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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.
Cam Champ (+9%): Pops always preaches “focus,” and that’s exactly how the 24-year-old wunderkind prevailed at the Safeway while playing with a heavy heart. One of the best moments of the year – in any sport – was the photo of the three generations of Champs, celebrating the victory together on the 18th green.
M.J. Hur (+5%): The run of South Korean dominance on the LPGA continued, but with an unexpected surge from Hur. The 29-year-old has as many wins in the past seven weeks (two) as she enjoyed over the past decade.
Sean Foley (+3%): Maybe his prized pupil simply had a magical week with the wedges, but Foley has reworked Champ’s technique and seen him improve from the worst scrambler on Tour to No. 1 last week at Silverado.
U.S. PGA Cup team (+2%): Though it might not erase the painful memories of the Meltdown at Medinah, the best American club professionals staged an incredible final-day rally at the PGA Cup, stealing eight of the 10 singles matches in a historic comeback.
Marc Leishman (+1%): Four bulging discs in his back is worrisome for the future, but big Leish returned from a season-opening WD to shoot 67-65 on the weekend in Napa and finish third. A good sign for Presidents Cup captain Ernie Els.
Bryson (-1%): ShotLink data might indeed show that DeChambeau isn’t among the top 10 percent of slow players on Tour, but the eye test doesn’t lie. And neither do his playing partners.
Driver testing (-2%): The average driving distance rank of the five players who reportedly got popped for a non-conforming hot driver at Safeway: 116th. So, like drug testing, they’re not exactly catching the big fish.
Phil (-3%): Thirty pounds lighter, but just as inaccurate. In his season debut, Mickelson incredibly found just five-of-24 fairways. Even with a GOAT short game, it’s impossible to contend on Tour when you’re that crooked.
Tony Romo (-4%): That he actually had a chance to make the cut after a first-round 70 only means that he’s going to try again in the spring, doesn’t it? Sigh.
Course setups (-5%): Rory McIlroy has benefited more than most from the soft setups, and his timing could have been better, but his point remains: Tours on both sides of the Atlantic need to do a better job testing the world’s best players, even if that task is made infinitely more difficult by a ball that travels too far.