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Early Stock Watch for 2014 US Ryder Cup Candidates

Ben AlberstadtFeatured ColumnistApril 21, 2014

Early Stock Watch for 2014 US Ryder Cup Candidates

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Sure, the Ryder Cup is six months away. However, it's never too early to start taking a look at who might make the United States squad. 

    Among those who have accumulated the most Ryder Cup ranking points to date, some golfers have seen their stock soar, while others are seeing quite the opposite.

    Who's up? Who's down? Read on to find out. 

Stock Up: Harris English

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Another golfer who won early in the season, Harris English has been solid since, despite missing the cut at the season's first major. English won the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in November. He's notched another four top-10 finishes since that point.

    Excluding the Masters, English has made the cut in every start this season. Although he hasn't been overwhelming as of late, he hasn't finished outside the top 40 this season (excluding the missed cut, obviously), and he's risen from 53rd to 40th in the Official World Golf Ranking since the beginning of the year. 

Stock Down: Webb Simpson

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Webb Simpson started the 2013-2014 PGA Tour season in grand fashion, winning the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. He then finished inside the top 10 in four of his next five starts. 

    Since that point, however, the 2012 U.S. Open champion has cooled off. He missed the cut at the Masters in his last start and has had only one top-10 finish since February. 

    As mentioned, Simpson's last four starts haven't been very impressive: T47, cut, T61, cut. In other words, Dowd's husband's golf game has been rather dowdy lately. 

Stock Up: Phil Mickelson

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut at the Masters, his first missed cut at the tournament in more than a decade. However, the left-hander has been playing through injury and was both a tad rusty and compromised heading into the season's first major. 

    Prior to the Masters, Mickelson tied for 12th at the Houston Open, a week after having to withdraw due to injury at the Valero Texas Open. Prior to that, he finished tied for 16th at the WGC-Cadillac Championship. 

    Removing the injury issues from the equation, Mickelson's play has been solid this season. 

Stock Down: Chris Kirk

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    Tyler Lecka/Getty Images

    Chris Kirk had a torrid two months from November of last year through January. The Georgia native won the McGladrey Classic, finished tied for 16th at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and finished second at the Sony Open. 

    Since that point, he hasn't missed a cut. He hasn't finished inside the top 10 either, however, and certainly hasn't come close to another victory. One bright spot besides the cut streak: Kirk did finish inside the top 25 at the Masters.

    Still, it's difficult to make the case that Kirk is trending upward, even if he was never going to equal his early-season form. 

Stock Up: Matt Kuchar

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    Tyler Lecka/Getty Images

    It's not hard to be bullish about the Matt Kuchar Corporation. 

    Kuchar won last week's RBC Heritage a week after finishing tied for fifth at the Masters. In his two starts prior to the season's first major, Kuchar finished second in a playoff at the Shell Houston Open and tied for fourth at the Valero Texas Open. 

    Kuchar's stock, already a near blue chip, is continuing to increase in value. 

Stock Down: Jason Dufner

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    Andrew Redington/Getty Images

    One could make the case that after his missed cut at Augusta, Jason Dufner's stock is trending downward.

    The Duf was undone by one hole at Augusta National. The Auburn grad made a nine on the 13th hole on Thursday. Still, carding 80, 74 to miss the cut is unacceptable from a former major champion.

    Even though he finished inside the top 15 in his three starts heading into the Masters, Dufner's stock is moving down. 

Stock Up: Jordan Spieth

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    Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

    20-year-old Jordan Spieth nearly won the Masters. That's a pretty significant reason to be bullish about the young golfer. 

    Last week, he closed with a final-round 67 to finish tied for 12th at the RBC Heritage, in an impressive follow up to his performance at Augusta. 

    All stock analysts surely rank the Spieth stock a "strong buy."

Stock Down: Zach Johnson

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    In his last two starts, Zach Johnson missed the cut at the Masters and finished tied for 61st at the RBC Heritage. The missed cut at Augusta was the Iowan's first MC of the season and came on the heels of a tie for sixth at the Valero Texas Open, which seemed to suggest he was primed for a quality showing at Augusta, where he won in 2007. 

    Even though he won the Hyundai Tournament of Champions earlier this year and has totaled four top-10 finishes, Johnson hasn't been on form in recent weeks. When a former champ misses the cut in the major, he's sending up a smoke signal that the state of his game isn't strong. 

Stock Up: Jimmy Walker

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Jimmy Walker has won three times on tour this season. Since the end of 2013, Walker has moved from 47th to 20th in the Official World Golf Ranking. 

    In his first Masters appearance, Walker finished tied for eighth. He hasn't finished outside the top 25 in a tournament since February. 

    It would be easy to go on and on, but it's abundantly sufficient to say that Jimmy Walker's stock is heading skyward. 

Stock Down: Patrick Reed

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    Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

    Patrick Reed has had a good year. He's won twice and made 10 of 13 cuts. 

    However, with the way the golfer lauded himself after his WGC-Cadillac Championship win, you'd have thought he'd be the one contending for the green jacket, rather than Jordan Spieth.

    Instead, Reed missed the cut badly. Confidence is great. Overconfidence, however, is a cause for concern. 

Stock Up: Bubba Watson

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Here's what you need to know about Bubba Watson: He just won the Masters.

    Win your second major in three years, and your stock will be bought en masse and its value will increase substantially.

    Thus, for this reason alone, Watson's stock is a strong buy. 

Stock Down: Dustin Johnson

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    When Dustin Johnson tied for fourth at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, things were looking very good. 

    However, a withdrawal at the Shell Houston Open and a missed cut at the Masters have produced a much different outlook for the long-hitter.

    Given recent events, Johnson's stock is in decline. 

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