JULY 16, 2012
SILVIS, ILLINOIS | With success comes privi-
leges. That is, if one considers the issuance of a
bobblehead a privilege. Such
was Steve Stricker’s honor in
returning to the Quad Cities as
a three-time defending cham-
pion at the John Deere Classic.
The unique bit of memorabilia was given to the first 500
kids to visit the event’s Family
Zone tent on Tuesday of tournament week. There also were
2,000 bobbleheads given out at
a minor-league baseball game
last Saturday between the
Quad City River Bandits and
the Clinton Lumberjacks.
Stricker told reporters
that he did not pick one up for
himself, but he did sign quite
“It looks more like Jhonny Vegas than it does
me,” he said.
Stricker ... or Vegas?
It’s enough to get players to bring their passports to Illinois, just in case.
“For a lot of us it’s a goal to be in the majors,
contend in them,” said Kyle Stanley, who last
year earned his way to Royal St George’s – a consolation for his second-place finish when Steve
Stricker buried a 72nd-hole birdie. “It’s nice to
have that chance this week.”
Jeff Maggert used a Friday 62 to push himself
into contention for a weekend he nearly skipped.
“I wasn’t going to play here actually,” he said.
“I was looking to take a couple weeks off for the
long stretch at the end of the year.
“But I’ve been playing better, and decided last
Friday to come. Obviously a good decision so far. “
“I was playing pretty well last week and I just
had a bad Saturday round,” said Maggert, who at
age 48 is working to come back from a shoulder
injury and still is trying to earn full exemption
status for 2013. “It kind of left a bad taste in my
mouth. I played well on Sunday, so it was kind of
a good steppingstone into this week.”
Matt Weibring, is the son of D.A. Weibring, who
designed TPC Deere Run.
“D.A. ... would explain to us basically how to
play the holes,” Matteson said. “He would always
talk to us about how he designed the course and
how he meant for it to play. I do have a little ad-
vantage in that sense.”
Matteson’s bogey-free round included 10 bird-
ies. It was the third 61 at Deere Run, after J.P.
Hayes in 2002 and Stricker in 2009. It also was
at Deere Run two years ago that Paul Goydos
opened with a 59, and Stricker with a 60.
Zach Johnson’s home state of Iowa is just
across the Mississippi River from the tournament’s Quad Cities location. So it’s no surprise
he has a strong following there every year, and
this year he attracted a big name to his gallery:
University of Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz.
“For him to come out here and watch my
business is pretty special,” Johnson said. “Wish I
could have had a few more birdies.”
Since 2008, the John Deere Classic has had an
added attraction: the flight it charters to shuttle
golfers from middle America to the British Isles
for the following week’s Open Championship.
When Troy Matteson tied his PGA Tour career-
best 61 in the first round it gave him a three-stroke
lead on Ricky Barnes. This despite calling himself
“one of the slow-starting Thursday players.”
One possible reason for playing against type?
Matteson’s college roommate at Georgia Tech,
Johnson played the weekend with swing coach
Mike Bender on his bag. His regular caddie,
Damon Green, was competing at the U.S. Senior
Open at Lake Orion, Mich. ... Friday was Illini Day
at the event, with alums Stricker, D.A. Points and
rookie Luke Guthrie in school colors. ... Among
those who missed the cut (136) were former
major winners Stewart Cink, John Daly, David
Duval, Todd Hamilton and Shaun Micheel. l
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