aberration that is notable.

You are off the mark in comparing the eras in any case: In Jack's time, Bob Goalby, Gay Brewer, Tommy Aaron, and Charles Coody won The Masters. Gene Littler and Orville Moody won a US Open. Jay Hebert, Dave Marr, Al Geiberger and Don January won PGA Championships...and I will spare you the list of non-names that won the Open Championship because I think I have made my point.

Are golfers in better condition from a physical standpoint now? Yes. Are they using better equipment? Yes. Are the courses in better condition? Yes again.

Are they better than now, taken as a group? Statistics say no, that the distribution of dominance is roughly the same or greater now than it was in the 1960's, Nicklaus's prime.

Bottom line is that if someone thinks that the 1960's were comprised only of the IGM "Big Three" or of Nicklaus exclusively, they probably should go and have a chat with Billy Casper.

Shane B. said...

Yeah, but you could make the exact same argument about no-names in the Tiger era ...

Angel Cabrera, Trevor Immelman, Zach Johnson and Mike Weir will not be household names in 25 years.

Nor will Lucas Glover or Michael Campbell.

Don't get me started on Rich Beem, Shaun Micheel and David Toms.

And the same goes for the British (Curtis, Hamilton, Lawrie).

Imagine in 13 years, when Tiger will be the same age as Jack was when he won his last major championship. This list will have doubled (if not more) and guys like Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Padraig Harrington will only have time to add to their major total.

It isn't inconceivable to say that Mickelson could double his major total (landing two short of Watson), and Goosen could end up with four or five.

Shane B. said...

Also, just wanted to follow up one more thing ... Charles and I will probably both agree that this is why comparing eras is stupid. Nobody will ever know who could beat who, because it's a different game now.

That is all.