What the John Deere Classic means:
Steve Stricker: Not many players can hang with Stricker when he's on, but I'd like to see something from him this week before I get excited about the state of his game. Stricker can light it up during the regular TOUR events, but he's yet to really leave his mark at a major.
Paul Goydos: Goydos might be the streakiest player on the planet. Unfortunately, his upside isn't usually enough to earn a victory. He's like Kenny Perry-lite.
Matt Jones: Jones finally made an appearance this season, finishing in fifth place last week. But don't get too excited; he's got a solid track record at the John Deere and it's not likely to carry over.
Last Year: Stewart Cink shot a final-round 69 on his way to a playoff victory over Tom Watson.
I haven't given up yet, but as mentioned, this could be the breaking point. Tiger owns this venue, and if he can't get it done here, then even the most ardent supporters will have to question him.
The trap has been set. Young talent on the rise, two wins in his last three starts, prior Open success. It's all coming together at the right time for Rose, and he looks like the "can't miss player" this week, which usually make me hesitant, but I'll bite anyway.
Just as this Open is a barometer for Woods, it also serves the same purpose for Els. Els showed his old form earlier this season when he captured two wins on the PGA TOUR, but to truly get back to old form, he'll need to win this week.
Singh's game has really come around over the past month, and his track record at St. Andrews is pretty solid. He finished T-11 here in 2000 and T-5 here in 2005.
Clarke has been a non-factor in the golf world the past few years, but just as Tom Watson proved last year, if you can play a track, it doesn't matter where your game is. Clarke is comfortable at St. Andrews and could find his old form this week.
Fowler is certainly on the rise, but to expect anything out of him in his first Open Championship is just not realistic.
The hype machine has been in full effect since Ishikawa first appeared on the PGA TOUR last season, but he's failed to live up to the hype to this point, and that won't change this week.
Tiger kept his driver in the bag all week during the 2005 Open and it worked beautifully. Think Bubba can do the same this week? Not likely, which means his sand wedge is going to get a major workout this week.
Yang came on like gangbusters last season, eventually capturing his first major championship at the end of the year, but 2010 has not been as kind to him. Yang appears to be suffering from the major hangover that many first-timers go through.
See Bubba Waston. I have a feeling it's going to take Holmes years to figure out how to get around an Open track. He has the ability to get around this course with only his irons, but he won't go that route, it's not his style.