John Deere Classic 2012: Golfers Whose Momentum Will Translate to British Open

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistJuly 15, 2012

SILVIS, IL - JULY 15:  Zach Johnson holds up his ball on the 17th green during the final round of the John Deere Classic held at TPC Deere Run on July 15, 2012 in Silvis, Illinois.  (Photo by Michael Cohen/Getty Images)
Michael Cohen/Getty Images

Zach Johnson's momentous sudden-death victory over Troy Matteson in the John Deere Classic sets the tone for the summer's ultimate event. The British Open is just a week away, and certain golfers will attempt to ride their momentum from this tournament into the upcoming major.

The British Open will be much more difficult. Last year only four players finished under par, with Darren Clarke's five-under par being good enough to claim the crown. Granted, this year's course is different, but majors are designed to be difficult.

Carrying momentum over from the John Deere Classic will require focus and the ability to adjust. Let's see what golfers' success this weekend will translate to their play in The Open Championship.


Steve Stricker

Stricker fell apart at the end of Sunday's final round, but he had a chance to win to win the tournament up until the 14th hole. Instead of capitalizing, he bogeyed No. 14 and 15 and fell out of striking distance.

He finished tied for fifth with Luke Guthrie, but his final round was excellent overall. Expect him to ride his one-under par round into play at Royal Lytham & St Annes.

Stricker's career-best finish in The Open Championship came in 2008. He finished tied for seventh place. That's not great, but an experienced golfer like him can build on that.

He looked excellent for most of Round 4, and that wasn't a fluke. He's a solid golfer who will be ready when the major play rolls around.


Chris DiMarco

DiMarco tied for eighth place in the John Deere Classic, but he had a solid tournament overall. He got worse by one stroke over every round. He missed a few shots on Friday that he didn't on Thursday and that snowballed, but he didn't play "bad" golf consistently.

He's had success in The Open Championship before. He finished second in 2006. He's never won a major tournament, but he's always a threat to climb the leaderboard.

I think DiMarco will adjust back to the form we saw on Thursday. He shot five-under par and was nearly flawless through 18 holes.

Look for him to be among the British Open's early leaders.


Zach Johnson

Johnson's shot in the sudden-death playoff was remarkable. The ball went from the 18th tee to the fairway bunker, but his remarkable second shot landed on the green. Johnson sunk a gimme putt to win the tournament.

It was just one of those moments. The John Deere Classic doesn't get a lot of chatter, but Johnson's victory will.

Johnson tied for 16th in the 2011 British Open. He's an above-average player, but he's never gotten over the hump (besides his 2007 Masters championship.)

His breathtaking shot to win Sunday's tournament could be the moment of his career. Don't expect him to follow that up with a poor performance.

He will be focused, and he understands the ingredients for success.