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Stock Watch: From ANA to Augusta, women take center stage

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Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

RISING

Kiz (+9%): It’s Kevin Kisner who just might be America’s answer to Ian Poulter, a match-play specialist and stone-cold competitor who ran his record to 15-1-2 over the past three head-to-head events. As he says so eloquently: “This ain’t no hobby.”

Graeme McDowell (+7%): His long-awaited victory in the Dominican Republic locked up PGA Tour status through 2021, which is no small achievement for a former major champion who was struggling for starts and ranked outside the top 250 in the world. Welcome back, G-Mac.

Women’s golf (+5%): It’s the ladies’ turn to take center stage, with the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur (which your trusty correspondent will be covering) and the LPGA’s first major. They are – by far – the most intriguing events on the schedule this week.

Matt Kuchar’s game (+4%): He came within a few crooked shots of capturing a career-best third title of the season ... and now he’s readying for the Masters, where he has four top-8s in the past seven years. Hmmm. 

Rory’s 2019 (+2%): His implosion on the 16th hole against Tiger was shocking, but so too was this stat: Since 1980, only two players have had seven top-10s (including a win) before April 1: Tiger, in 2000 ... and Rory, this year.

FALLING

Tiger spin (-1%): Couldn’t help but chuckle at the idea that somehow Woods’ quarterfinal exit at the Match Play was actually a blessing in disguise, because he didn’t have to play 36 more holes on a hilly course in cold, windy conditions. So he’d rather have another confidence-crushing performance on the greens than advance? Yeah, sure.

Bubba (-2%): Watson said it’d be a “miracle” for him to defend his title, and apparently he was right – going 1-2 in pool play despite receiving a favorable draw. He continues to confound.

Sergio (-4%): We keep waiting for the 39-year-old Garcia to take responsibility for his petulant behavior, but his hostage-style apology video showed he still was conflicted about how the non-concession went down. Maybe next decade he’ll finally grow up.

Matt Kuchar’s reputation (-5%): The p.r. hits keep coming for Kooch, who could have avoided the entire rules controversy had he kept quiet about Garcia’s 6-inch putt. Yes, the Spaniard was mostly to blame, but if Kuchar didn’t want to win a hole like that, don’t bring it up to the official and then claim ignorance. Just embrace your own ruthlessness.