Tiger Woods or Jack Nicklaus? The generation gap on the greatest ever golfer

August 08, 2014, 6:46 PM GMT+0

There is a generation gap over whether Jack Nicklaus or Tiger Woods is the greatest professional golfer, as older Americans choose Nicklaus and younger ones go for Tiger

Jack Nicklaus is, statistically, the most accomplished professional golfer ever, having won eighteen major tournaments during his long career. Nicklaus himself, though, doubts that he'll retain that title for much longer, having insisted since the mid-2000s that Tiger Woods would beat him and go on to become the 'greatest' professional golfer.

The latest research from YouGov shows that in the eyes of many Americans, Tiger Woods is already the greatest professional golfer of all time. 30% of the public say that Tiger is the greatest, not quite beating the 33% who say that Jack Nicklaus is the greatest. There is a major age divide on the question, however, as the younger someone is, the more likely they are to say that Tiger is the greatest. Among under-30s, 47% choose Tiger while only 15% say that Jack Nicklaus is the greatest. Among over-65s, however, 47% go for Jack Nicklaus and 20% opt for Tiger Woods.

Among fans of professional golf, opinion is less evenly split. Americans who follow professional golf 'very' or 'somewhat' closely tend to say that Jack Nicklaus is the greatest. Only among people who don't follow it at all do the two tie, with 26% of people who don't follow the sport at all going for Jack Nicklaus and 25% saying Tiger Woods.

Few Americans actually say that they follow professional golf closely, with only 5% saying they follow it 'very closely' and 13% saying that they follow it 'somewhat closely'. Most of the country (58%) say that they don't follow the sport at all.

Full poll results can be found here.

Image: PA