PGA Tour Stock Watch: Which Golfers Are Rising and Falling?

Ben Alberstadt@benalberstadtFeatured ColumnistApril 22, 2013

PGA Tour Stock Watch: Which Golfers Are Rising and Falling?

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    Blue chips, penny stocks, growth and value plays are all available on the B&A 25 (the index of the most widely held PGA Tour professional stocks).

    There are a lot of questions in assessing the stocks of the best players on tour. For instance, what investor would take a long position in Lee Westwood? His financials seem to be in order, and a look at the balance sheets indicates he should generate significant returns. However, his earnings always see to fall well below estimates and his stock price suffers accordingly.

    After a second playoff finish in as many weeks on the PGA Tour at the RBC Heritage, who's up, and who's down?

    Read on to find out!

Stock Up: Rory McIlroy

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    Rory McIlroy's stock took a pummeling earlier in the year, but it has rebounded since his hasty retreat at the Honda Classic in March. The company seemed to be in tremendous peril, perhaps looking at an Enron-like collapse.

    However, the young Ulsterman turned in solid performances at both the Valero Texas Open, where he finished tied for second, and the Masters, where he fired a final-round 69 to finish tied for 25th.

    Investor confidence in Rory is returning.

Stock Down: Justin Rose

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    Rosey was in good position after two rounds at the Masters: Rounds of 70 and 71 had him poised to move to the top of the leaderboard on moving day. However, the Englishman finished the tournament with uninspired scores of 75 and 74 to finish tied for 25th.

    Any possibility of Rose becoming the first Brit since Sir Nick Faldo (1996) to win the green jacket for queen and country was demolished when he took a five on the par-three 12th hole on Saturday. Of course, the gangly Mr. Rose, did himself two-worse on the same hole on Sunday, carding a seven. 

    The fourth-ranked golfer in the world needed to do better at Augusta, especially coming off a second-place finish in his previous tournament. His stock is certainly down, or as they say at his sponsor Taylormade: down-IER.

Stock Up: Adam Scott

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    Mr. Scott hasn't missed a cut this year, but it seems like there's something else the 32-year-old Australian has done this year of significance...

    Hmm...

    Oh that's right! He won the Masters.

    With one fell swoop at Augusta National, Adam Scott removed himself from any discussions about the best players without a major victory and erased the memory of his self-destructive closing nine at the Open Championship last year.

    Not only is Scott's stock up, he's one of the biggest gainers on this list.

Stock Down: Brandt Snedeker

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    Entering the final round of the Masters, Brandt Snedeker was tied for the lead. After the final round, Snedeker found himself $278,000 richer, but lacking a certain grass-colored garment.

    Poised for a breakthrough victory, the Vanderbilt alum instead played Alister Mackenzie's famous layout in 75 shots over the final round and finished the 2012 Masters in a tie for sixth place.

    A tie for 59th at the RBC Heritage, in which he failed to shoot in the 60s, doesn't exactly have Sneds trending upward, and his stock is down significantly from early-season highs.

Stock Up: Webb Simpson

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    The 2012 U.S. Open champion played more like the 2012 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion at the Masters and missed the cut badly.

    At the RBC Heritage, however, Simpson rebounded. He finished regulation play tied with Graeme McDowell for the top position, before losing to McDowell in a playoff. Likely, the collective psychic energy of the hundreds of imbibers who were perched to descend on McDowell's bar were he to win was too great to battle (GMac opens a tab for everyone at his bar when he wins).

    Regardless, Simpson's stock is up on the wings of his post-Masters righting of the ship.

Stock Down: Ian Poulter

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    Since losing in the consolation match of the WGC-Accenture, which he didn't want to participate in, Poulter hasn't been overwhelming, although he made cuts and finished inside the top 25 routinely. 

    The stasis in his stock value ended at the Masters, though. The plaid aficionado fired rounds of 75 and 76 to miss the cut and thus deprived the world of his scripted Masters weekend outfits

    A tragedy, indeed.

Stock Up: Tiger Woods

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    It's impossible to say that Tiger's stock is down simply because he didn't win the Masters. In the fullness of time, the book on Tiger at the Masters in 2013 will likely be that were it not for the flagstick on the 15th hole and some indiscreet words in a post-round press conference, Woods would have a fifth green jacket.

    Although he entered the tournament as the presumptive favorite and failed to win, Tiger's fourth-place finish raised the value of his stock heading into the pre-U.S. Open stretch of his season. Assuming he'll play the Wells Fargo Championship, The Players Championship and the Memorial prior to the season's second major, and assuming that he'll win at least one of the aforementioned, look for Tiger's stock to continue to increase in value.

Stock Down: Matt Kuchar

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    Matt Kuchar, who has won once on tour this season, entered the Masters as a legitimate contender for the green jacket. Much like Brandt Snedeker, another American pre-tournament consideration, Kuchar wilted on Sunday, firing a final-round 73.

    For the average tour professional, a top-10 finish at the Masters is an achievement. Kuchar, however, finished third in 2012 and was looking better that result and become a major champion this year. From this standpoint then, and given his T-35 finish at the RBC Heritage, Kuchar's stock is down, if only slightly.

Stock Up: Graeme McDowell

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    In the "He just won a tournament" category: Graeme McDowell. With his playoff victory at the RBC Heritage, Mr. McDowell's stock is certainly trending upward, especially after the downward trajectory he seemed to be heading in after a missed cut at the Masters.

    GMac is moving upward in the Official World Golf Ranking, as well: He now sits in eight place in the most popular ranking of the best golfers in the world.

Stock Down: Louis Oosthuizen

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    King Louis looked more like a court jester in his two days at Augusta National. The 2012 runner-up carded rounds of 74 and 76 to secure the privilege of watching the weekend rounds on T.V. He looked to be heading in a positive direction after a tie for 10th at the Shell Houston Open.

    However, whatever momentum he gained didn't accompany him down Magnolia Lane. The 2010 Open Champion will seek to right the ship before the season's next major, as he's been inconsistent in 2013 thus far. Ooosthuizen hasn't made two cuts in a row on the PGA Tour. By this logic, then, all he has to do is sit out until the U.S. Open and he'll perform better than he did at the first major of the year.

Stock Up: Steve Stricker

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    Steve Stricker is the best part-time PGA Tour golfer in the game right now. He's only played five tournaments in 2013, but he's made the cut in all of them. Most recently Strick finished tied for at the Masters.

    Sure, a final-round 75 doesn't say great things about his game, but even being able to make the cut in a major when you seem to be playing more shuffleboard than golf is impressive.

Stock Down: Phil Mickelson

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    I really thought Phil would finish no worse than 10th at the Masters this year. Instead, Lefty's game was more monstrous than his Phrankenwood. He shot 76, 77 in the middle rounds of the tournament and finished tied for 54th.

    Not good, considering the fact that the left-hander finished inside the top 10 the last two years, as well as the positive momentum he'd established early in the season.

Stock Up: Sergio Garcia

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    Stop me if you've heard this one before...

    Sergio Garcia opened the Masters with a brilliant 66. He proceeded to follow up that fine effort with a second-round 76.

    However, he didn't totally implode over the weekend at the Masters this year and eventually finished inside the top 10. Given this, his stock is up but not as much as it should be, which is rather the story of the Spaniard's career.

Stock Down: Lee Westwood

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    Lee Westwood turned in a solid performance at Augusta. He didn't shoot worse than 73 in any of his four rounds. Indeed, he has three top-10s in eight starts on tour this year.

    So, why is his stock down then? Because he should be a major winner, and at age 39, he's running out of time. With the way he hits the ball, Westwood should be amongst the all-time greats. Instead, inconsistency with the putter and hands of stone around the green have held him back.

    It's hard to get on board with the Westwood Coroporation at this stage in his career, as the price of his shares seems to have plateaued.

Stock Up: Dustin Johnson

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    D.J. started out the season as strong as a professional golfer can: He won the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions. After a series of mixed results since that point, Johnson finished tied for 13th at the Masters.

    Certainly, his second-round 76 and third-round 74 weren't indications that Johnson is ready to take the next step in his development as a player. However, he finished with a final-round 70 and is only 28. Johnson's stock continues to trend upwards.

Stock Down: Keegan Bradley

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    Regarding Keegan Bradley's stock there's really only one thing to be said: 82. As in, that's how many strokes Bradley used at Augusta National during his third round.

    He did rebound with a final-round 69, but that score could have been 59 and his stock would still necessarily be heading in the wrong direction.

Stock Up: Jason Dufner

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    Forget about what Jason Dufner is doing on the golf course (which isn't bad, at present) and focus on the Internet phenomenon he unwittingly spawned: Dufnering.

    The spineless posture...the mask of sheer ennui...genius.

    As a result of an innovation that would have made Steve Jobs jealous, Dufner's stock is doing anything but slumping.

Stock Down: Charl Schwartzel

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    Schwartzel finished tied for 25th at the Masters. However, as the former champion of the tournament, he should have been able to do better than rounds of 75 and 73 on the weekend.

    Really, the goatee isn't helping investor sentiment either.

Stock Up: Jim Furyk

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    At the Masters this year, Jim Furyk's scores unfortunately got progressively higher: 69, 71, 74, 76.

    Worse still, a final-round 78 at the RBC Heritage continued a trend of final-round disappointments for Furyk. The only reason his stock is up is because I believe that he may be in such an emotionally fragile state that the slightest bit of negative news could push him over the edge.

    Have some 5-Hour Energy, Jim. Everything will be OK!

Stock Down: Bubba Watson

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    Bubba Watson looked lost at the Masters. The charming rube seemed uncomfortable in defending his title and perhaps didn't like the thought that someone else would likely be wearing the green jacket on the circuit of late night talk shows.

    Either this, or the pressure of planning the Champions' Dinner wore Watson down.

    Whatever the case, his stock is down too.

Stock Up: Luke Donald

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    Really, Luke Donald should be winning majors by now. However, that ship seems to have sailed, as Donald seems content to prefer looking good swinging the golf club and talking to Michael Jordan about winning majors more than actually contending for them. Plainly he hasn't figured out how to put together four solid rounds in the majors.

    He did, however, play well at the RBC Heritage. As such, his stock is up.

Stock Down: Ernie Els

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    In  2012 there was great drama surrounding whether Ernie Els would secure one of the famous Masters invitations. With his back-door victory at the Open Championship last year, the Big Easy made it into the field for 2013 as a function of that victory. He took advantage, finishing tied for 13th.

    Fresh off his fine play in the Masters, Els went out and...missed the cut at the RBC Heritage.

    His stock slumps accordingly.

Stock Up: Rickie Fowler

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    Rickie Fowler shot 78 on Sunday at Augusta after an abominable start to the round. However, his play heading into the tournament was strong. He seems to be as comfortable with the spotlight as he is with the idea of a man using a hair straightener.

    Given this, the Fowler stock is up as he star continues to shine, even though his play down the stretch at Augusta was subpar (not literally, unfortunately).

Stock Down: Hunter Mahan

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    Hunter Mahan's game at Augusta was flatter than the brim of his hat. A pathetic second-round 82 left him in no danger of making the cut.

    His performance at the RBC Heritage gave no indication that the No. 22 player in the world has returned to form.

    When it comes to Hunter Mahan's stock right now, in the words of Jim Cramer, "Sell, Sell, Sell."

Stock Up: Jason Day

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    Jason Day came close to winning his first-career major at the Masters, eventually finishing in third place, two strokes out of first place. On the strength of this performance, the young Australian's stock is most certainly up.

    Day followed his strong performance at Augusta up with a respectable tie for 30th at the RBC Heritage. He's made the cut in every tournament he's entered this year and has four top-10 finishes.