Each week at GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.
Tyrrell Hatton (+6%): Doesn’t matter who you are: Going 62-66 on the weekend at St. Andrews to score your first European Tour title is stout.
Brandt Snedeker (+5%): An in-form Sneds – and he certainly was at the Fiji Invitational, where he won by a whopping nine shots after an undefeated Ryder Cup performance – is still a joy to watch. Too bad it’s mid-October.
Ha Na Jang (+4%): Her 72nd-hole dance routine was understated, after she drew criticism in her native South Korea for what was perceived as excessive victory celebrations, but there’s no suppressing one of the LPGA’s breakout stars.
Curtis Luck (+3%): The U.S. Amateur champion added the Asia-Pacific Am title (after erasing a seven-shot deficit) to his growing résumé. These are high times for Australian golf fans, with both Luck, 20, and Ryan Ruffels, 18, on the way.
New season (+1%): The PGA Tour is back, after a 17-day absence. Yes, all of the buzz at the Safeway is gone, but there are plenty of intriguing players – Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau, Ollie Schniederjans and Wesley Bryan, among them – set to get their first full Tour seasons underway.
Jesper Parnevik (-1%): His seemingly well-intentioned reports from South Florida that Woods is “flushing” it only added more pressure and expectation to his return. Cue the stage fright.
Phil (-2%): It didn’t help, either, that Mickelson said a month ago that he wanted to play with Woods in his first event back. Lefty had a great year, nearly won a major and played spectacular golf at the Ryder Cup – he would have whipped a rusty Tiger over the first two days in Napa, and everyone knew it.
Web.com Tour finale (-4%): What a nightmare for tournament officials, as the season-ending event – and final shot at securing a Tour card – was wiped out because of Hurricane Matthew. The storm wasn’t a surprise, so why not try and relocate to another TPC property?
Tiger’s return (-7%): Even more concerning than a balky back? A game that the proudest and most dominant champion in golf history describes as “vulnerable,” as he suffers from the yips and performance anxiety. If Woods doesn’t return at his tournament in December – his new target date – then we might want to stop waiting.
Tiger’s “commitment” (-8%): No other way to view this: It’s incredibly poor form. When he initially stated his intention to play, on Sept. 7, the thinking was that he was already ready to go and just needed to fine-tune for a month. Instead, he seemed caught off-guard that he wouldn’t be able to practice for a week at the Ryder Cup, formally committed anyway, and then tried to cram over the weekend. A bizarre thought process, and the 30,000 fans who bought tickets over the past month have ample reason to be peeved.