Stock Watch: The rise of Rickie; Playoff fatigue

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(Editor’s Note: U.S. Presidents Cup captain Jay Haas selected Phil Mickelson and Bill Haas on Monday night, while Nick Price named Sangmoon Bae and Steven Bowditch to the International team. The article below was published Monday morning, before the announcements.)

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%): The bigger the moment, the better his play. With three dramatic victories this year, he has flipped the script on his ascendant career.  

Big 3 … and a 1/2 (+6%): No, Fowler isn’t yet among golf’s top tier – only a major victory will cement that status. But once he does break through – and he will, soon – you’d be hard-pressed to find a more appealing four players to lead this game.

The Tour Championship (+4%): Spieth, Day and Fowler are assured of being in the top five at East Lake and having a clear shot at the $10 million bonus. Which probably means that this is Charley Hoffman’s year.

Hunter Mahan (+3%): His T-4 in Boston kept alive a rather impressive streak: 35 consecutive playoff starts, dating to the FedEx Cup’s inception in 2007. It’s even more impressive when you consider that Mahan needed to record his first top-10 in a stroke-play event since the Masters to advance.

William McGirt (+2%): Chicago may prove to be the end of the line for this PGA Tour journeyman, but he delivered one of the highlights of the playoffs by dunking his 168-yard second shot on the 71st hole and slipping inside the top-70 bubble.  


FALLING

Henrik Stenson (-1%): A ball-striker this solid, you wonder how he ever stumbles. That’s two runners-up in a row and four overall this year – and even more scar tissue.  

Jay Haas (-3%): His captain’s picks likely won’t matter in what should be another rout, but the U.S. captain still finds himself in an unenviable position. He is either the man who, A) leaves his son, Bill, off the team, B) stunts the growth of American team golf by bypassing Brooks Koepka, or C) ends Phil Mickelson’s streak of 20 consecutive teams made. Brutal.

Matt Jones (-5%): Needing a third-place finish to make the International team, he started his back nine double-bogey-double and tied for fourth. Now, he’s not a guaranteed pick.

FedEx fatigue (-6%): Stars like Spieth and Day are already gassed, and it’s only the second playoff event. Just wait until next year, when the “postseason” comes after three majors and a WGC in a seven-week span, and the Olympics.   

Grand Slam of Golf (-8%): The showcase for major winners was canceled after failing to secure another venue, but it was a blessing in disguise. This event hasn’t been relevant for years and is in dire need of rebranding.