Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.
Presidents Cup (+8%): A close match gave the new points structure instant credibility. The worry, of course, is that this was an aberration, that the Internationals will get blown out in two years on American soil, that the apathy will return. For one year at least, the golf was dynamic and the players were inspired. That’s progress.
Phil (+7%): Criticized as a captain’s pick by virtually everyone but the 10 automatic qualifiers, Mickelson gave fans the Full Phil Experience in South Korea – making birdies, rousing his teammates, taunting his opponents and single-handedly elevating the event.
Matt Fitzpatrick (+6%): At age 21, he is already a savvy scorer – think Luke Donald, but with a better long game – and should be ranked inside the top 25 before long. The British Masters was the first of many titles for the baby-faced star.
Branden Grace (+4%): Hey, the most underrated player in golf did all he could to try to lift the Internationals to a breakthrough victory, becoming the first player to go 5-0 in a losing effort.
Sammy Schmitz (+3%): Talk about an exclamation point: He aced a 260-yard par 4 to essentially seal the U.S. Mid Amateur title and earn a Masters invitation. It was one of the shots of the year … even if, incredibly, no video exists.
Tiger (+1%): Yes, he’s probably just bored during injury rehab, but it’s still cool that the Americans’ alpha dog is finally interested in assisting the team.
Anirban Lahiri (-1%): The first player from India to make the Presidents Cup team had a rather forgettable debut. Not only did he go 0-3 – he also missed a 4-footer on the last that gave the Americans a crucial point.
Rickie (-2%): Seriously, it boggles the mind that one of the most competitive players on the planet has only one full point in three team events.
Spieth/Reed pairing (-4%): One of the cup’s biggest surprises: Spieth told captain Jay Haas that he wanted to partner with Dustin Johnson, not Patrick Reed, with whom he starred at Gleneagles. All they did last week was win in their lone appearance together.
Rules officials (-5%): Sure, Phil should have known the rules – especially in his 11th cup appearance – but seeing how badly the so-called experts bungled the one-ball ruling was absolutely stunning.
J-Day (-6%): That the Internationals even had a chance to win after Day’s 0-4-1 clunker is a testament to the stellar play of Grace and Louis Oosthuizen. This was a bizarre no-show from the world No. 2, who admitted this was essentially a must-win scenario for the home team.
Ryder Cup parallels (-8%): What can Davis Love and Co. glean from another U.S. victory, the first since the task force was formed? Nothing. At the Presidents Cup, the Americans always feel like they’re frontrunners – mostly because they are, with the lead in 25 consecutive sessions and counting – and aren’t bogged down by the pressure, the stakes, the scrutiny, the expectations and the tougher competition. It’ll take wins – lots of them – to re-create that winning feeling in the Ryder Cup.