Stock Watch: Return of Rory; Riviera's imperfect 10th

RSS

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

RISING

Lydia Ko (+8%): The 17-year-old prodigy is so mature and ruthlessly efficient that her golf can appear boring. That might help explain why her nine pro titles haven’t generated more national headlines, but the dynamic figures to change once she begins clobbering the field at majors.

James Hahn (+6%): The journeyman experienced remarkable lows before turning around his career, including a rock-bottom moment in 2008, when he had less than $300 in his bank account and needed to borrow money from his parents just to book a flight home. Great personality, even better story.

Rory (+5%): Playing in the States for the first time since September, he’s back to rule the golf world. The undisputed No. 1 is just about the only player who can make us forget about Tiger’s woes, at least temporarily.

Youth movement (+3%): Sixteen-year-old Hannah O’Sullivan broke Cristie Kerr’s 20-year record and won in a rout on the Symetra Tour. The scariest part: There are 20 girls ranked higher than O’Sullivan in junior golf alone.

West Coast swing (+2%): Torrey Pines, Pebble and Riviera – the only stretch on Tour when players compete on three consecutive U.S. Open venues. Shame that the schedule peaks in February.


FALLING

DJ (-1%): Head-to-head against the 297th-ranked player and a guy who hit a cold shank earlier in the day, Johnson needs to prevail if he’s truly on the brink of realizing his awesome potential. Where’s the killer instinct that resides in so many of the great ones?

Tiger and Butch (-2%): Harmon may have changed his tune about helping his former pupil, but let’s be serious: A potential reunion is about as likely as Tiger winning in his return from his sabbatical.

Sergio (-3%): Believe it or not, he has been an above-average putter since 2012; heck, in limited action this year, he is ranked No. 1. Too bad he always seems to forget that fact on the back nine Sunday.

Freddie (-5%): Flaky behavior and a nonchalant attitude apparently cost him a shot at the ’16 Cup. No, Couples does not possess the same OCD qualities as Davis Love, but he could have thrived with the right people around him, just as he did while going 3-0 in that other biennial exhibition. Isn’t that what assistants are for anyway, to delegate?

Riviera’s 10th (-7%): For years one of the best par 4s in the world has straddled the line between unpredictable and unfair. Now, it’s clearly the latter, with the green in dire need of reshaping. Pros needn’t be embarrassed.