Stock Watch: Winning cars is great; cheating is not

By Ryan LavnerNovember 4, 2014, 3:30 pm

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

RISING

LPGA’s 1-2 punch (+7%): OK, so it’s not exactly Brady-Manning, Bird-Magic or Federer-Nadal, but the budding rivalry between Inbee Park and Stacy Lewis is at least worth watching. Now, if Michelle Wie could become a consistent winner …

Freddie (+5%): Tour types have spoken (or texted), and they all want Boom Boom as ’16 Ryder Cup captain. After the Tom Watson disaster and years of disconnect, the PGA would be wise to finally listen to the players.

Ryan Moore (+4%): Nice playing to shoot all four rounds in the 60s and win something called the CIMB Classic … but let’s hold off on projecting a 2014-15 breakthrough. Moore still tends to disappear for long stretches at a time and doesn’t have a major top-10 since 2009.

Danielle Kang (+3%): The young LPGAer and ace machine now has an entirely first-world problem, with three cars and space for only one at her Vegas home. (If you’re wondering, it looks like the Porsche Cayenne still makes the cut. Phew.) Since your correspondent has A) never made an ace and B) owns a 2011 Ford Fusion with a dead battery, there will no be tears shed here.

Adam Scott (+2%): For the man with seemingly everything, here’s still another confidence-booster: He has received more than 100 inquiries from prospective caddies. It’s almost like he’s earned more than $18 mil over the past five years or something.

Luke (+1%): The tidy Englishman has swallowed his pride, admitted that the move to Chuck Cook didn’t work, and returned to the coach (Pat Goss) who helped mold him into a No. 1 player. Better days are ahead.


FALLING

WGC-HSBC (-2%): Forty of the top 50 in the world are playing this week in Shanghai, but there is no Tiger (injury), no Phil (rest), no Rory (lawyer prep) and no DJ (uh, personal reasons), who is the defending champion. Fortunately for us, the latter scenario should produce plenty of awkwardness!

Suzy Whaley’s candidacy (-3%): Well, that was fast: The presumptive favorite for PGA secretary (and, in all likelihood, the 2018 PGA presidency) is now far from a sure thing, with both influential women’s voice Dottie Pepper and legendary PGA member Bob Ford throwing their support behind her opponent in the secretary race. Political fever – catch it while you can.

BMW Masters (-5%): Marcel Siem won the title, but not all playoff losers should be viewed equally: Alexander Levy squandered a four-shot lead with a ghastly 78, while Ross Fisher nearly set a Euro Tour record when he came all the way back from 11 (!) shots down.

Miggy (-7%): Levy’s 78 in a 25-mph wind may have been a disaster, but it paled to what Miguel Angel Jimenez did at the BMW: a Sunday 88, punctuated by a 9-over score on the ninth hole when he rinsed four shots. Though not a reputation-destroyer, it’s hard to look cool while making a 13.

Xin-Jun Zhang (-9%): At first glance, the headline reads like a joke – Leading PGA Tour China Winner Slapped with Six-Month Ban for Signing Incorrect Scorecards! – but it’s clear that officials will be on high alert if he heads stateside to accept Web.com Tour membership.  

Getty Images

What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

Getty Images

Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

Getty Images

Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

Getty Images

Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.