Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.
Charl Schwartzel (+6%): Why he only seems to win now during a four-month period in the winter still doesn’t compute. That sweet swing should lead to plenty of Ws when the tournaments actually matter.
Matt Jones (+5%): History is unlikely to repeat itself, of course, but Jones can delight in knowing that the past two Aussie Open champs went on to win multiple majors the following year.
Pace of play conference (+4%): Kudos to Europe’s leaders for being willing to confront the issue of slow play. Even better was their idea to publish the names of the lollygaggers and their bad times – a welcome contrast to the blind-eye approach taken by Camp Ponte Vedra.
Diana Murphy (+1%): Only the second woman to be promoted to the USGA presidency, Murphy unfortunately is walking straight into a hornet’s nest, with ticked-off everyday golfers who can’t anchor their putters, count solo rounds or play in less than four-and-a-half hours. Should be a fun one-year term.
Tiger (-1%): This week is just another sad reminder that he’s on the shelf while there is so much great golf to celebrate.
World Challenge (-2%): Little wonder there’s such a stellar turnout this week: The 18-man exhibition offers 46 world-ranking points to the winner – or as many as the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, AT&T Byron Nelson Championship, Travelers Championship, Frys.com Open and CIMB Classic champions.
Handicap systems (-3%): Golf Canada smartly announced it won’t adopt the blue blazers’ rule that prohibits solo rounds for handicap posting. Not surprisingly, the three FAQs post on the USGA website did little to stop the deluge of criticism. In fact, it may have only further infuriated the lone rangers.
Early college commitments (-7%): A 13-year-old’s early verbal to Florida turned the spotlight once again on the disturbing trend in college athletics. Sadly, you can’t blame the coaches for trying to lock up these kids while they’re still in middle school – the pressure to win at the college level is greater than ever before, and if they don’t extend an offer then you can bet someone else will.