Steve Stricker goes for fourth Deere Classic title in a row

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Stricker  Paul Colletti
Paul Colletti
Stricker

SILVIS, Ill. — Looking for advice on how to win the same golf tournament four years in a row, Steve Stricker went to the authority:

Tiger Woods.

Woods has won four consecutive times at the same tournament twice. Stricker goes for a fourth in a row in the John Deere Classic, which starts today at Deere Run.

Woods’ advice was more of an order.

“He told me to get it done,” Stricker said. “And he also threw me a jab, saying ‘Only one of us has won four in a row.’ “

Stricker’s victory last year was the most dramatic of the three. He birdied the last two holes, the 18th by rolling in a 25-footer from the fringe after a difficult approach shot, to overhaul former Clemson standout Kyle Stanley.

Stricker, among the most mild-mannered pros, celebrated with a fist-pump.

Winning three in a row at a PGA Tour tournament has been accomplished only 26 times, most recently when Woods captured a third, and then fourth, title in San Diego from 2005-2008. Now Stricker tries to equal that.

“I know it’s going to be hard, a big challenge, but I’ve got a lot of good vibes coming here,” Stricker said.

“This has been a great ride. I like to deer hunt, and I see that deer (statue) every morning coming in here. If there’s any tournament I’ve been meant to win, I guess it’s this one.”

Stricker, 23rd on the Tour’s money list, called himself more relaxed than he has been as defending champion the past two years.

“But there’s still a nervous energy,” he added. “So I don’t know if being more relaxed is good or bad. I don’t feel the pressure that I have to go on and win this week. I’ve had a great run, and I’m going to try like mad to do it again.”


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