Stock Watch: Rickie soars; arbitrary clubs crater

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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

Rickie (+8%): Fowler’s six pro titles all have one thing in common: He produced some late-round fireworks to clinch the title. As an observer, you can’t help but admire the way he seizes the moment.

Duf (+6%): One of the most interesting cats in golf, Dufner put a rough few years behind him with a gritty playoff victory in the desert. With no off-course distractions to deal with, he plans to play a ton and could be in line for a resurgent year.

Phil (+4%): It was an encouraging debut in Palm Springs, and leading the field in the strokes gained-tee to green statistic shows that he’s on the right track with his swing. A re-engaged Lefty makes golf a lot more exciting, but how long will it last?

Shorts (+2%): So European Tour players are allowed to show a little skin Monday through Wednesday. What’s the big deal? We talkin’ 'bout practice, man.

Henrik Stenson (+1%): A notoriously slow starter, Stenson instead looked sharp in Abu Dhabi, finishing in a tie for third despite undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery just six weeks earlier. An auspicious sign for the Iceman.


FALLING

Bryson DeChambeau (-1%): Just when it started to look too easy, the amateur “intern” learned a few hard lessons Saturday in Abu Dhabi, throwing up a 78 while in the company of the world No. 3.

Jamie Lovemark (-2%): How hard is it to win on the PGA Tour? Contending for his first title, he rinsed three shots in the final round and crashed to a T-6 finish.

Slow play (-5%): European Tour officials are hoping a little public shaming will help produce meaningful change, and while it could be fun for a while, the only way to speed up the slowpokes is to hit them where it hurts – the scorecard.   

Jordan Spieth’s schedule (-6%): Don’t blame the kid for cashing in on a great year, but it’s safe to assume he won’t take five overseas trips in a three-month span ever again. If Spieth is this gassed in mid-January, how’s he going to feel this summer?

Big 3/4/Whatever (-8%): Seriously, what’s the obsession with this imaginary club? They don’t get any extra perks. They don’t get a three-shot head start in majors. All the “Big X” talk really seems to do is diminish a player’s accomplishments. Using both the world ranking and the eye test, Fowler is one of the four best golfers in the world right now – isn’t that enough?