Tiger is great but still a long way from claiming the title of "Greatest That Ever Played The Game". Although I do believe he is more then on his way to claiming that illustrious title, God willing. But until then, Slammin' Sammy Snead is my pick. That's right, not even Nicklaus.
If you look at the 11 win gap between Jack's 70 total victories and Sam's 81 and then figure Sam's total of 165 victories he claims, no one even comes close. Sorry Jack. Now figure in the shape of the courses today, the equipment and the level of competition and there is no doubt in my mind that Sammy is the man. Keep in mind, Sam played against, Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan -- all born the same year - they were considered the era's Big Three. Hogan amassed 63 total wins and Nelson won 52, putting both of them in the top 5 of the all time winners list. Does anyone really thing that Tiger's best competition today, is going to end up in that illustrious group? I think not.
Statically speaking there is a large gap between the top of the all time winners list that not even the great Walter Hagen bridges. Hagen, in 7th place with 40 wins, is eleven short of the 6th placeholder, Billy Casper. Eleven wins is an entire career for even a great player on the tour today. Again I ask you to look at the gap between number 2 on the list, Jack Nicklaus and Number 1, Sam Snead, eleven wins.
Even if you are the most vehement "Tigernite" or Nicklaus Nut, you have to admit, the real all time golf elite includes only a very few, 6 to be exact: Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Byron Nelson and Billy Casper. And Billy Casper gets my vote for the greatest player with the least recognition, by far.
Now I'm going to really tick you Tigernites off. My money says he never gets there. (However, I'm not betting the really big money) Why? I think he runs out of desire. The bigger he gets, the closer he gets, the more he wins, the more the pressure will build. If he has shown any weakness at all, it is his temper that occasionally gets the best of him. As the pressures mount, and with the glare of the media of today it will, I think that pressure will sooner or later wear him down. No, I'm not predicting he will go "postal" and toss a camera in a lake with the owner still attached, but I think the "fire in the belly" will dime. And if I am right, it will be a travesty to lose, not the greatest that ever played, but one of the greatest, that could have toppled "the" Greatest Player That Ever Lived, Sam Snead!
Only time will tell!
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Floyd Snyder is the founder and former owner of Executive Advertising, Camera Ready Art and Strictly Business Magazine. Currently he is the owner of Strictly Business Magazine at http://www.sbmag.org