Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.
J-Day (+10%): In five days, one of the game’s most talented underachievers scored a significant title and became the early favorite for the Masters. A few years ago, Day said that his goal was to take down Tiger and become world No. 1. No one is laughing now.
Short-game mastery (+6%): From G-Mac’s cold-blooded putts to Ernie’s deft touch to Victor Dubuisson’s mind-boggling (and incredibly lucky) slashes from the desert, Seve was smiling from above last week.
Match Play (+5%): Day and V-Dub authored one of the most compelling duels in recent memory, and the Tour’s lone mano-a-mano event should only get better in 2015, with perhaps both a venue and format change that would ensure that the stars hang around longer.
Rickie (+4%): Yes, match play is a preferable format when in the midst of a swing change, but his third-place showing was a much-needed result after briefly drifting into irrelevance.
Duf (+2%): The caveman commercials, the Dufnering, the butt squeeze and, now, the moptop. His legend continues to grow – alas, not because of anything he has done inside the ropes in the past six months.
DJ (-2%): Awesomely talented, but he better hope he automatically qualifies for the U.S. Ryder Cup team. After another first-round flameout (his fifth in six years), would you waste a wild-card pick on him?
Steve Stricker (-4%): We can give the guy a pass for his early exit at the Match Play – it’s been a miserable winter in Wisconsin, even by his standards, and his brother has endured health problems. But the fact remains that Stricks will have played no more than 161 holes on the PGA Tour before Augusta. That’s not a lot of reps coming off one of the best years of his career.
Sergio (-5%): Forget the bizarre, albeit well-intentioned, concession – the 5-foot whiffs on 14 and 15 were even more generous. Garcia squandered an opportunity to parlay the best form of his career into another big-time title.
J-Rose (-7%): His nagging shoulder injury knocked him out of the Honda and threatens to spoil his Masters chances. Hopefully it’s not a long-term issue, because this has been a disastrous start to one of the most important years of his career.
Dove Mountain (-10%): The Match Play thrived last week in spite of the jacked-up greens. Now that the Tour has left the resort, likely for good, the over-the-top Nicklaus design might need a total redo or risk losing recreational play, too.