A friend sent me this great article this morning written by Chis Chase of USA Today Sports titled: 11 reason Jack Nicklaus is better than Tiger Woods!
This was such a great read comparing the two best players in the golf that I had to repost. I especially like number 3’s “Logo Domination.” I’ve always hated Woods’ logo!
Very interesting discussion, which will undoubtedly continue for at least another 15 years. The most interesting fact: Nicklaus played 40+ round at Augusta National after he turned 50! That’s incredible.
Woods is currently 37 and still had a lot of time left if he can stay healthy. He needs to get moving though having not won a Major since 2008 (US Open).
Let me know what you think. Original article can be found here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/gameon/2013/04/15/tiger-woods-jack-nicklaus-comparison/2083049/
11 reasons Jack Nicklaus is better than Tiger Woods
Chris Chase, USA TODAY Sports3:56 p.m. EDT April 15, 2013
We’ve been debating the Jack Nicklaus vs. Tiger Woods question ever since that historic 1997 Masters and we’ll be debating it for decades to come. But what if we had to have that discussion today? No predictions for the future or presumed milestones. What if Tiger Woods suddenly announced his retirement from golf after the Masters and never played again. Who would go down as the best in history?
Woods’ highs have been greater. The Tiger Slam. Those dominating wins at Augusta National, Pebble Beach and St. Andrews. An unprecedented run of seven majors in 11 starts. A record-setting streak of cuts made.
He still can’t touch Nicklaus. If we’re comparing two careers, one that’s complete and one that’s complete for the sake of this discussion, Nicklaus is an easy winner. So, with the following caveats – Nicklaus and Woods are 1A and 1B on the all-time list; these facts pro-Jack, not anti-Tiger; and that all of this can change over the next 15 years – USA TODAY Sports presents 11 reasons why Jack Nicklaus is greater than Tiger Woods.
1. Jack was second-best the most
Nicklaus finished second in 19 majors, and Woods has six runner-up results. Nicklaus had 48 top-three finishes at Slams, twice as many as Woods.
2. The competition
Overall, the current depth of fields and reach of international talent exceeds that in the days of Nicklaus. There are more talented golfers coming from more diverse locales, but very few of Woods’ contemporaries have stepped up in majors. The two active players with more than three major titles – Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els – are rarely direct rivals for Woods. Nicklaus, on the other hand, played with Gary Player (nine majors), Tom Watson (eight), Arnold Palmer (seven), Lee Trevino (six) and Seve Ballesteros (five). While Nicklaus finished second more than 10 times to players on that list, Woods’ runner-up finishes have been to one-hit wonders like Trevor Immelman, Zach Johnson, Rich Beem, Y.E. Yang and Michael Campbell. There have been few worthy adversaries.
3. Logo domination
I play a lot of golf. (Correction: I’m often at golf courses trying to act like I play golf.) And even though it’s 2013 and the Nicklaus brand is mostly forgotten, I’ve seen a Golden Bear logo more recently than a TW logo. Were the Nike guys who came up with the swoosh and jumpman logo on vacation when it came time to design Woods’ emblem? It looks like an upside-down pitchfork.
4. Consistency and longevity
Tiger has played 74 rounds at Augusta National and has a scoring average of 70.86, the best in history. That’s more than one stroke better than Nicklaus’ per-round average of 71.98. But consider: Nicklaus made 43 starts at the Masters over a span of nearly a half-century. Of his 163 rounds at the tournament, more than 40 were played after he turned 50 years old. That Nicklaus was able to keep his average under par for his career after playing so many non-competitive rounds is an underrated and remarkable achievement.
One more insane Nicklaus stat: From the 1970 British Open through the 1978 British Open, he finished in the top 10 in 31 of 33 majors. In the two in which he didn’t, he tied for 11th and 13th.
5. The lack of drama
In terms of his golf legacy, Woods’ past shouldn’t count any more or less than Nicklaus’ scandal-free career. But it will. Like it or not, there are many who root against Woods because of his philandering, and that undoubtedly will affect how he’s remembered. As for me, I don’t dislike Tiger Woods because of his sordid affairs, but I like Jack Nicklaus for his lack of them.
6. Inspiration and ambassadorship
When Woods was growing up, he had a poster of Nicklaus on his wall. But Nicklaus’ reach extends further than that – the Golden Bear designs courses and promotes golf all around the world. Granted, Woods is too young and too busy to have such a global golf footprint, but it feels safe to say that 20 years from now we’ll still be debating who was the greater golfer, but there won’t be an argument about golf’s best ambassador. That always will be Nicklaus.
7. Nicklaus was better at Augusta during his prime
If Augusta National is the best test in golf, Nicklaus earned slightly better marks. From 1963 to 1979, Nicklaus played in 17 Masters, won five titles and had 14 top-10 finishes. From 1997 through this year, Woods played in 17 Masters, won four and had 13 top-10 finishes. Advantage: Nicklaus.
8. Late Sunday at the Masters
Their two greatest Masters moments happened on the final three holes, under the eyes of CBS announcer Verne Lundquist. Nicklaus had the famous “yes sir!” birdie putt in 1986 on No. 17. Woods had the famous hanging-on-the-edge chip-in 19 years later on the 16th hole. These are both supremely awesome and we’ll call it a wash.
9. The comebacks
As you may have heard once or 500 times, Woods never has come from behind to win on the final day of a major. Nicklaus had eight final-day comebacks in majors.
10. Tiger himself says it
“He’s the greatest champion that’s ever lived,” Woods said of Nicklaus after winning the Memorial in 2012. Part of that was the standard lip service you pay to Nicklaus after winning his tournament, but part of it is knowing only one stat matters.
11. It’s all about the majors
The count is still 18 to 14 in favor of Nicklaus. In order to surpass him, Woods needs to win five more majors. (Forget all the talk of four wins you hear on television – no one ever sets out to tie a record.) How big is that task? Only 14 golfers have won five or more majors. Mickelson hasn’t, and neither has Els. Five is the career total for legends of the game like Ballesteros and Byron Nelson. Of those two players, neither won a major when he was older than 33.
This is a simple debate. The man with the most major championships is the greatest golfer in history. There are arguments to be made in Woods’ defense, but even he has to admit that until he gets to 19, he’s just chasing down the Golden Bear.