Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.
Gary Woodland (+10%): It was revealing that Woodland, even with the U.S. Open trophy by his side, said his game isn’t “where it needs to be, but it’s getting there.” At 35, and with a revamped short game, there’s still plenty of time for him to become a consistent force. Can’t wait to see where he goes from here.
King Koepka (+8%): It’s been an absolutely insane run of high-pressure, captivating golf from the world No. 1, who pushed Woodland all the way to the finish. And now he heads to Royal Portrush, which is home turf for his caddie, Ricky Elliott. Look out – again.
USGA (+4%): Give ’em credit: It’s probably not a coincidence that the first Open with new setup man John Bodenhamer and player liaison Jason Gore was devoid of controversy. Yes, Pebble is hard to screw up, but the course was wonderfully presented.
Pebble (+3%): After last week, it’s increasingly clear that the U.S. Open needs a rota of America’s very best tests. So how about Pebble Beach, Oakmont, Winged Foot, Shinnecock and Pinehurst, with a spot reserved for LACC if the 2023 Open goes off without a hitch?
Viktor Hovland (+2%): The Ben Hogan Award winner tied for 12th at Pebble and forfeited about $225,000, but something tells me that money soon won’t be an issue for this stud. His quest for a Tour card begins this week at the Travelers, and he’s ready.
Rory (-1%): Any thoughts of a Sunday charge lasted, oh, about 10 minutes, thanks to his opening double. McIlroy is playing some of the best golf of his life, but he still doesn’t handle the most exacting tests well: All 16 of his PGA Tour wins/majors have come with a winning score of at least 12 under.
J-Rose (-2%): The Englishman was the first to admit that he didn’t have his best stuff at Pebble, but his Sunday 74 in the final group was still confidence-crushing – it was the worst score of anyone inside the top 35.
Tiger’s schedule (-3%): Predictably, there’s some hand-wringing about his pre-Portrush no-shows, but Woods doesn’t need major tune-ups – he just needs the temperature to rise above 65 degrees! He’s probably wishing the PGA never left that steamy August date.
Phil (-4%): Now 49, Mickelson just watched his last chance to win a U.S. Open fade away, with a 75-72 weekend. Up next are Winged Foot, Torrey Pines and Brookline – nope, nope, nope.
Plans for Pebble’s 18th hole? (-5%): There’s talk of lengthening the iconic finishing hole by 30 or 40 yards, which would be a grave mistake. The 18th still played more difficult than the par-5 sixth (and the 15th-toughest overall), caused the second-most “others” and, even though they’re not all using driver, forced a difficult line off the tee with the water left, the cypress down the middle and out-of-bounds right.