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Phil Mickelson: Top Ten of All Time?


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Hey golfers,

 

I was just watching the second round of the Byron Nelson and the commentators started to debate whether Phil Mickelson could rightly be considered as one of the Top 10 golfers of all time. As a HUGE Phil Mickelson fan, I say he is, and that is what the commentators were saying. They both are fans and are friends with him and say that might be the reason why. So, I was wondering what all of you thought?

 

phil-mickelson_t640.jpg?a6ea3ebd4438a44b86d2e9c39ecf7613005fe067

 

 

PGA Tour Wins: 40

Major Wins: 4

 

And he is still playing strong. Again, tell me what you think.

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If you want to use Major championships as the barometer, there are already a bunch who surpass him ...

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_men's_major_championships_winning_golfers

 

Rank Country Golfer Winning span Masters U.S. Open The Open PGA Total

1 United States Jack Nicklaus 1962–1986 6 4 3 5 18

2 United States Tiger Woods 1997–2008 4 3 3 4 14

3 United States Walter Hagen 1914–1929 0 2 4 5 11

4 South Africa Gary Player 1959–1978 3 1 3 2 9

4 United States Ben Hogan 1946–1953 2 4 1 2 9

6 United States Tom Watson 1975–1983 2 1 5 0 8

7 United States Arnold Palmer 1958–1964 4 1 2 0 7

7 United States Sam Snead 1942–1954 3 0 1 3 7

7 United States Gene Sarazen 1922–1935 1 2 1 3 7

7 United States Bobby Jones 1923–1930 0 4 3 0 7

7 Jersey Harry Vardon 1896–1914 0 1 6 0 7

12 England Nick Faldo 1987–1996 3 0 3 0 6

12 United States Lee Trevino 1968–1984 0 2 2 2 6

14 United States Byron Nelson 1937–1945 2 1 0 2 5

14 Spain Seve Ballesteros 1979–1988 2 0 3 0 5

14 Scotland James Braid 1901–1910 0 0 5 0 5

14 England John Henry Taylor 1894–1913 0 0 5 0 5

14 Australia Peter Thomson 1954–1965 0 0 5 0 5

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I'm not a golf historian by any means, but I suppose we could start with the guys who are unquestionably on the list:

 

NIcklaus

Woods

Palmer

Hogan

Bobby Jones

 

There might be other "must haves" that I'm excluding, but that's 5 spots that are gone off the bat.

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Let's see - this is a good question - I'd say Phil is knocking on the door - While I wouldn't use Major's as the sole criterea they are important.

 

I'd say Jack, Tiger, Bobby Jones, Walter Hagen, Gary Player, Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Arnie, Tom Watson

 

Next tier would include Byron Nelson (only because he retired so young) Ballesteros, Faldo who were the best players of their era - both won significant numbers of majors and huge amounts of time on the European tour when it was emerging as the best tour in the world (see the Rider Cup results) in that group there's also Trevino, Billy Casper (very forgotten, very under rated - 50 regular tour wins can't be ignored), Ray Floyd (check out the majors) - I'm thinking this is where Phil fits but not sure whom he's above or below - I'd say he's towards or maybe even at the top of this one as he's had to deal with Tiger being Tiger much of his career.

 

Beneath this group in a third tier are guys like Greg Norman, VJ Singh, Nick Price,Julius Boros (although you could argue for him in the upper group) Guys in the 20 win multiple major category really great players but not the cream of the crop.

 

A player like Thompson or Vardon is harder for me to put a handle on because they didn't play here often but they were great players - I'd have to consider Vardon as inbetween the top and second tier because the best players in the world were in Europe in his day - Thompson is more difficult - probably inbetween second and third tier -

 

I think Phil is knocking on the door of the top ten but not quite there yet - he still has time though - a US Open would go a long way to moving him into the top 10 but who would you move out?

 

I'm doing this off the top of my head and already have Byron Nelson out - would you take Hogan out in favor of Phil? What about Bobby Jones? I consider him the third best player ever but he retired young and never played as a professional - it's hard to quantify his accomplishments.

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Agree that 1-5 should be Jack, Tiger, Hogan, Palmer, Jones. But after that, kind of a crap shoot -- so many great players.

 

Does Player make it? What about Snead? Trevino? Watson? And Hagen's greatness was greatly overshadowed by Jones. And both Hagen and Sarazen won multiple PGA championships - but back then the US and British Amateurs were bigger deals, but they were match play tournaments against the best pros. And how far back to you go? Harry Vardon? Old Tom Morris?

 

6-10 could be: Watson, Snead, Hagen, Player, Vardon

 

IMO, Phil is at the same level as Trevino - great players barkin' at the Top Ten's Door with a batch of others, and there's not a tees worth of difference between them and the ones just in front of 'em.

 

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if you consider both on and off the course who would be top 10 than all of a sudden Phil jumps up to 3 or 4. Behind Palmer, Nicklaus.and Jones and may even be higher. And if you consider the wit he shows during press conferences he goes even higher except to be honest, we do not have press conferences from the other three every week. Mickelson is someone that everyone, not just golfers, can immulate. Do I need to say I am a fan?

 

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Oops. I forgot Lord Byron. While he only had a few great years, he certainly is admirable both on and especially off the course.

 

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if you consider both on and off the course who would be top 10 than all of a sudden Phil jumps up to 3 or 4. Behind Palmer, Nicklaus.and Jones and may even be higher. And if you consider the wit he shows during press conferences he goes even higher except to be honest, we do not have press conferences from the other three every week. Mickelson is someone that everyone, not just golfers, can immulate. Do I need to say I am a fan?

 

Point taken -- dude certainly appears to be a first class individual and family man. Class act all the way!

 

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if you consider both on and off the course who would be top 10 than all of a sudden Phil jumps up to 3 or 4. Behind Palmer, Nicklaus.and Jones and may even be higher. And if you consider the wit he shows during press conferences he goes even higher except to be honest, we do not have press conferences from the other three every week. Mickelson is someone that everyone, not just golfers, can immulate. Do I need to say I am a fan?

 

 

And that brings up another good question. When we consider top 10 golfers, do the things they do off the course count? In my mind it does, which is why I do consider him in the top 10. It is also why he is my favorite golfer.

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Three years ago, I would have said no it is none of our business what they do off of the course. When Tiger hit the tree, honestly, I did not particularly care what he had been doing with other women. That was between he and his wife. I have continued to want him to do well, but lately, I find myself comparing him to Mickelson, Els, Couples, Donalds, and the golf boys, and so many others, and not just what they do on the course, but they way the act towards the media and fans. and I find myself not really caring if he ever breaks the record. There are so many other more deserving people out there that I could cheer louder for when they win.

 

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The most underrated player of all-time is Billy Casper. Phil is not top 10 of all-time. He is getting close though.

 

 

Thanks for the props to Billy Casper - 50 count them 50 wins on the PGA tour - pretty impressive!

 

I count the 11 I mentioned in my post with Byron Nelson being the one on the edge - Phil keeps inching closer but look at these guys in terms of career.

 

I can't count off the course accomplishments for this - for starters its had to say with the older guys - we don't know as much about what they did or didn't do and why - heck some of them had to work year around as club pros to make a living on top of playing -

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How many more wins does Phil need to be considered in the top 10 for all of the people who think he doesn't belong? I am just curious.

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How many more wins does Phil need to be considered in the top 10 for all of the people who think he doesn't belong? I am just curious.

 

I'd like to see him win one US Open and one Open Championship. At that point, I don't think there'd be any debate.

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Rather sad that nobody mentions the one record that no golfer, not even Tiger, even came close enough to threaten. Byron Nelson won a number of tournaments 11 IN A ROW, and Tiger was the closest to being considered a threat at 6. Unfortunately, that 6 was not even close enough to wake up the writers because Nelson won 11 consecutive before retiring. He retired because he could not take the pressure anymore, and admit it publicly. I don't know any other golfer of significance who quit on a winning note.

 

That 11 wins in a row took place in a year he won 18 of 35 events. The Iron Byron was named after him and built to emulate his swing. There were criticisms that his big winning year was in a depleted field because this record took place during the war years but to my mind winning that much was still an achievement that will probably never be broken.

 

There is a pretty good article in wiki about Byron Nelson.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byron_Nelson

 

 

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Byron Nelson is why I have 11 in my top "10". If the Big Ten can do it so can I - I just can't eliminate one of that era's big 3 - seems to me like there are 11 guys who belong in Golf's top ten and Phil's still got some work to do to crack it.

 

Can't legislate for the war thing - he beat the guys he was playing against - there have been other weaker times on the PGA - the time between Watson and Woods comes to mind.

 

My only difficulty in trying to pin Byron's historical spot is that he retired so early - it's like Bobby Jones - I think 3 is right for Jones but I'm not sold on that spot - could be 2 could 8 - could even be 1 - he had to do it as an amateur with hickory shafts and both stroke play and match play.

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EVNRoll ER 5

Titleist Pro VIx optic yellow with revkev stamped on them

Still on that elusive hunt for a 3 wood that I'm able to hit - I don't know why, I crush the 5 wood and it's really a 4 wood anyway. 

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I would agree with R.P. Phil is right at the door step - Two more majors he's there or if it's one more and it's either Open I think he's there as well - hard to keep a guy out who's won three of the four majors and then all of those tournaments all while having to deal with Tiger Woods in his prime.

 

I also agree that at the top majors are the thing. Plus we're splitting hairs here really - we are comparing the best of the best to the best of the best - if someone wanted to include Phil in their top 10 I wouldn't jump off a bridge about it besides what's not to like about him?

Taylor Made Stealth 10.5  Aldila Ascent Red R flex

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Wilson D7 forged 5-GW -  Mamiya recoil 460 R flex

Edison Wedges 54 and 59 KBS Tour Graphite 80's

EVNRoll ER 5

Titleist Pro VIx optic yellow with revkev stamped on them

Still on that elusive hunt for a 3 wood that I'm able to hit - I don't know why, I crush the 5 wood and it's really a 4 wood anyway. 

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I think what works against Phil is many believe, given his talent, that he's under achieved in his career. But, to R.P. Jacobs II's point, Phil would probably have another 10-15 tour victories and possibly several more majors if Tiger wasn't prowling during the same era. Phil has had a record five second place finishes in the U.S. Open alone.

 

BTW, the fact that Nicklaus had 19 second place finishes in Majors (27 times in the top three) is just mind boggling. He's on a different tier than everyone else on the list... even if Tiger had broken his major wins record, IMO he'd still be a distant second.

 

Anyway, back to Phil... I agree with most in this thread that major victories will ultimately seal his place among the elite (like Hogan). I think one more Masters and at least two U.S. Open/PGA victories will do it. I don't see Phil ever winning the Open Championship. His game isn't really suited for it.

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Anyway, back to Phil... I agree with most in this thread that major victories will ultimately seal his place among the elite (like Hogan). I think one more Masters and at least two U.S. Open/PGA victories will do it. I don't see Phil ever winning the Open Championship. His game isn't really suited for it.

 

I agree with you on that one. Although I would love to see it, there is like a .01% chance that Phil wins an Open Championship. I can see a Masters happening and I can see both a US Open and PGA. It all comes down to which Phil shows up. When the good Phil shows up, he does not miss a putt and his creativity and aggressiveness pay off. But when the other Phil shows up, he is never in the fairway, he gets several penalties, and he three-putts from 5 feet multiple times. Being the fan that I am, I just want everybody to believe that he is a top 10. But, its like a coin flip when it comes to majors. Either good Phil will show up and he will be competing on Sunday or bad Phil shows up and you wont even see him on Saturday.

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It all comes down to which Phil shows up. When the good Phil shows up, he does not miss a putt and his creativity and aggressiveness pay off. But when the other Phil shows up, he is never in the fairway, he gets several penalties, and he three-putts from 5 feet multiple times.

 

 

For a moment, I thought my name was Phil and you were talking about me.:D

 

I will not bet against Phil winning the Open. I would not have thought Bubba's first major (if he had one) would be the Masters. Things can fall into place and Phil can win anywhere. Although, it is more likely that he will not. I hope he wins one of each. I am of course pulling for Bubba to win all four this year since he won the first one.

 

That will not happen because already he is showing signs of struggling with the attention. He has said himself that he does not like haing his picture taken. If he wins The US Open than he will be unable to do anything without hords of media.

 

Sorry for the thread jack.

 

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