Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.
Lydia (+8%): The runaway win in Taiwan gives the 18-year-old phenom 10 LPGA titles. Her next victory – we shouldn’t have to wait long – would launch her into the top 50 all-time wins leaders. Already.
Tour rookies (+7%): One of the only benefits of the wraparound schedule is that it allows recent Web.com graduates to stay in form and gain experience against weaker fields during a quiet time of year. Emiliano Grillo and Smylie Kaufman have taken full advantage.
Rule changes (+5%): These come around only every four years, so it’s encouraging to see that the latest edition of tweaks – including no DQ for signing a wrong scorecard if a penalty is later discovered – feature a healthy dose of common sense.
J-Rose (+4%): He has been overshadowed by Jordan’s brilliance and J-Day’s torrid run, but Rose has been consistently excellent of late. With a win in Hong Kong, he has now finished 16th or better in nine of his last 10 starts.
Ben Evans (+1%): Who? Well, the Englishman appeared to be the odd man out for his Euro Tour card, after finishing 111th in the Race to Dubai. Then Brooks Koepka withdrew from the season-long series and relinquished his tour membership. Card clinched.
Rich Beem (-1%): Allowing Ian Poulter to take his spot in Hong Kong, retain Euro Tour membership and remain eligible for the Ryder Cup was a gracious move. Can imagine U.S. skipper Davis Love III feels differently.
Kevin Na (-2%): He’s probably the only guy who isn’t excited about the new crop of Tour rookies. This close call (the eighth runner-up of his career) was even more agonizing than the Frys.com playoff loss, because he bungled an easy chip and hit the lip on consecutive 15-footers coming home.
Jimmy Walker (-3%): On a calm afternoon in Vegas when the scoring average was 69.3, the eventual winner shot 61 and there was also a 62 and 63 on the board, the 18th-ranked player in the world self-immolated during a final-round 78 – the worst score of the day.
Greg Norman (-4%): If you think Tiger is injury-prone, how about the Shark? Norman announced this week that he underwent his 13th (!) surgical procedure, this time for a shoulder injury. At least it didn’t involve chainsaws.
Anchorers (-6%): The ’16 rules announcement was another reminder of the murky future that awaits former anchorers Adam Scott, Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson, all of whom struggled mightily with the short wands this year.