Jordan Spieth returns to John Deere Classic, site of PGA Tour breakout

Jordan Spieth
USA Today Sports Images
By
Luke Meredith
Associated Press

Series: PGA Tour
SILVIS, Ill. – Jordan Spieth's remarkable rise on the PGA Tour began with a spectacular bunker save at the John Deere Classic last year. 
 
Now Spieth has returned to the Quad Cities to defend the title that helped launch his career. 
 
Then just 19, Spieth became the youngest tour winner in more than 80 years when he holed out from a bunker on No. 18 and survived a playoff at TPC Deere Run. 
 
"My golf world has changed completely since last year at this time," Spieth said. "I'm sure I'll have a lot of adrenaline. Even just thinking about this week more than other weeks has brought a little faster heartbeat to me, and that's a really cool thing." 
 
Spieth went on to win rookie of the year honors last season, and he's sixth on the money list this year. 
 
The only thing missing from Spieth's sparkling resume is another win. 
 
 
He finished second at the Masters, and has strung four consecutive top-20 finishes, including a tie for 11th at the Quicken Loans National two weeks ago in Bethesda, Md. 
 
"I've been anxious for another win because of how good this felt last year, and I had a lot of close calls, and I feel like I'm knocking on the door again," Spieth said. 
 
The field in the Quad Cities typically doesn't match that of other events because it's usually held the week before the British Open. 
 
Still, Spieth should face plenty of competition from the likes of Zach Johnson and Steve Stricker, who combined to win the last four tournament titles before Spieth. 
 
Johnson, who grew up in nearby Cedar Rapids, won in 2012 and earned a spot in last year's playoff. He has struggled of late though, following up a tie for 40th at the U.S. Open by missing the cut at the Travelers Championship. 
 
 
But Johnson will be making his 13th start at TPC Deere Run. 
 
"I've got some confidence here," Johnson said, "but heck, that's happened many times, and I've come out and laid an egg. I mean, I'm just going to go play." 
 
Stricker, 47, has been playing a limited schedule for a few years. But he has always managed to fit this tournament into his schedule, much to the chagrin of the rest of the field. 
 
Stricker won three straight at Deere Run from 2009-11, and strong recent performances at the Memorial and U.S. Open showed he is still competitive.