Here's a look at this week's Featured Groups at the John Deere Classic. For a complete list of all groups and tee times, [click here]. Which groups are you most interested in following this week? Let us know.
Steve Stricker will be looking to grab a piece of history this week as he hopes to win his fourth consecutive John Deere Classic. He's also hoping to post his first top-10 finish on the PGA TOUR since late April.
One of Stricker's playing competitors in the first two rounds, Kyle Stanley, will be looking for his first top 10 finish since February. Since winning the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Stanley's best finish in his next 14 stroke-play starts is a tie for 22nd two weeks ago at the AT&T National.
The other member of Stricker's threesome, Camilo Villegas, is simply looking to end his top-10 drought this year. In 17 starts, Villegas' best finish is a tie for 17th at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. As a result of his struggles this year, Villegas enters this week outside the top 125 in FedExCup points (he currently ranks 130th) and will need to make a late push in order to make the FedExCup Playoffs.
Stricker and Stanley finished 1-2 last year at TPC Deere Run. Stricker's birdies on the 71st and 72nd holes denied Stanley his first TOUR win. By winning for the third consecutive year, Stricker now has a chance to join Young Tom Morris, Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen and Tiger Woods as the only players in PGA TOUR history to win the same tournament four consecutive times.
Thanks mostly to his win at the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions, Stricker enters the John Deere Classic ranked 20th in FedExCup points. He has finished inside the top 30 of the FedExCup standings in each of the first five seasons of the FedExCup.
For a five-week stretch earlier this year, Stanley was ranked No. 1 in FedExCup points. That came after his win in Phoenix, but Stanley has since dropped to 16th.
Should Stricker or Stanley win this week, either player could move as high as fifth in the standings.
Although two of the three group members have good vibes at TPC Deere Run, Villegas has little history or success at this event. He's making his first start at the John Deere Classic since 2007, the year before his breakthrough season in 2008 when he won twice on TOUR.
|Other Featured Group|
In 10 career starts at the John Deere Classic, Zach Johnson has two top-10 finishes -- a tie for second in 2009 and a tie for third last year.
Obviously, Johnson is getting closer to winning this "hometown" event, with TPC Deere Run 90 miles from Johnson's hometown of Cedar Rapids. Johnson comes in having played 12 consecutive sub-par rounds at this course.
Playing competitor Nick Watney, meanwhile, hasn't gotten close at all. In four starts, Watney has a tie for 66th and has missed the cut the last three times. He's making his first start in this event since 2008.
Ted Potter Jr., fresh off his first TOUR win last week at The Greenbrier Classic, is making his first start at TPC Deere Run.