Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.
Rickie (+8%): The strokes-gained stats show that Fowler’s final round in Phoenix was the worst by a winner in the ShotLink era, but there’s also something to be said for winning ugly. Yes, he played poorly, and no, he wasn’t pushed, but Fowler hit clutch shots into Nos. 15 and 17 to earn a much-needed win. What it means for him going forward is still uncertain.
DJ (+7%): Though he’s never far from elite form, Johnson showed in Saudi Arabia that he’s still the most dangerous man in golf. No one flips a switch faster.
Haotong Li (+5%): Instead of sulking after his controversial penalty in Dubai, Li made four eagles in the third round and then pushed the former world No. 1 to the finish line to earn runner-up honors on the Euro Tour.
Gary Woodland (+3%): His back-nine putting is still a question mark, but his T-7 in Phoenix was his seventh top-10 in nine starts since October. It’s a matter of when, not if, he wins again.
Doug Ghim (+1%): The former Texas star and first-year player is racking up frequent-flier miles and world-ranking points: Over the past four weeks he’s gone from the Bahamas to San Diego to Colombia to Pebble Beach. His T-3 last week on the Web (after a T-20 while playing in the penultimate group at Torrey) moves him closer to a full-time PGA Tour card in 2020.
Branden Grace (-2%): Leading by one in Phoenix, the South African had another Chambers Bay moment, yanking his tee shot into the water on the 71st hole, blading his chip over the green and then dumping his next tee shot into the sand. Not quite as ugly as his tee ball onto the railroad tracks at the 2015 U.S. Open, but close.
Governing bodies (-4%): After their Denny McCarthy decision was embarrassingly reversed by the PGA Tour, the USGA is now having an “ongoing dialogue” to reach “further clarity” on the caddie-alignment rule. Um, what have they been doing for the past few years?
Keith Pelley (-7%): It’s been a horrible PR week for the Euro Tour boss, who defended the tour’s decision to play in Saudi Arabia and then failed to further discipline Sergio Garcia, saying that the “incident is over.” Talk about tone-deaf.
Sergio (-10%): Damaging *five* greens and having a temper-tantrum the previous day in the bunker is not the work of a player who is merely frustrated by the course conditions. It’s the mark of a child who needs to be put in timeout, for a while.