Each week on GolfChannel.com, we examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf. This week, we’re taking a look at the year in its entirety.
DJ (+10%): After winning his first major under bizarre circumstances, Johnson is no longer golf’s most tantalizing tease. He’s the star with arguably the most potential for greatness.
Ariya (+9%): This year will be viewed as the beginning of the Jutanugarn era in women’s golf. She’s the real deal.
Hideki (+8%): A scary thought: One of the game’s preeminent ball-strikers has significantly improved his putting. His five-win 2016 might be the start of something special.
Phil (+6%): No player did more in 2016 with less to show for it: a few close calls, a magical run at a major, and a macho performance at the Ryder Cup. Fortunately for us, he remains as unpredictable, and brilliant, as ever.
Jon Rahm (+5%): A star in the making – unless you don’t like ball-mashers with a soft touch around the greens – he is an easy bet for a victory (or two) this season.
Alex Noren (+4%): With four wins since mid-July, the 34-year-old journeyman has soared into the top 10 in the world. The next step is producing in the biggest events.
Kevin Chappell (+2%): Kevin Kisner had four runners-up in 2015 before breaking through for a victory. Chappell had three runners-up in 2016 before …
Tiger (+1%): He’s upright, and happy, which is more than we could have typed a year ago. It’s anyone’s guess whether he wins again on Tour, but at least now his body is allowing him to try.
Lydia (-1%): It’s a testament to her scoring ability and short game that she took a step back with her ball-striking and still won four times this year. Battling Ariya will be her greatest challenge yet.
Zach (-2%): Consistently excellent for much of his career, Johnson slipped 25 spots in the world rankings after posting just five top-10s in 25 starts.
Jim Furyk (-3%): Yes, he became the first Tour player to shoot 58, but offseason wrist surgery ruined the flow of his season and more distractions await if he’s tabbed as Ryder Cup captain.
Rickie (-4%): The narrative that surrounded his breakout 2015 season – he’s a better closer than Mariano Riviera! – quickly unraveled this year, after frittering away multiple chances to win.
Bubba (-5%): He showed such little form for much of the year that he was passed up for a Ryder Cup spot even while ranked No. 7 in the world.
Justin Rose (-6%): The Olympic gold was sweet, of course, but the Englishman’s nagging back injury has put a dark cloud over his immediate future. Rio was his only top-20 since May.
Bernhard Langer’s peers (-7%): Every year, it seems, a familiar name turns 50 and threatens to take the senior circuit by storm. And every year, it seems, Langer eliminates any suspense with another sensational campaign.
European Ryder Cup team (-8%): Poor pairings, aging leaders, a controversial qualifying process … who could have imagined a few months ago that it’d be the Europeans who are facing the most questions about the direction of the team?
USGA (-9%): They’ve vowed to simplify the rules, which is good, because this year had its share of forehead-slapping disasters.
U.S. women (-10%): Sure, the Americans had their worst showing in the 67-year history of the LPGA, but help is on the way with young U.S. stars like … um … well …