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  Monday, 24 July, 2000, 15:53 GMT 16:53 UK
Golf's greats go head-to-head
The lowdown on golf's great players
The best in the business? Take your pick
BBC golf correspondent Tony Adamson takes a look at five of the greatest players of the past 30 years - Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Nick Faldo and Seve Ballesteros - to see how they compare to reigning Open champion Tiger Woods.

All six are given marks out of 10 for driving, iron play, short game, putting and temperament. The grand totals make for fascinating reading.

It's very difficult to try to compare golfers from different decades.

Technology plays such a vital part in golf - and it is so much superior now to when Jack Nicklaus was starting out.

Not only so far as clubs are concerned but also the balls fly a lot further now.

Tiger Woods has the benefit of better clubs, better balls and better quality courses - but you would still have to say that Nicklaus is the best player to have played the game.

I base this on Majors that they have won and quite simply Jack has won 18 of them.

Tiger has only won four although he looks like he could go on and better Jack's record.


Tiger Woods - Total: 46 out of 50

Tiger Woods

It's difficult to find fault with him. His driving is the biggest of all of these great players and is unbelievably straight.

He would probably say that the area of his game that he can still work on is his short game.

But he never misses much on the greens and his temperament is just sensational for one so young.


Jack Nicklaus - Total: 41

Jack Nicklaus
Jack was a prodigious driver - he was wonderful off the tee. He could always be a little suspect when it came to putting, but that's if you are comparing him from five years ago to 20 years ago. With his record he can't have been a bad putter.

But the absolutely strong part of his game was his temperament. He just never looked as if anything or anyone could bother him.


Tom Watson - Total: 40

Tom Watson
Tom was always fairly steady off the tee although he never hit it that far. He was an immaculate irons player but his putting deteriorated rapidly once he got past his best.

He was always so serene and still is. His temperament has always been a huge part of his game.


Gary Player - Total: 39

Gary Player
In his prime Gary was a fantastic irons player and he was the best bunker player in the business.

He had a wonderful short game and still has - and his putting also remains excellent.

He was an altogether player and always immaculate on the course.


Seve Ballesteros - Total: 35

Seve Ballesteros
The great strength of Seve has always been his short game. We are talking about near perfection. It has always been one of the most admired aspects of the game.

Unfortunately though he has always been very erratic off the tee.

We've seen him blow up and we've seen him be serene, but his temperament like many golfers has always been dependent on how he has been playing.


Nick Faldo - Total: 35

Nick Faldo
Nick is very similar to Gary Player off the tee, in so much as he never drove his strength.

He has always been pretty immaculate with his irons and though his putting is a bit erratic now he did win three Masters, so in his prime it was up there with the best.

His temperament has never been the most brilliant part of his game. His body language has always been a bit strange.

The Open at St.Andrews
20th - 23rd July

Sports Talk SPORTS TALK
Too much Tiger? Tiger triumphs
But is his dominance good for the game?
See also:

23 Jul 00 | The Open
21 Jul 00 | The Open
23 Jul 00 | The Open
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