Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.
Rory (+9%): Here’s a scary thought: He won at Harding Park with his B-game, and on a few occasions simply willed himself to victory. The Match Play was a not-so-subtle reminder that he’s still the undisputed No. 1.
Golf fights (+7%): Figures that the most passion displayed last week was in a meaningless match between a pair of 0-2 players. No one escaped embarrassment in this ordeal, but Keegan and Miguel’s nose-to-nose encounter did accomplish one thing: It wasn’t one of the 90 or so listless matches.
The Players (+6%): This week began like it seemingly always does – with talk about whether this event is the fifth major. Forget about what it isn’t. The Players is the strongest full-field event in golf, on a diabolical, viewer-friendly track. What’s not to love?
Inbee (+4%): While she may not be Lydia Ko’s flashiest rival, she definitely is the most consistent – her 2015 résumé already has five top-5s (and two wins).
Jim Furyk (+2%): Joke all you want – only he could lose twice on a Sunday! – but after a satisfying win a few weeks ago, the old war horse nearly pulled off an improbable double dip. Mark him down as one of the top five favorites this week at The Players.
Travel plans (-1%): All of the talk about Rory trying to make it to Vegas in time for the Mayweather-Pacquiao pillow fight … and he ended up watching it on a 19-inch TV in the media center. At least the $1.57 million first-place check will help cover the cost of his ringside seats.
Overrated (-2%): A survey of tour types found that Rickie and Poults are the most overvalued players on Tour, having raked in a combined $33.2 mil with only three Tour wins to show for it. A more interesting question is whether they agree.
Russell Swanson (-3%): He’s the rules official who oversaw the Bradley-Jimenez spat. Yes, the dispute was between the players, but a simple, “It’s OK, Miguel, we’ve got this” could have defused the testy situation.
WGC-Match Play (-6%): Nothing puts pros in a sour mood quite like losing a head-to-head competition, but last week’s event was particularly cranky. For that you can blame a format that is still very much a work in progress. Speaking of which …
Format changes (-8%): Most obviously, the event should award points for halved matches and also use sudden-death playoffs instead of head-to-head matchups to settle ties. Tim Finchem has already shot down the idea of a 54-hole stroke-play qualifier, which is a mistake, because it (A) is infinitely less confusing for fans; (B) keeps all the stars around for three days; and (C) reduces the role of luck rewards the guys who are playing the best.