Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.
Hideki (+9%): Rare is the PGA Tour player who can win without a hot putting week. Matsuyama’s ball-striking has carried him to five victories in his last nine worldwide starts – and you can bet there will be plenty more.
Sergio (+7%): Might this finally be the year that Garcia lands that elusive major? A happy Sergio makes anything seem possible.
Webb Simpson (+4%): There is life post-anchoring, after all, for the former U.S. Open champion. It might not always look pretty, but his 65-64 weekend was nearly enough to steal the title.
New rules (+2%): The highly anticipated unveiling of the new-and-improved Rules of Golf – supposedly modernized and simplified – is set for next month. Hopefully it’s as smart as advertised.
Braden Thornberry (+1%): He doesn’t play for a traditional golf powerhouse, but the Ole Miss sophomore has been lights out this season – winning three college events, leading the nation in scoring average and, now, landing on the Walker Cup radar after a dominant performance at the prestigious Jones Cup.
JT (-1%): Thomas’ red-hot start to the season cooled a bit with a surprising missed cut in Scottsdale, allowing Hideki to reassume the unofficial title of Hottest Player in Golf.
Ben An (-3%): How hard is it to win on Tour? Watch a replay of An’s back-nine 40, what with the poor swings, bad decisions and shaky putting.
2020 Olympic Course (-4%): Kasumigaseki Country Club, which is slated to host the 2020 Games, postponed a decision that would allow women to be full members and to play on Sundays. Worse, the head of the board of directors called the equality issue a “nuisance.” Um, if that’s the board’s official stance, let the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee move the event elsewhere.
Tiger (-5%): It’s sadness, not surprise, that accompanies Woods’ latest setback. How much more can he endure?
Sunday finish (-10%): Let’s stop making golf fans choose what to watch on Super Bowl Sunday – end the Phoenix Open on Saturday, when the crowds are the biggest and most boisterous. And besides, starting on Wednesday might actually boost the already insane attendance numbers – the pro-am had 20,000 more fans than the final round.