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Faldo vs. Mickelson, who was better?


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29 w/6m is better than 44 w/5m? Depends on your definition I guess.

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But the comparison I replied to was Lee versus Phil. Both played most of their career against the two GOAT’s. And the numbers are what they are. Phil has faced a tougher tour with the rest of the world competing omit way more often.

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Yes, just look at the number of guys that are within a stroke a round or so scoring average.

Look at the all time wins list. Very heavily dominated by the old guard. Last I looked 18 of the top 38 were born by 1912. Think about how long ago they competed. Is it possible they won more because there was less depth fighting for those wins? 31 of the 38 were born by 1950. Figure a 30 year career. Seems right at most? So 31 of the 38 were done with their career 40 years ago. Just 7 from that newer time frame are on the list. Are there more or fewer events to skew the numbers? Pretty sure it’s about the same. So what changed? International travel got easier. More players gravitated towards golf as a career. How many of the foreign Ryder Cup players did Lee and company face? In the majors some played but few played week in and week out.

You’re comparing apples to oranges. And even with all that The facts are Phil won 50% more times.**

 

ps and I’m not even a Phil fan.

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Scotty Cameron Newport Special Select 34” with flow neck by LaMont

 

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Both are great in their own respects.

Faldo was a golf machine is his heyday.

Phil's longevity on tour, his interaction with fans and the press, his record as amateur and pro, and the go for broke attitude on the course make him entertaining to watch.

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A full stroke difference . Pretty big over four rounds. 1.13 strokes between Justin Thomas and #60 last year. 1980 was 2.26.

 

For comparisons you have to cut it off somewhere. Go ahead and look at the list yourself for records. And look at some of the old fields. European golf in particular was devastating by the two wars and really did not start to come out of it until the fab five of Seve, Faldo, Langer, Lyle, Woosnam.

 

I have always been baffled by this. Do people not believe better athletes, better stronger ones with better training and nutrient and instruction make better golfers? Most will concede the modern athlete in all other sports is better than those of old. High school girls swim faster than Tarzan-Johnny Weismuller. And yet we are to believe golf peaked with Hogan.

I am an older guy-63- and watched the old guys 60’s and on in their prime. The new crop is better and their are more of them.

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Watson should have won the US Open again in 1983, but Larry Nelson made a 61' putt up ahead of him.

Phil could have won more, I believe, using the mini driver that he used to win at Muirfield. He wasn't quite as long with it, but he kept it in play, enabling his great short game to win for him. He almost won the US Open that year at Merion with that conservative driver strategy. It was the one year that Phil showed extra discipline.

Sorry to go off topic.

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I suspect that the lower scoring difference is due to the majority of PGA Tour events being played on courses that are practically the same these days which has made the modern pro golfer pretty much one-dimensional in their approach. Everything is played long and high with very little variation. Standardising the game has standardised the quality and below the top 20 it’s much of a muchness...and a tad unwatchable.

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IMO, the whole "athletes have evolved" in 10, 20, 30, 50 etc. years is a myth. Records improve because a sport matures, and/or equipment and technology advances allowing for better performance. But athletic ability is not going to change that much over that time period. There have been studies on this that make the point.

I mentioned earlier how Hogan's performances held up for decades. That's not to say his competition was as deep as today, but the sport was quite mature for quite some time when he played in his prime. He would be as outstanding today as he was in the 1950s. The same holds for any superior athlete from that time.

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Cool, we all have different opinions. I’m certainly not saying he would suck lol. But 30 wins in three years like he did? I doubt it. It’s not a short field these days.

 

Part of the reason the game has evolved to better athletes is because of the equipment, but in a manner that varies from your description. When I was a young lad the ideal height for a pro was 5’9”. Because of the steel shafts of the day it was a struggle to fit taller players. Today? So really the evolution of the sport, all sports...ok most...is because of who plays. I will believe humans in general have not evolved that much because you said so. I will say perhaps not, but the athletes sure have. Look at the basketball players of the 70’s versus now. Look at the celebrated undefeated Dolphins of ‘72 in football versus NFL players today. It may not be evolution but something is making players bigger stronger faster in all sports. Golf is not immune.

Callaway Epic Speed 9* playing at 8* PX Hzrdus Green 60s

Titleist TS3 strong 3 wood 13.5* PX Hzrdus. Smoke 75s

Titleist 818H2 19* hybrid Tensei Blue

Titleist TS3 23* Tensei Blue

Srixon ZX7 5-pw Nippon Pro Modus 125s

Taylormade MG2 50* DG S300

Callaway Jaws MD5 56* & 60* S200

Scotty Cameron Newport Special Select 34” with flow neck by LaMont

 

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The story I've read is that in 1992 Faldo went to Texas to meet Hogan. That is when Hogan told him that to win the US Open, shoot the lowest score. During lunch, Faldo asked Hogan if he would watch Faldo hit some balls on the range after lunch. Hogan declined. Faldo went to hit balls anyway and when someone asked Hogan if he would reconsider, he declined again because Faldo played Mizuno clubs and not Hogan clubs. Apparently many years earlier, Gary Player reneged on a handshake deal to use Hogan clubs after another clubmaker offered Player a better deal. This after Hogan sent Player a free set to use and gave him swing advice. So after that Hogan wasn't inclined to watch and give advice to a player using competing clubs. Given that, I doubt he called Faldo the best ballstriker ever.

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I don’t think better equipment has brought better athletes to the game. Rather better equipment allowed these better athletes to perform at even higher levels. Tiger Woods brought better athletes to golf. BT (before Tiger) golf just wasn’t cool for high school boys. The prevailing view of other high school kids at the time was the golf team was made up of kids who weren’t good enough to play other sports. Tiger is the one who made golf cool in 1997 and brought more kids, including better athletes, to the game.

As far as equipment, like steel shafts, holding back taller players I offer up Tom Weiskopf, Greg Norman, and Nick Faldo who did pretty well with persimmon woods, steel shafts, and blade irons.

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I remember reading an article where Tom Weiskopf mentioned that his clubs did not fit him very well but he was able to compensate for them. I don't have much doubt that he would shoot lower scores now days with equipment dialed in to his stature and his swing.

Interesting thoughts on Tiger bringing better athletes into the game.

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IMO there was little coincidence that Phil's career jumped to another level when the modern golf ball and super oversized drivers came along. He was certainly talented prior to that, but never one of the top tier of players like he would become, and I never remember him being considered in the upper echelon of bombers in the 90s like he was after that. Once the ProV1 style ball came out rather than wound balls, and 400CC drivers with it, he could go after the ball and attack courses with his length and not lose significant accuracy. If you look at his swing from the 90s it was so much more fluid and about control, once equipment changed you could see his driver swing let loose, totally different ballgame. Just go back and look at his swing from the 1999 US Open compared to now to see how much things changed. Had those changes not come along I'm not certain Phil would have had the success he had the past 20 years.

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I do credit Mickelson for adapting his game to what was then available, but that's a lot easier to do for somebody who was in his early 30s at the time in Mickelson as opposed to mid to late 40s in Faldo and Norman. It's very difficult to try to change your game entirely at a time when physical limitations begin to creep in, when you've had an entire career of playing differently.

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