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Phil Debate - Top 10 All Time


cardoustie
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I think the 15-20 crew was assuming he was stuck on 5.

 

But ask again in a year and the answers will be more objective. 

 

I haven't thought about it enough or know enough about the older players (pre-1950s or so) to have a real opinion.  But it's got to be very close either way.  T8 total PGA wins and T12 Major wins.

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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, cardoustie said:

I’ve got Phil sitting 8th or 9th personally and I know a lot of golfers have him down around 15-20.

 

In my eyes his major count of six across three different majors, with six US Open runner ups is huge.  The competitive era of his fields, and in Tiger’s timeline, is also a big factor.  Throw in the incredible longevity of his career as well .. he has won across 4 decades.  (That always comes up with the Jack vs Tiger talk, particularly before Tiger’s recent Masters)

 

I also tweeted Chamblee and Lerner on the spacing of his PGA wins, 16 years ... and that is also a record

 

The top guys are always the usual for most golf junkies ... Jack, Tiger, Jones, Palmer, Hogan, Nelson, etc.  I have him ahead of guys with more majors.

 

For those that do not think he is top 10 all time ... what factors would make him cross that threshold for you?

 

Getting a 7th major?  Getting to 50 wins?  Winning the US Open for a career Grand Slam?

 

(Side note:   I don’t think the new driver he got into, going back to blades (more spin) and playing mostly tee ball fades is getting enough credit for the Kiawah win)

I was laughing at Jaime last night - he flat out says before the final round that if Phil wins he still isn't top 10, then Phil wins and, lol, he's now magically in Jaimie's top 10 - he was overcome with the wave of popularity and just couldn't stick to his guns.

 

Then . . . . I'm reading this post this morning, and looking at all time wins and majors and I don't see how he isn't considered top 10.  

 

I can stick him in at T9 or maybe even 8 and make a good argument and this win does make a difference.  At some point, handling Bobby Jones and even Harry Vardon become issues of where generationally some players belong and how you define the list.  I can still make an argument that includes historical impact on the game and all that where Phil is sitting at 10 or 11 and honestly, what's wrong with that?  But in general, he's inside my top 10 now, FWIW, even though I'm pretty much an add up the majors guy (which is one of those things that puts Jones in a different category, IMO).

 

However, there is no "woulda, shoulda" - your record is your record, you don't get to say just because you played in Tiger's era and finally won some majors you are better than you are.

 

So like Jaime, I'm waffling but I waited 12 hours before giving in!

Edited by Hawkeye77
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9 minutes ago, Hawkeye77 said:

At some point, handling Bobby Jones and even Harry Vardon become issues of where generationally some players belong and how you define the list. 

 

Glad that someone has said this. Seen a lot of comments questioning the achievements of Tom Morris Snr & Jnr, etc, etc but not one raising question marks over Jones, Vardon heck, even Hagen. 

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14 minutes ago, Hawkeye77 said:

I was laughing at Jaime last night - he flat out says before the final round that if Phil wins he still isn't top 10, then Phil wins and, lol, he's now magically in Jaimie's top 10 - he was overcome with the wave of popularity and just couldn't stick to his guns.

 

Then . . . . I'm reading this post this morning, and looking at all time wins and majors and I don't see how he isn't considered top 10.  

 

I can stick him in at T9 or maybe even 8 and make a good argument and this win does make a difference.  At some point, handling Bobby Jones and even Harry Vardon become issues of where generationally some players belong and how you define the list.  I can still make an argument that includes historical impact on the game and all that where Phil is sitting at 10 or 11 and honestly, what's wrong with that?  But in general, he's inside my top 10 now, FWIW.

 

However, there is no "woulda, shoulda" - your record is your record, you don't get to say just because you played in Tiger's era and finally won some majors you are better than you are.

 

So like Jaime, I'm waffling but I waited 12 hours before giving in!

People love to throw out the "all time" moniker in the media, and I'm glad Jaime gave him his due, eventually.  His all-time win total is impressive, but if we're going to use the majors as a reference, I'd agree with your assessment.  Definitely top 10, but barely so.  Historical impact is an important distinction.  Popularity is nice, but when you put his name in the historical bucket, I'd be hard pressed to name many significant achievements to set his name apart from true titans of the game.  Sorry to offend all those Phil fans out there, but I'm with Hawkeye here.

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2 minutes ago, MtlJeff said:

I know a lot of points have been made about difficulty comparing eras, but i just can't get past how much more capitalized golf and pro sports are in general now vs 30-40+ years ago. All the different countries that participate , the money drawing in all the top talent etc.

 

The fact that Phil has accumulated this record playing in the era of Tiger, as well as the most capitalized era in the history of pro sports overall (present time essentially) needs to be factored in heavily

 

His longevity and consistency is Kareem-like. It sounds so crazy to use "consistency" and Phil in the same sentence --But overall it makes sense. The guy has been a top player in the world for 25+ years. How many times has Phil really been in a prolonged slump? He's been good every single year. He was a superstar before we knew Tiger and has now won a major after Tiger's career has all but ended.

 

He absolutely has to be in the top 10 . If he's not in yours you need to find someone to take out

I'm biased because Phil is by far my favorite golfer ever.  I'll avoid ranking but I think your case for him is strong.  Regardless of if he's top 10 or top 15 the fact that he won as an amateur and is now the oldest major champ ever is amazing.  He just beat a guy 20 years younger than him with 4 majors and won a WGC a few years ago in a playoff with JT.  The fact that his career accomplishments not only includes being the #2 player of his generation but also includes a couple scalps from the next generation is really cool. 

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Yes.  i got him at 9.  Phil just beat the deepest field in golf at age 50 (almost 51).  That's historical and he also got his 6 in the modern era.  No offense to Hagen or Sarazen but they only had to beat a very very small group of guys.  Jones only had a field of 600 for his US Am wins.  

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6 minutes ago, tiderider said:

jack & tiger/1 & 2 ... hogan, snead, jones, hagen/3-6 ... player, palmer, watson/7-9 ... player won a career slam, arnie's arnie, & watson (8 majors & 35 wins) had 4 straight seasons of 5 wins or more, to phil's few seasons of 4 wins ... sarazen won the career slam and has 7 majors/40 wins or so ... that's 10th ... phil's in the 11-13 range, between faldo & trevino ... maybe 11 after the win ... personally never seen anyone with him in the 15-20 range ... 

I think if you ask people in a year, this answer will be more common.  As I mentioned above, I think it gets messy when dealing with the guys pre-1950s or so.  But I don't think he's ahead of Sarazen or Watson.

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1 minute ago, agolf1 said:

I think if you ask people in a year, this answer will be more common.  As I mentioned above, I think it gets messy when dealing with the guys pre-1950s or so.  But I don't think he's ahead of Sarazen or Watson.

i mean, i get it ... he's popular and part of our last 30 years, but that top 10 is hard to crack ... there ain't no slouches ... nelson goes in there somewhere ... if not top 10, then he's in there with faldo, phil, seve, trevino in that 11-15 range ... 

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12 minutes ago, tiderider said:

i mean, i get it ... he's popular and part of our last 30 years, but that top 10 is hard to crack ... there ain't no slouches ... nelson goes in there somewhere ... if not top 10, then he's in there with faldo, phil, seve, trevino in that 11-15 range ... 

Depending on how you define things or set the criteria, you can get him (Phil) in one of the last few spots in the Top 10.  I don't know that what is the top 10 can ever really be resolved.  For me, it is more a recency bias issue -- people now think he's the favorite to Torrey Pines or that he's going to win 2 more (majors).  All possible - hope he does it.  But how many people took him at 3:1 yesterday?

 

Go look at the Adam Scott vs. Justin Rose thread.  It was done when Rose was playing well and Scott had disappeared.  Hard to believe you won't get different results today.

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Talking about the main reasons why he wouldn't be top 10... one of the main reasons for me would be that he was never world number 1 in the world. And while he's been near the top for an insane amount of time, was there any time where you would think 'that's the best golfer in the world?' Maybe around 2010 was the closest but he still never got to world number 1. 2004-06 he was really good but Tiger was better in 2005 and 2006 and Els and Singh had very strong years in 2004.

 

Is there another player in the top 10 you could say that about? Most of these guys were far more dominant than Phil at one particular point.

 

His most PGA Tour victories in a single season is 4 victories. Even setting aside Tiger, who damaged the stats of a lot of players, this has been beaten by even the likes of Thomas, Spieth and Jason Day in the past decade.

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8 minutes ago, Dave230 said:

Talking about the main reasons why he wouldn't be top 10... one of the main reasons for me would be that he was never world number 1 in the world. And while he's been near the top for an insane amount of time, was there any time where you would think 'that's the best golfer in the world?' Maybe around 2010 was the closest but he still never got to world number 1. 2004-06 he was really good but Tiger was better in 2005 and 2006 and Els and Singh had very strong years in 2004.

 

Is there another player in the top 10 you could say that about? Most of these guys were far more dominant than Phil at one particular point.

 

His most PGA Tour victories in a single season is 4 victories. Even setting aside Tiger, who damaged the stats of a lot of players, this has been beaten by even the likes of Thomas, Spieth and Jason Day in the past decade.

 

It's a good point , i just find it very hard to evaluate when his prime pretty much coincided with the greatest 10yr stretch any golfer has ever had ever, basically. If Tiger had never come around, maybe there's a 4-5 yr stretch where Phil is #1

 

I do agree that the one major hole in Phil's resume is he never had a pure a**-kicking stretch, kind of like Vijay did back in 2005 or whatever year that was, i think it was '05

 

I think historically we tend to look for one guy from each era to make our lists, as subconsciously we just can't get past seeing the guy as #2. I think we'll do the same thing to Peyton Manning in the NFL over time. Phil was never "the man", but it's possible that had a lot more to do with timing than we care to like. Hard to imagine Phil wouldn't have been #1 for a long time without Tiger

 

 

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2 minutes ago, MtlJeff said:

 

It's a good point , i just find it very hard to evaluate when his prime pretty much coincided with the greatest 10yr stretch any golfer has ever had ever, basically. If Tiger had never come around, maybe there's a 4-5 yr stretch where Phil is #1

 

I do agree that the one major hole in Phil's resume is he never had a pure a**-kicking stretch, kind of like Vijay did back in 2005 or whatever year that was, i think it was '05

 

I think historically we tend to look for one guy from each era to make our lists, as subconsciously we just can't get past seeing the guy as #2. I think we'll do the same thing to Peyton Manning in the NFL over time. Phil was never "the man", but it's possible that had a lot more to do with timing than we care to like. Hard to imagine Phil wouldn't have been #1 for a long time without Tiger

 

 

See I would dispute this slightly and actually Mickelson has played a lot of his best golf when Tiger wasn't there, put up some great showings in his later years when Tiger wasn't always relevant.

 

Because Phil was always there, people look back and think that it was Phil vs Tiger. But it was Ernie Els and David Duval that suffered by the far the most from Tiger's first peak at least. 

 

Even if you discount Tiger, was Mickelson always better than Duval, Els, Singh, Furyk, Goosen, Furyk? If you actually look back year-to-year, he often wasn't. Even without Tiger I'm not sure that Phil had it in him to be dominant. As shown by the fact that even when he was playing quite well, he watched Westwood and Donald become world number 1 instead of him.

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I was thinking in the 13-15 range... but based on the length of his career, and this PGA, I'm thinking 8 or 9.  

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Problem is that thanks to Johnny Miller, Mickelson is known more for the 2006 US Open than anything else, because it’s the US Open and Miller’s commentary on 18

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What the heck was Phil doing all those years not winning more majors?

 

I mean, I was watching, but how did it all slip by with him winning just 5?

 

I guess we look at his 6 times 2nd/T2 at the US Open. I think a couple of those he he really should have won.

 

But you see the guy yesterday and it’s like

 

How this guy not have 10 majors?

 

Could be fitness. You look at pics of him when he won the 2005 PGA and he looks 10x more fit now. 

 

 

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For those going strictly by the numbers…

Hogan Nelson Snead Minddlecoff Mangrum Demaret we’re all born within 9 years of each other and are 6 of the top 15 in all time wins.  That is over a century ago they were all born. Wins then and wins today are not apples to apples.

  Phil is definitely in my top 10.

 

 

PS. I have seen it done in baseball stats….is there a win total adjusted by era stat that anyone here has seen.  The WW2 era would get severely adjusted down and the current era elevated .

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7 minutes ago, bscinstnct said:

What the heck was Phil doing all those years not winning more majors?

 

I mean, I was watching, but how did it all slip by with him winning just 5?

 

I guess we look at his 6 times 2nd/T2 at the US Open. I think a couple of those he he really should have won.

 

But you see the guy yesterday and it’s like

 

How this guy not have 10 majors?

 

Could be fitness. You look at pics of him when he won the 2005 PGA and he looks 10x more fit now. 

 

 

Make that six majors won for Phil.

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2 hours ago, cardoustie said:

I’ve got Phil sitting 8th or 9th personally and I know a lot of golfers have him down around 15-20.

 

In my eyes his major count of six across three different majors, with six US Open runner ups is huge.  The competitive era of his fields, and in Tiger’s timeline, is also a big factor.  Throw in the incredible longevity of his career as well .. he has won across 4 decades.  (That always comes up with the Jack vs Tiger talk, particularly before Tiger’s recent Masters)

 

I also tweeted Chamblee and Lerner on the spacing of his PGA wins, 16 years ... and that is also a record

 

The top guys are always the usual for most golf junkies ... Jack, Tiger, Jones, Palmer, Hogan, Nelson, etc.  I have him ahead of guys with more majors.

 

For those that do not think he is top 10 all time ... what factors would make him cross that threshold for you?

 

Getting a 7th major?  Getting to 50 wins?  Winning the US Open for a career Grand Slam?

 

(Side note:   I don’t think the new driver he got into, going back to blades (more spin) and playing mostly tee ball fades is getting enough credit for the Kiawah win)

I think career Grand Slam easily puts him top 10.   Heck if he had the mental focus and physical strength he has now over last 20 years prob have 10-12 majors 

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10 minutes ago, bscinstnct said:

What the heck was Phil doing all those years not winning more majors?

 

I mean, I was watching, but how did it all slip by with him winning just 5?

 

I guess we look at his 6 times 2nd/T2 at the US Open. I think a couple of those he he really should have won.

 

But you see the guy yesterday and it’s like

 

How this guy not have 10 majors?

 

Could be fitness. You look at pics of him when he won the 2005 PGA and he looks 10x more fit now. 

 

 

He's tied for 12th all times in majors and is by a mile the most erratic driver of the all time greats.  Feels like 6 is a pretty strong career for his skillset.  He absolutely should have finished one of those Opens but if he wins at Merion does he really turn around in a month and win at Muirfield? Likely not.

 

Regarding fitness I think that's a legitimate question.  I'm a big health/nutrition believer and during Phil's peak of 04-06 he certainly looks pretty large if you look at the Winged Foot clips.  If he was in better shape maybe he would have had more stamina to make good swings on the back 9?  If there's a case for him underachieving I think it's around could he have done more with his conditioning prior to his arthritis diagnosis.

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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, BottleCap said:

Problem is that thanks to Johnny Miller, Mickelson is known more for the 2006 US Open than anything else, because it’s the US Open and Miller’s commentary on 18

he's known for 3 masters wins, a win at the Open, etc ... yes, his six seconds are also noteworthy, but hardly the main thing ... 

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