Stock Watch: Buying and selling the '13 Tour season

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 24, 2013, 12:00 pm

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf. This week, we take a look at the 2013 PGA Tour season in general.

BUY

Hennie Stennie: Four top-3s and two wins in his last eight worldwide starts propelled Stenson back near the top of the world order. And unlike in 2009 – when he soon disappeared (once again) into the career abyss – this time the Swede looks like he’s here to stay.

Tiger: Hey, you can’t shortchange the guy’s five-win season just because of his impossibly high standards. He’s the no-brainer choice for Player of the Year, even if his 2013 is destined to be remembered as satisfying yet ultimately unfulfilling.

Jordan Spieth: Made the biggest rookie splash since Tiger in ’96, with nine top-10s, one victory, three runners-up, nearly $4 million in earnings and a spot on the Presidents Cup team. Expectations for 2014 now include a multi-win season and, possibly, a major – heady stuff for a 20-year-old.

Duf: No player’s popularity soared more in 2013 than Dufner’s. From the Dufnering craze to the ever-expanding size of his dip to the wife butt-grab after winning the PGA, his everyman appeal is unmistakable at every Tour stop.

Major breakthroughs: Adam Scott and Justin Rose traded texts, and then major titles; Phil transformed his game to win the Open; and Dufner avenged his 2011 collapse. Following this pattern, then, it would surprise little if players like Sneds, Kooch, Stennie and Hunter got off the major schneid in ’14.

Part-timers: Steve Stricker scaled back his schedule and played the best golf of his life. Mickelson already hinted that he might try a similar plan. Expect even more family-first 40-somethings to follow suit in the coming years.


SELL

Rory: It was a lost, miserable year for the former world No. 1, who not only struggled with his swing and to adjust to his new equipment, but he also mishandled his early-season schedule and displayed poor on-course comportment. He’ll return to his winning ways soon enough. We think.

Awards season: The manufactured debate is fun, but there’s no doubt which players (Woods, Spieth) should hoist the end-of-season hardware. And if Henrik Stenson – who two years ago was No. 230 in the world and now is ranked fourth – can’t bring the Comeback Player of the Year award out of retirement, then for whom, exactly, are they waiting?

Major momentum: The 2012 major winners combined to make 81 starts on the PGA Tour this season. They had zero wins and 14 top-10s – or, viewed another way, just five more than Spieth, a rookie.

Recent world No. 1s (not named Tiger): Already touched on Rory’s dismal season, but Luke Donald (swing-coach change), Lee Westwood (blown 54-hole lead at the Open) and Martin Kaymer (general mediocrity) didn’t inspire much confidence, either. Don’t forget that another erstwhile No. 1, Vijay Singh, is now toiling in anonymity on the over-50 circuit.

Rulings: Tiger was embroiled in three high-profile rules snafus this season, throwing the Tour’s call-in-from-the-couch policy under the spotlight and, more generally, prompting questions about the archaic Rules of Golf. Even more head-scratching, however, was the case of Vijay Singh, who admitted to using a banned substance, was cleared of a drug-policy infraction and then proceeded to sue the employer that cleared him.

Bitter bureaucracy: Battle lines were drawn early this season between the anchorers and the purists, and no one, not even the lawyers, emerged victorious. The USGA still shows the scars from the bluecoat bashing, and for good reason, for it tackled the belly ban instead of the issues that actually threaten our game (slow play, distance, etc.).

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Watch: Daly makes birdie from 18-foot-deep bunker

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 11:14 pm

John Daly on Friday somehow got up and down for birdie from the deepest bunker on the PGA Tour.

The sand to the left of the green on the 16th hole at the Stadium Course at PGA West sits 18 feet below the surface of the green.

That proved no problem for Daly, who cleared the lip three times taller than he is and then rolled in a 26-footer.

He fared just slightly better than former Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill.

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Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

“I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.


Made Cut

Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

“If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

“The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

September can’t get here quick enough.

Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

“I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

“My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.


Missed Cut

Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

Tweet of the week:

It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.