Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.
European dominance (+10%): We expected a blowout and that’s precisely what we got, thanks to sublime and timely play from nearly every member of the European team. The Euros will lose again on home soil eventually, but man, at this rate, it might not be for another quarter-century.
Europe’s Big 3 (+9%): Justin Rose (3-0-2) was the man of the match, but Europe also benefited from impressive performances by Graeme McDowell, who went 3-0 while shepherding rookie Victor Dubuisson around Gleneagles, and Rory McIlroy, who authored a fitting end to a historic summer, going 2-1-2 and royally thrashing Rickie Fowler in singles.
Paul Azinger (+7%): Why wait until the end of the year to announce his appointment? He’s the guy, for 2016 AND ’18.
P-Reed (+6%): Emotional. Unpredictable. Fiery. He’s everything that the U.S. team has lacked for so many years. Best to fully embrace him now, because he’s not going anywhere.
Paul McGinley (+5%): Meticulously prepared, he pitched a near-perfect game during his Ryder Cup captaincy, from his thoughtful news conferences to his wild-card picks to his handling of the rookies. It’s no coincidence that he went 6-0 as a player, assistant and captain.
V-Dub (+4%): Sure, Ryder Cup stars have flamed out before, but at 24 Dubuisson seems poised to become Europe’s next big sensation.
Phil (+3%): Seething about being benched, frustrated by another loss and smart enough to know that back-room bickering and anonymous sources won’t elicit change, Mickelson acted as the team spokesman when he called out Watson to his face with the whole world watching. It was, in a word, perfect.
Jordan Spieth (+1%): His singles match set the tone for yet another U.S. loss, but Spieth found a longtime partner in Reed and should have plenty of motivation for Hazeltine.
News conferences (-1%): Is it a bad sign that the post-match pressers were more riveting than any of the action that preceded it? OK, thought so.
Ian Poulter (-2%): His Ryder Cup legend took a hit with a pedestrian performance at Gleneagles. Coming off arguably the worst year of his career, and turning 40 in January 2016, it’s not a stretch to wonder whether he has played his last cup.
Ted Bishop (-3%): The PGA should be applauded for its outside-the-box thinking, but don’t forget that it was the outgoing president who coveted Watson. At least we know significant changes are forthcoming. When that happens Bishop and his decision to break from tradition for 2014 may deserve some of the credit.
Presidents Cup (-4%): Maybe the “Redeem Team” was just waiting to reassert its dominance in South Korea.
Bubba (-5%): The only U.S. player who failed to record a point in Scotland, Watson better hope he qualifies on his own for future Ryder Cup teams, because no captain will be foolish enough to pick him based on his record (3-8) or his belief that he’s “too nice” for the biennial matches.
Nick Faldo (-6%): Oh, the irony in him calling Sergio “useless” during the 2008 matches at Valhalla (after Garcia had recently broken up with his longtime girlfriend). Sir Nick is widely considered one of the worst European captains in recent memory and remains the only one to lose this century.
U.S. team uniforms (-7%): Hey, at least the players are covered for this year’s ugly sweater parties.
Tom Watson (-10%): He made virtually no effort to get to know his players during the run-up to the cup, offered head-scratching rationales for his wild-card picks and butchered several of the key decisions at Gleneagles. There’s no other way to put it: His captaincy was a complete and utter disaster.