With the British Open on the horizon, many of the biggest names in golf are opting to skip the John Deere Classic. There are no top-10 golfers and the most recent major winner in the field is Y.E. Yang, who won the PGA Championship in 2009. Obviously, it's not the most thrilling event in terms of drawing an audience. That said, it's still golf and it still matters in the FedEx Cup standings.
With that in mind, here are the golfers to watch at the John Deere Classic:
If it's possible for one golfer to own one tournament, it might Steve Stricker at this one. He is seeking a remarkable fourth straight title at the event. It doesn't really matter who is in the field when you're talking something as impressive as that. He is currently 20th in the FedEx Cup standings and will be the huge favorite once again here. If he earns another win, it could be the boost he needs for the British Open.
Aside from Sticker, Johnson is the only top-20 golfer in the field. With a major title on his resume, as well as a title already in 2012, he's definitely a contender at this event. He's sixth in the FedEx Cup standings and sixth in scoring average. If anyone is going to unseat Stricker, this is probably the guy.
It's been eight years since Daly won a PGA event. He seems to be more of a contender in Europe than he is here. Still, he is a two-time major winner that fans recognize. Given the success that he has had at the British Open in the past, it would be great to see him get a win heading into that event. Daly finished 12th at the Greenbrier Classic and I think most fans would be happy to see him contend in this tournament.
The 2009 British Open winner is looking for something to smile about. He hasn't finished better than 50th in the year's first two majors and has no top-10 finishes at any other event. He hasn't won a PGA event since winning that major title three years ago, and we probably shouldn't expect him to win here. However, if he makes a move here than expect to hear his name a lot leading up to the British Open.* - Mark Paul is an avid golf fan. He has watched and played the game since high school.