Stock watch: Buying Bae, selling Guan

By Ryan LavnerMay 20, 2013, 7:00 pm

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


Surprise winners: Entering the Nelson, Sang-Moon Bae had just one top-10 in 30 starts since his playoff loss last spring in Tampa. So, naturally, the 26-year-old South Korean out-dueled one of the world’s most explosive players on a windswept day and captured his maiden PGA Tour title. Only Michael Thompson and Derek Ernst were left unimpressed.

Red numbers: This last week alone saw '59 Watches' on every major circuit. Sweat stains, sundresses and scary-low scores – it’s the annual rite of summer in pro golf.

Peter Uihlein: The 2010 U.S. Amateur champion (and son of Acushnet Co., boss Wally Uihlein) took an unconventional route after joining the play-for-pay ranks in late 2011, heading to such faraway locales as Kenya and Kazakhstan instead of grinding on the mini-tours in the U.S. Did the 23-year-old expect his first pro win to come in Portugal? Of course not. But the well-traveled Uihlein showed young pros everywhere there is more than one way to prepare for the Big Show.

Cal men: The Golden Bears set a NCAA single-season record last weekend with their 11th win of the season. Each starter, 1 through 5, has earned medalist honors at least once this season, and in sophomore Michael Kim (four wins, no finish outside the top 11) Cal also boasts the country’s best player. Monday night's Ben Hogan Award ceremony should cement that.


Keegan Bradley: OK, we’re not really selling. He’s still one of the top four prospects in the sport, an immensely talented player despite his bizarre pre-shot routine. But during the final round of the Nelson, and with Tuesday’s anchoring decision looming, Keegs squandered one final chance to defiantly hoist his belly putter in victory. That sound you heard? The blue coats exhaling.

Guan Tianlang: The Memorial Tournament justified the kid’s exemption by saying, essentially, that if the Asia-Pacific Amateur winner earns a berth in the Masters, then he should receive a spot in Jack’s event, too. But frankly, this story now bores me. The curiosity is gone. It’s impressive, of course, but we know what we are getting with the 14-year-old – few birdies, a chance to make the cut – and it’s time to give more deserving players an opportunity.

Anchoring: A final decision will be handed down Tuesday, after an oft-contentious comment period that lasted much longer than 90 days, but this announcement carries about as much suspense as Tiger with a six-shot lead. Your move, Commish.

Going low: Buying and selling this week. Every golf observer has heard this axiom: “It’s hard to back up a low round with another good one.” Apparently so. Keegan Bradley opened with 60 in Dallas and didn’t win. Anna Nordqvist carded a third-round 61 in Mobile and still couldn’t chase down Jennifer Johnson. And Chesson Hadley began his final round on the Tour with an 8-under 27, but stalled for a disappointing 63 and T-3 finish. Weird.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.