Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.
Ko-mania: Not only did 16-year-old Lydia Ko defend her LPGA title in Canada, but she did so at a different course and by a wider margin. She’s now ranked No. 7 in the world – ahead of Paula and Jiyai and Cristie and Ai and Yani. Turn pro, kid – if you’re going to beat up on your elders, you might as well get paid for it.
Adam Scott: The sweet-swinger has his first multiple-win season in nearly a decade and a new standing in the game as the world No. 2. At age 33, he’s entering the prime of his career. Meet one of Tiger’s two main challengers over the next few years.
Liberty National: The players may never grow to love this toned-down track on the riverfront, but who cares? The awesome vistas on virtually every hole and glitzy leaderboard showed the National is an ideal NYC-area playoff opener.
LPGA: There should have been diamond-encrusted LPGA tour cards waiting for Lydia Ko and Charley Hull, two game-changing teens, on the 18th green Sunday. No politics necessary. Not this time, at least.
Power couples: Phew. After a few turbulent days, it appears Wozilroy is still going strong, the relationship confirmed by – what else in 2013? – Caroline’s recent Twitter avatar change. The ridiculous weekend headlines actually made me long for all of the What’s-wrong-with-Rory? stories.
Tiger’s body: In the past few years Woods has sustained injuries to his neck, elbow, knee, Achilles’ tendon and now his back, proving yet again that he gets banged up more than an undersized running back who tries to work between the tackles. His brittle body – not his bevy of challengers, not his occasionally uncooperative putter – remains his greatest obstacle to climbing Mount Nicklaus.
Orangemen: The damage to our eyes may be irreparable, but at least Jonas Blixt’s Sunday 81 ensured that we will never again be subjected to two orange Creamsicles in the same pairing.
FedEx Cup: It’ll pick up in intensity – or so Camp Ponte Vedra hopes – but the end-of-season playoffs could be without its star attraction for the third time in seven years, the math remains as confusing as ever, and the “tournament within a tournament” at the 125-man opener is a hard sell when the players being booted include Ted Potter Jr. and Jeff Overton.
Kooch: The Tour’s smiling assassin kicked away an opportunity for his third win of the year with a miserable Sunday 78 at Liberty National. It’s been an odd season for Kuchar, who despite his reputation for being an in-control player has actually been strangely erratic with his long game: 167th in total driving and 134th in ball-striking. Instead, he’s relied on a superb short game, ranking in the top 16 in scrambling, putting and sand saves. Very Luke Donald-esque.