Learning the Game

Mondays With Mike Bradshaw – Tiger vs. Jack

So the average sports fan made it through the last five weeks by watching "The Last Dance" documentary about Michael Jordan and the '97-'98 Chicago Bulls team and probably woke up this morning knowing what she/he had already known--Jordan was the best then and continues to be the best ever basketball player.

Jack Nicklaus PHOTO: by Caleb Smith/Speaker John Boehner/Flickr Commons

So the average sports fan made it through the last five weeks by watching “The Last Dance” documentary about Michael Jordan and the ’97-’98 Chicago Bulls team and probably woke up this morning knowing what she/he had already known–Jordan was the best then and continues to be the best ever basketball player. 

But what about golf?  Well, the debate comes down to two players that go by one name in the game: Jack and Tiger. 

Here’s the “Tale of the Tape”

Jack: 18 Major Championships (plus 2 U.S. Amateurs), 73 PGA tour victories

Tiger: 15 Major Championships (plus 3 U.S. Amateurs), 83 PGA Tour victories 

The debate could go on forever–and probably will…

Jack: “played against inferior competition”, “didn’t have the athletes like they do now”… 

Tiger: “went ten years between majors”, “peaked at 33 and then fell apart physically”, and of course “hasn’t won as many majors”… 

But think of how we are splitting hairs–just to determine “who is the best”.  What if we agree that they both were generational talents and the game is unbelievably lucky to have had them both. 

One carried the game on his shoulders through the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s and then the other picked it up in the mid-’90s and has carried it since. 

Tiger Woods PHOTO: Joe Calabro

That’s the amazing part when you think of it–that the game has been on the shoulders of two major players, basically, for over 60 years (with a TON of excellent sidekicks, if you call Arnie, Watson, Faldo, and Phil, among others, “sidekicks”). 

Find me another sport that can say the same—you are going to be looking for a while…

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