With the Open Championship just one week away, the John Deere Classic represents an excellent chance for some of the world's best players to tune up for the season's third major. The event is prestigious in its own right, though, so every golfer will be out to win and not simply to prepare for next week.
Steve Stricker is the tournament's three-time defending champion, but there will be plenty of capable players looking to knock him from his pedestal. Stricker clearly knows what it takes to win a TPC Deere Run, though, as he is only the third golfer in the tournament's history to win it multiple times. With another victory this weekend, he would be the first quadruple-winner as well.
Here is all the information you'll need about when and where to catch the John Deere Classic on television, as well as what to watch for as the tournament progresses.
Where: TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill.
When: Thursday, July 12 - Sunday, July 15
Watch: CBS and GOLF Channel
Thursday, July 12 - GOLF Channel (3 p.m. - 6 p.m. ET)
Friday, July 13 - GOLF Channel (3 p.m. - 6 p.m. ET)
Saturday, July 14 - CBS (3 p.m. - 6 p.m. ET)
Sunday, July 15 - CBS (3 p.m. - 6 p.m. ET)
Notable Thursday Groups
|7:30 a.m.||Ted Potter, Jr., Zach Johnson, Nick Watney|
|7:40 a.m.||K.J. Choi, Jonathan Byrd, Stewart Cink|
|12:45 p.m.||Kyle Stanley, Steve Stricker, Camilo Villegas|
|12:45 p.m.||Ben Crane, Sean O'Hair, Y.E. Yang|
*Full tee time listing can be found at JohnDeereClassic.com.
Golfers to Watch
Whenever a golfer has won a tournament three years running, his progress obviously bears watching. Stricker will look to win the John Deere Classic for a fourth consecutive year. He has been solid, though unspectacular, so far this season, but a win could put him on track for success at the British Open.
Stricker finished 15th at the US Open and has one win this season at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. If he plays like he has at TPC Deere Run the past few years, then it is very hard to imagine anyone taking him down.
There once was a time when Stricker didn't win the John Deere Classic every year, and Jonathan Byrd was one of the lucky souls who had a chance to raise the trophy. Byrd won it back in 2007, and if his consistent performance this year is any indication, he may find himself back on top.
Byrd has yet to win this season, but he is knocking on the door with five top-10 finishes. The 34-year-old South Carolinian may not have a skill set that jumps out at you, but he is a very steady player who is built to win a tournament like the John Deere Classic.
The last couple of years have been a struggle for Sean O'Hair, but the 2005 John Deere Classic winner is coming off a strong seventh-place showing at last week's Greenbrier Classic and will look to carry that momentum into this week as he hunts for his fifth career PGA Tour victory.
O'Hair experienced his first ever win as a 23-year-old in 2005, so perhaps he can recapture some of the magic from his youth. O'Hair also needs a strong showing to get ready for the Open Championship, as he hasn't finished better than 64th across the pond over the past three years. O'Hair has been very hit-or-miss, but history suggests he should be a hit this week.
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