Stock Watch: Masters rising; Defending champ's popularity falling

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

RISING

Masters (+10%): Maybe it’s the 242 days between majors. But no other event gives you the feeling that we’re about to witness something incredible.  

Tiger (+8%): Whatever happens this week, you have to respect the fact that the guy is putting everything on the line – namely his pride – on the world’s most nerve-wracking course.

J.B. Holmes (+6%): His waywardness off the tee and putting likely will keep him from double-dipping at Augusta, but you can’t completely rule out a guy in the midst of a career year. In the past 11 months, he’s soared nearly 500 (!) spots in the world rankings.  

Brittany Lincicome (+5%): After admittedly “shaking like a leaf” down the stretch at the LPGA Championship last August, Bam-Bam buried a 72nd-hole eagle and then coolly made three consecutive pars to win her second major.

Jordan Spieth (+4%): He’s the hottest golfer on the planet, and a player must protect his confidence at all costs. A cellphone-wielding fan bailed him out of what was a sloppy finish in Houston. That can make a huge difference, psychologically.

Prognosticating (+3%): The Masters is the one major that you can predict who’s going to win with reasonable certainty. Which might explain why this scribe is in more pools than Michael Phelps.


FALLING

Lydia Ko (-1%): Her T-51 finish at the ANA was a massive missed opportunity – major wins are about the only thing that will move the needle.

Rickie (-3%): Golf’s Nearly Man in the 2014 majors, Fowler enters the Masters without a top 25 in a full-field event this year. Coming off a 71st-place showing in Houston, there’s little reason to believe his top-5 major streak continues this week.

Sei Young Kim (-4%): Staked to a three-shot lead at Mission Hills, an ugly inward 39 doomed her chances for a breakthrough major title. OK, and so did the seven – SEVEN! – three-putts during the week.

Bubba’s popularity (-5%): Apparently, Watson’s peers wouldn’t jump in to help him if he were getting pummeled in a parking lot. That’s fine. When he wins another green jacket this week, he’ll be able to afford a bodyguard.

Peter Alliss (-6%): The 84-year-old BBC commentator is deservedly getting ripped for saying that golf’s shift toward gender equality has “caused mayhem” and “buggered up” the game. A laughably outdated viewpoint. 

Stacy Lewis (-7%): Laying up into a sand-filled divot was the final punch in the gut. This season, she’s had four chances to end a 10-month winless drought. She’s 0-for-4.