Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.
Pat Perez (+8%): On a Tour rife with size-30 waists, PR-conscious handlers and TrackMan-perfected swings, Perez is unapologetically himself. Now with two wins in the past 11 months – or double his previous win total over 15 years – his is a lesson for all future pros: Do you.
Fred Ridley (+5%): Officially taking over at Augusta National, it’ll be interesting to see how Ridley, the only chairman to have played in the Masters, looks to leave his mark on the club, tournament and golf world. Given his competitive background, his perspective should be different than his predecessors.
Keegan (+4%): The former anchorer might never be a great putter again, but Bradley’s ball-striking is returning to an elite level. That could put him back in contention at events like the CIMB, but perhaps even more important to him is that he’s once again on the radar for U.S. cup teams.
Leona Maguire (+3%): Her college peers must be counting down the days until the Duke senior graduates after she topped another elite field to capture her ninth career title.
Matt Parziale (+2%): Well, that’s one way to earn invitations to the first two majors of 2018: The 30-year-old firefighter hung 10(!) birdies on his opponent in the finals of the U.S. Mid-Amateur.
European Tour players not named Hatton or Fisher (-1%): For the second consecutive week, Tyrrell Hatton outlasted Ross Fisher to win on the European circuit. The good news for everybody else? Neither player is in the field this week in Spain.
Senior playoffs (-2%): This week starts the Charles Schwab Cup playoffs, or three events that will confirm what we already know – that Bernhard Langer is the best senior golfer on the planet. The hope here is to someday see the senior postseason turn into a match-play event with a big-money payout. Who wouldn’t want to watch 55-year-olds with frayed nerves and yippy strokes play for a few mil? Instant entertainment.
Tiger Countdown (-3%): Have we learned nothing? It’s OK to be excited, but just because Woods is hitting driver again doesn’t mean he’s on the verge of returning to competition. And even if he does, it’d take a Herculean effort to be a regular contender. Let him savor this final comeback.
Reinstated amateurs (-7%): It appears the Mid-Am now has a Omar Uresti-PGA Club Pro problem: Former pros comprised 43 percent of last week’s field. Guys like Parziale – who spent years honing his craft full-time on the mini-tours – should not be eligible to compete for the biggest titles against amateur lifers.