Jason Day, currently 15th in the FedExCup standings, will be making his fifth career start at the John Deere Classic. Day made his professional PGA TOUR debut at the John Deere Classic in 2006 as a sponsor exemption at the age of 18, finishing T67.
Steve Stricker looks to become just the ninth different player since World War II to win a PGA TOUR event three straight years at this week’s John Deere Classic. Last year, he became the first player to win the event in back-to-back years since David Frost achieved the feat at Oakwood CC in 1992 and 1993.
With the British Open next week, there are five former Open champions in the John Deere Classic field: defending Open champion Louis Oosthuizen (2010),Stewart Cink (2009), John Daly (1995), David Duval (2001) and Todd Hamilton (2004).
With his victory at the AT&T National, Nick Watney moved from No. 5 to No. 1 in the FedExCup standings, knocking Luke Donald to No. 2 after four weeks at the top.
With his T6 at the AT&T National, Chris Stroud made the largest move of the week in the FedExCup standings. Stroud jumped 29 positions from No. 132 to No. 103.
At last week’s AT&T National, Nick Watney outperformed the field by nearly 11 strokes with the putter (10.948 strokes gained – putting – 1st in the field). Watney is the third 2011 PGA TOUR winner to lead the field in strokes gained – putting en route to victory since the introduction of the new statistic at the Wells Fargo Championship.
In the third round of the AT&T National, Nick Watney fired an Aronimink GC course record 8-under 62, including a back-nine 27. Watney’s back-nine 27 was the lowest back nine of the 2011 PGA TOUR season. Watney now owns two of the three lowest nine-hole scores on TOUR this season: 27 (R3/AT&T National), 28 (R4/Farmers Insurance Open). Chris Stroud also posted a 28, carded during the second round of the Mayakoba Golf Classic.
Patrick Cantlay, a sophomore-to-be at UCLA, finished T20 at the AT&T National for his third consecutive top-25 finish on the PGA TOUR: (T20 – AT&T National, T21 – U.S. Open, T24 – Travelers Championship). He is the first amateur to make three cuts in a season since Ricky Barnes (2003) and just the ninth amateur since 1980.
Travelers Championship winner Fredrik Jacobson ($1,260,264) and FedEx St. Jude Classic champion Harrison Frazar ($1,058,436) were the top two players, not previously eligible for the British Open, from a cumulative money list including THE PLAYERS Championship, the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance, FedEx St. Jude Classic, U.S. Open, Travelers Championship and the AT&T National. As a result, they earned their ticket to the 2011 British Open.
Charles Howell III, with his T3 finish, earned a spot in the British Open as a result of being the top player among the top 5 at the AT&T National who was not previously eligible. The top finisher among the top 5 at the John Deere Classic not previously eligible earns an exemption into the Open as well.
With 66-year-old Hale Irwin currently No. 22 on the money list, it should be noted that Gil Morgan is the oldest player in history to have competed in the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship. Morgan was 63 when he finished T10 in the 2009 tournament. The top 30 on the money list will qualify for the season-ending event.
Ted Schulz will try to become the second player to defend a title at the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. Jeff Sluman successfully defended at this event in 2009.
Two professionals in this year’s Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach also played in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am earlier this year. Tom Pernice, Jr. finished T48 and Mark Brooks missed the cut.
The Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach is the only event on the Champions Tour where two courses (Pebble Beach and Del Monte) are used during the competition. At 6,357 yards, Del Monte is the shortest course on the 2011 Champions Tour.
Pebble Beach is the only course on the Champions Tour where a PGA TOUR event is also played earlier in the season (AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am).
Only three defending champions have finished in the top 10 through the first 13 events this season. Tom Watson was third at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai, Fred Couples was T5 at the Toshiba Classic and Larry Mize was T7 at the Montreal Championship.
Last week, Nick Watney picked up Nationwide Tour alumni win No. 309 on the PGA TOUR at the AT&T National. Watney is a 2004 Nationwide Tour graduate, having finished fifth on that year's money list. He has contributed four career wins to the alumni total.
Patrick Cantlay is scheduled to join fellow college first-team All-Americans at the upcoming (July 21-24) Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational at Ohio State University’s Scarlet Course in Columbus, Ohio. The UCLA sophomore-to-be was in Columbus on June 5 to receive the Jack Nicklaus Award from its namesake as college golf’s top player.
Last week’s winner of “The Voice” on NBC, Javier Colon, is no stranger to the Nationwide Tour. The 34-year-old singer/musician has been a celebrity participant in recent years at both the BMW Charity Pro-Am and Ford Wayne Gretzky Classic.
Next week, the Nationwide Tour initiates a run of 15 tournaments in 16 weeks, starting with the Chiquita Classic at TPC River'’ Bend outside Cincinnati, Ohio. The run culminates with the season-ending Nationwide Tour Championship at Daniel Island in Charleston, S.C.