Re: Tiger vs. Jack
I'll chime in now since I started the whole discussion. First of all, there's clearly no right answer. Both Tiger and Jack, and other mentioned, are clearly the eliite of the elite in the sport's history.
My analysis of the question also comes down to technology and competition. I agree with Hoosier about the competition making what Tiger is doing these days all the more impressive (and the equpiment which I'll get to is a big part of the reason). There's just so many more great players today than there's ever been. You might not have those 5 dominating personalities (although Els, Singh, Goosen, and Phil are pretty big names) these days because the overall talent level is so much higher coming from outside the top 10. The difference between the top players and the 50th best player in the world today is much smaller than in Jack's day, IMO. Like Hoosier said, on any given week, there are dozens of players with the game to win on the PGA Tour. That wasn't always true. That's why you see so many no names winnign golf tournaments these days. It seems like every time I turn around there's 2 names in the top 5 of tournaments I've never heard of and I follow the game pretty closely.
As for technology, my opinion is that technology helps the lesser players much more than the great ones because you don't have to be quite as precise. i'm not suggesting it doesn't also help the great players quite a bit, but the great ones were always the most precise. It takes a bigger miss these days to make shot go bad. You don't have to have a perfect swing to hit good golf shots. I think technology has done more to level the playing field than anything else.
The thing that stands out to me is that a decade ago I never thought anyone would dominate the game of golf again. There would always be great players, but I didn't think it was capable of being dominated. Prior to Tiger there really hadn't been anyone who dominated the game since Jack Nicklaus. Prior to Jack there was always one or two golfer who were able to crush the competition over a period of years. Since Nickalus and Watson in the late 70s, early 80s, it had been almost 20 years since Tiger started to dominate in 2000+. I think we were seeing the result of the explosion of the game to the mainstream and a much deeper talent pool and also the exponential and perpetual increase in technological innovation. As I mentioned earlier, I think this makes it more difficult for some to spearate themselves from the pack like Tige has.
Winning over 25% of your tournaments is something I didn't think possible in this era of golf and Tiger is doing it. Does anyone know Jack's winning percentage when he was in his prime?
I give the nod to Tiger, but it's not a slam dunk.
Grape works as a soda. Sort of as a gum. I wonder why it doesn't work as a pie. Grape pie? There's no grape pie. - Larry David