Before we get to the John Deere Classic, a quick note on Eldrick...
Covering Tiger Woods has become eerily similar to listening to a broken record of nails being scratched on a chalkboard. That's the sign of the times for the life and career of Eldrick Tont Woods.
Woods announced Tuesday that he will not be playing the British Open this year due to his left knee and achilles injuries. It was an expected announcement, but that didn't stop people from blowing up my Twitter timeline with "BREAKING" tweets or the media from having the same "When will Tiger be back... Can he still break Jack's major record" conversation.
It's stale news and far from "breaking." The only breaking news we can get from Tiger at this point is when he announces he's coming back, he has another scandal, or it is revealed he will be endorsing another strange foreign product.
Until then, take a deep breath and invest your time in the rest of the golf world. Believe it or not, there are plenty of other stories out there and the John Deere Classic starts Thursday.
Defending champion Steve Stricker enters the tournament with one win in 2011 at Memorial and three other Top 10 finishes (Hyundai Tournament of Champions, T4; Shell Houstin Open, T4; and Sony Open in Hawai, T9). Stricker is currently 12th in the FedEx Cup Standings and also finished T11 at the Masters this year.
Throughout the year I've monitored expert picks in preparation of making my own and it's been a common theme to see Stricker's name among the picks. There's no question he's played well this year and stayed in contention and most of his stats are slightly above the PGA Tour average.
With all that being said, I don't see him becoming a back-to-back winner at the tournament. The field isn't exactly stacked but it does include 7 past winners, 7 major winners, and a group of solid young and old players who have played well in 2011.
With Tiger Woods playing sparingly the last two years, it has forced anyone who follows the PGA Tour to focus their attention elsewhere once the tournaments start. Golfers like Rickie Fowler, KJ Choi, Zach Johnson and Bubba Watson have become household names and consistent contenders, while Jason Day, Webb Simpson, Gary Woodland and Charlie Wi have done enough to start joining the previous list.
Obviously, other golfers have made quite a name for themselves in the past two years, Rory McIlroy especially, but he's not in the field this week. One golfer I am pulling for this week, strictly for personal reasons, is John Daly. When I think about the John Deere Classic, I think of Daly for no other reason than that he's a country boy and that's what I think of when I see the name John Deere. It's been a long time since we've seen Daly make any kind of noise in regards to winning on a golf course, but I'm hoping for it this week.
1. Rickie Fowler
2. Jason Day
3. Stewart Cink
4. Steve Stricker
5. John Daly (why not?)