Smart statistical analysis, from very smart site, website fivethirtyeight.com:
‘Arnold Palmer, who died Sunday of complications from heart problems, fell just short of being the greatest player in golf history. But for a brief period, he was very nearly as good as anyone who ever played the game — and his greatness came at exactly the right time for a sport seeking viewers at the dawn of the television age.
From 1958 to 1966, Palmer won seven major championships — including four green jackets at The Masters — and finished in the top 10 at 16 other majors. At the heart of that span was a five-season stretch from 1960 to 1964, which, according to our method of “major shares” (which credit players for their expected majors won based on how dominant their scores are relative to the field), still stands as the seventh-best peak performance of golf’s modern era.
Seventh-best doesn’t sound overly impressive, until you consider that slots 1 through 6 are four five-season stretches from Tiger Woods and two from Jack Nicklaus. In fact, that pair so thoroughly dominates any ranking of great golf seasons that merely being in their company is a rare honor. And in terms of peak greatness, Arnie is the only other player in the conversation aside from Tiger and Jack‘.