Stock Up, Stock Down for Golf's Top Stars
It's always interesting to play the "stock up, stock down" game as it relates to the PGA Tour.
When you think about it, there's a loose parallel between watching the stock market and watching the PGA Tour. The stock market, for many people, dictates how their lives might play out financially.
Watching the PGA Tour? Well, that can dictate how fantasy picks might do each week. And it certainly can bring cheer or dismay to fans of certain players as they watch the peaks and valleys their favorites go through.
Here's my list of who's rising and who's falling this week.
Stock Up—Patrick Reed
It's hard to argue the direction Patrick Reed is going.
Since the beginning of the calendar year, he's played in seven PGA Tour events and has finished in the top 25 of each of those. And that includes a pair of wins, the most recent last weekend at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral when he became the youngest player to win a World Golf Championship event.
He's a very confident young man, one who appears to have all the tools to be a standout professional. He's probably not a top-five player in the world, as he seems to believe, but he's trending in the right direction.
Stock Down—Tiger Woods
Just like Reed is a no-brainer in the rising column, not much thought was necessary as to where Tiger Woods belongs.
He has gotten off to the worst start of his professional career, and that happened even before it became known he was suffering with back issues again.
Now he's limited to trying to play while keeping the back spasms as quiet as possible.
It's hardly the way to get on the hunt for Jack Nicklaus and his 18 major victories.
Stock Up—Rory McIlroy
Going into the WGC-Accenture Match Play, Rory McIlroy had become something of a world-wide sensation. He had played in six events around the world and had finished in the top 11 in each of those.
He came to Florida and nearly won the Honda Classic had a back-nine collapse on Sunday not happened.
Until McIlroy is able to nail down a win, there will still be doubts about just where he is.
But there's no doubt he's a stock-riser as he works his way back.
Stock Down—Webb Simpson
In two of his last three events, Webb Simpson has finished T70 and T40.
He started off the season with four straight top-10 finishes.
Simpson, one of the nicest guys on the PGA Tour, has been as quiet on the course as his personality off the course.
Simpson needs to win another major title to validate his first win and not have the tag of a "one-and-done" winner.
That would require a U-turn in the way he's playing now.
Stock Up—Adam Scott
Adam Scott became the first Australian to win the Masters last April. That win just happened to be his first major title as well.
That upped his presence in the golf world, and he kept it going after the 2013 season. He won the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, he won the Australian PGA Championship and the Australian Masters. He combined with fellow countryman Jason Day to win the ISPS Hada World Cup of Golf.
He's a riser and, don't forget, this is the last year he'll be able to use his anchored putting stroke before the ban takes effect next year.
It's going to be a big season for the Aussie.
Stock Down—Keegan Bradley
Where oh where has the spitting nephew of LPGA Hall of Famer Pat Bradley gone?
And to be fair, he has really cut down on his spittle-flying, but his game has has gone flying somewhat as well.
He hasn't won since the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in 2012 and has really gotten off to a nondescript start to 2014. He's started nine events and has posted one top 10.
Bradley has made plenty of money, but his results have not been what you would expect from someone as talented as he is.
He, too, needs to validate his major title, the 2011 PGA Championship, but he needs to play a lot better than he has been to do that.
Stock Up—Henrik Stenson
Believe it or not, the man ranked third in the latest Official World Golf Rankings held down the 207th spot in the OWGR at the beginning of the 2011 golf season. He had been even lower than that, dipping to 230th at one point.
Henrik Stenson has come a long way, baby, and there's no reason to believe he's done yet.
He's played in four events this season, had a pair of top-20 finishes and has given no reason to believe he can't continue to climb higher, especially if he plays anywhere close to what he did in 2013.
Stock Down—Luke Donald
Yes, it's true. Luke Donald was once the No. 1 player in the world.
Over the course of a year, from May 2011 to May 2012, he was in and out of the the top spot in the OWGR, playing hopscotch with McIlroy at different times.
He now resides in the 25th spot in the world rankings and has shown no signs of trending in an upward direction. He hasn't won since the Transitions Championship in March 2012.
It's been something of an amazing fall from relevance for Donald but one that shows no sign of ending.
Stock Up—Victor Dubuisson
We still don't know much about Victor Dubuisson, but we learned a lot about him in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
We learned he has plenty of grit, he can play well under pressure and he's not afraid to hit one-in-100 shots from the cactus in the desert to stay alive.
A year ago, the 23-year-old was 134th in the OWGR. Dubuisson jumped to 30th after his runner-up finish in match play. He also earned enough FedEx Cup points to gain status that allows him unlimited sponsor exemptions for the rest of 2014.
We're going to get to know a lot more about this young French native.
Stock Down—Jim Furyk
Jim Furyk rebounded rather nicely from a personally disastrous 2012 season in which he allowed a couple of big tournaments (U.S. Open and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational) to get away and then performed badly in the Ryder Cup.
He hasn't won since the Tour Championship in 2010 and hasn't really been all that relevant since then.
Furyk has one top-10 finish in five starts in this season.
It doesn't look like there will be much rising for this former U.S. Open champion.