Each week on GolfChannel.com, we examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf. This week, we’re taking a look at the year in its entirety.
DJ (+10%): After winning his first major under bizarre circumstances, Johnson is no longer golf’s most tantalizing tease. He’s the star with arguably the most potential for greatness.
Ariya (+9%): This year will be viewed as the beginning of the Jutanugarn era in women’s golf. She’s the real deal.
Hideki (+8%): A scary thought: One of the game’s preeminent ball-strikers has significantly improved his putting. His five-win 2016 might be the start of something special.
Stenson (+7%): His near-flawless week at The Open, and his thrilling duel with Phil Mickelson, will go down as one of the best of all time. Now 40, he has never looked better.
Phil (+6%): No player did more in 2016 with less to show for it: a few close calls, a magical run at a major, and a macho performance at the Ryder Cup. Fortunately for us, he remains as unpredictable, and brilliant, as ever.
Jon Rahm (+5%): A star in the making – unless you don’t like ball-mashers with a soft touch around the greens – he is an easy bet for a victory (or two) this season.
Alex Noren (+4%): With four wins since mid-July, the 34-year-old journeyman has soared into the top 10 in the world. The next step is producing in the biggest events.
Patrick Reed (+3%): He’s the U.S. Ryder Cup team’s version of Ian Poulter … only way more talented.
Kevin Chappell (+2%): Kevin Kisner had four runners-up in 2015 before breaking through for a victory. Chappell had three runners-up in 2016 before …
Tiger (+1%): He’s upright, and happy, which is more than we could have typed a year ago. It’s anyone’s guess whether he wins again on Tour, but at least now his body is allowing him to try.
Lydia (-1%): It’s a testament to her scoring ability and short game that she took a step back with her ball-striking and still won four times this year. Battling Ariya will be her greatest challenge yet.
Zach (-2%): Consistently excellent for much of his career, Johnson slipped 25 spots in the world rankings after posting just five top-10s in 25 starts.
Jim Furyk (-3%): Yes, he became the first Tour player to shoot 58, but offseason wrist surgery ruined the flow of his season and more distractions await if he’s tabbed as Ryder Cup captain.
Rickie (-4%): The narrative that surrounded his breakout 2015 season – he’s a better closer than Mariano Riviera! – quickly unraveled this year, after frittering away multiple chances to win.
Bubba (-5%): He showed such little form for much of the year that he was passed up for a Ryder Cup spot even while ranked No. 7 in the world.
Justin Rose (-6%): The Olympic gold was sweet, of course, but the Englishman’s nagging back injury has put a dark cloud over his immediate future. Rio was his only top-20 since May.
Bernhard Langer’s peers (-7%): Every year, it seems, a familiar name turns 50 and threatens to take the senior circuit by storm. And every year, it seems, Langer eliminates any suspense with another sensational campaign.
European Ryder Cup team (-8%): Poor pairings, aging leaders, a controversial qualifying process … who could have imagined a few months ago that it’d be the Europeans who are facing the most questions about the direction of the team?
USGA (-9%): They’ve vowed to simplify the rules, which is good, because this year had its share of forehead-slapping disasters.
U.S. women (-10%): Sure, the Americans had their worst showing in the 67-year history of the LPGA, but help is on the way with young U.S. stars like … um … well …