Stock Watch: Thomas soars; Stevie flops

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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

Justin Thomas (+8%): Nice little win for #JSGB (that would be Jordan Spieth's good buddy). Following a T-3 finish in Napa, I used this space to write one word about Thomas: soon. It turns out that his maiden title was only one start away, as Thomas put the hammer down over the closing four holes in Malaysia. Thomas always had the game to win at the highest level; now he has the confidence to match.

Youth movement (+6%): If you can rent a car, you're probably too old to win on Tour these days. Thomas' victory makes for four straight winners age 23 or younger, and 11 of the last 13 trophies on Tour have gone to players under 30. Don't expect that trend to end until guys like Jason Day and Rickie Fowler start aging into a new bracket.

Adam Scott's putter (+5%): Perhaps there is life after anchoring, after all. Scott is back to a conventional putter, and he had it working in Malaysia where he finished second after a final-round 63. Sure, he showed flashes of form with the short putter earlier this year only to falter for weeks on end, but this time he appeared much more comfortable on the greens. Scott was never a world-class putter even when anchoring, but if he can upgrade his putting to "decent," all might not be lost after the ban takes effect.

Sei Young Kim (+3%): You may not know the name, but you should probably learn it soon. Kim nabbed a one-shot win in China, her third victory this year on the LPGA, and basically locked up Rookie of the Year honors in the process. She's a force.  

Rory McIlroy (+2%): He didn't win, and he didn't play particularly well on Sunday, but McIlroy still made some clear progress in Turkey. He played 38 holes without a bogey, barely broke a sweat tee-to-green and moved into contention despite a lack of course knowledge and some overall rust. The putter that proved balky in Napa began to cooperate, and it's only a matter of time before the Ulsterman returns to the winner's circle.


FALLING

U.S. Ryder Cup standings (-1%): They're actually staying the same, which is a problem. Despite stellar play, Thomas (T-3, Win) and Kevin Na (P-2, T-2, T-3) are no closer to earning a spot at Hazeltine than Tiger Woods. U.S. Ryder Cup points don't kick in full-time until January, which may seem like a good idea - until it proves to be the difference when a veteran edges out a fresh face for one of the final spots. With the American record over the last 15 years, why protect the status quo?

Ontario housing market (-2%): News broke last week that Glen Abbey, host of 27 Canadian Opens and perhaps one of the best shots ever, may soon be turned into a housing development. While that transformation may be a few years down the line, if and when it comes to pass, it will be a sad day for golf - and not just in Canada.

John Peterson (-3%): The Happy Gilmore swing was a welcome bit of levity, and the only unfortunate aspect is that it will probably bring with it an (undisclosed) fine from Ponte Vedra. But Peterson spent last weekend tweeting about how he much he wanted a spot in Malaysia, then pulled the plug mentally after an opening 80. If you can't have your head in the game, stay home and give the spot to someone who will compete for all 72 holes.

Race to Dubai rules (-4%): The European Tour fashioned the Race to Dubai after the FedEx Cup Playoffs, but it hit an ugly snag this week when Victor Dubuisson won in Turkey - then was denied a spot in the WGC-HSBC Champions because of his prior world ranking. It's hard to spin the four-event stretch as a "final series" when winning one of the tournaments doesn't even earn you a tee time the following week.

Follow-up procedures (-6%): It's never good when the term "bed rest" is used to describe an athlete's recovery. But that's where we stand with Woods, who suffered another setback last week. The lack of details about the procedure, and the prognosis, are certainly a red flag, and his return to competition is anyone's guess. As McIlroy noted over the weekend, the best way to avoid a fifth back surgery is to not have the first one. Sadly for Woods, that ship has sailed.

Steve Williams' word choice (-9%): The guy wants to sell some books. Fine. And this is hardly the first time he has taken a swipe at his former boss. But Williams is 51 years old, and that's old enough to know that "slave" is not a word you can drop to describe any relationship, let alone one between two people of different races. He knew exactly what he was doing - dumping kerosene on a literary fire - which makes the deliberate word choice all the more egregious.