Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.
Rory (+9%): He’s now in a league all his own. Alas, for the time being, Boy Wonder will encounter more resistance in the courtroom than on the course.
Brooks Koepka (+6%): Battle-tested from his years overseas, supremely confident and an all-out masher – 331, down the pipe, with the tourney on the line? Really? – there is little wonder his Phoenix Open title seemed like the first of many. He is really, really good.
Lydia Ko (+5%): Kicking away a tournament wasn’t the splashiest way to ascend to world No. 1, but we’ll soon learn whether she is more like Annika or Yani when it comes to holding the top spot.
Jon Rahm (+4%): We were buying all of this kid’s stock long before he became only the second amateur in the past 15 years to finish in the top five in a Tour event. He’s the World Amateur Team Championship medalist, a four-time winner at ASU and the owner of a record-breaking 61 at the 2013 NCAAs. Now, he knows how talented he actually is, and that’s terrifying.
Dustin Johnson (+2%): One of the game’s most electric stars returns from a suspiciously well-timed absence, and though expectations are lower this week (one top-15 in six tries at Torrey), we’re still on record as saying he is poised for a two-win 2015.
Hideki (-1%): Huge fan of the 22-year-old’s talent, but his shaky putting – and that’s probably putting it gently – on the back nine at both Kapalua and TPC Scottsdale doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.
Top-tier LPGA talent (-2%): Ko’s rise to the top is incredible, but the LPGA still lacks a dominant star. The women’s game desperately needs a big-hitting phenom – think Wie or Lexi – who can roll the rock like Inbee. When that player arrives, and she will, it’ll be a game-changer.
Martin Laird (-3%): Timely putting kept him afloat all week, but it was still a surprise to see that it was the more seasoned player who folded on 17 and 18, not the under-25 studs.
Phoenix crowds (-5%): The massive crowds never materialized after Tiger skipped town and bad weather rolled in, and the fans on 16 were reduced to flinging their $7 Coors Lights when someone named Cory Renfew chipped in for birdie. Shame.
Tiger’s chipping (-9%): It’s sad to see one of the game’s greatest short-game magicians reduced to fear and confusion over straightforward pitch shots. Careers have ended prematurely because of chipping yips. To expect Woods to contend anytime soon is wishful thinking, at best.