I am always intrigued when discussions in sports turn to who is the best in history. Dan Jenkins, one of the greatest sports writers ever, has just come out with a book covering the Majors in golf. He has not missed one in about 45 years.
I found his comparisons (I've only read excerpts from the book) to be very interesting. I have lived through the Jack Nicklaus era, as well as the Tiger Woods era. I would probably favor Tiger over the Golden Bear -- but only by a whisker (get it). But who knows, with the equipment improvements, etc.
Jenkins says that Tiger is so dominant because there is no one else who can stand up to him. He reminds us that when Nicklaus was winning his majors, he was battling Palmer (7 majors), Player (9 majors), Watson (8 majors) and Trevino (6 majors). In fact, Jack came in SECOND in 19 majors. Who does Tiger have? Mickelson (3), Els (2), Singh (2), Harrington (2). The fields are deeper today, but the legitimate challengers are just not there.
Asked to pick one player who would win on a given day, Jenkins chose Ben Hogan.
Such statistics are fun to discuss, but impossible to measure for sure. I do think it would be safe to say that you could pick the best handful of players in history: Bobby Jones, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods (OK, more than a handful). Not many could argue with that.