The Golf Blog: Why Brandel Chamblee is wrong in ranking Greg Norman over Phil Mickelson

mulligan, 04 February 2012, Comments Off on The Golf Blog: Why Brandel Chamblee is wrong in ranking Greg Norman over Phil Mickelson
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The Golf Blog says: The Golf Channel’s Rich Lerner quizzed fellow announcer and former player Brandel Chamblee about Phil Mickelson’s upcoming induction into the Golf Hall of Fame. Lerner asked Chamblee if he would rank Phil (39 PGA Tour wins, 18 other wins worldwide, 4 majors) above some other great players from the past.

Lee Trevino? Chamblee put Lee (29 PGA Tour wins) higher than Phil because Trevino won 6 majors (2 U.S. Opens, 2 Opens, 2 PGAs), 3 of the 4 in the Grand Slam.

Ray Floyd? Chamblee put Floyd (22 PGA Tour wins) higher than Phil because Floyd won 4 majors (1 Masters, 2 PGA, 1 U.S. Open), 3 of the 4 in the Grand Slam.

Greg Norman? Chamblee put Norman (20 PGA Tour wins, 68 other wins worldwide) over Phil because Norman was ranked No. 1 for 331 weeks. Wait a second, Brandel. So Phil has double the number of major victories than Norman, but Norman ranks higher all-time because of the World Ranking? If we use the same criterion that Brandel used for Trevino and Floyd (more wins at majors, and ability to compete in more of the majors), Phil has Norman beat on both grounds. Phil won 4 majors to Norman’s 2, and won in 2 different majors while Norman only won in 1 major (the Open Championship).

Let’s be real, Brandel: the World Golf Ranking has dubious merit. Lee Westwood’s, Luke Donald’s, and David Duval’s chances of making the all-time best golfers in history would not be dramatically improved even if they held the No. 1 spot as long as Norman did. Why not? None of them has won enough majors to even be in the conversation. Majors define the true greats in golf. Unfortunately, Norman won only 1 more major than David Duval and the same number of majors as John Daly. Norman had a much better career than Duval and Daly, no doubt. But Norman’s body of work — including chokes on Sunday in several majors, including most recently the 2008 Open Championship — just does not match up to Mickelson’s.

And we should also add: Mickelson has had to compete in the Tiger Woods era, against arguably the best golfer ever who won 14 majors during the same time Mickelson competed. Norman faced Jack Nicklaus in the tail end of his career, but Norman ended up losing the 1986 Masters to Jack, who was 46 years at the time. To our knowledge, Greg Norman has never beaten Tiger Woods head-to-head in a major, something that Phil has done.


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