GOTCHA! For those eleventy of you who closely follow the goings on here at TunaGolf, you may know that I am SLIGHLY older than your average hipster here at the center of the golfing blogosphere. . These yungins here like to keep me around, as I am always available to be mocked about being old and out of touch. Little do they know that their lame “get off my lawn” taunts only deepen my resolve to bring serious game to this site, and show that because I’m older, it also means I’m smarter and better (insert smiley little happy face).

One of the favorite claims of the “Who’s Now!” generation is that Tiger Woods is the greatest golfer in the history of evah, much like how everything created since 1995 is automatically better than anything ever seen by man.  Even though golf has been played for 1,000 years, we suddenly have decided that the 34 year old phenom with bad hair and huge choppers playing now is the best ever, even if he has roughly 10-15 years left in his career (depending on knee surgeries and infidelity dramas). Because I am a bitter middle aged man, jealous of people completely inadequate when compared to me in (almost) every way, it REALLY bothers me how the athletes and entertainers of today make exponentially more than their counterparts of yesteryear. Somehow, Oscar Robertson earned $22,500 his rookie year in 1960, and retired in 1973 making $200,00. JaMarcus Russell managed to eat his way out of Oakland while at the same time causing mink to become an endangered species, yet earned $34 million in three seasons of epic failure with the Raiders.

Earlier, Spencer and I got into our weekly argument over which generation of players are better (guess who took what side), the name Notah Begay was brought up in conversation. For whatever reason, I decided to look up this inebriated Native American’s career, and, lo and behold, I saw that HE EARNED MORE FUCKING MONEY ON THE PGA TOUR THAN JACK W. FUCKING NICKLAUS!!  While it is obvious that inflation, television agreements, and the “Tiger Effect” have led to an astronomical escalation of PGA Tour purses, it has always bothered me that, in every sport, let alone golf, awful to mediocre athletes make so much more money than the greatest athletes from another era. They led the way, dealt with the racism, lack of interest and exposure, etc, and made NOTHING, while these unappreciating, pampered athletes of today come in like they are owed this fortune.

Anywho, if you are still paying attention, I wondered what these old golfers would have earned in TODAY’S MONEY, had they been able to benefit from the hard work of the Joneses, Sneads, Hogans, Nelsons, Palmers and Nicklauses. I decided to enter my query into something called “Google”, and, lo and behold, someone did the work for me. There appears to be a distant relative of Stephen Hawking who took the careers of all major golfers since the 1940’s and put their careers onto a level playing field of 2008 PGA Tour disbursements. He then threw in a Standard Deviation doohickey as well as a points bonus for Majors performance, and out spit his results:

This is NOT a GOAT golfer post (I just did that to get you to read). Rather, this is taking the careers of all of the top golfers in history, and taking their results and letting them earn their income in the same era, just to see how it would play out. The list is VERY interesting (at least to me). The Top 10, in order, as well as what their career earnings would be (based on 2008 PGA Tour disbursements), as well as what they actually earned in the dollars of the year they were earned:

  1. Jack Nicklaus:  $216 million  (actual career earnings: $5.7 million)
  2. Tiger Woods    $161 million  (actual career earnings: $93.6 million)
  3. Sam Snead       $158 million  (actual career earnings: $727,000)
  4. Arnold Palmer $150 million  (actual career earnings: $2.1 million)
  5. Tom Watson    $142 million  (actual career earnings: $11 million)
  6. Ben Hogan       $129 million  (actual career earnings: $332,000)
  7. Billy Casper      $124 million  (actual career earnings: $1.7 million)
  8. Tom Kite          $116 million   (actual career earnings: $11 million)
  9. Lee Trevino      $111 million   (actual career earnings: $3.5 million)
  10. Gary Player     $108 million   (actual career earnings: $1.8 million)
  11. Vijay Singh      $107 million   (actual career earnings: $62.6 million)

As a caveat, this Mathlete also ranked the five single best seasons in PGA Tour history. Tiger’s epic 2000 season was deemed the single best season in golf history, and would have earned him over $21 MILLION based on the conditions listed above. Coming in second was Byron Nelson famous 1944-45 “4F Season” where he beat all the other men too sickly or chickenshit to defend ourselves from Hitler and the Japs.  He would’ve earned ove $18 million if he did that today, so in retrospect, I’m kind of glad he only won under $60k for beating those losers.

Now that that horribly unfair US Open is over, we can move on to bigger and better events, like the Travelers Championship in beautiful suburban Hartford, where if you are not shooting four rounds of 67, you are power walking the Lounge at the Hartford Airport Marriott, trying to make a memory with a Bob Jovi concert castoff

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