After a few hours beyond posting the above response, it occured to me that I have been trying to make the same argument in this thread for weeks. And, well, judging by the responses, have not been making any significant headway.
Sooner or later, someone or another who comes along and thinks E. Tont Woods invented the game of golf will pop in and grace us with that opinion. That's fine. Wrong, but fine.
But I think I have fond a way to compare apples to apples in this discussion.
I think we have all heard of the movie "Avatar"? Right? Made a lot of money... and still does. Making more and more everyday. Pretty impressive, no? Let's take a look at just how much money it has made in the US.
"Avatar" is currently the All Time Domestic Gross Box Office leader with $637M. As a matter of fact, it just past the previous leader "Titanic" with $600M. Third on that list is a little movie called "The Dark Knight" with $533M. ("The Dark Knight" still holds "Opening Weekend" lead with almost $160M.)
By this list, you would think that as far as revenue goes, "Avatar" is the GOAT (Greatest of All Time). I mean it's right here in black and white, "Avatar" has made more money domestically than any other film in history. Hands down winner, no?
Due to the miracle of modern economics, we can compare revenue of today with revenue of the past getting a clean competition, head to head, and apples to apples. If we were to take all the biggest domestic earners of all time and adjust for inflation, the list of top earners looks much, much different.
As a matter of fact, when adjusted for inflation, currently "Avatar" squeaks in at number 20. The highest domestic grossing movie of all time (adjusted for inflation) equals the top 3 unadjusted ("Avatar", "Titanic", and "The Dark Knight") COMBINED.
Here is the list, should you wish to see for yourself. The name of the all time domestic gross earnings leader.... "Gone With the Wind" of course, with an adjusted domestic gross of $1.537BILLION.
It is interesting to note that "The Sound of Music" made almost twice as much as "Avatar". Even "The Graduate" holds a sizeable lead.
All of this is only to point out that even though something may be great today, you have to have a sense of history to put it in it's proper perspective. There's no way to compare the '69 Jets with the '85 Bears to the '10 Saints, there's no way to say that Shaq could have stopped Wilt when he wanted to score 100 points, and no way to know if Tim Lincicum could have shut out Ted Williams.
Everything in it's time and a time for everything. There are very, very few things that can be said to be the "Greatest of all time". And there are no sports figures who can. (With the possible exception of boxers... that sport hasn't changed much. But that's for another day.)
And, let me state for the record again, before the next "ur just a h8er" post pops up. I, personally, feel that Tiger is the very best golfer of our time, this current generation, and with today's technology there are none better. And, should he surpass J. Nicklaus in wins and 2nds, I will entertain the argument that he is the best golfer of the last 2 generations, but not "Ever".
I hope you get the point now.
Have a nice day. =)