Prior to the start of this year’s John Deere Classic Steve Stricker made the obligatory visits to the media room to talk about defending the championship he won in 2009. As always, the Stricker was his humble self, deferring any thought that a repeat win would be anywhere close to automatic.
“Yeah, it’s always exciting to come back to a place where you’ve had some success, and just driving in the gates and remembering some of the shots that happened down the stretch and the way the whole week played out last year is always fun to look back at and reflect on a little bit,” he said on Wednesday. But truly Stricker did not take much time for reflection; instead he got on with the business at hand right out of the gates.
The Wisconsin native might be modest when describing his skills, but those abilities take on a life of their own when he hits the first tee. It showed again this week as he dramatically took down the 2010 John Deere Classic in spectacular fashion.
Already having a very creditable year with a win at the Northern Trust Open and not having missed the cut in 11th 2010 PGA Tour appearances before this week, time off for a shoulder injury reduced Stricker to being a sleeper pick this week and he delivered in a less than slumbering style.
On Thursday, while he shot 60, he had to step aside as the attention fell on Paul Goydos, and his score of 59. As proud as Goydos was of his accomplishment he had the right perspective when asked what he thought of 12 under par score on day one. “I shoot 59 and I woke up and I was three back,” he said after his follow up round of 68 on Thursday.
At 15 under after two rounds very often a player would be in the driver’s seat at a PGA Tour event but that was not the case in Silvis, Illinois – in fact, it put Goydos one back of Stricker who fashioned a 2nd round 66.
At the time Goydos was happy to provide his observations on the soaring Stricker. “Well, he’s playing better than anybody this week, I think no question. His game is — he’s moved his game to that different plateau where when he plays mediocre he’s finishing in the Top 10, and when he plays well he’s got a chance to win…”
And win he did on Sunday as he added a third round 62 and closing 70 to complete a 258 week and an annihilation of the TPC at Deer Run. “It was a great week,” said Stricker after the trophy presentation. “There’s a lot of cool things that happened this week, and feel fortunate enough to be sitting right here, I’ll tell you that. It was a tough day today, and glad it worked out.”
This report provided to GolfWRX.com by Flagstick Golf Magazine (www.flagstick.com)