Welcome to the Steve Stricker Classic presented by Zach Johnson!
Another week, another TPC course that will require a massive amount of birdies.
When 19-under is the HIGHEST winning score in the last six editions, the TPC Deere Run easily qualifies as the most benign track on Tour.
Better make birdies.
Lots of them.
Don’t be surprised if we see another 60 or lower again this week.
Big question is going to be who might take it!
2015-16 Winners (at time of victory)
In 2014-15 there were 14 players in their 20s who won tournaments. They accounted for a whopping 24 victories in 47 events.
Under 30 Winners (10 different winners from 13 events)
- Emiliano Grillo, 23; Frys.com
- Smylie Kaufman, 23; Shriners
- Justin Thomas, 22; CIMB
- Peter Malnati, 28; SFC
- Jordan Spieth, 22; HTOC, DEAN & DELUCA at Colonial
- Hideki Matsuyama, 23; WMPO
- Jason Day, 28; API, WGC-Dell Match Play, THE PLAYERS
- Danny Willett, 28; Masters
- Branden Grace, 27; RBC Heritage
- Daniel Berger, 23; FESJC
The guys between 30-39 years of age produced 16 multiple champions in 17 events last season.
Winners 30-39 (21 players from 23 events)
- Russell Knox, 31; HSBC Champions, Travelers
- Graeme McDowell, 36; OHL Mayakoba
- Kevin Kisner, 31; RSM Classic
- Fabian Gomez, 37; Sony Open
- Jason Dufner, 38; CB Challenge
- Brandt Snedeker, 35; Farmers Insurance Open
- Vaughn Taylor, 39; AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
- Bubba Watson, 37; Northern Trust Open
- Adam Scott, 35; Honda Classic, WGC-Cadillac Championship
- Charl Schwartzel, 31; Valspar
- Jim Herman, 38; Shell Houston Open
- Charley Hoffman, 39; Valero Texas Open
- Brian Stuard, 33; Zurich Classic
- James Hahn, 34; Wells Fargo Championship
- Sergio Garcia, 36; AT&T Byron Nelson
- William McGirt, 36; Memorial
- Dustin Johnson, 31; U.S. Open
- Billy Hurley, III, 34; Quicken Loans National
- Aaron Baddeley, 35; Barbasol Championship
- Jhonattan Vegas, 31, RBC Canadian Open
- Jimmy Walker, 37, PGA Championship
There were only four winners last season from 47 events (Furyk, Cejka, Love III and Harrington). Sentimentality and name recognition has no place in fantasy golf, folks.
- Greg Chalmers, 42; Barracuda Championship
- Henrik Stenson, 40; The Open Championship
Jim Furyk shot 58, as you may of heard and finished T-5 but it was 49-year old Jerry Kelly who missed out on a playoff by one shot. Alex Cejka, 45, racked out another big finish, T-11, before jetting off to Rio to represent Germany.
Last year the only rookie to pick up a first-place check was Canadian Nick Taylor. This season it took ONE EVENT to match that total.
- Emiliano Grillo; Frys.com
- Smylie Kaufman; Shriners
After winners in the first two events of the season, it’s been 37 straight events without one of the newbies collecting a trophy.
Let it be noted that Grillo has:
- Changed his pronunciation of his last name to Gree Low halfway through the year.
- Made the cut in all four majors.
Rookies, journeyman, up-and-comers, I’ll keep track of them all. It’s a life-changer.
First-Time Winners on Tour
- 2013: 12
- 2014: 10
- 2015: 11
- 2016: (15 and counting)
- Emiliano Grillo (Frys.com)
- Smylie Kaufman (Shriners)
- Justin Thomas (CIMB)
- Peter Malnati (SFC)
- Russell Knox (WGC-HSBC Champions)
- Kevin Kisner (RSM)
- Tony Finau (PRO)
- Jim Herman (SHO)
- Danny Willett (Masters)
- Branden Grace (RBC Heritage)
- Brian Stuard (Zurich Classic)
- William McGirt (Memorial)
- Daniel Berger (FESJC)
- Billy Hurley, III (QLN)
- Greg Chalmers (Barracuda) in his 386th event!
Each week, when possible, I’ll try and reward those of you who take the time to read my columns with thoughts on a few players who didn’t make the cut, for whatever reason, in my preview column.
Hudson Swafford: T-38
Daniel Berger: T-5, 54-hole leader
Jamie Lovemark: MC
Aaron Baddeley: T-34
Soren Kjeldsen: T-64
Russell Henley: T-11
Patrick Rodgers: T-3
Whoa. THIN field so not much that isn’t included in my preview below but let’s smash some square pegs into round holes just for fun!
Rory Sabbatini: Terrible year showed signs of life with an opening 67 and closing 65 last week.
Cameron Smith: Sat T-11 before 71 on Sunday sent him out of sight and mind to T-34.
Henrik Norlander: In a week where low is the only way to go, I won’t ignore his 64 on Sunday in Connecticut.
Boo Weekley: Thrived in off-week fields in the past and his ball-striking rarely takes a week off.
Big finishes at the Travelers last week
Jerry Kelly: 2nd
Patrick Rodgers: T-3
Robert Garrigus: T-5
Tyrone van Aswegen: T-5
Shawn Stefani: T-11
Spencer Levin: T-11
Daniel Summerhays: T-11
Carlos Ortiz: T-17
Andres Gonzales: T-17