Stock Watch: Rising, falling, holding steady in 2013

By Ryan LavnerDecember 3, 2013, 1:15 pm

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf. Because this is the season-ending Stock Watch, we’re looking at 2013 in its entirety.

RISING

Henrik Stenson (+10%): An ascent that began last November culminated a year later with the man-machine claiming the end-of-season prizes on both sides of the pond. Now the third-ranked player in the world, he’s catapulted himself to the top of the list of Best Players Without a Major.

Adam Scott (+8%): Late Masters Sunday notwithstanding, he still isn’t quite the cold-blooded closer that we’d like to see. But with four wins worldwide and a sweet swing that appears indestructible, he’ll be Tiger’s most consistent competition over the next few years.

Jordan Spieth (+7%): Don’t forget how this 20-year-old began 2013 – with a sponsor's exemption at Torrey Pines. Now, he’s closing out his year at Tiger’s tournament, after a storybook season that included a win, three runners-up, five other top-10s, a spot on the Presidents Cup team and nearly $4 million in earnings. Stud.

Inbee Park (+6%): Her late-season skid took some shine off her dazzling Player of the Year campaign, but in early August, Park was vying to become the first player, male or female, to win four majors in a single season. ’Twas an incredible run.

Lydia Ko (+5%): The two-time LPGA winner joined the play-for-pay ranks, which means the 16-year-old is now able to get paid for routinely beating down her older and more seasoned peers.

Lexi Thompson (+3%): Finally cashed in on her considerable talent with two wins in five weeks late in the season. If she continues to make short-game strides with coach Jim McLean, this teen could turn into a world-beater by next fall.

Tiger Woods (+2%): In this scribe’s book: Winning five top-tier events and returning to No. 1 outshines multiple rules flaps and another major-less season. How this year will impact his legacy remains to be seen, however.

Jason Dufner (+2%): From the Dufnerning phenomenon to the PGA win to the wife butt-grab to his unwavering devotion to Auburn football, he has joined the short list of golfers who can go by just one name: Duf.


FALLING

U.S. Solheim Cup team (-2%): The Americans were embarrassed in Colorado as Team Europe retained the cup for the first time, won their first-ever match on foreign soil, and produced the largest margin of victory in event history. Maybe in 2015 they’ll sport face tattoos of the final score – 18-10.

Rory McIlroy (-3%): Yes, his victory at the Australian Open was huge, not just for Rory but for golf. But it doesn’t salvage what was a largely miserable year that included embarrassing excuses, tabloid rumors, messy court battles and, most troubling, sloppy play.

Wraparound schedule (-5%): To paraphrase a since-fired NFL coach, the PGA Tour’s start to the 2013-14 season was what we thought it was – the Fall Series, rebranded. The lack of star power and clumsy separation of seasons/years only added to the confusion for casual fans.

Vijay Singh (-6%): Wins an appeal, then sues the PGA Tour anyway. He’s no longer relevant on the big Tour, but, hey, give the guy credit for going down swinging.

Anchoring (-7%): It was announced this year that the method will be banned, but not until 2016, leaving a bevy of anchorers, world No. 2 Scott included, to toil in three years of awkwardness.

Sergio Garcia (-8%): The month of May was Sergio’s career in sum – ball-striking wizardry, boneheaded comments and ultimately unsatisfying results.

USGA (-9%): The ridiculous mid-am rule for the Walker Cup. The anchoring mess. The over-the-top U.S. Open setup. The hollow pace-of-play campaign. The ill-timed Fox announcement. The video rule that may or may not have been a reaction to the Tiger incident. The reports of infighting. So, coming in 2014: The New-and-Improved USGA, Presented by the PR Department.

Controversy (-10%): Quite possibly the most ungentlemanly year in the sport’s history … but, looking back, it was kind of fun, no?


HOLDING STEADY

Phil Mickelson: Won the major that, a few years ago, he never could have anticipated. He’d likely trade the Open, however, for two wedge re-dos at Merion.

Ted Bishop: The brash boss has no shortage of bold ideas, but he’ll need more than gusto and guts to bring meaningful change to the PGA of America.

Steve Stricker: The nicest man in golf gave hope to 40-somethings everywhere who want to scale back their schedule and spend more time with their family, but his major clock races ever faster now.

Parity: For every Tiger there was a Derek Ernst or Michael Thompson, for every Phil a Scott Brown or Sang-moon Bae. Welcome to the winners’ lounge.

Major-less drought: Five years and counting for the world’s No. 1 player, whose struggles include just two under-par scores in his last 16 weekend rounds at the majors.

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Next up for Koepka: Buddies and a bachelor party

By Will GrayJune 24, 2018, 7:46 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Coming off a successful title defense at the U.S. Open, Brooks Koepka arrived at the Travelers Championship in need of a nap. It appears he won’t be getting one anytime soon.

Koepka normally wakes up by 6 a.m. without using an alarm, but without much down time since his victory at Shinnecock Hills he slept in until 8:20 a.m. Sunday morning, prior to his 10:40 a.m. tee time. Any impact to his pre-round routine appeared negligible, as Koepka fired a 5-under 65 that included seven birdies over his first 13 holes.

“I felt like today was kind of the first day I got everything back,” Koepka said. “I was definitely running behind, but it was nice to catch up on some sleep.”

Koepka became the first U.S. Open winner to play the week after since Justin Rose in 2013, and he finished the Travelers at 9 under with four straight sub-par rounds. While he’s got some free time in the coming days, it won’t exactly be restful.


Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“We’ve got 11 guys that I’m pretty close with, so I’m looking forward to hanging out with them in Boston for a few days and then [getting] back down to West Palm for a night, and then we’re off to my best friend’s bachelor party,” Koepka said. “I was really hoping to get some rest, but I don’t know how much that will happen.”

Last year, Koepka took a month off following his U.S. Open win at Erin Hills, only touched a club once, and still finished T-6 at The Open at Royal Birkdale. While this will be his final competitive start before Carnoustie, he expects to make a strong run toward a third major title next month in Scotland.

“I’m shutting it down for a while. I don’t feel like I need to play,” Koepka said. “I feel like my game’s in a good spot, played really well this week. Just some stupid mistakes and mental errors. That’s all it was, lack of focus and low energy. To be honest with you, I’m not surprised. I did play well though, I putted well, and I’m somewhat pleased.”

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Spieth ends busy stretch without top-10 finish

By Will GrayJune 24, 2018, 7:39 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – There were no final-round heroics this time around for Jordan Spieth at the Travelers Championship.

After taking the title last year with perhaps the most memorable shot of the year, Spieth appeared poised to make a robust defense of his title after an opening-round 63 gave him a share of the lead. But that proved to be as good as it would get, as he played the next three rounds in a combined 3 over to drop outside the top 40 on the final leaderboard.

It marked the end of a pedestrian run of six events in seven weeks for Spieth, during which his best finish was a tie for 21st at the AT&T Byron Nelson.

“A lot of cut-line golf, which is somewhat unusual historically for me, fortunately,” Spieth said after closing with a 1-under 69. “Kind of a grind, but I made actually a lot of progress where I needed to within the last few weeks.”


Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


Spieth has struggled to get on track on the greens this year, but he has started to turn a corner in recent weeks, specifically during a missed cut at the Memorial Tournament, and he picked up more than three shots on the field this week in strokes gained: putting.

“My putting’s right on point where it needs to be. It’s getting better every single week,” Spieth said. “It’s the best it’s been in a couple years.”

Unfortunately for Spieth, a slight uptick in putting has coincided with some regression from his normally reliable ball-striking. Of the 74 players who made the cut at TPC River Highlands, he ranked 61st in strokes gained: tee-to-green.

“I’ve just got to kind of get my alignment back in order on the full swing. It’s tough when you swing and you think you hit a good shot, and you look up and the ball’s, it could be 15 yards right or 15 yards left, and it’s all because of alignment,” Spieth said. “It’s literally the same thing I went through with the putting. I’ve just got to find a way to get it back on track with the full swing.”

Having concluded a busy stretch, Spieth noted that he now has “a few weeks off.” But still in search of his first quality chance to contend heading into a final round this year, he didn’t rule out the notion of adding a start before defending his title at Carnoustie next month.

Spieth is not in the field for next week’s Quicken Loans National, but he won the John Deere Classic in both 2013 and 2015, which will be played the week before The Open.

“As far as leading into The Open, we’ll see,” Spieth said. “Last year I went in after three weeks off and it didn’t hurt me. So I believe I can get the work in whether I’m playing or not, to get the repetitions.”

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Chamblee comments on Choi's unique step-through swing

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 24, 2018, 3:55 pm

The golf world found itself enamored with a largely unknown journeyman this weekend.

Ho-sung Choi went from 554th in the world to No. 1 in the hearts of all those who swing the golf club just a little bit differently thanks to his run at the Korean Open.

The 44-year-old with the exaggerated step through impact found himself two off the pace through 54 holes and in contention for one of two available invitations to this year's Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Choi fell out of the hunt for tournament title and the Open exemption with a final-round 74, but nonetheless left an impression with his tie for fifth.



Asked about Choi's swing Saturday night, Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee offered the following:

"If Chi Chi Rodriguez and Gary Player had a golf school, what would their first professional golfer swing like? Voila," Chamblee said.

"Both those legends had walk through finishes, but Ho Sung has taken this move to a new level with a borderline pirouette to keep from hanging back.

"In an era when professional golfers get accused of having golf swings that all look alike, I’ve never seen anyone swing quite like Ho Sung Choi.

"I can’t wait to try this on the range tomorrow."

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Wallace holds off charges to win BMW International

By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 3:43 pm

PULHEIM, Germany - England's Matt Wallace shot a 7-under 65 to hold off a record-breaking charge from Thorbjorn Olesen and win the BMW International Open on Sunday.

Wallace finished on 10-under 278 - just ahead of Olesen, Mikko Korhonen and 2008 winner Martin Kaymer, whose chances took a blow with a bogey on the 17th hole.

''I want to keep building on this,'' Wallace said after his third European Tour win. ''Obviously this gives me a lot of confidence to go on and play well and I want to kick on and hopefully do this in the bigger events from now on.''


Full-field scores from the BMW International Open


Olesen had played himself into contention with the lowest round in tournament history, with nine birdies and an eagle for an 11-under 61. It was the lowest round of his European Tour career and it gave the Dane a three-shot lead before the final group had even teed off.

''I was just trying today to go out there and build on my game, see if I could shoot a low score,'' Olesen said. ''Obviously as the round progressed I kept on thinking birdies and trying to make the round better. Finishing with four birdies was pretty nice.''

Wallace turned in 34 but then made five birdies in seven holes from the turn to edge a shot past Olesen. He waited as Kaymer and Korhonen went close with rounds of 68 and 67, respectively.

England's Aaron Rai and Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard finished joint-fifth with rounds of 69.