|John Deere Classic - July 07, 2010
JOHN DEERE CLASSIC
TPC Deere Run
Par: 35-36—71 Yards: 7,268
Winner's FedExCup Points Share: 500
Purse: $4,400,000 Winner: $792,000
2009 Champion: Steve Stricker (264, -20)
Back to Full Health, Stricker Ready
to Defend John Deere Classic Title
A final-round 64 helped Steve Stricker come from behind last year to win the John Deere Classic. But it was a second-round 61 at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, IL, that allowed Stricker to win the second of three 2009 titles. The 61 matched Stricker’s career-low PGA TOUR round and tied the TPC Deere Run record with J.P. Hayes, set in 2002.
This week’s tournament is the 11th at the course designed by D.A. Weibring and the 12th with John Deere as the title sponsor. Besides Stricker, other past John Deere Classic champions in the field this week include Kenny Perry, Jonathan Byrd, John Senden, Mark Hensby, Hayes and J.L. Lewis.
This season, Stricker has battled a shoulder injury but is back playing full time. Prior to his injury, he won the Northern Trust Open outside Los Angeles, was third at the Sony Open in Hawaii and tied for eighth at the Transitions Championship. He is 14th in the FedExCup.
John Deere Classic Notes
Defending John Deere Classic champion Steve Stricker returns to his Midwest roots to try and become the first player to successfully defend his title since David Frost achieved the feat in 1993. Stricker fired a final-round, 7-under 64 en route to last year’s victory, his sixth career PGA TOUR victory at the time.
Of the past champions playing this week, J.L. Lewis, Jonathan Byrd and Kenny Perry also finished as runners-up. Perry lost to Mark McCumber by a stroke in 1994 at Oakwood Country Club before winning in 2008. Lewis won in 1999, the last year the tournament was at Oakwood, before missing out on a chance at a repeat when he tied for second behind winner Vijay Singh. One of the players Lewis tied with was Byrd, who went on to win the 2007 tournament.
As an additional incentive to play in the John Deere Classic, the tournament is once again providing players who have qualified for the British Open with first-class accommodations aboard a non-stop, private aircraft charter that will depart for Scotland on Sunday evening from Quad City International Airport. The flight is complimentary, with costs underwritten by the John Deere Classic and its title sponsor, John Deere. A minimum $1,000 donation per seat is requested to help fund the more than 600 charities that benefit from the tournament each year.
The John Deere Classic has given opportunities to young, up-and-coming players over the years. Most notably was Lucas Glover in 2002, who tied for 40th that year. Glover paid respect to the tournament in 2009 by following through on his commitment to play the John Deere Classic after his U.S. Open win. The John Deere Classic was the fourth of five consecutive starts for Glover. One such exemption in 2010 is Rockford, IL, native Brad Benjamin, 23, who played in the 2010 Masters by virtue of his 2009 victory at the U.S. Public Links Championship.
Illini fans are encouraged to wear orange and help cheer on three former Illinois golfers, D.A. Points, Mike Small and Steve Stricker, as they compete in the John Deere Classic. The University of Illinois Alumni Association, the UI Foundation and the UI Division of Intercollegiate Athletics are sponsoring Illini Day on Friday of tournament week. Organizers will set up an Illinois Tent behind the seventh tee where Illini fans can meet and greet and set out to cheer on three popular alumni.
University of Illinois golf coach Mike Small, defending champion of the PGA Professional National Championship, was offered a sponsor exemption in the 2010 John Deere Classic field. Small is a former Illini teammate of John Deere Classic defending champion Steve Stricker.
Enotes from the PGA TOUR· There have been nine first-time winners already this year after having only seven in all of 2009. You might look for another this week—the John Deere Classic has had 19 first-time winners in its history.· There have been nine first-time winners already this year after having only seven in all of 2009. You might look for another this week—the John Deere Classic has had 19 first-time winners in its history.
· This is the 40th anniversary of the John Deere Classic. The first one, won by former PGA TOUR Commissioner Deane Beman was unofficial, but the next one was official and Beman won that one, too.
· Look for a close finish this week at the John Deere Classic. Since moving to the TPC Deere Run in 2000, seven of the events have been won by either a single stroke or in a playoff.
· If you don’t shoot four rounds in the 60s this week, don’t count on winning. In the 10 years the John Deere Classic has been held at the TPC Deere Run, the winners have posted 37 rounds in the 60s vs. just three rounds in the 70s—two of 70 and one of 71.
· To go along with the note above, no winning score at the TPC Deere Run has been above 268.
· Eight of the last 10 TOUR events have been won by international players with the only exceptions being this week’s host, Zach Johnson (St. Simons Island, GA/Drake) and Bubba Watson (Bagdad, FL/Georgia).
· One final British Open spot is available this week with the leading player among the Top 5 finishers not otherwise exempt earning a spot in the field at St. Andrews next week.
· The Champions Tour is taking two weeks off before returning for the Senior British Open at Carnoustie. Two current Champions Tour players—Tom Watson and Gary Player—won British Open titles at that course. Watson in 1975 and Player in 1968.
· The victory at the Montreal Championship this past weekend by Larry Mizewas his first in a PGA TOUR sanctioned event since he won the 1993 Buick Open for his fourth and final PGA TOUR victory.
· Larry Mize is the third first-time winner on the Champions Tour this year joining Fred Couples and Mark O’Meara. In addition to those three, Tom Lehman and Nick Price each have collected their first individual titles after having won team events.
· The Nationwide Tour is off to Canada this week for its sixth trip outside the U.S. The Ford Wayne Gretzky Classic presented by Samsung is held on two courses about 90 minutes north of Toronto in what is known as “cottage country”.
· It’s Hall of Fame time on the Nationwide Tour. Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky will host this week’s event in Canada while NFL Hall of Famer Anthony Munoz will host next week’s new event, the Chiquita Classic, in Cincinnati. Of course, earlier this year fellow NFL Hall of Fame member Jerry Rice served as the host of the Fresh Express Classic at the TPC Stonebrae.