Deere tracking: Steve Stricker
Staff writer Matt Daniels breaks down the chances of the five Illini who could leave with an oversized check at the state’s first PGA Tour event in 2013. Now: Steve Stricker, Class of 1990
Status report: The 46-year-old has had a low-key but steady year thus far. The family-oriented Stricker has only played in seven events, but has made the cut in all seven. He has four top-10 finishes, including runner-up efforts at the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions in early January and in March at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship. Finishing behind Tiger Woods is no joke anymore now that the world’s best player has managed to regain his game. Stricker has earned a cool $2.18 million so far this season, good for 13th on the money list. And his Avis commercial is a hit. Even if he’s not hitting the golf course every weekend, Stricker is having an enjoyable 2013.
Deere tracking: Tournament organizers might have wanted to rename the John Deere Classic the Steve Stricker Invitational prior to the 2012 tournament. Stricker has won the tournament three times — in 2009, 2010 and 2011 — before seeing his streak end last year when he tied for fifth. Expect to see him around this weekend. In 10 appearances at tournament, Stricker has only missed the cut twice, with the last time coming in 2003.
Outlook: As good a bet as any to walk away with the title again. TPC Deere Run has treated Stricker well. One-fourth of his 12 PGA Tour wins have come just outside the Quad Cities.