Stock Watch: Buying or Selling the Top 10 Men's Golfers in 2015-16

Ben Alberstadt@benalberstadtFeatured ColumnistOctober 22, 2015

Stock Watch: Buying or Selling the Top 10 Men's Golfers in 2015-16

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    BEN STANSALL/Getty Images

    The 2015-16 season is newly underway on the PGA Tour, and, of course, the tour's best are experiencing varying fortunes as they begin their campaigns.

    We'll take a look at each golfer's 2014-15 tally and Official World Golf Ranking movement in 2015, key stats in determining buy/sell for a player. 

    With that in mind, let's take a look at the top 10 golfers in the Official World Golf Ranking and whether it's time to buy or sell. 

    Stats via PGATour.com

No. 10: Zach Johnson

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    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    2015 tally: 21 cuts made in 26 starts; 1 win (British Open), 11 top-10 finishes 

    OWGR movement: 18 to 10

    Key stats

    • Driving accuracy: 71.21% (8)
    • Strokes gained, tee-to-green: 1.042 (13)

    Buy/Sell: Buy

    Zach Johnson tallied twice as many top-10 finishes in 2015 as in 2014, plus he finally won his second major. And with a strong finish to the season, ZJ is a player on the rise. 

No. 9: Jim Furyk

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    Patrick Smith/Getty Images

    2015 tally: 16 cuts made in 20 starts; 1 win (RBC Heritage); 7 top-10 finishes

    OWGR movement: 7 to 9

    Key stats: 

    • Strokes gained, tee-to-green: 1.63 (3)
    • Strokes gained, total: 1.61 (5)
    • Greens in regulation: 69.79% (14)

    Buy/Sell: Sell

    While Jim Furyk did return to the winners circle in 2015, he didn't finish inside the top 30 in a major. Furyk recorded 11 top-10 finishes in 2014 (including four second-place finishes), compared with seven this year. The 45-year-old is on the decline. 

No. 8: Dustin Johnson

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    Ian Walton/Getty Images

    2015 tally: 18 cuts made in 21 starts; 1 win (WGC-Cadillac Championship); 11 top-10 finishes

    OWGR movement: 19 to 8

    Key stats: 

    • Driving distance: 317.1 (1)
    • Strokes gained, tee-to-green: 1.24 (9)
    • Birdie average: 4.22 (5)

    Buy/Sell: Buy

    Relative to where he was at the beginning of the 2015 season, Dustin Johnson is in a vastly better position at the beginning of this golf season. With a win and contention in a major, DJ is heading in the right direction. 

No. 7: Justin Rose

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    Eric Risberg/Associated Press

    2015 tally: 16 cuts made in 21 starts; 1 win (Zurich Classic); 9 top-10 finishes

    OWGR movement: 6 to 7

    Key stats: 

    • Greens in regulation: 70.54 (9)
    • Strokes gained, tee-to-green: 1.40 (6)
    • Strokes gained, total: 1.42 (6)

    Buy/Sell: Buy

    Justin Rose won a major championship in 2013 and had a better season in 2013-14 than last year. While he recorded fewer top-10 finishes, he did finish inside the top 10 in all four majors. We'll buy Rose but sell those sunglasses

No. 6: Henrik Stenson

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    2015 tally: 17 cuts made in 17 starts; 9 top-10 finishes

    OWGR movement: 2 to 6

    Key stats: 

    • Greens in regulation: 73.52% (1)
    • Strokes gained, total: 2.21 (1)
    • Total driving: 55 (1)

    Buy/Sell: Buy

    The guy didn't miss a cut, finished inside the top 10 more than half of the times he teed it up and finished second four times. While it's disappointing the Swede didn't win in 2015, the quality of his ball-striking and the number of times he's knocked on the door recently suggest he'll win again soon. 

No. 5: Rickie Fowler

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    Lee Jin-man/Associated Press

    2015 tally: 18 cuts made in 22 starts; 2 wins (Players Championship, Deutsche Bank Championship); 8 top-10 finishes 

    OWGR movement: 10 to 5

    Key stats: 

    • Strokes gained, total: 1.02 (15)
    • Birdie average: 3.96 (17)
    • Putting from 15'-20': 25.22% (5)

    Buy/Sell: Buy

    Rickie Fowler went from "overrated" to Players champion to twice a winner in the same tour season. The Oklahoma State alum, now fifth in the Official World Golf Ranking, is a strong buy. 

No. 4: Bubba Watson

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    Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    2015 tally: 18 cuts made in 20 starts; 2 wins (WGC-HSBC Champions, Travelers Championship); 10 top-10 finishes

    OWGR movement: None (4 to 4)

    Key stats: 

    • Driving distance: 315.2 (2)
    • Strokes gained, tee-to-green: 1.87 (1)
    • Birdie average: 4.29 (4)

    Buy/Sell: Sell

    At first blush, Bubba Watson looks to have had a very respectable season. However, the long-hitting Floridian missed the cut in two of the four major championships. That can't be considered progress. 

No. 3: Rory McIlroy

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    John Amis/Associated Press

    2015 tally: 11 cuts made in 12 starts; 2 wins (WGC Match Play; Wells Fargo Championship); 7 top-10 finishes

    OWGR movement: 1 to 3

    Key stats: 

    • Greens in regulation: 71.03% (6)
    • Strokes gained, tee-to-green: 1.85 (2) 

    Buy/Sell: Buy

    A sports platitude: A player can't lose a starting job due to injury. Rory McIlroy played well in his 12 PGA Tour starts, and while he didn't contend in a major championship, he missed one due to injury and was rusty at another (the PGA Championship). McIlroy is still the most talented golfer on the PGA Tour and thus has to be a buy now that he's fully healthy. 

No. 2: Jordan Spieth

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    2015 tally: 22 cuts made in 26 starts; 6 wins (including the Masters and U.S. Open); 16 top-10 finishes

    OWGR movement: 9 to 2

    Key stats: 

    • Strokes gained, tee-to-green: 1.51 (4)
    • Strokes gained, total: 2.08 (3)
    • Scoring average: 68.93 (1)
    • Scrambling: 65.03% (4)

    Buy/Sell: Buy

    The two strongest buys on this list are the top two players in the OWGR. With six wins and two major championships, Jordan Spieth is clearly a buy. 

No. 1: Jason Day

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    John Amis/Associated Press

    2015 tally: 19 of 21 cuts made; 5 wins (including the PGA Championship); 12 top-10 finishes

    OWGR movement: 8 to 1

    Key stats: 

    • Driving distance: 313.7 (3)
    • Greens in regulation: 70.83% (7)
    • Strokes gained, total: 2.03 (4)

    Buy/Sell: Buy

    Jason Day broke through with a major victory at the PGA Championship. With four additional victories, 2015 was a brilliant campaign for Day. Obvious buy.