Stock Watch: Thomas soars; Stevie flops

By Will GrayNovember 3, 2015, 2:40 pm

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

RISING

Justin Thomas (+8%): Nice little win for #JSGB (that would be Jordan Spieth's good buddy). Following a T-3 finish in Napa, I used this space to write one word about Thomas: soon. It turns out that his maiden title was only one start away, as Thomas put the hammer down over the closing four holes in Malaysia. Thomas always had the game to win at the highest level; now he has the confidence to match.

Youth movement (+6%): If you can rent a car, you're probably too old to win on Tour these days. Thomas' victory makes for four straight winners age 23 or younger, and 11 of the last 13 trophies on Tour have gone to players under 30. Don't expect that trend to end until guys like Jason Day and Rickie Fowler start aging into a new bracket.

Adam Scott's putter (+5%): Perhaps there is life after anchoring, after all. Scott is back to a conventional putter, and he had it working in Malaysia where he finished second after a final-round 63. Sure, he showed flashes of form with the short putter earlier this year only to falter for weeks on end, but this time he appeared much more comfortable on the greens. Scott was never a world-class putter even when anchoring, but if he can upgrade his putting to "decent," all might not be lost after the ban takes effect.

Sei Young Kim (+3%): You may not know the name, but you should probably learn it soon. Kim nabbed a one-shot win in China, her third victory this year on the LPGA, and basically locked up Rookie of the Year honors in the process. She's a force.  

Rory McIlroy (+2%): He didn't win, and he didn't play particularly well on Sunday, but McIlroy still made some clear progress in Turkey. He played 38 holes without a bogey, barely broke a sweat tee-to-green and moved into contention despite a lack of course knowledge and some overall rust. The putter that proved balky in Napa began to cooperate, and it's only a matter of time before the Ulsterman returns to the winner's circle.


FALLING

U.S. Ryder Cup standings (-1%): They're actually staying the same, which is a problem. Despite stellar play, Thomas (T-3, Win) and Kevin Na (P-2, T-2, T-3) are no closer to earning a spot at Hazeltine than Tiger Woods. U.S. Ryder Cup points don't kick in full-time until January, which may seem like a good idea - until it proves to be the difference when a veteran edges out a fresh face for one of the final spots. With the American record over the last 15 years, why protect the status quo?

Ontario housing market (-2%): News broke last week that Glen Abbey, host of 27 Canadian Opens and perhaps one of the best shots ever, may soon be turned into a housing development. While that transformation may be a few years down the line, if and when it comes to pass, it will be a sad day for golf - and not just in Canada.

John Peterson (-3%): The Happy Gilmore swing was a welcome bit of levity, and the only unfortunate aspect is that it will probably bring with it an (undisclosed) fine from Ponte Vedra. But Peterson spent last weekend tweeting about how he much he wanted a spot in Malaysia, then pulled the plug mentally after an opening 80. If you can't have your head in the game, stay home and give the spot to someone who will compete for all 72 holes.

Race to Dubai rules (-4%): The European Tour fashioned the Race to Dubai after the FedEx Cup Playoffs, but it hit an ugly snag this week when Victor Dubuisson won in Turkey - then was denied a spot in the WGC-HSBC Champions because of his prior world ranking. It's hard to spin the four-event stretch as a "final series" when winning one of the tournaments doesn't even earn you a tee time the following week.

Follow-up procedures (-6%): It's never good when the term "bed rest" is used to describe an athlete's recovery. But that's where we stand with Woods, who suffered another setback last week. The lack of details about the procedure, and the prognosis, are certainly a red flag, and his return to competition is anyone's guess. As McIlroy noted over the weekend, the best way to avoid a fifth back surgery is to not have the first one. Sadly for Woods, that ship has sailed.

Steve Williams' word choice (-9%): The guy wants to sell some books. Fine. And this is hardly the first time he has taken a swipe at his former boss. But Williams is 51 years old, and that's old enough to know that "slave" is not a word you can drop to describe any relationship, let alone one between two people of different races. He knew exactly what he was doing - dumping kerosene on a literary fire - which makes the deliberate word choice all the more egregious.

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The Social: G.O.A.T., after G.O.A.T., after G.O.A.T.

By Jason CrookJanuary 23, 2018, 6:00 pm

Tom Brady compares himself to Tiger Woods, who coincidentally is returning to the PGA Tour this week, Jordan Spieth hangs out with some decent company and kids these days ruffle some feathers with their friendships.

All that and more in this week's edition of The Social.

Well, it’s finally Farmers Insurance Open week and Woods has been spotted practicing for his official return to the PGA Tour on Thursday.

Some thought this day might never come after a 2017 filled with mostly downs for the 14-time major champ.

But as he has taught the golf world time and time again, you just can't count Tiger out.

So even as Jon Rahm attempts to overtake Dustin Johnson for No. 1 in the world this week at Torrey Pines, all eyes will be on one of the greatest we've ever seen do it, even if that guy is ranked No. 647 in the world.

Speaking of greatness …

There’s not many who can just offhandedly compare themselves to Tiger, but if anyone gets a pass, it’s Tom Brady.

The 40-year-old New England Patriots quarterback led his team back to the Super Bowl for the second straight year despite playing the AFC title game with a cut on his throwing hand.

When asked about it after the Patriots come-from-behind victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady answered, “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that. It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament.”

So there you have it. A 40-year-old Brady is winning AFC Championships with his C game. Good luck, Eagles; you’re going to need it.

Also, if for some reason you wanted an update on Justin Thomas' life, it's still awesome:

Yeah, that's last year's PGA Tour Player of the Year hanging with Cy Young winner Cory Kluber in a suite at the Patriots game and teasing us with a possible #SB2K18 cameo.

Curtis Strange likes his competitive golf straight up, hold the friendliness.

This, according to Curtis Strange.

The two-time U.S. Open champ took to Twitter during the CareerBuilder Challenge to vent his frustration regarding the constant chit-chat and friendliness between Rahm and Andrew Landry:

This, of course, makes sense in theory. But good luck watching golf – or really any sport – from here on out. Sure there will be a few old school guys who buck the trend here and there, but for the most part, it’s really hard to share a private jet/dinners/vacations/(insert awesome thing here) with someone, and then completely turn off the friendship coming down the stretch of a big tournament.

Damn millennials. They ruin everything.

By now you've all seen that poor Philadelphia Eagles fan who lost his battle with a subway station pillar (from multiple angles), so instead here is a video of a man attempting to stand on an egg. Bet you can't guess how that goes.

Tony's gonna stand on an egg

A post shared by theCHIVE (@thechive) on

Seriously if you haven't seen the video of that Eagles fan, here's your last chance in this column. You'll be glad you did.

Jordan Spieth, Michael Phelps and Bryce Harper walk on to a golf course … there’s no punchline, that actually happened last week in Las Vegas.

Was the whole thing just a big advertisement for Spieth’s new Under Armour shoe? You bet.

But that doesn’t make the optics of three of the biggest superstar athletes on the planet teeing it up for a round any less awesome.

Off to the next. #Spieth2 #TEAMUA

A post shared by Under Armour Golf (@uagolf) on

The trio has three major wins, five All Star Game appearances and 28 Olympic medals between them, and there they were over the weekend just fake laughing for the camera and driving around individual golf carts with their own personalized logos on them.

Just guys being dudes. Nothing better than that.

Matt Kuchar. Still good at golf. Still overly polite. This according to European Tour pro Eddie Pepperell who had the privilege of hitting on the range next to Kuuuuuch in Abu Dhabi last week.

That image is burned into your brain forever now, thanks Eddie. From now on when you think of Kuchar you're going to think of those Sketches ads and "oopsies."

Which, I suppose is better than a, "Did you get that?"

Blayne Barber's caddie, Cory Gilmer, collapsed and hit his head while at a restaurant at the Sony Open and has been mostly unconscious in the neurological intensive care unit ever since.

The outpouring of love and support from the golf community has been overwhelming on social media, and a GoFundMe page has been set up to help with the mounting medical costs for Gilmer and his family.

Check out the link below for more info or to donate to a worthy cause:

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Top-ranked amateur wins LAAC, earns Masters invite

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 23, 2018, 5:38 pm

Joaquin Niemann walked Augusta National Golf Club as a patron last year. He’ll be a competitor in 2018.

Niemann, the top-ranked amateur in the world, shot 8-under 63 Tuesday at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Santiago, Chile, to win the Latin America Amateur Championship.

And with the title, both redemption and an invitation to the Masters Tournament.


Full-field scores from the Latin America Amateur Championship


Niemann finished runner-up in last year’s LAAC to fellow Chilean Toto Gana. He followed Gana around Augusta grounds, watching as his best friend played two rounds before missing the cut.

Niemann, who was going to turn professional had he not won this week, started the final round one back of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz. Niemann was sluggish from the start on Tuesday, but then drove the 313-yard, par-4 eighth and made the eagle putt. That sparked a run of five birdies over his next six holes.

Niemann was bogey-free in the final round and finished five shots clear of Ortiz, at 11 under.

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Judges Panel, Host Announced for Wilson Golf's "Driver vs. Driver 2," Premiering This Fall on Golf Channel

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJanuary 23, 2018, 4:15 pm

‘Driver vs. Driver 2 Presented by Wilson Currently in Production; Sports Broadcaster Melanie Collins Returns to Host

Morning Drive: Driver vs. Driver 2 Judges Announced

Golf Channel and Wilson Golf announced today the panel of judges and host for the second season of Driver vs. Driver, the innovative television series that follows aspiring golf equipment designers as they compete for the opportunity to have their driver idea or concept transformed into the next great golf driver from Wilson. The show is currently in production and will premiere this fall.

Joining judge Tim Clarke, President of Wilson Golf, are two newcomers to the series: 9-time National Hockey League (NHL) All-Star and current NHL on NBC hockey analyst Jeremy Roenick – an avid golfer with a single digit handicap and a self-described golf equipment junkie; and PGA Professional, golf coach, equipment reviewer and social media influencer Rick Shiels.

“Golf is a big passion of mine, and personally I enjoy learning about new equipment and concepts,” said Roenick. “To be able to see this side of the business in how equipment is developed first-hand is fascinating. Being a part of the process in reviewing driver concepts and narrowing them down to an ultimate winning driver that will be sold across the country is a tremendous honor.” 

“Jeremy, as an avid golfer, and Rick, as a coach, equipment reviewer and golf professional, bring incredible, real world insights and different perspectives to the show and this process,” said Clarke. “I’m excited to work alongside these two judges to push the boundaries of innovation and bring a next-generation driver to golfers around the world.”

Sports broadcaster Melanie Collins returns as the host of Driver vs. Driver 2. Currently a sideline reporter for CBS Sports’ college football and basketball coverage, Collins hosted the inaugural season in 2016 and formerly co-hosted Golf Channel’s competition series, Big Break.

Production for Driver vs. Driver 2 began in the fall of 2017 and will continue through the summer, including this week at the PGA Merchandise Show. The series is being produced by Golf Channel, whose portfolio of original productions include interview series Feherty hosted by Emmy-nominated sports personality David Feherty, high-quality instruction shows School of Golf, Golf Channel Academy and Playing Lessons and a slate of award-winning films.

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Tiger Tracker: Farmers Insurance Open

By Tiger TrackerJanuary 23, 2018, 4:00 pm

Tiger Woods is competing in a full-field event for the first time in nearly a year. We're tracking him at this week's Farmers Insurance Open. (Note: Tweets read, in order, left to right)