Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.
P-Reed (+8%): It was, in every sense, a star-making performance for the fiery Texan. Just pencil him in now for the next, oh, 10 Ryder Cups.
Thomas Pieters (+6%): As expected, the long-hitting Belgian was one of the lone bright spots for the Europeans, setting a team record for the most points by a rookie (four). He’ll be a top-10 player by this time next year.
Rory (+5%): Sure, he lost twice, but McIlroy still elevated the Ryder Cup to new heights, transforming from a swaggering former world No. 1 into a pro-wrestling heel. What fun.
Phil (+4%): Shouldering the load for the entire U.S. team, Mickelson stepped up in a big way, going 2-1 in team play and then halving his epic singles match with a 10-birdie performance. It was a satisfying end to a resurgent year.
Bubba (+1%): What other top-10 player would beg to become an assistant after getting passed over for a spot? Watson longs to be accepted, and it was heartwarming to see him welcomed into the team room. That outpouring of emotion on 18 was real.
Lee Westwood (-1%): No one wants to see a match decided by a few yippy strokes. For this aging warrior, the Ryder Cup was a confidence-shattering week.
Justin Rose (-2%): Eighteen center-cut hole locations may have been “incredibly weak” and created a “pro-am feel,” but the PGA wanted birdies, eagles and excitement for the home crowd. Everyone was playing the same course – why does the setup matter?
Darren Clarke (-3%): Can’t pin the Europeans’ worst loss in 35 years entirely on the affable Irishman, for his team was overmatched in every facet. But the European skipper definitely aided their decline in making a few curious lineup decisions, most notably sending out a slumping Martin Kaymer and Westwood for a second team session while sitting Spanish star Rafa Cabrera Bello.
Danny Willett (-5%): After dropping the mic in the team news conference afterward (asked to describe his week, he replied: “S---”) he decided to stir things up once more before he left, tweeting that perhaps his brother was right about American fans. Why not let it go? He realizes he’ll have to play again in the States, right?
Fan behavior (-7%): The PGA allowed too many fans into the event, worsening the viewing experience and increasing the likelihood that the over-served would grow hostile. If something isn’t done – fewer tickets, a cut-off for alcohol sales, a policy for dealing with numbskulls, something – then Bethpage in 2024 will be downright ugly.