Steve Stricker will attempt to become only the fifth player in golf history to win the same tournament four consecutive times when he goes for the "Stricker Slam" here this summer at the John Deere Classic.
The 45-year-old "Man from Wisconsin" will try to join golf legends Tom Morris, Jr., Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen, and Tiger Woods as the only men to achieve the feat in the last 140 years, when he tees it up the week of July 9-15 at TPC Deere Run in Silvis.
"We are very excited at the prospect of witnessing Steve Stricker make history and join a very elite group of golfers should he win his fourth straight John Deere Classic," said tournament director Clair Peterson. "Steve has been the top-ranked American player in the world for some time now and has been a tremendous supporter of the John Deere Classic. His quest to win four in a row will bring international attention and credibility to our event."
The current records look like this:
- Tom Morris, Jr., British Open, 1868-70 (no event in 1871) and 1872
- Walter Hagen, PGA Championship, 1924-1927
- Gene Sarazen, Miami Open, 1927-1930
- Tiger Woods, Bay Hill Invitational, 2000-2003
- Tiger Woods, Buick Invitational (San Diego), 2005-2008
Stricker won the 2011 John Deere Classic in dramatic fashion, finishing birdie-birdie to edge then-rookie Kyle Stanley by a stroke. Stricker's 6-iron approach from the left fairway bunker on No. 18 left him with a difficult 25-foot downhill putt from the back fringe, which he dropped into the hole for the victory. He finished at 22-under par 262.
This year, Stricker opened with a victory in the Tour's season opener - the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at Kapalua in Hawaii - and was in contention the following week at the Sony Open. He tied for ninth at the Accenture Match Play-WGC event in Tucson.
Stanley, who finished second last year at the John Deere, is expected to be back at Deere Run this year. The former JDC sponsor exemption won the Waste Management Open in Phoenix this season a week after losing a three-shot lead on the final hole of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego.
Also returning to this year's $4.6 million John Deere Classic will be Cedar Rapids native and tournament executive board member Zach Johnson, who tied for third last year, his second-best finish ever at his "hometown" event.
Once again, the highest John Deere Classic finisher among the top five not otherwise exempt for the British Open will be offered a spot in the world's oldest championship, being held this year at Royal Lytham & St. Annes GC in Lancashire, England. Because Stricker already was exempt last year, Stanley took the exemption and finished 44th.
This year marks the fifth consecutive year the John Deere Classic operates a charter jet service directly to to England from Quad Cities International Airport in Moline, Ill.
An 11-time PGA TOUR winner, Stricker has played on two Ryder Cup teams (2008, 2010) and four Presidents Cup teams (1996, 2007, 2009 and 2011). He also won Comeback Player of the Year two consecutive years (2006 and 2007) after losing his PGA TOUR playing privileges in 2005. A four-time winner of the Wisconsin State Open, he was inducted into the Wisconsin Golf Hall of Fame in 2007.
Tickets for the John Deere Classic are available at www.johndeereclassic.com or by calling 309-762-4653.
The PGA Tour began its run in the Quad Cities in 1971.John Deere, whose world headquarters is in Moline, Ill., assumed title sponsorship of the tournament in 1998.The tournament moved to TPC Deere Run in 2000.
The tournament helped raise a record $5.29 million for nearly 500 charities in 2011, ranking it first on the PGA TOUR overall in per capita contributions at $14.11 for each of the 375,000 residents of the Quad City area and eighth overall on the PGA TOUR.
The John Deere Classic, which includes Birdies for Charity, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization located in the John Deere Classic tournament offices at 15623 Coaltown Road, East Moline, Illinios. Since its founding in 1971, the tournament has helped raise $43.23 million for charity.