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Stock Watch: Mighty McIlroy closing year with ferocious charge

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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

Rory (+9%): He can’t do enough to take over the No. 1 ranking, but McIlroy is barreling toward the finish line in 2019. Though he may have been a controversial choice for PGA Tour Player of the Year, there’s no debating now that he’s had the best calendar year.

Brendon Todd (+6%): Most players who miss 39-of-44 cuts and plummet out of the top 2,000 in the world would look for work elsewhere – but no, not Todd, who survived yet another miserable slump and came out the other side as a Tour winner. Respect.

Xander (+5%): Even while battling the remnants of the flu, Schauffele was able to piece together a stout title defense in Shanghai: 28 birdies (five more than any other player) and a playoff loss to the hottest player in the game.

Haley Moore (+3%): Of the many cool stories to emerge from the Q-Series grind, none was better than Moore, the young, cash-strapped pro (and feel-good NCAA hero) who advanced through all three stages to earn her LPGA card. Can’t wait to see what she does in 2020. 

Patrick Reed (+2%): The erstwhile Captain America might still get passed over for Rickie Fowler, but he’s at least made it hard on Captain Woods: Reed’s T-8 at the HSBC was his 10th top-20 in his past 13 starts.


FALLING

Tony Finau (-1%): If the Asian swing was a de facto audition for cup hopefuls, then Finau failed to deliver. His tie for 53rd in Shanghai was his second consecutive finish outside the top 50 – but it’d be a stunner if Woods left him at home.

Bernhard Langer (-2%): It’s a testament to Langer’s absurdly high level of play this decade that his two-win 2019 season has been viewed as disappointing, but the way he lost Sunday certainly didn’t help matters. It took him FOUR shots to extricate himself from a difficult spot in a greenside bunker, essentially handing the senior title to Monty. Oy.

Phil (-3%): Sure, it was inevitable with how miserably he’s played the past eight months, but there was still a sense of sadness as Mickelson dropped out of the top 50 in the world, signaling the end of an era. A few months off could do Lefty’s game some good.

College choices (-5%): After earning at least some LPGA status for 2020, Stanford stars and top amateurs Albane Valenzuela and Andrea Lee now face an undesirable scenario: Turn pro and abandon their teammates ... or finish out their senior season and risk falling behind in the race to retain status once they get out on tour in June. It’s unfortunate they even have to decide.

Q-Series kerfuffle (-7%): No one came out clean from the rules drama that overshadowed the new LPGA graduates. Not Christina Kim, who looked unprofessional airing her grievances on social media. Not Kendall Dye, who didn’t know the rules of her profession. And not Dewi Weber, the third member of the group who sadly was hit with a two-shot penalty even though her caddie erred in giving advice. Ugly stuff, all around.