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Stricker Slam: The John Deere Classic preview



By Pete Pappas

GolfWRX Staff Writer

Steve Stricker’s bobblehead is going for $50 a pop on eBay.  That’s more than any PGA Tour player bobblehead has sold for on eBay all season – really.

But put the brakes on calling this “Strickermania.”  It’s not.  Not yet at least.

Stricker Slam

Stricker will attempt to become just the fifth player in PGA Tour history to win the same tournament four consecutive times when he goes for the “Stricker Slam” this week at the 2012 John Deere Classic.

If Stricker manages to win he would join an exclusive club that includes Tom Morris Jr. (British Open), Walter Hagan (PGA Championship), Gene Sarazen (Miami Open), and Tiger Woods (Bay Hill Invitational and Buick Invitational).

A victory at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill., would also give the 45 year-old his second title of the year — he kicked off the Tour season with a win at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Stricker comes in to the John Deere Classic as World’s No. 13th ranked player — the highest ranked player in the field.

Stricker’s TPC Deere “Run” has included a flawless performance, a spectacular performance, and even a purely magical one the past three tournaments.

In 2009, Stricker missed only 17 greens and salvaged par a field-leading 17 times (100 percent).  He finished tied for ninth in total driving, sixth in proximity to the hole, and third on approach shots inside 125 yards.

Highlighted by an opening round bogey-free 11-under, Stricker was even more impressive the following year setting the TPC Deere Run course record in 2010 at 26-under.

And then last year on the 72nd hole needing birdie to win for the third consecutive year, Stricker’s miraculous 182-yard approach shot from the fairway bunker, over water, with the ball well below his feet somehow managed to land 25 feet from the hole on the fringe (this shot was voted No. 2 “Shot of the Year” by

With ice in his veins Stricker called upon his silky-smooth putting to sink the long birdie putt and defeat a shocked and dismayed Kyle Stanley by one stroke.  His 22-under finish for the round was also good enough for the second-best score in John Deere history.

Inside The Ropes

Eighteen of the World’s Top 20 ranked players are not playing TPC Deere Run this week.  However, seven past major winners, five previous John Deere champions and 31 winners on Tour over the past two years — including Zach Johnson, Stanley, Carl Petterson, Nick Watney, Jonathan Byrd, Camilo Villegas, and Ben Crane should all give Stricker a formidable run for his money.

Last week’s Greenbrier Classic champion Ted Potter Jr. is hoping the momentum of his eagle-birdie finish to force a playoff carries over this week.

Z. Johnson is playing the John Deere for the 11th straight time, finishing third in this event last year.  He is fifth in stroked gained putting and 16th in birdie average on Tour.

Byrd won at TPC Deere Run in 2007 and is playing well this season with five top-10 finishes (a career high).  Byrd ranked T-2 in birdies last week at Greenbrier.

Villegas has just three top-25 finishes in his 17 starts this year.  He’s coming off back-to-back missed cuts in his last two starts (AT&T National and Greenbrier).

Stanley is also struggling of late.  Six missed cuts in his last 10 starts have dropped him from No. 1 in the FedExCup Standings down to 16th.

Plugged In Predictions – The Greek Syndicate

A Stricker win this week guarantees those eBay bobbleheads will be at least double in price.  And yes I’m the one snatching them all up on eBay at that $50 “discount” price looking to turn a profit come Monday.

Stricker has a 65.33 stroke average here since 2009.  And he’s 68-under his last 216 holes at TPC Deere Run.  Four top-10s this year is nice, but it wouldn’t matter if he had none.  Deere Run is Sticker’s house.

Groupings At A Glance

Steve Stricker, Camilo Villegas, Kyle Stanley

Jhonattan Vegas, Mark Wilson, Tim Clark

Zach Johnson, Nick Watney, Ted Potter, Jr.

Jonathan Byrd, K.J.Choi, Stewart Cink

Charter Service

For the fifth consecutive year the John Deere Classic will offer players bound for the British Open a direct charter flight to England.  The all-first class 100-seat Boeing 767 is scheduled to leave immediately following the conclusion of the event.  Upon arrival in England grounds transportation will immediately take the players and their traveling parties to Royal Lytham & St. Annes — site of this year’s Open Championship.

Click here for more discussion in the Tour Talk forum.


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You can follow Pete on twitter @TheGreekGrind and GolfWRX @GolfWRX

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Pete is a journalist, commentator, and interviewer covering the PGA Tour, new equipment releases, and the latest golf fashions. Pete's also a radio and television personality who's appeared multiple times on ESPN radio, and Fox Sports All Bets Are Off. And when he's not running down a story, he's at the range working on his game. Above all else, Pete's the proud son of a courageous mom who battled pancreatic cancer much longer than anyone expected. You can follow Pete on twitter @PGAPappas

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Troy Vayanos

    Jul 13, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Stricker is off to the right start to make it four in a row. He now sits just 2 off the lead going into the weekend.

    This course obviously really agrees with his golf game.

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Tour News

Tiger Woods fires second-round 76, will miss Genesis Open cut



Tiger Woods’ trip to Los Angeles is over sooner than he’d hoped. Woods fired a 5-over 76 during the second round of the Genesis Open to miss the presumed cut at Riviera by four strokes (the second round won’t be completed until Saturday morning due to darkness).

Hopes were high Woods would continue to build on a T-23 finish at the Farmers Insurance Open. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, as the driving woes that plagued him at Torrey Pines followed him to the Riv, despite changing shafts in his TaylorMade M3.


Wayward off the tee, Woods made eight bogeys Friday, unable to grind out a decent score as he did with his opening-round 1-over 72. He was unable to rely on his putter the way did in this first round, three-putting back-to-back holes (No. 11 and 12). A stretch of three straight bogeys sunk Woods’ hopes of hanging around for the weekend.


We won’t have to wait long to see the Big Cat back in action, however, as Woods committed to next week’s Honda Classic at PGA National in Florida. Woods most recently put a peg in the ground at the course in 2014, where he ultimately withdrew due to back spasms.

The 79-time PGA Tour winner hasn’t teed it in back-to-back weeks since 2015, so while fans may not be encouraged by his play, at least he continues to be free from any issues with his surgically repaired back.

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Tour News

Tiger Woods shoots an opening-round 72 (1-over) at the 2018 Genesis Open



After hitting just 17 fairways all week at the 2018 Farmers Insurance Open, where he finished T23, Tiger Woods switched driver shafts and added 0.75 degrees of loft in his TaylorMade M3 driver ahead of the 2018 Genesis Open this week. He went from using a Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White 70TX shaft, to a Matrix TP6HDe shaft — he used a TP7HDe shaft back in 2015.

So how did the switch work out for him at Riviera CC on Thursday?

Well, he hit driver 9 times during his round of 72 strokes; four went right — one of which got lost in a tree and he had to re-tee — one went left, and four found the fairway. He hit 8-of-14 fairways in total; no Fred Funk, but an improvement. Woods’ bigger issue on Thursday, actually, was that he hit only 7 greens in regulation, leaving himself a few tricky up-and-downs. Despite hitting only 38 percent of greens, Woods managed to make 5 birdies, and he continues displaying prowess on the greens (1.784 Strokes Gained Putting, and 82 feet worth of putts made).

He also showed some flashes of old Tiger with Arnie-esque follow through.

Of course, that means he missed the fairway way right, and he did go onto bogey the hole, but the shot made for some excitement on golf twitter, at least.

According to @RandallMellGC, Tiger described his round in a post-round interview: “I fought hard. I made a few simple, silly mistakes, bad shots here and there, missed on the wrong side, made a few birdies as well. 1-over’s not bad.”

Yea, that’s about right.

Tiger currently sits at T66, and six shots off the leader. Lots of golf to play, but he’ll likely be contending with the cutline come Friday afternoon. How do you think Tiger will finish this week at the 2018 Genesis Open?

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Tour News

Bill Haas injured in fatal car crash in Los Angeles



Bill Haas was involved in a fatal car crash in Pacific Palisades, Calif., site of the Genesis Open, Tuesday night.

The 35-year-old was riding in the passenger seat of a Ferrari driven by a member of the family with whom Haas is staying this week. According to LA County fire officials, the Ferrari collided with a BMW driven by a 50-year-old woman. Haas and the driver of the BMW were transported to a local hospital. The 71-year-old male driver of the Ferrari was pronounced dead on the scene.

The Ferrari also reportedly “clipped” a vehicle driven by actor Luke Wilson prior to the rollover. Wilson was not injured, per a police report.

Per, Bill Haas’ manager, Allen Hobbs of Players Group Management, released the following statement Wednesday morning.

“Last night in Pacific Palisades, California, Bill Haas was involved in a serious car accident in which the driver—a member of the family with whom Haas and his family were staying for the Genesis Open—was killed. While Bill escaped serious injuries and has been released from the hospital, he is understandably shaken up and—more importantly—his deepest condolences go out to the host family during this tragic and difficult time.“

“Bill will withdraw from the Genesis Open and plans to head home to Greenville to recover. He appreciates the support of friends, family and the golf world as a whole, and he has asked for privacy as he processes what has happened.“

Geoff Shackelford tweeted this video of the KTLA coverage of the crash.

Bill Haas’ father, Jay, spoke with Todd Lewis on Golf Channel’s morning drive earlier in the day, saying his son was “very fortunate.” Beyond swelling in one of his legs and pain, Haas sustained no serious injuries, according to his father.

See the discussion in the forums here

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19th Hole