Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.
Inbee Park (+9%): Instead of wondering whether she will soon retire, the Queen ’Bee gave us a new question to ponder after her dominating performance in Rio: Where does she rank among the all-time greats?
Olympic golf (+7%): No doubt, tweaks are needed – a team component is critical, because the first three days were sleepy, and an expanded (and deeper) field would be welcome – but the sport’s return to the Games couldn’t have gone much better, with six countries claiming medals and clutch performances on the 72nd hole. Bring on Tokyo.
Si Woo Kim (+4%): With a swing that sweet, the only surprise is that it took him 38 career starts to win.
Jim Furyk (+3%): The aging warrior is neither a sexy pick nor one that will change the culture of losing on the U.S. side, but let’s face it: He’s been BY FAR the best American player since the U.S. Open.
Matt Fitzpatrick (+2%): It hasn’t been the breakout year that many expected, but the 21-year-old locked up his first Ryder Cup berth with a timely fifth-place showing at the Czech Masters – just his second top-10 since the Masters.
Automatic exemptions (-1%): Hey, we’re all for giving young stars an opportunity to shine, but doling out a pair of major exemptions (including the Masters!) to both the U.S. Amateur champion and the runner-up too often makes the final match feel like a bonus.
Gerina Piller (-2%): Though heartbreaking to watch, the winless Piller’s teary postmortem after her close call in Rio likely gained her a new legion of fans.
Thomas Pieters (-3%): Not only did he kick away a chance to lock up a Ryder Cup spot by finishing second in Prague, but now he’s probably the odd man out with Darren Clarke’s captain’s picks.
FedEx Cup fever (-4%): After the condensed major schedule, and after the Olympic fortnight, and with the Ryder Cup approaching, now we have to somehow muster excitement for a glorified cash grab? Oy.
Davis Love’s possibilities (-6%): What makes Furyk look even more appealing? The middling play of the other Ryder Cup contenders: Bubba Watson doesn’t have a top-10 on Tour since Doral, Rickie Fowler added an emergency start and still couldn’t find his form, and J.B. Holmes missed his third consecutive cut. The playoffs offer a prime opportunity for new-blood types like Daniel Berger, Justin Thomas, Kevin Kisner and Billy Horschel.