Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.
Westy (+9%): There’s still some life in the old dog, winning his 24th European Tour title, at age 45, after a spectacular Sunday 64 in South Africa. It seemed as though Westwood was on the verge of becoming a ceremonial golfer, but perhaps he has one more major run in him.
Kooooooch (+8%): Though his short-term outlook wasn’t nearly as dire as Westwood’s, Kuchar had struggled through his own listless 2018 campaign before an out-of-nowhere win during his working vacation at Mayakoba. He might not be a top-10 machine into his early-40s, but at least now there’s reason to believe he can still hang with the young guns.
Vijay Singh (+6%): He devoted himself to the senior tour full-time this year, and the Big Fijian responded with a three-win season that included the season finale (after a closing 61!) on Sunday. Somehow, he hasn’t driven his body into the ground yet, so he should continue to produce for the next few years.
Gaby Lopez (+5%): Inspired as a youngster by the supremely gifted Lorena Ochoa, the 25-year-old Mexican broke through for the first time on the LPGA, a victory even more impressive in that she held off the No. 1 player in the world.
Bernhard Langer (+3%): Maybe one of these years he’ll slow down, or fall off, or allow someone else to shine, but 2018 was not that year. He’s the Senior King. Again.
J-Rose (-1%): All of the stars can pick and choose their own schedule, of course, and there may be some other factors in play here (see: his new equipment deal), but the world No. 2’s skipping of the European Tour’s season finale is not a great look.
Cam Champ (-2%): Trying to hunt down Kuchar on the back nine, he played a critical stretch in 5 over par to fall off the pace and nearly tumble out of the top 10. His hostile takeover of the Tour will have to wait another week.
Scott McCarron (-3%): It’s difficult for these aging warriors to close out tournaments, with their frayed nerve endings and all, and it’s seemingly only getting tougher for McCarron, who is now an eye-opening 3 of 11 when holding the lead heading into the final round.
Spieth (-4%): After a missed cut in Mexico, at least he can close out an otherwise disappointing 2018 on a high note – by getting married to longtime girlfriend Annie Verrett. We wish Spieth nothing but the best with his upcoming nuptials – and, you know, with the 2019 season.
End-of-year LPGA drama (-5%): If you want some late-season tension, well, the CME Group Tour Championship doesn’t have it. Ariya Jutanugarn is just too good. The only excitement this week is waiting to see whether she can sweep all of the significant awards, which is, um, at least something?