Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.
PGA Tour Family (+10%): It was heartwarming to see the Tour community rally around both Matt Kuchar and his caddie, Lance Bennett, whose wife passed away suddenly last week. Even better was the Tour creating a fund that will benefit his 4-year-old daughter’s education and well-being.
Chris Kirk (+6%): He received a few fortuitous bounces, to be sure, but Kirk scored a big-time title in Boston to cap a breakthrough season. Plus, he was so far off the radar that he already got tickets for the Georgia-Tennessee game on Ryder Cup Saturday. “I will have 93,000 of my closest friends at Sanford Stadium to keep me company if I get sad,” he tweeted of being snubbed. Hey, this UGA alum approves that message.
Stevie G (+5%): The back nine of the Italian Open provided some of the most compelling golf all year. After Gallacher’s inspired performance, Paul McGinley wouldn’t have been able to show face in Scotland if he’d left the native son off the squad.
Westy > Luke (+4%): Westwood in the team room is more valuable than Donald’s putter (especially if the latter’s long game is in disarray). His veteran presence alone might be worth a point.
Sam Saunders (+2%): Arnie’s grandson wasn’t able to slam the door on his first Web.com title, but his T-4 at the Finals opener should be enough to earn a PGA Tour card for next season, barring a three-week collapse.
Miscommunication (-1%): Maybe Tiger Woods’ gesture to remove himself from Ryder Cup consideration wasn’t as noble as it first appeared. Tom Watson clarified this week that he didn’t learn of Tiger’s intention to stay home until he rang him up.
BillyHo (-2%): Given everything that was at stake – a playoff victory, a probable spot on the Ryder Cup team, a chance at $10 million – Horschel’s chunky approach into 18 is now the leader in the clubhouse for worst shot of the year. That said, it was still a mistake to leave him off the U.S. squad – the dude would be so excited he would need a straitjacket on the first tee.
“Heart” (-4%): Watson claimed for months that this was the attribute he coveted most. Sounded good, but apparently that was code for “experience,” because on the morning his picks were due Watson had a revelation while looking at Webb Simpson’s results … from 2012.
FedEx fatigue (-6%): Yes, the Tour’s collective hands were tied with the four-in-a-row schedule, but players are already citing “mental fatigue” – and we’re only halfway through this thing. This season-long prize seems destined to be captured by one of the few players who still care by Tour Championship Sunday.
Captain’s announcements (-7%): Kudos to McGinley for refusing to prolong the melodrama. Captain America clearly wasn’t watching, because he yapped endlessly and awkwardly for a half hour, constantly veering off-topic. The famed SNL set is forever besmirched.