Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.
Sergio (+10%): His major prospects might hinge on whether he can stay in a relationship with his new lady friend. It seems when he’s happy and in love off the course, he’s exponentially more dangerous on it.
LPGA (+8%): It was a home-run opener for the tour, with Jessica Korda – another vivacious young player on a circuit chock full of them – holding off a star-studded field. The tour’s stock is skyrocketing.
Scott Stallings (+6%): Don’t look now, but the 28-year-old joined elite company last week at Torrey as one of only six players under the age of 30 with at least three Tour wins.
Dubai (+4%): So much for maintaining a normal sleep schedule this week. A rusty Tiger and rejuvenated Rory, together, are must-see, early-season TV. (On-air coverage begins at 10:30 p.m. ET Wednesday. Hey, I’m a company man.)
Hank Haney (+2%): Guess it didn’t take long for the former famous swing instructor to find his groove as a radio host. On his new SiriusXM show he’s already taken shots at Tiger, for being too muscle-bound, and Nick Faldo, for being unprepared on TV. His honest takes are refreshing.
Tiger (-3%): His first career MDF – on a course that he has owned, no less – only underscores the point that the game’s ultimate winner is more erratic than ever. Which means he’ll probably win this week.
Jordan Spieth (-5%): The Education of a Wunderkind continued at Torrey, where his 75-75 weekend on a bum ankle erased memories of his sensational 63 alongside the world No. 1. A little scar tissue, though, will make the victories even prettier.
Torrey Pines (-6%): The redone muni was a monotonous snooze-fest with brutal length, wedge-out rough and rock-hard greens – in other words, it was perfect for a U.S. Open, not a January tune-up. With every tournament effectively in a constant recruiting war, this year’s event did little to help boost the 2015 field.
Walking wounded (-7%): Twelve players on major medicals are teeing it up in Phoenix, thus bumping out the top 10 from last week’s event and players such as Web.com grad Michael Putnam, who are supposedly fully eligible. Even worse timing: It comes on the heels of a report that players are feigning injuries to stay on tour. Yikes.
Phil (-8%): This probably wasn’t what the arthritic 43-year-old meant when he said he’s scaling back his schedule in 2014. So durable for much of his pro career (only four WDs), he now faces uncertainty with a creaky back in arguably the most important year of his career.