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Top 10: The Greatest Golfers Ever

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Mickelson’s final-round charge that led to his win at The Open Championship, as well as another runner-up finish at the U.S. Open in June and his win at the Scottish Open in early July have a lot of folks talking about Lefty’s place in golf history.

Just a decade ago, Mickelson was viewed as an underachiever whose potential for major championship dominance never materialized for one of two reasons:

  1. Tiger Woods’ domination of major championships from 1997 to 2008.
  2. Mickelson’s aggressive style of play.

Five major championship victories later, no less of an authority than Jack Nicklaus has said that Mickelson will go down as one of the greatest players ever. With over 40 PGA Tour wins, and victories at the Masters (three times), PGA Championship and Open Championship, it is not too soon to discuss where Phil stands in the pantheon of great players — especially considering his six second-place finishes at the U.S. Open, which would be a great career in itself for many long-time Tour players.

When we compile any list of the “best ever,” era comparisons invariably rear their head. It is difficult if not impossible to compare Old Tom Morris and Tiger Woods, so perhaps some criteria are in order. To be fair, we needs an apples-to-apples basis for our list and I think we have to consider some of the following:

Dominance: Was the golfer the dominant player of his/her era? Did he/she beat the others often enough to be the best player of that time? This is tricky, because in golf we’ve had “waves” of great players who often stood in the way of one another.

  1. The “Great Triumvirate” of Harry Vardon, Ted Ray and J.H. Taylor, to the early American supremacy of Walter Hagen, Bobby Jones and Gene Sarazen.
  2. The war years of Sam Snead, Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson.
  3. The modern era of Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus.
  4. The “Tiger” era.

In the first three eras, there always seem to be three players that stood out among the rest. So if a player didn’t win every time (in golf, they don’t), the greats were often in contention. For example, there’s no doubt that Palmer and Player took potential titles away from Nicklaus, but even when Nicklaus lost he was often in close pursuit.

Only Tiger Woods has stood head and shoulders above the rest in his era. The late 1990s to 2008-2009 is really the only time we’ve had one player completely dominate an era, with the possible exception of Bobby Jones from 1923 to 1930.

Some may argue that Tiger dominated the golf world because their was no other “great” player at the time. Tom Watson was past his prime, and Nick Faldo was slowly exiting the scene as well. Mickelson was still learning to win the big ones, and not the player he is now. Others like to argue that Tiger dominated because he was playing the best golf the world had ever seen, which I’ll touch on more later in the story.

Major championships: While it difficult to say where the cut off line would be, I will arbitrarily select five (5) as the number of majors a player had to win to be considered on our greatest-of-all-time category. Here, too, we are on a slippery slope, because majors have changed.

The U.S. Amateur is a great example: In Bobby Jones’ era, surely it was a major. In Jack’s era, it may have been marginally a major, and today is clearly is not. The Masters, a modern day major, was not played until 1934, and the PGA Championship not until 1916. So we have to be careful when comparing on this basis alone. But majors are how we define good from great in our game, and, in some form, we have to consider their records in them.

Longevity: Again, using this as one of our criteria can get confusing, as golf is a game where most players do NOT stay at their peak for very long. Nicklaus, Snead and Player are notable exceptions, but many of the game’s greats have had short reigns at the top.

Jones was at his best from 1923 to 1930, while Nelson was in his prime from 1937 to 1945. Even in the modern era, all of Palmer’s majors came in an 8-to-9-year period. And often the flame burns brightest before it burns out: Nelson, 18 wins in 1945, gone two years later; Jones won the grand slam in 1930, retired the next year. A player named Ralph Guldahl, one of the premiere players in the 1930s, won back to back U.S. Opens and nothing after really — so did Curtis Strange.

On the other hand, Snead won events over a 30-year period as did Gary Player, and Jack over 25 years. So we still have to give longevity a place on the list.

Total Wins: There’s no denying that great golfers are able amass their share of total tournaments won around the world, not just the PGA Tour. Gary Player, for example, won only 24 events on the PGA Tour, but over 150 worldwide. Tiger is rapidly approaching Sam Snead’s all-time record of 83 PGA Tour wins, but of course he also has 14 majors victories. Considering all that, here is my vote for the top 10 players ever:

No. 1: Jack Nicklaus

With 18 professional majors, 2 U.S. Amateur titles and 73 PGA Tour wins over 25 years, Jack’s record speaks for itself. Tiger has won three more times on the PGA Tour than Nicklaus, but until him or someone else tops his record 18 major championships, there is no question that “The Golden Bear” is the greatest golfer of all time.

The best golf that has even been played was from Woods from 2000 to 2008, but he still has work to do to catch Jack in longevity (Nicklaus won his last major at the age of 46) and majors.

No. 2: Tiger Woods

In his prime, Tiger was the best golfer the world has ever seen. Winning the U.S. Open Championship by 15 shots, the British Open by 11, the Masters by 12 and the “Tiger Slam” are just a few of the things that separate him from the others.

Consider this statistic: Tiger has won 25 percent of the professional tournaments he has played. The next best on that list is Phil at 8 percent! And I, for one, believe his comeback is almost complete and inevitable. But until then he remains firmly in second place, four majors away from the No. 1 spot.

No. 3: Ben Hogan

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Hogan was the consummate ball striker, winning three consecutive majors in 1953 — The Masters, the U.S. Open and the British Open (he didn’t play in the PGA Championship).

The “Wee Ice man,” as the Scots affectionately named him, was one of the best ever. His nine major championships in a five year stretch is the stuff of legends, and it seems that his legend is improving as the years go by.

Remember this: Hogan basically only played the majors after his near-fatal car accident.

No. 4: Walter Hagen

Hagen

With the possible exception of Gary Player, Hagen was the best match play player ever, and maybe as good a putter who has ever lived as well.

Hagen taught golfers that confidence is a MUST in championship golf, personifying his self belief with his lavish dress and habits. He won four consecutive PGA Championships (1924-1927), five British Opens and 2 U.S. Opens.

Once, needing to hole out from the fairway from 155 yards to force a playoff, Hagen had his caddie remove the flagstick! That’s confidence.

No. 5: Bobby Jones

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The best amateur golfer of all time, and his No. 5 ranking here could easily be higher — Jones quit tournament golf at the unthinkable age of 28! In 1930, his grand slam year, he only played in two other events.

Remember this: Jones averaged one round a week during his playing days, and he put the clubs away most of the winter! He was an amazing talent that may never be duplicated. In his last 12 national championships (U.S. and British), he was first or second a staggering 11 times.

No. 6: Gary Player

With nine majors and over 100 victories worldwide, Gary Player brought physical and mental fitness to the world of professional golf. He was also the first to play the game internationally at the highest level.

Player is one of only five players to win the modern grand slam, and he also won the World Match Play Championship an unprecedented five times! But because he played in the same era as Nicklaus, Player’s place in history is sometimes greatly underrated.

No. 7: Sam Snead

Sam Snead is still the winningest player ever on the PGA Tour, with one of the sweetest swings anyone has ever seen. He amassed 81 wins on the PGA Tour, all while while playing in the era of Hogan and Nelson.

He won the West Virginia Open 17 times, often playing in bare feet in the early days. A natural athlete who took great care of his body, Snead could kick the top of a door frame with his other foot on the ground!

No. 8: Arnold Palmer

Every young player who collects a big, fat paycheck today should quietly thank Arnold palmer. “The King” popularized the game and brought it to the masses like no player before him.

Loved and adored by fans for his go-for-broke style, Palmer saved a moribund game and Tour after the Hogan era. Consider this: from 1960 to 1966, Palmer won the U.S. Open once (Cherry Hills, 1960), and played off for the title in 1962, 1963 and and 1966. Although he lost all those playoffs, that is first or tied for first for four out of six years!

No. 9: Byron Nelson

His 18 wins (19 if you count the New Jersey Open) in 1945 puts him automatically on my top-10 list. A quiet man, who eschewed the spotlight, his ball striking has become the stuff of legends.

Byron was alleged to hit a golf ball straighter than anyone before or since him. But he disliked tournament golf, often to the point of nausea before big matches.

Once Ben Hogan, who saw Nelson with his head in the toilet before the 1942 playoff for the Masters, actually offered to delay the start of the match! They didn’t and Nelson won. After his record-breaking 1945 season, he retired two years later.

No. 10: Harry Vardon and Tom Watson

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I’m copping out a bit here because although the two played some 75 years apart, the single dominance of the British Open alone (six wins for Vardon and five for Watson) make it very difficult to choose.

Vardon actually invented the more modern golf swing, and left us with the famous “Vardon Grip,” the overlapping grip as we know it, and dominated golf just as it was coming to America.

Watson won 39 PGA Tour events, eight of them majors, and of course came within a whisker of winning the British Open at the age of 59 in 2009. He may be best known for his memorable battles (and victories) with Jack Nicklaus when Jack was in his prime.

I would love to hear from anyone who would adjust my list. Please remember, this my the list as it stands today. My list does not include Mickelson yet, but he is surely a bullet!

How can my list NOT include Lee Trevino, Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros, Billy Casper et al? Well, again it is my list, and I was asked to write the piece. Again, era comparisons are difficult at best, but it makes for great 19th hole conversation.

Fianlly, I think Phil is a long way from through, and at some he will be on that list. His talent is that good.

As always, feel free to send a swing video to my Facebook page and I will do my best to give you my feedback.

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Dennis Clark is a PGA Master Professional. Clark has taught the game of golf for more than 30 years to golfers all across the country, and is recognized as one of the leading teachers in the country by all the major golf publications. He is also is a seven-time PGA award winner who has earned the following distinctions: -- Teacher of the Year, Philadelphia Section PGA -- Teacher of the Year, Golfers Journal -- Top Teacher in Pennsylvania, Golf Magazine -- Top Teacher in Mid Atlantic Region, Golf Digest -- Earned PGA Advanced Specialty certification in Teaching/Coaching Golf -- Achieved Master Professional Status (held by less than 2 percent of PGA members) -- PGA Merchandiser of the Year, Tri State Section PGA -- Golf Professional of the Year, Tri State Section PGA -- Presidents Plaque Award for Promotion and Growth of the Game of Golf -- Junior Golf Leader, Tri State section PGA -- Served on Tri State PGA Board of Directors Clark is also former Director of Golf and Instruction at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. He now directs his own school, The Dennis Clark Golf Academy at the JW Marriott Marco Island in Naples, Fla.. He can be reached at dennisclarkgolf@gmail.com

50 Comments

50 Comments

  1. Mark Stephens

    Apr 27, 2017 at 10:42 am

    Have to place Tiger in the No. 1 spot based on something Jack Nicklaus said when asked about Tiger’s ability and record: Jack replied, when I played competitively, each tournament I played against (the same) 5 or 6 players. Tiger plays against the entire field in each tournament
    That’s about 124 golfers who enter each tourney.

  2. Pingback: Top 10 Golfers Of All-Time – Golf in the Year 2000

  3. Ben Barclay

    Jun 7, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    Nice list, but your mistake is trying to rank these players within the top 10.
    Best pure golfer: Jones
    Player who dominated his era best: Woods
    Most impressive career: Nicklaus
    Most competitive Golfer: Snead
    etc

    This is similar in every sport. In hockey, you can’t rank Richard, Howe, Gretzky, and Lemieux.

    One thing you can say, is 5 Bobby Orrs would have beat 5 anybody elses, in their prime. Not sure if golf has an analogy.

    What if you took them all in their prime, with magically equal equipment, and it came down to 18 holes.

    Who would win?

  4. Dlygrisse

    Feb 6, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    Good list. Tough to compare eras, but I have to go with the best player of each era to start the list because they dominated everyone they played against.
    I personally would rank Bobby Jones and Harry Vardon higher on the list, they were both the dominant players of their era and were not only great players but moved the needle in terms of popularizing the sport.

    Gary Player was great, but like Phil was never considered the best player in the world at any point in time, he always seemed to be playing 2nd fiddle to Jack or Arnie.

  5. Dlygrisse

    Sep 17, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    Good list. I would look at it slightly different though, I view the GOAT as the players who dominated their era, the ones who where without a doubt the GOAT when they retired, or quit playing at a high level.

    Vardon
    Jones
    Hogan/Nelson/Sneed
    Nicklaus
    Tiger.

    Being that Hogan/Nelson/Sneed are 3 players, born the same year and all dominated for short periods during the same era and can’t rate any of them higher than 5.

    So I would go:
    1. Jack-Most majors, played at a high level for 20 years.
    2. Tiger-blah blah blah, we know what he has done, but unless he kicks it in gear for a 2nd run at greatness Jack wins.
    3. Jones-dominated the sport as much as anyone ever, if he could have sustained it past the age of 28 he could be higher.
    4. Vardon-The first truly great international player. Greatest of all time without question before Jones came along.
    5. Hogan-maybe the best ball striker ever, just doesn’t have enough career wins or majors to be any higher, although if it werent for the Grayhound bus……
    Sneed-dominated his era for 20 plus years, but played 2nd fiddle to Hogan and Nelson for 5 year stretches.
    Nelson-Played the best golf of all time for about 2 years.

    After this I would take any listed by the author, however you could add names like Locke, Seve, Thompson, Casper, Trevino, Floyd, Norman, Faldo, Young Tom Morris, or even Ray.

    • atiboy

      Dec 6, 2014 at 7:25 pm

      Sorry, but Jones is #1, Jack #2
      Jones won 13 Majors between 1923-1930 in a seven year consecutive period. That is almost two majors per those consecutive years. Jack did not even come close to this in Jack’s first seven years on tour. Jack won his last major (18) at 46 yrs old at the Masters. Jones won the ONLY grand slam in Golf in 1930. Jones played only part-time and always as an amateur. Being an amateur, he was disqualified from the PGA tournament and since he had not yet created the Masters Tournament, he only played that once he had retired.

  6. Danny415

    Aug 8, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    This is a wonderful compilation of the all-time best. This is also a great start for those who like to debate.

  7. RB

    Jul 21, 2014 at 5:58 am

    Tom Watson is grossly underrated. 8 majors in really 2 different eras that featured Jack, Lee, Player, Faldo, Norman and even in his old age is still competing in majors, most notably the playoff at the Open in 2009. Should be top 5 imo.

    As for Tiger v Jack, no player has ever dominated like Tiger nor had a bigger impact on the games popularity, fitness, and earnings as he. Tiger also plays far fewer events each yr than most tour pros and has had several swing overhauls due to injury.

  8. Daniel gormally

    Jul 12, 2014 at 8:02 am

    This is a very American biased top ten list. I would agree historically the US has produced the better golfers, but certainly you would have to recognise the achievements of Ballesteros, who elevated the status of European golf and levelled the playing field in the Ryder cup, which up to then was essentially dominated by the US team.

  9. Barry Shanley

    May 11, 2014 at 1:32 am

    Jack Nicklaus is the greatest golfer of all time, and it’s not even that close. Palmer is the most important player of all time for bringing the game to the masses with his dramatic flair at the dawn of the golf on television era. I do think Gene Sarazen should have finished higher because he won all 4 majors, hit the most famous shot in golf history, and at the same time was instrumental in the development of the sand wedge. And yes, I do think women should be included. The golf world should know of Patti Shook Boice of Michigan. She never turned pro because she didn’t play for money and certainly not for fame. She won the National Collegiate Championship in 1964 though her college, Valparaiso, didn’t even have a team, and won her state’s women’s open a record number of times and was named the Michigan Female Golfer of the Century. If you ever met her you’d never know…genuinely humble, sweet and polite…she’s the female version of Bobby Jones.

  10. Mr Tour

    Apr 22, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    Your article should be the top ten greatest MALE golfers. There are some LPGA players that have better numbers… and figures!

  11. Paul

    Apr 13, 2014 at 3:11 am

    Isn’t about time you update this article? Tiger has won 79 official PGA Tour events. The field Jack player against was never as deep as todays field! They players come all over the world not just Europe. I strongly suggest you read this article ( http://golf.about.com/cs/historyofgolf/a/top5men.htm )on why Tiger is the best even if he never breaks Jacks record! At age 37 if he plays to only age 48 he’ll have 44 chances to best Jack. That in its-self says he is far better at this age than Jack. Miguel Jimenez is only down by 2 strokes in this latest Majors. Far too much importance given to Majors. All one needs to do is stay on the fairway & two putt. A few birdies on the par 5’s and you’ve got a win! This new 20 year old is showing as Tiger did any golfer having a good weekend can win a Major. Where are all the recent Pat Major winners? Oh, you say they got cut? What does that say about them??? No Tiger to inspire them, they might as well have stayed home, they are certainly past their prime!

  12. James Murray

    Mar 8, 2014 at 2:21 am

    I think Jones should be ahead of Hagen for sure. Plus I would replace the 10 pick with Sarazen.

  13. jim king

    Oct 7, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Hogan is number one. All these guys since him, study his game more than all other golfers combined. Even Jack changed
    his swing to be more Hoganlike

  14. Dennis Clark

    Aug 6, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    To all the readers of this article…the idea of it was to stimulate discussion. There are no right or wrong lists, and a “best ever” selection is very subjective. But it does refresh some peoples interest in golf history, an area I feel has been lost in modern golf. The lore of this great game has always been a part of its many charms, and I, for one, like to keep it alive. Thx, DC

  15. Mark

    Aug 5, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    If ‘Majors Won’ is part of the criteria – then you have to include those events which were regarded as the majors in their day. So for example – The North & South or The Western would count and Hagen’s total, for one, would be much higher.

    Also consider that outside the USA, The Masters is not considered a major – it’s an Invitational on a very much ‘made for TV’ course – not a championship.

    Tiger Woods’ ten year dominance has certainly saved the PGA Tour and televised golf but it has come at a price. Huge weekly pay cheques with scores near to twenty under isn’t fooling anyone and wasn’t that proved this year at Merion & MuIrfield, when you had to play ‘proper golf’ on real golf courses?

    Tiger will be admired but never loved the way Jack & Arnie were and are. The Tour and the young fellows appearing now, inspired by his exploits, will be forever thankful to him for helping grow The Tour to where it is today. But they want his scalp before he’s past his best. They are not intimidated by him the way the competition was at his peak – so it’s going to be very hard for Tiger to win any more majors.

    Another criteria you might want to consider – although somewhat subjective – is how did the players of the various eras rate their fellow competitors. In this way you would be including Trevino and Faldo.

    Thought provoking article though – but there can never be a best of all time only the best in their time.

    • Dennis Clark

      Aug 6, 2013 at 11:58 am

      Mark,

      Good points. I don’t thing the Western or North South ever held the “majors” tag even though they were HUGE tour events. They may be like the WGCs of their day. I disagree about the Masters, as just about every non-American who has won it, said they had dreamed of winning it all their lives. It is clearly a major. To your point about being the best of their time, I totally agree. Sports change so much that a “best ever” is all but impossible to determine. In their times, players like Young Tom Morris and Willie Anderson (3 consecutive US Opens) would be on any list. But thx for the good comments and interest

    • PhillipW

      Nov 1, 2013 at 2:10 pm

      Yes , Tiger will never be loved as those white players, because he’s not white, and golf is a white sport, although the Chinese invented it.

  16. Dennis Clark

    Aug 5, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    In 1925, the two greats of the game played a 36 hole exhibition match; Hagen won 12 and 11. The consummate amateur and the consummate pro…Hagen was a genius at simply getting the ball in the hole. But I see your point, it could easily have gone the other way. Just my opinion.

    • Stephen

      Aug 11, 2013 at 10:29 pm

      Jones was not prepared for the match. He was being pressured to turn pro and the loss helped him realize that staying amateur was the best thing for him and his family.

      Jones was 5-0 in majors with Hagen in the field.

      None of Hagen’s major titles had Jones in the field.

  17. Dave

    Aug 5, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Why is Hagen above Jones??! No way.

  18. Alex Jackson

    Aug 5, 2013 at 12:35 am

    It’s a shame for many reasons the car accident that nearly killed Ben Hogan, but I honestly can’t imagine how many majors he would have won if that never happened. He won with legs he had no business walking a golf course on and a left eye that couldn’t focus on the golf ball when putting. It’s hypothetical, but I feel pretty certain he’d have won 15 or more. Similar thing with Byron Nelson. He’s a man who dominated the game and then retired in his 20’s at his peak because he was more interested in buying and running a ranch than playing golf.

    I’d consider putting Sam Snead higher than 7, and dropping Walter Hagen. I’d put Bobby Jones at 4, Snead at 5 and Hagen at 6. If the ratings were on potential of what they could have done, I’d put Tiger at 1 and Hogan at 2.

    Lastly, I don’t think Tiger passing Jack in majors, if it happens, makes it a done deal that Tiger is the best. Jack finished 2nd in majors 19 times. I don’t know how many times Tiger has finished 2nd, but its nowhere close to Jack. Tiger may be a better closer with a lead, but Jack competed nearly every time he stepped foot on the course, even more than Tiger, which seems impossible.

    • Dennis Clark

      Aug 5, 2013 at 6:08 pm

      No question Nelson retired in his prime but he was 35. Jones was 28. But as you point out Nelson wanted a ranch and Jones was a lawyer. With purses as they were then, it was very difficult to make a living at playing golf.

    • JB

      Sep 4, 2013 at 5:33 am

      True, we will never know whether Hogan would have won more majors without the accident and I would put him slightly in front of Player just because of this.
      But we can be even more sure that Hagen would have improved on his count of 11 majors if he could have contested in 4 of them every year instead of in only 3- as the Masters did not exist during his time yet!
      Due to this fact, and due to Jeff’s above mentioned lack of THE major component in a true golfer’s game with Tiger, I would not only not drop Hagen but rank him at No2 above Tiger, followed by Hogan and Player- and treat Jones as a special case within those six greatest.

  19. Me nunya

    Aug 3, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    Yeah, the only thing that argues Tiger for #1 over Jack is he held all 4 major trophies AND the scoring record relative to par in all of them simultaneously. Good luck topping that, anybody ever.

    I gotta go Byron Nelson #4 or even #3 IF you put Mr. Hogan in the top 5 (which you have to obviously) because Hogan never beat Byron head-up. Not once.

    • Dennis Clark

      Aug 4, 2013 at 8:50 am

      But…Nelson was gone before Hogan really broke through. Post accident Hogan was a superior player. Starting in 1948 he won 4 out of the next 5 US Opens, Nelson was incredible no question, but 5 majors keeps him down on my list; that’s his only “weak stat”. And because of his hemophilia, he played a LOT of golf in the war years. Great man, too one of the real gentlemen of the game!

  20. Dick

    Aug 3, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    Bill Russel has 11 nba championships, but certainly is no Jordan even with 6 rings. Jack may have 18 majors, but he’s certainly no Tiger. I think it’s an insult to even compare him to Tiger (GOAT). In the end, what does it matter?

    • jeff

      Aug 3, 2013 at 8:22 pm

      The only way you could say that is you didnt see both play.

    • Dennis Clark

      Aug 4, 2013 at 11:34 am

      well not to change the topic, but I might think of Russell as above Jordan to be honest…In addition to the 11 rings, 55 straight and two national championships at San Francisco; he was the best defensive player who ever lived and defense wins championships. Overlooked because his paucity of scoring, which gets all the glory…

      • Alex Jackson

        Aug 5, 2013 at 12:57 am

        Russell played in a league with less teams and a game that had less young people pursuing the game, not to mention his obvious height and athleticism advantage. He also had a supporting cast of players that was far superior to any other teams. With confidence, I can say Russell would not average 30 rebounds per game in today’s game and obviously would not have the same height advantage (he’d actually be undersized as a centre).

        Jordan played against the best and dominated the best. His teams competed against some of the greatest players of all time. If he didn’t needlessly retire all those times, its possible the Bulls would have won 8 championships in a row or more. He took two years to play baseball in between their 3-peats and retired after the 98 season while still playing great basketball and eventually came back anyways in 2001 to play with the worlds worst basketball team, the Washington Wizards, and still almost took that team to the playoffs at 40 years of age. I also believe Jordan to be a much smarter defender than Russell.

        The best can’t simply be evaluated based on championships. One must take into account eras and competition. Basketball can’t be fairly compared, but golf can. Look at who Jack competed against (Palmer, Player, Watson, etc). Tiger? Els, Mickelson, Harrington.. This is also just my opinion, but golf will always remain a finesse game that relies on shot-making and making putts, whereas basketball is a game that will see players get better and better as players keep getting bigger and faster (LeBron James). You take a guy with athleticism and make him shoot 1,000 jump shots a day and he’ll likely figure out how to shoot. Last I checked, Jamie Sadlowski and Jason Zuback aren’t making headlines on the PGA Tour even though I’m sure they’ve put in hours on the putting green (having hit balls next to Zuback on the range a couple times, I can assure you that he does spend time practicing with clubs other than drivers, even though he did have at least a dozen drivers in his bag).

    • Alex Jackson

      Aug 5, 2013 at 12:42 am

      This is a very flawed comment. First of all, basketball is much different in comparing generations. 50, 60, and 70 year old basketball players don’t come back to the NBA to play with the young guys every now and then. Their basis for comparison among generations is very hypothetical. Older golfers do get the chance to play against the young guys. A few years ago, we even had a 59 year old golfer by the name of Tom Watson nearly win the Open championship. Tom has played a lot with Tiger and Jack, and he consistently says that Jack is the best. Bill Russell played against shorter opponents than he would see in today’s game. Tom Watson consistently beats the players of todays game and he’s in his 60’s.

  21. Dennis Clark

    Aug 3, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    That is correct; my error. Thanks for pointing that out.

  22. Rich

    Aug 3, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    How can anyone take this seriously when the writer thinks Ted Ray was part of the Great Triumvirate of early British golf? The Great Triumvirate was Vardon, Taylor and Braid, who won 6, 5, and 5, British Opens, respectively, while Ted Ray won only one.

    The starting point of an opinion piece should be to at least get the FACTS right.

  23. jeff

    Aug 3, 2013 at 10:34 am

    We will always debate these greats,but there is one thing separates Jack from Tiger. Jack like Phil of this generation understood what it means to respect the game and handle yourself with grace in defeat. If you use that as part of how you determine who was the best,we might not have Tiger in the top 5. Also when looking at their records Jacks top 5s in majors is just too much to overcome.

  24. Mike

    Aug 3, 2013 at 8:30 am

    Hi Dennis,

    I’m curious to hear by what rationale you put Jack ahead of Tiger and then Byron Nelson ahead of Tom Watson. Watson won 8 majors to Nelson’s 5 and quite clearly has the longevity thing by almost winning the Open at 59, while Nelson retired at 34 I think. Sure Nelson won 11 in a row and 18 in a season, but that was in 1945 and the fields had been severely weakened by WWII. Either way, apparently non-major achievements are sufficient to bring someone above someone else who has more majors. So to that end, what about these:

    Total dominance for an extended period. A 15 shot win in the US Open, a 12 shot win in the Masters. An 8 shot win in the PGA. Winning four majors in a row. 142 consecutive cuts. A 7 tournament win streak, a 6 tournament win streak, a 5 tournament win streak and 2 further instances of a 3 tournament win streak vs one streak of 3. 78 tournament wins vs 73. Youngest player to win the career slam, youngest player to win a second career slam, youngest player to win a third career slam. All of that is insufficient to bring Tiger up above Jack? How do you get there?

    • Dennis Clark

      Aug 3, 2013 at 10:37 am

      Mike,

      Good points and as I said anyone has their list just as I have mine. But since you’ve asked: The Nelson vs. weak fields is mostly a myth. Both Snead and Hogan won several events and played a full or very part time schedule in 1945. 1945 cannot be diminished in any way. Tiger called it “one of the greatest feats in SPORTS”, not just golf. He also won 51 PGA Tour events in a very short time, playing against two of the best ever. As for Tiger vs jack, you are preaching to the choir. I mentioned in the article that I think 2000-2008 was the greatest golf ever played, but I cannot put those 8-9 dominant years ahead of 18 majors and 47 1st, 2nds, or 3rds in majors, just can’t do it right now. If we have this discussion in 5 years, and I have no doubt, TW will be on top of that list. Thx for your input, enjoyed your comments

  25. Martin

    Aug 3, 2013 at 6:26 am

    I generally agree with the list, I think the extra 4 majors and the 15 or so seconds in Majors define Jack as #1. Tiger’s record when he didn’t win isn’t even close and as the list says, Jack played against Trevino, Player, Casper Palmer and Miller.

    Most of those guys I never followed and the only guy I would be tempted to bump to #10 would be Seve. In Tournament golf he was a terribly flawed savant with the greatest imagination and fire maybe the game has ever seen. His revolutionalization of the Ryder Cup was transformational to modern golf and doesn’t get the recognition in North America it deserves. To many euro’s it’s THE competition.

  26. yo!

    Aug 2, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    i think people will nitpick and weigh certain criteria differently, but this is a well thought out and written article

  27. t120

    Aug 2, 2013 at 11:27 pm

    I don’t really want to argue with Dennis, because he has awesome posts….but…but…Tiger plays in a juiced up modern era (did I say that?) and the only thing separating people is mental. Can you imagine that? You take the best golfer the world has ever seen, and a mind of a person going for 1st and then a ball is introduced that changes the landscape, R&D depts at major mfg’s go crazy in pursuit of distance, and all of a sudden a guy that had a clear advantage making a mockery of par 5’s and courses (Augusta, anyone?) in general has the playing field leveled.

    Just think about it. I’m not a guy that’s going to be like “Tiger, tiger, tiger!!!”, because Jack does have 4 more trophy’s and thats the goal post, here. However, you have to understand that Tiger beat everyone’s a$$ on average without all the crazy equipment and juiced up balls, or UFC regimen workouts. He calculated everything, great course management, and had the raw natural power (like Daly did) to boom drives and stay a step ahead when he wanted to find 7th gear.

    He needs more credit for that, whether he stays in #2 or not.

    • Brian

      Oct 25, 2013 at 8:12 pm

      Here’s two points about equipment.

      When square grooves were legal I only remember Tiger and Phil employing a full swing flop shot when just off the green. If those grooves benefitted the field more than the best, there would have been more than just two golfers using that shot. When they made square grooves illegal, both Woods and Mickelson stopped using that shot. So who did square grooves benefit most?

      The ball flies further and straighter now than prior to Tiger’s career. He benefits from the straighter ball more than an accurate driver like Vijay or Jack who was a very straight driver.

      • Dennis Clark

        Nov 15, 2013 at 5:12 pm

        Good points; I also believe that the 60 degree wedge changed the short game forever. Short siding is no longer a problem, fire at any pin, no worries. # 10 Augusta is a classic example. Left there with left pin was DEATH, now they go at it with less fear.

  28. Santiago Golf

    Aug 2, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    wheres moe norman. He is the only player in the world that could hit the ball straight. If only he could putt 🙁

  29. Bman

    Aug 2, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    I can’t blame someone if they want to pick Jack as #1 over Tiger, but to do so with the simplistic reason being that 18>14, well that’s kind of silly to me. You have to look at all factors: Majors, regular tourney wins, domination factor, longevity, strength of field, and a few others. With ALL of those factored in, I have Tiger at #1 (and yes, I’m old enough to have watched Jack in his prime, but not Hogan).

    Tiger at #4??? I just don’t see any way to put him at 4 unless you’re related to Elin.

    • Dennis Clark

      Aug 2, 2013 at 8:26 pm

      Remember Jack was 1st, 2nd or 3rd in a major championship 47 TIMES!!! He once went 16 straight years in the British with his lowest finish 6! And he won majors 24 years apart. Tiger will catch Jack IMO, and break every record out there, just not yet.

  30. william jackson

    Aug 2, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    No argument from me on Nicklaus at number 1 . But Jones down at 5 ? As you said he retired at 28 and there was no PGA major available to him. Also in an era where transatlantic travel was by ocean liner completing the old ” grand slam ” was a phenominal achievement . He was essentially a lawyer who played quite a bit of golf so his record must take into account these factors . Number 2 for Bobby , Hogan 3 , Woods 4 and Palmer ( just because he is Arnie ) at 5.

    Oh and I might rate Peter Thomson and Bobby Locke above Player

    • Dennis Clark

      Aug 2, 2013 at 8:22 pm

      Locke’s majors plus Thompson’s equal Players. Jones is somewhere on everyone’s list but the 7 great years (1923-1930)were preceded by 7 “lean years”. Not to diminish his brilliance, he may have been the best natural golfer ever! Good points, thx

    • Dave

      Aug 4, 2013 at 10:20 pm

      Woods at #5?!?!?!? All cred just went out window. Think jones should be 3 tho.

      • Dave

        Aug 4, 2013 at 10:21 pm

        Whoops… #4… Still think that’s crazy.

      • Jtriscott

        Aug 5, 2013 at 10:04 am

        All cred went out when he stated “just because hes Arnie”….

  31. WP

    Aug 2, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    I am okay with your list. Jack and Tiger are clearly well removed from the rest of the field. I also tend to go with Jack based not only on the factors you listed but also the number of seconds and thirds at the big events. I have no problem with those that place Tiger at the top for the utter dominance of his prime alone and he is still young enough to remove all doubt over the coming years. I’m not sure I’d place Mickelson above Faldo or Ballesteros yet and he has a long way to go to surpass Watson.

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Opinion & Analysis

Don’t Leave Your Common Sense in Escrow Outside the Golf Course Parking Lot

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Disclaimer: Much of what follows is going to come off as elitist, harsh and downright mean spirited — a pro looking down from his ivory tower at all the worthless hacks and judging them. It is the opposite. The intent is to show how foolish WE golfers are, chasing around a white ball with a crooked stick and suspending all of the common sense we use in our every day lives.

Much of what follows is not just the bane of average golfers, but also low handicappers, tour players and even a former long-drive champion during his quest for the PGA Tour… and now, the Champions Tour. In other words, if WE take ourselves a bit less seriously and use a bit more common sense, we are going to have more fun and actually hit better golf shots. We will shoot lower scores.

FYI: All of the examples of nutbaggery to come are things I have actually witnessed. They’re not exaggerated for the sake of laughs.

It’s winter time and most of you poor souls are not enjoying the 70-degree temperatures I am in Southern California right now (see, you all hate me already… and it’s going to get worse). That gives us all time to assess our approach to golf. I am not talking course management or better focus; I am talking how WE golfers approach our successes and failures, which for many is more important than the aforementioned issues or the quality of our technique.

Why is it that golf turns normal, intelligent, successful and SANE people into deviant, ignorant failures that exhibit all of the tell-tale signs of insanity? I also forgot profane, whiny, hostile, weak-minded, weak-willed and childish. Not to mention stupid. Why do we seem to leave our common sense and sanity in escrow in a cloud outside the golf course parking lot… only to have it magically return the moment our car leaves the property after imposing extreme mental anguish on ourselves that Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (don’t feel bad if you have to google this) would find extreme?

Smarter people than I have written books on this, but I think they missed a key factor. Clubs, balls, shoes, bags, gloves, tees, the grasses, especially the sand in the bunkers, the Gatorade they sell at the snack bar, hats, visors, over-logoed clothing, golf carts, etc., are all made with human kryptonite. Not enough to kill us, but just enough to make us act like children who didn’t get the latest fad toy for Christmas and react by throwing a hissy fit.

Bob Rotella has said golf is not a game of perfect, and although religious texts say man was made in God’s image, thinking we are perfect is blasphemous. We all play golf like we think there is an equivalent of a bowling 300. We expect to hit every drive 300 yards (the bowling perfect) with a three-yard draw… in the middle of the face… in the dead center of the fairway. All iron shots must be worked from the middle of the green toward the pin and compressed properly with shaft lean, ball-first contact and the perfect dollar-bill sized divot (and not too deep). Shots within 100 yards from any lie should be hit within gimme range, and all putts inside 20 feet must be holed.

We get these ideas from watching the best players in the world late on Sunday, where all of the above seem commonplace. We pay no attention to the fact that we are significantly worse than the guys who shot 76-76 and missed the cut. We still hold ourselves to that ridiculous standard.

  • Group 1: “Monte, you’re exaggerating. No one has those expectations.”
  • Group 2: ”Monte, I’m a type-A personality. I’m very competitive and hard on myself.”

To the first group, the following examples say different. And to the second group, I am one of you. It’s OK for me to want to shoot over 80 percent from the free throw line, but at 50 years old and 40 pounds over weight, what would you say to me if I said, “I’m type-A and competitive and I want to dunk like Lebron James!” Oh yeah, and I want to copy Michael Jordan’s dunking style, Steph Curry’s shooting stroke and Pistol Pete’s passing and dribbling style.” That seems ridiculous, but switch those names to all-time greats in golf and WE have all been guilty of those aspirations.

I don’t know how to answer 18-handicaps who ask me if they should switch to blades so they can work the ball better and in both directions. The blunt a-hole in me wants to tell them, “Dude, just learn to hit the ball on the face somewhere,” but that’s what they read in the golf magazines. You’re supposed to work the ball from the middle of the green toward the pin, like Nicklaus. Well, the ball doesn’t curve as much now as it did in Nicklaus’ prime and most tour players only work the ball one way unless the circumstances don’t allow it. “And you’re not Jack Nicklaus.” Some joke about Jesus and Moses playing golf has that punch line.

Wouldn’t it be easier to get as proficient as possible at one shot when you have limited practice time, versus being less than mediocre on several different shots? This also applies to hitting shots around the greens 27 different ways, but don’t get me started…just buy my short game video. Hyperbole and shameless plug aside, this is a huge mistake average golfers make. They never settle on one way of doing things.

The day the first white TaylorMade adjustable driver was released, I played 9 holes behind a very nice elderly couple. He went to Harvard and she went to Stanford. He gets on the first tee and hits a big push. He walks to the cart, grabs his wrench and closes the club face. She tops her tee shot, gets the wrench and adds some loft. Out of morbid curiosity, I stayed behind them the entire front 9 and watched them adjust their clubs for every mishit shot. It took over 3 hours for a two-some. These are extremely nice, smart and successful people and look what golf did to them. Anyone calling this a rules violation, have a cocktail; you’re talking yourself even more seriously than they were. Old married couple out fooling around, big deal if they broke a rule. No tournament, not playing for money, they’re having fun. They had gimmies, mulligans and winter rules. Good for them.

This is an extreme example of a huge mistake that nearly 100 percent of golfers make; they believe the need for an adjustment after every bad shot… or worse, after every non-perfect shot. How many of you have done this both on the range and on the course?

”(Expletive), pushed that one, need to close the face. (Expletive), hit that one thin, need to hit down more on this one. (Expletive), hooked that one, need to hold off the release.”

I’ll ask people why they do this and the answer is often, “I’m trying to build a repeatable swing.”

Nice. Building repeatable swing by making 40 different swings during a range session or round of golf. That is insane and stupid, but WE have all done it. The lesson learned here is to just try and do better on the next one. You don’t want to make adjustments until you have the same miss several times in a row. As a secondary issue, what are the odds that you do all of the following?

  1.  Diagnose the exact swing fault that caused the bad shot
  2.  Come up with the proper fix
  3.  Implement that fix correctly in the middle of a round of golf with OB, two lakes, eight bunkers and three elephants buried in the green staring you in the face.

Another factor in this same vein, and again, WE have all been guilty of this: “I just had my worst round in three weeks. What I was doing to shoot my career low three times in row isn’t working any more. Where is my Golf Digest? I need a new tip.”

Don’t lie… everyone reading this article has done that. EVERYONE! Improvement in golf is as far from linear as is mathematically possible. I have never heard a golfer chalk a high score up to a “bad day.” It’s always a technique problem, so there is a visceral need to try something different. “It’s not working anymore. I think I need to do the Dustin Johnson left wrist, the Sergio pull-down lag, the Justin Thomas downswing hip turn, the Brooks Koepka restricted-backswing hip turn and the Jordan Spieth and Jamie Sadllowski bent left elbow… with a little Tiger Woods 2000 left-knee snap when I need some extra power.” OK, maybe it’s a small bit of exaggeration that someone would try all of these, but I have heard multiple people regale of putting 2-3 of those moves in after a bad round that didn’t mesh with their downtrending index.

An 8-handicap comes to me for his first lesson. He had shot in the 70’s four of his last five rounds and shot a career best in the last of the five. All of the sudden, those friendly slight mishits that rhyme with the place where we keep our money show up. First a few here and there and then literally every shot. He shows up and shanks 10 wedges in a row and is literally ready to cry. I said, “Go home, take this week off and come back… and what’s your favorite beer?”

He comes back the next week, pulls a club and goes to hit one. I tell him to have a seat. I hand him a beer and we talk football for 15 minutes. Then I pull out my iPad and show him exactly why he is hitting shanks. I tell him one setup issue and one intent change and ask him to go hit one. It was slightly on the heel, but not a shank and very thin. I said to do both changes a bit more. The second one — perfect divot, small draw and on target. I walk over, put my hand up for a high five and say, “Awesome job! Great shot!”

He leaves me hanging and says, ”Yeah, but I hit it in the toe.”

Don’t judge him. Every day I have people with 50-yard slices toned down to 15-20 yards saying the ball is still slicing. These are people who won’t accept a fade, but slam their club when it over draws 15 feet left of the target… and so on. I can’t judge or be angry; I used to be these guys, too. During a one-hour lesson, I often hear people get frustrated with themselves for thin and fat, left and right, heel and toe. Apparently, anything not hunting flags or hit out of a dime-sized area is an epic fail. I also get emails the next day saying the fault and miss is still there.

GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK!

My big miss has always been a big block, often in the heel. Instead, I now often hit a pull in the left fairway bunker out of the toe. I celebrate like I’m Kool & the Gang and it’s 1999… and I get strange looks from everyone. I can manage a 10-15 yard low, slightly drawn pull. I cannot not manage a 40-50 yard in the atmosphere block… that cuts.

So, now that I have described all of US as pathetic, let’s see what we can do.

  1. Be hard on yourself, be competitive and set lofty goals all you want… but you need to accept at least a one-side miss. If you hate hitting thin, weak fades, you need to allow yourself a slightly heavy over draw. Not allowing yourself any miss will make you miss every shot.
  2. Generally, the better the player, the larger the pool of results that are used to judge success. Pros judge themselves over months and years. High-handicappers judge themselves on their previous shot. Do you think pros make a swing change after 10 good shots and one minor miss? We all seem to think that course of action is astute. Bad shot, must have done something wrong… HULK MUST FIX!
  3. Don’t judge your shots on a pass/fail grade. Grade yourself A-F. Are you going to feel better after 10 A’s, 25 B’s, 15 C’s, 4 D’s and 1 F… or 10 passes and 40 fails? If every non-perfect shot is seen as a failure, your subconscious will do something different in order to please you. Again, 40 different swings.
  4. Improving your swing and scores is a lot like losing weight. No one expects to make changes in a diet and exercise routine and lose 20 pounds in one day, yet golfers expect a complete overhaul in a small bucket. Give yourself realistic time frames for improvement. “I’m a 12. By the end of next year, I want to be an 8.”  That’s your goal, not whether or not your last range session was the worst in a month. It’s a bad day; that is allowed. Major champions miss cuts and all of them not named Tiger Woods don’t change their swings. They try and do better next week… and they nearly always do.
  5. DO NOT measure yourself either on the mechanics of your swing or your scoring results according to some arbitrary standard of perfection… and especially not against tour players. Measure yourself against yourself. Think Ty Webb. Is your swing better than it was 6 months ago? Do you hit it better than 6 months ago? Are you scoring better than 6 months ago? If you can say yes to at least two of those questions, your swing looking like Adam Scott is less relevant than the color of golf tee you use.

That is a winning formula, and just like bad habits in your swing, you can’t wake up one morning and tell yourself you’re no longer into self flagellation. It takes effort and practice to improve your approach and get out of your own way… but more importantly, have some fun.

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Opinion & Analysis

15 hot takes from Greg Norman on our 19th Hole podcast

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Our Michael Williams spoke with the Great White Shark himself, Greg Norman, for GolfWRX’s 19th Hole podcast. Not surprisingly, the two-time major champion had no shortage of hot takes.

While you’ll want to check out the full ‘cast, here are 15 takes of varying degrees of hotness, from Norman’s feelings about bifurcation to whether he’d pose for ESPN’s Body Issue.

1) He wants bifurcation immediately, rolling back technology for the pros, rolling it forward for amateurs

“I would instigate a bifurcation of the rules. I would roll back the golf ball regulations to pre-1996. I would roll back the technology that’s in the golf equipment for the professionals. And I would open up the technology and give it to the masses because the pros who developed the maximum club head speed of 118, 120 are the ones who maximize what technology is in that piece of equipment. So the person who’s under 100 miles an hour does not hit the ball an extra 30, 35 yards at all. They may pick up a few yards but they don’t get the full benefit of that technology…I would definitely do that because I think we’ve gotta make the game more fun for the masses. “

2) He has no relationship with Tiger Woods and doesn’t plan to watch him play golf

“And this might sound kind of strange. What I’ll say is … I really, in all honesty, I really don’t care what Tiger does with golf. I think Tiger is, golf probably needs him to some degree but golf doesn’t need him, if you know what I mean, because there’s so many other incredibly talented great young players out there, probably a dozen of them, maybe even more, that are equal, if not way better than Tiger, and they can carry the baton of being the number one player in the world. So, I get a little bit perplexed about and disappointed about how some of these guys get pushed into the background by the attention Tiger gets. I hope he does well. If he doesn’t do well, it doesn’t bother me. If he does do well, it doesn’t bother me.”

3) He plays almost no golf these days

“I really don’t play a lot of golf. I played with my son in the father-son at the end of last year, had a blast with him. Played a little bit of golf preparing for that. But since then I have not touched a golf club.”

4) He doesn’t enjoy going to the range anymore

“To be honest with you I’m sick and tired of being on the driving range hitting thousands and thousands of golf balls. That bores me to death now. My body doesn’t like it to tell you the truth. Since I’ve stopped playing golf I wake up without any aches and pains and I can go to the gym on a regular basis without aches and pains. So my lifestyle is totally different now. My expectations, equally, is totally different.”

5) It took him a long time to get used to recreational golf

“But I’ve been in this mode now for quite a few years now so the first couple of years, yes. My body was not giving me what my brain was expecting. So you do have to make those mental adjustments. Look, there’s no difference than when you hit 40, you’re a good player or not a good player. Things start to perform differently. Your proprioception is different. Your body is different. I don’t care how good you are and how great physical shape you are. Your body after just pure wear and tear, it eventually does tend to break down a little bit. And when you’re under the heat of the battle and under the gun, when you have to execute the most precise shot, your body sometimes doesn’t deliver what you want.”

6) He’s a big Tom Brady fan

“I’m a big fan, big admirer of his. He gets out of it what he puts into it obviously…But he’s also a role model and a stimulator for his teammates. No question, when you go to play Brady and the Patriots, you’d better bring your A game because he’s already got his A game ready to go.”

7) He believes we’ll see 50-plus-year-old winners on Tour

“I said this categorically when Tom Watson nearly won at Turnberry in his 50s, when I nearly won at Royal Birkdale in my 50s….if you keep yourself physically in good shape, flexibility in good shape, as well as your swing playing, and your swing. Yeah, maybe the yips come in maybe they don’t, that depends on the individual, right? But at the end of the day, my simple answer is yes. I do believe that’s going to happen.”

8) The Shark logo has been vital to his post-golf success

“But I realized very early on in life too that every athlete, male or female, no matter what sports you play you’re a finite entity. You have a finite period of time to maximize your best performance for X number of years. And with golf, if you look at it historically, it’s almost like a 15 year cycle. I had my 15 year run. Every other player has really has had a 15 year run, plus or minus a few years.”

“So you know you have that definitive piece of time you got to work with and then what you do after that is understanding what you did in that time period. And then how do you take that and parlay it? I was lucky because I had a very recognizable logo. It wasn’t initials. It wasn’t anything like that. It was just a Great Shark logo. And that developed a lot of traction. So I learned marketing and branding very, very quickly and how advantageous it could be as you look into the future about building your businesses.”

9) He’s tried to turn on-course disappointments into positives

“We all … well I shouldn’t say we all. I should say the top players, the top sports men and women work to win. Right? And when we do win that’s what we expected ourselves to do because we push ourselves to that limit. But you look at all the great golfers of the past and especially Jack Nicklaus, it’s how you react to a loss is more important than how you react to a victory. And so, I learned that very, very early on. And I can’t control other people’s destiny. I can’t control what other people do on the golf course. So I can only do what I do. When I screw up, I use that as a very strong study point in understanding my weakness to make sure that I make a weakness a strength.”

10) Jordan Spieth is best suited to be the top player in the world

“I think that Jordan is probably the most balanced, with best equilibrium in the game. He’s probably, from what I’m seeing, completely in touch with the responsibilities of what the game of golf and the success in the game of golf is.”

11) His golf design is built on two pillars

“Two things: Begin with the end in mind and the least disturbance approach. I think we, the industry of golf course design industry, really did the game of golf a major disservice in the 80s and 90s when everybody was leveraged to the hilt, thought they had unlimited capital, and thought they could just go build these big golf courses with big amounts of money invested in with magnificent giant club houses which weren’t necessary. So, we were actually doing a total disservice to the industry because it was not sustainable.”

12) He’s still not happy about having essentially invented the WGC events and not getting credit

“I’ll always be a little bit salty about that because there’s a saying that I keep telling everybody, “slay the dreamer.” I came up with a pretty interesting concept where the players would be the part owners of their own tour or their own destiny and rewarded the riches if they performed on the highest level. And quite honestly, Michael, actually a friend of mine sent me an article, it was a column written, “Shark and Fox Plan to Take a Bite out of the PGA”. And this is written in 11/17/94 and I literally just got it last night. And I’m reading through this article and I’m going, “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, I was ahead of my time!” I really was ahead of my time.

So, it was very, very kind of like a reflective moment for me. I read it again this morning with a cup of coffee and I did sit back and, I’ll be brutally honest with you and your listeners, and did sit back and I did get a little bit angry because of the way I was portrayed, the way I was positioned.”

13) He was muzzled by the producer at Fox

“I’m not going to dig deep into this, I think there was just a disconnect between the producer and myself. I got on really well with the director and everybody else behind the scenes, some of my thought processes about what I wanted to talk about situations during the day, and it just didn’t pan out. And things that I wanted to say, somebody would be yelling in my ear, “Don’t say it, don’t say it!” So it became a very much a controlled environment where I really didn’t feel that comfortable.”

14) Preparation wasn’t the problem during his U.S. Open broadcast

“I was totally prepared so wherever this misleading information comes saying I wasn’t prepared, I still have copious notes and folders about my preparation with the golf course, with the players, with the set-up, with conditioning. I was totally prepared. So that’s an assumption that’s out there that is not true. So there’s a situation where you can please some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time.

15) He would do ESPN’s Body Issue

“Of course I’d do it. I think I like being fit. I think on my Instagram account I probably slipped a few images out there that created a bit of a stir…And I enjoy having myself feel good. And that’s not an egotistical thing, it’s just none of my, most of my life I’ve been very healthy fit guy and if somebody like ESPN wants to recognize that, yeah of course I would consider doing it.”

Don’t forget to listen to the full podcast here!

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TG2: “If you could only play one brand, what would it be?” (Part 2)

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“If you could only play one brand, what would it be?” Brian Knudson and Andrew Tursky debate their choices in part 2 of this podcast (click here in case you missed Part 1). Also, TG2 welcomes special guest and GolfWRX Forum Member Ed Settle to the show to discuss what clubs he has in the bag.

Listen to our podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

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