Stock Watch: Highs and lows from 2015

By Ryan LavnerDecember 8, 2015, 2:04 pm

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf. This is the year-ending edition.

RISING

Jordan Spieth (+10%): He is already the face of the sport, at age 22. The only question: How can Spieth possibly top one of the best seasons of all time?

Lydia Ko vs. Inbee Park (+8%): The 18-year-old sensation and the newly minted Hall of Famer combined for 10 wins and three majors in 2015, with their duel for player of the year coming down to the final hole of the final event. We can’t wait to watch how this respectful rivalry develops.

Big 3 (+7%): Remember all of the apprehension about who will fill the void in the post-Tiger era? It seems silly now, with three dynamic, affable, articulate under-28 stars putting the game in a chokehold.

Youth Movement (+6%): From Ko to Spieth, from Lexi Thompson to Justin Thomas, from Brooke Henderson to Matt Fitzpatrick, the 2015 golf year was dominated by players who can barely enjoy their breakout years with an adult beverage. The best part? Even more studs are in the pipeline.

Rickie Fowler (+5%): Overrated no longer, Fowler has toned down his Crayola look and committed himself to maximizing his considerable talent. His Players victory was the most thrilling tournament of the year, and he added Ws against top-notch fields in Scotland and Boston. The next step is to win a major – and to create a Big 4.

Bryson DeChambeau (+4%): One of the most fascinating amateurs in years took his game to the next level with victories at both the NCAAs and U.S. Amateur – just the fifth player to complete that double dip in the same year. Set to turn pro after the Masters because of his college team’s postseason ban, the quirky DeChambeau will continue to be one of the most talked-about players next summer.

U.S. cup teams (+3%): Sure, the Americans got walloped like never before at the Walker Cup, but the red, white and blue also staged an incredible rally at the Solheim Cup, continued their dominance in a down-to-the-wire Presidents Cup, and brought a new level of attention to Ryder Cup news conferences after Tiger Woods was named an assistant captain.

Kevin Kisner (+2%): No top player made a bigger jump in 2015, rising from No. 236 to No. 18 in the world rankings. At 31, Kiz is entering the prime of his career and now must be viewed as a serious contender to win a major and earn a spot on his first Ryder Cup squad.


HOLDING STEADY

Rory McIlroy: His decision to play soccer in the middle of the season cost him a shot at two majors and the playoffs, but his 2015 was far from a complete disaster, with four victories worldwide. Motivation should not be an issue in ’16.

Henrik Stenson and Stacy Lewis: They had nearly identical seasons, combining for no wins and 16 top-3 (!) finishes as the game’s next generation of stars pushed them into the background.

Bubba Watson: Quite literally, he held steady – he’s No. 4 in the world, just as he was at this time last year. He is one of the most enigmatic talents, a player capable of blowing away the field when engaged, but he lacks the week-to-week consistency of Spieth, Day and McIlroy.

Dustin Johnson: After returning from his six-month hiatus, he put on an awe-inspiring power display at Doral but also, incredibly, added to his long list of major meltdowns, three-putting from 12 feet at Chambers Bay and kicking away a 36-hole lead at St. Andrews. He’s too talented not to break through for at least one major … right?


FALLING

Jason Dufner (-1%): A new body didn’t lead to different results, as Dufner had one of the biggest slides in 2015, finishing in the top 10 only twice and dropping from 38th to 129th in the world.

Anchorers (-2%): Life without the long putter began in earnest for the likes of Adam Scott and Keegan Bradley, and it resulted in the worst years of their career. Throw in longtime anchorer Bernhard Langer, and these players’ transition will continue to be a major storyline to watch in 2016 and beyond.

Team Europe’s Old Guard (-3%): Before Graeme McDowell’s victory at Mayakoba, it looked like a lost year for the Ryder Cup stalwarts, with Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Luke Donald and Thomas Bjorn all dropping out of the top 50. Don’t be surprised when a new-look European team heads to Hazeltine.

Phil Mickelson (-4%): Winless for more than two years, Lefty axed the best swing coach on the planet in hopes that a few new ideas will coax one more major out of his 45-year-old body.

Suzann Pettersen (-5%): The villain of the Solheim Cup, Pettersen’s unsportsmanlike conduct overshadowed the competition, ticked off players on both sides of the pond and ensured that she’ll get a frosty reception during the 2017 matches.

Michelle Wie (-7%): After the best year of her career, she was more like the Big Uneasy in 2015, battling injuries and ineffectiveness during a forgettable season. A bona fide superstar, it’s reasonable to wonder whether Wie still has the drive to be one of the world’s best players.

Tiger Woods (-9%): After three back surgeries in 19 months, an uncertainty hangs over Woods like never before. At this point, it’s no guarantee that he will tee it up next year, or ever again.

Getty Images

Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

Getty Images

Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm