Originally Posted by Hoosier Red
There's a bit of a circuitous argument to this as well though.
I don't think anyone would argue fields are deeper now than when Nicklaus was playing. So it logically follows that if there are more players capable of winning a random tournament, then the number of tournaments top players would be expected to win would come down.
So it's not Tiger that is necessarily taking tournament victories away from the likes of Mickelson, Els, and Furyk. Rather its there are more random guys capable of winning one tournament and/or major by having a completely ridiculous week.
I think this is correct. Jack grew up in the 50s before the golf boom. He turned pro in 1961. At that time, there were about 5 million golfers in the US. It was pretty much entirely a country club, elitist sport.
When Tiger turned pro, there were over 25 millions golfers in the US and while it was still skewed towards the affluent, it was dramatically different than it was in the 50s. Many of the guys on tour now would have not even played golf had they grown up in the 50s.
The junior golf programs that exist these days were not in existence back then either. Golf is available to a much larger portion of the population now than it was back then, and there are player development programs now that prepare talented golfers for competitive golf at very young ages. I think there are many more guys capable of winning on tour now than ever before. That's why you don't see as many multi-winners.