Third Best Golfer Ever?

SST Pure

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Has to be Sam Snead. He has 94 PGA tour sanctioned wins, credited with 82 PGA tour wins. He won in 6 decades if you count Sr Tour wins. Oldest winner of a PGA event at 52 yrs, 10 mths. Oldest to make the cut in a Major at 67. First to shoot his age in a PGA event (67). All told Snead has a staggering 127 worldwide victories.
 

DataDude

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Of course. But I am just trying to figure out how best ever includes marketing?
If that is the case, Mickelson has to be in the conversation, and the data says otherwise.
I think when 2 guys are similar career wise then there overall contribution to the game can be considered. Arnie and Hogan definitely dominated their era and would be 3 and 4, but their careers are so close Arnie's contribution to golf makes a difference. I think Tiger and Jack are very similar here in that they both dominated the marketing during their careers so not much of an argument in either person's favor there.
 

golfinnut

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Ben Hogan. Then Snead and Palmer.
I like this order. Hogan could have dominated the game in his era if it weren't for the car accident. And that swing .... so pure.
 

JB

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I think when 2 guys are similar career wise then there overall contribution to the game can be considered. Arnie and Hogan definitely dominated their era and would be 3 and 4, but their careers are so close Arnie's contribution to golf makes a difference. I think Tiger and Jack are very similar here in that they both dominated the marketing during their careers so not much of an argument in either person's favor there.
So you would say Rickie Fowler could at least get some consideration for current status? Or only if its a tie?
FWIW, Jack was not marketable anywhere NEAR Tiger or Palmer. Much more so from 86 on than before. He had such little charisma in my opinion and was flat out boring.
 

smgoldstein

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Depends what your definition of best is. Accomplishments on the course or contributions to the game. For the former I'll go with Hogan or Bobby Jones. While Jones had a brief competitive career he did win the US Open, British Open, US Amateur and British Amateur in the same year-that will never happen again.
 

tequila4kapp

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Ben Hogan.
 

Drumdog

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Palmer...no wait...Hogan....no...Snead....no....Player.....um...um...um......I'm so confused !!!
 

redneckwop

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I have been reading through this whole thing and it is really hard to make a decision. I think it is because how are we defining it? I think there is an argument for Phil M to be the third best ever. Majors? Check. Wins, Check. Marketability? check. Strength of field? check.
[/QUOTE
First one that came to mind were of course Palmer, Hogan & Snead, but have to be in agreement with @NVGOLFER80
 

RNG

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Hogan for me, boring but great!
 

NVGOLFER80

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You also have to look at Phil's quality of play over a length of time. He was in the top 50 in world rankings for 25 years!!
 

fuffle master

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I am going to vote for Sam Snead.

Mr. Snead had the most wins until Tiger with 82, he won 7 majors, and more impressive is he won on the PGA tour for four decades.

Gotta give it up to Sam Snead:

A record 82 PGA Tour wins, spanning 1936 to 1965
Seven major championships, including three Masters and three PGA Championships
Oldest player to win, make a cut and shoot his age in PGA Tour history
Posted top 10s in majors in five different decades
 

PKorf

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Walter Hagen: Taken from an article on Bleacher Report:
PGA Tour Victories: 45
Majors Won: 11 (1914 U.S. Open, 1919 U.S. Open, 1921 PGA Championship, 1922 British Open, 1924 British Open, 1924 PGA Championship, 1925 PGA Championship, 1926 PGA Championship, 1927 PGA Championship, 1928 British Open, 1929 British Open)

Walter Hagen is one of three golfers to win at least 10 majors in his career. The others—Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus—are always the top two guys in any ranking of the greatest PGA golfers of all time. But in part because he played so long ago, Hagen is often an afterthought on these lists.
The most remarkable thing about Hagen's achievements was the limited opportunities he had to play in majors. He never won the Masters because it wasn't founded until 1934, which was well past his prime. And from 1915 to 1919 (ages 23-27 for Hagen), there was an average of just one major per year because of World War I. In all, there were 37 majors held from 1914 to 1929, and Hagen won 11 of them.
Though not officially considered one, the Western Open was effectively the fourth major during Hagen's time, as it was one of the events that all of the top golfers played. It was a tournament that Hagen won five times (1916, 1921, 1926, 1927, 1932) in his career, so some would argue he actually won 16 majors.
Hagen is often credited for making professional golf what it is today, championed by the World Golf Hall of Fame as "the world's first full-time tournament professional." Hagen is also considered perhaps the greatest match-play golfer ever, winning the PGA Championship four consecutive years (1924-27) when it was a match-play event.

Bobby Jones: Taken from same article
PGA Tour Victories: 9
Majors Won: 7 (1923 U.S. Open, 1926 U.S. Open, 1926 British Open, 1927 British Open, 1929 U.S. Open, 1930 U.S. Open, 1930 British Open)
Bobby Jones is the ultimate asterisk in the PGA's record books, winning seven majors despite only being eligible to play in 50 percent of them during his short career.

The Masters was not an event until Jones co-founded it in 1934—four years after he retired. Jones did play in the Masters on an exhibition basis from 1934 to 1948. However, it was the only tournament he played in beyond 1930, and he never finished in the top 10 of it.
And as an amateur, Jones wasn't allowed to compete in the PGA Championship. Instead, he played in the U.S. Amateur and the British Amateur, which were considered majors at the time. He won the former five times and the latter once, resulting in an unofficial total of 13 majors won.
Here's the kicker: Jones retired from golf at the age of 28, winning all 13 of his majors (seven official, six unofficial) in the span of eight years. By the same age, Tiger Woods had won eight majors and Jack Nicklaus had won seven. Sam Snead didn't even win a major until he was 30.
In 1930, Jones won the British Amateur, British Open, U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur, becoming the only player to ever win the pre-Masters Grand Slam in a single calendar year. Had he played professionally and done so for another decade or two, Jones might have been the best ever.
 

PKorf

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Walter Hagen: Taken from an article on Bleacher Report:
PGA Tour Victories: 45
Majors Won: 11 (1914 U.S. Open, 1919 U.S. Open, 1921 PGA Championship, 1922 British Open, 1924 British Open, 1924 PGA Championship, 1925 PGA Championship, 1926 PGA Championship, 1927 PGA Championship, 1928 British Open, 1929 British Open)

Walter Hagen is one of three golfers to win at least 10 majors in his career. The others—Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus—are always the top two guys in any ranking of the greatest PGA golfers of all time. But in part because he played so long ago, Hagen is often an afterthought on these lists.
The most remarkable thing about Hagen's achievements was the limited opportunities he had to play in majors. He never won the Masters because it wasn't founded until 1934, which was well past his prime. And from 1915 to 1919 (ages 23-27 for Hagen), there was an average of just one major per year because of World War I. In all, there were 37 majors held from 1914 to 1929, and Hagen won 11 of them.
Though not officially considered one, the Western Open was effectively the fourth major during Hagen's time, as it was one of the events that all of the top golfers played. It was a tournament that Hagen won five times (1916, 1921, 1926, 1927, 1932) in his career, so some would argue he actually won 16 majors.
Hagen is often credited for making professional golf what it is today, championed by the World Golf Hall of Fame as "the world's first full-time tournament professional." Hagen is also considered perhaps the greatest match-play golfer ever, winning the PGA Championship four consecutive years (1924-27) when it was a match-play event.

Bobby Jones: Taken from same article
PGA Tour Victories: 9
Majors Won: 7 (1923 U.S. Open, 1926 U.S. Open, 1926 British Open, 1927 British Open, 1929 U.S. Open, 1930 U.S. Open, 1930 British Open)
Bobby Jones is the ultimate asterisk in the PGA's record books, winning seven majors despite only being eligible to play in 50 percent of them during his short career.

The Masters was not an event until Jones co-founded it in 1934—four years after he retired. Jones did play in the Masters on an exhibition basis from 1934 to 1948. However, it was the only tournament he played in beyond 1930, and he never finished in the top 10 of it.
And as an amateur, Jones wasn't allowed to compete in the PGA Championship. Instead, he played in the U.S. Amateur and the British Amateur, which were considered majors at the time. He won the former five times and the latter once, resulting in an unofficial total of 13 majors won.
Here's the kicker: Jones retired from golf at the age of 28, winning all 13 of his majors (seven official, six unofficial) in the span of eight years. By the same age, Tiger Woods had won eight majors and Jack Nicklaus had won seven. Sam Snead didn't even win a major until he was 30.
In 1930, Jones won the British Amateur, British Open, U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur, becoming the only player to ever win the pre-Masters Grand Slam in a single calendar year. Had he played professionally and done so for another decade or two, Jones might have been the best ever.
Sam Sneed: might be the hidden gem. his stats here are just stupid
PGA Tour Victories: 82
Majors Won: 7 (1942 PGA Championship, 1946 British Open, 1949 Masters, 1949 PGA Championship, 1951 PGA Championship, 1952 Masters, 1954 Masters)

Though Sam Snead is nowhere close to first place in major championships, he is the all-time leader in PGA Tour victories.
There are three primary reasons Snead failed to win more than seven majors. The biggest one is that he only played the British Open five times in his career—compared to 44 times competing at the Masters. Per Bob Carter in a feature for ESPN, Snead only played in (and won) the 1946 British Open because of "contractual ties to a sponsor" at St. Andrews. From 1938 to 1961, that was the lone time he participated in the British Open, reducing his career chances to win majors by nearly 25 percent. World War II was another big factor, as a total of 14 majors were canceled from 1940 to 1945. Because of that, Snead missed out on a bunch of opportunities from ages 28 to 33—an age range in which Tiger Woods won six majors and Jack Nicklaus won five.
Last, but not least, the U.S. Open alluded Snead for his entire career. He had 12 top-10 finishes at the U.S. Open and was the runner-up four times, but that major was his white whale. Nevertheless, Snead won at least six events in six different years, the best of which was his 11-win season in 1950—though he didn't win a major that year, oddly enough. To this day, he is the oldest player to win a PGA Tour event, taking the 1965 Greater Greensboro Open at the age of 52 years, 10 months and eight days. And though his final major win came in 1954, Snead also finished top 10 in the PGA Championship in 1972, 1973 and 1974. He was 62 when he tied for third in the last of those three years.
 

DataDude

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So you would say Rickie Fowler could at least get some consideration for current status? Or only if its a tie?
FWIW, Jack was not marketable anywhere NEAR Tiger or Palmer. Much more so from 86 on than before. He had such little charisma in my opinion and was flat out boring.
I think with Palmer it's more like contribution to the game. He invented the concept of the majors, he made it a TV sport, he made golf popular nationwide. Rickie has no career to speak of. Sure he is a good marketer, but he hasn't contributed much to the game. Maybe some teenagers have seen him and decided golf is cool, but I don't know. Let's compare Fowler to someone on his level of play like Brysom Dechambeau or Xander Schaufele and then I would rank Rickie above those 2 because he has definitely done more for the sport than they have.
 

JB

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I think with Palmer it's more like contribution to the game. He invented the concept of the majors, he made it a TV sport, he made golf popular nationwide. Rickie has no career to speak of. Sure he is a good marketer, but he hasn't contributed much to the game. Maybe some teenagers have seen him and decided golf is cool, but I don't know. Let's compare Fowler to someone on his level of play like Brysom Dechambeau or Xander Schaufele and then I would rank Rickie above those 2 because he has definitely done more for the sport than they have.
So in your instance, Palmer is the greatest ever, outside of maybe Woods (and that is a huge maybe). Because nobody else in the game ever did more.
I never considered popularity as a best ever, but obviously everybody has their own criteria.

Larry Bird and Magic Johnson are without a doubt the greatest basketball players ever too then because that league was bankrupt without them. Interesting scenarios, thanks for spelling it out for me.
 

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Tom Morris Jnr. If you have never heard of him, look him up (although it would be tough to argue against AP)
 

mtbloco

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It's hard to take the emotion out of this. Because those skins games with Jack, Arnie, and Gary have such a hold on me. The kid forged memory says Arnie is the best. So he has to be the answer for this. I always had this odd feeling that Player was added to be polite. Obviously I did not know (understand) his accomplishments.

So this moves Hogan into the 3 spot.



Who am I kidding, it's the KIng!
 

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My first thought is Palmer, but I think a strong case could be made for Snead too. It's hard for me to separate all of Palmer's contributions to golf from the pure numbers.
 

RetiredBoomer

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I'll go with amateur Bobby Jones after Tiger and Jack.
But it's really a very subjective call giving the best players over multiple generations an ordinal ranking.
 

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Most make the case that Jack and Tiger are the two best ever and argue constantly about which is on top. Not as often discussed is who is next on the list? So many thoughts, who do you have and why?
No doubt it is Ben Hogan. And you can argue he is in the top two or even the GOAT.
 

Grins

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I think when 2 guys are similar career wise then there overall contribution to the game can be considered. Arnie and Hogan definitely dominated their era and would be 3 and 4, but their careers are so close Arnie's contribution to golf makes a difference. I think Tiger and Jack are very similar here in that they both dominated the marketing during their careers so not much of an argument in either person's favor there.
I don't know if you can really say that Arnold Palmer dominated his era, because Jack Nicklaus started so soon after Arnie started playing. Palmer won only 3 majors after Nicklaus joined the tour, and none after 1964, so his major winning years were confined to a 7-year stretch.

And Palmer TOTALLY crushed Jack in the marketing/popularity dept. Arnold Palmer was beloved, while Jack was respected (and maybe admired).
 

LICC

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I think when 2 guys are similar career wise then there overall contribution to the game can be considered. Arnie and Hogan definitely dominated their era and would be 3 and 4, but their careers are so close Arnie's contribution to golf makes a difference. I think Tiger and Jack are very similar here in that they both dominated the marketing during their careers so not much of an argument in either person's favor there.
I love Arnie but he in no way can be considered as being a better golfer than Ben Hogan.
 

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If I were to agree with the premise that Jack and Tiger are 1 and 2, it would hands down be Jones for me.



IMO Jones is the greatest golfer of all time, though.
 

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