Closers, money and why Jack is still now greater than Tiger

mulligan, 24 February 2007, Comments Off on Closers, money and why Jack is still now greater than Tiger
Categories: Uncategorized

This post by allCarry highlights the part of an interview with Jack Nicklaus in which Jack laments the lack of closers on the PGA today. He is, of course, exactly right and it spotlights one of various reasons why I will probably always consider Jack greater than Tiger.

The likely reason why there are no closers on the Tour other than Tiger today is because there is so much money for finishing in the top 10 now. In Jack’s day, second place would barely pay the bills, let alone make one rich. And, as a result, folks like Trevino and Watson had to gun for the top and learned to be tough. In sharp contrast, PGA players today know they can make millions with just a handful of top 10 finishes and a lot of made cuts. (In 2006, for example, Nathan Green (who?) made nearly $2 million by making 6 top 10 finishes out of 30 events!)

Tiger, of course, has never played for money, he’s always played for history. Phil and Ernie and some others have had at times history on their minds, but just enough success and all the money makes them soft. Relatedly, they have families that may keep them focused on stuff other than refining their short games.

Jack’s insight about closers also reminds me about Jack’s insights about the distractions of family. Long ago he wondered whether Tiger would be able to maintain his awesome focus when he had diapers to change and school plays to attend. Starting late this summer, we may begin to find out.


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