Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.
Jordan Spieth (+10%): Proven winner … fiery competitor … likable kid … big dreams. It’s unfair to call him the Next Great American Star, because he already is one.
New World Order (+7%): For the first time, the top two players in the world are 25 or younger. Golf fans are craving a rivalry, and Rory vs. Jordan has the potential to be epic.
Phil (+6%): No longer can we use past performance to predict his future success. Lefty has become like the casual sports fan – interested only in the majors – which makes his occasional brilliance as thrilling and inspiring as ever.
Michael Greller (+5%): Two years ago, the middle-school math teacher took a flier on a hotshot golfer from Texas. Spieth now has nearly $14 million in career earnings. Faith rewarded.
DJ (+4%): Finally, he took advantage of his titanium-denting length at Augusta, finishing in the top 10 for the first time in six tries. The surest sign yet that he’s maturing into a player who will eventually become a multiple major winner.
Tiger (+2%): Well, the golf season certainly got more interesting: His yip-free top 20 at the Masters was remarkable progress, considering that his career seemed to be on life support only nine weeks earlier. That said, without an atomic long game or a scalding putter – two must-haves on today’s Tour – it’s hard to be overly optimistic about his comeback chances.
Ben Crenshaw (+1%): It was impossible to ignore the symmetry between the 63-year-old’s classy sendoff and his 21-year-old mentee’s star-making performance. Someday, Gentle Ben will fit right in as a ceremonial starter at Augusta.
Back-to-Back Curse (-1%): Good thing Spieth lost that Houston Open playoff – only two players since 1960 have won both the Masters and the previous week’s event. No need to remind J.B. Holmes, of course, after he missed the cut (76-71).
Bubba (-2%): His last five starts at Augusta: 38-1-50-1-38. Bank on him winning in ’16, then, assuming he stays out of parking-lot fights.
Jimmy Walker (-3%): The erstwhile Hottest Player in the World got sick the week before the year’s first major, then injured his wrist during the opening round. What a letdown – both for Walker and, yes, our Masters pools.
Jordan Spieth’s upcoming schedule (-4%): If you thought the Masters champ’s media tour was chaotic, consider this: He’s in the midst of a run that will likely include 12 events in 16 weeks. That’s a grind, even for a kid on cloud nine.
Freddie (-5%): Is his Masters magic finally gone? The 55-year-old’s finish has gotten progressively worse over the past few years, and last week he whiffed for only the third time in 31 tries.
Adam Scott (-6%): Returning to the long wand didn’t spark his struggling short game – the 2013 champ tied for 38th and never threatened at the Masters. Now he’s in a predicament, losing confidence with each poor finish and without a solid option on the greens moving forward.