That is the question isn't it??
How do you compare sportsmen from different eras??
Various polls have been undertaken with winners including Jack Nicklaus. Tiger Woods, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Sam Torrance. OK, only kidding about Sam!!
We are still no nearer answering the question of just who is the greatest, the best of all time.
I have therefore come up with a measurement system which I am putting forward as a fair and equitable way of answering this unanswerable question.
I have decided that there will never be a definitive answer, so have come up with something else.
The best way of measuring just who is the Greatest Golfer of all time, in my opinion, is to compare performances in the four major championships ie The Masters, The Open Championship, The US Open and US PGA.
I am not saying this method is perfect. Each of these championships have gone through highs and lows in importance and popularity but I think their place in history is there for all to see.
I have therefore looked at all major chamipionship results since 1946 and developed a scoring system which gives equal importance to all four championships. Points have been awarded for all top 20 finishes. The only exception to this is for the US PGA, where points have been awarded for top 16 finishes during the matchplay era.
Substantial bonus points are awarded to the actual winners to reflect the huge difference between finishing first and second!!
The scoring system therefore rewards a) winners b) consistency and c) longevity.
The net result of this scoring system means that it is, by it's very nature, a living, breathing system which changes after every major championship is played.
The scores have been applied up to the 2009 US PGA.
So there we go. This is an exercise that I originally carried out for my own interest and I have enjoyed doing it and also enjoyed assessing the results.
I am not saying it is perfect and I would imagine that once a certain Mr Woods has finished his career the results may well be very different.
What I have decided to do is to list the top 10 as they stand today. The full listing, showing the 1000 or so golfers who have managed to score any points using this methodology, is available for a nominal fee of £10, which gives some return for the time and effort I have invested in this project. The full pack will show all golfers plus points attributed, thus highlighting the closeness, or otherwise. of respective positions held. It also shows more detailed information such as top performers per championship.
I also plan to keep the scoring system going and updated versions can be ordered after every championship for an additional £3 once the initial purchase has been made.
So now is the time to turn to page 2 on this website and have a look at the top 10 performers. It will be interesting to see if the results are what you expect. I was certainly surprised by one or two of the final results.
One last thing ----- for what it's worth, I think the greatest golfer that ever lived was Jack Nicklaus (so far!!) and the most talented was Seve Ballesteros, but then again, what the heck do I know????