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Individual Greatness

My friends and I got into a very enjoyable debate last night over the importance of winning majors in golf. I am of the opinion that how many majors a player wins should only be a minor consideration, if a consideration at all when determining a player’s individual greatness. Let me explain. Everybody knows that Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods are the two greatest golfers of all time. I don’t know that you’ll find anybody who will argue that point. Now’s where I verge into Bill Simmons hypothetical territory.

What if I buttoned one more button?

What if Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus had been born in the same year?

For the sake of this argument we’ll say Tiger was born around the same time as Jack. Also, we’ll disregard all the racism he would’ve faced and say he had the same upbringing as he did in his real life. With me so far? Ok so both players have tremendous careers and develop one of the greatest rivalries in sports. Because they’re always competing with each other, they often push each other and record record lows on major courses. But because they’re dividing wins between the two of them both end their careers with 9 Majors. Which in this alternate history puts them in a tie for second behind Walter Hagen.

I only play sports with a business casual dress policy.

Phil’s Big Break

Thirty years after Jack and Tiger’s epic run, Phil Mickelson bursts onto the golf scene. Remember this Phil is exactly the same golfer as the real Phil we know and dislike. With no Tiger around to dominate Phil has an amazing career and sets a new career record for major victories with 13, and is widely considered to be the greatest golfer to play the sport. But we as outside time lordesque observers know that Tiger is superior player compared to Phil. We know it. We’ve seen it with our eyes. But in this alternate timeline everyone knows that Phil is better than Tiger. He won more majors and it wasn’t his fault that he didn’t have as tough of competition.


What does all of this mean?

Honestly, I don’t even really know exactly what point I’m making with this post. I guess it’s that winning Majors is an overrated stat and that legacy is as much a matter of circumstance as it is of ability….I guess


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