Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.
Gary Woodland (+8%): Always one of the game’s preeminent power players, he has made huge strides with his short game and putting – and received a dose of real-life perspective, after his wife, Gabby, lost one of their twins mid-pregnancy last year – which helped him get back in the winner’s circle for the first time since 2013. Good to see.
Shubhankar Sharma (+6%): Add this 21-year-old Indian prodigy to the list of up-and-coming European Tour talent, as he won for the second time in his past five starts.
Overtime (+5%): It’s a testament to the competitiveness of the PGA Tour that there have already been six playoffs this season, including four in a row after Woodland and Chez Reavie went into extras in Phoenix. Free golf is never a bad thing, except, of course, when it bumps up against the Super Bowl.
Captain Juli (+3%): Inkster is the first three-time captain of the U.S. Solheim Cup team, and that’s no small accomplishment – she’s been THAT instrumental in turning around Team USA.
TPC Scottsdale’s 17th (+1%): Every year we are reminded of the incredible design of this strategic short hole that comes at a perfect time in the round. With Riviera’s 10th green only getting wackier, dare we say this is the best drivable par 4 on Tour?
Rickie (-1%): Clearly he’s more comfortable chasing, but his all-around game and temperament are so good that this stat makes absolutely no sense: He’s now 1-for-6 as a frontrunner on Tour.
Hideki (-2%): Yeah, yeah, we get it: He wrecked your fantasy leagues with his WD before the second round. But for a guy with a violent swing and a history of injuries, this new wrist issue is concerning.
Phoenix’s Sunday finish (-4%): This is maddening: Should they end the tournament when there are 216,818 fans on-site, or when there are 64,273, many of whom leave early to attend Super Bowl parties?
Suzann Pettersen (-6%): She called out the President for his relaxed rules on the course – in extensive detail! – and then claimed that her comments were misconstrued, that she’d never say such things about a friend. Just stop.
The future of the 16th hole (-7%): It’s fun, and it’s different, and it’s tolerated once a year, but the abusive 10 percent has this hole teetering on the edge. How will tournament officials keep it from getting out of control when every year gets more raucous?