Streelman geared up for good run at British Open
Last week's John Deere Classic wasn't kind to Wheaton's Kevin Streelman, the top local player on the PGA Tour. He missed the 36-hole cut, but he's still in this week's British Open at England's Royal St. George's course.
"It's a different level of everything. Everything's elevated -- the Adrenalin, the crowds, the golf course," said Streelman, who has played in the year's last major championship five times since his first appearance in 2011.
Royal St. George's also was the site when Streelman made his British Open debut -- and missed the cut.
"I love it, but now I'm a more developed golfer than I was then," he said. "It's very weather-dependent, and you know what it will throw at us."
Like the JDC, the British Open wasn't played in 2020 because of the pandemic. There still will be restrictions in place there this week, and that's bothering some of the players -- but not Streelman.
"It is what it is," he said. "We're all in the same boat. Heck, it's a lot better than not having a championship. We'll eat at the golf course. We'll get through it, and someone will go home with the Claret Jug and be real happy."
Streelman's berth in the field was announced June 27, thanks to his No. 52 standing in the Official World Golf Rankings at that time. In addition to his first appearance 10 years ago, Streelman tied for 79th in 2013, tied for 54th in 2014, missed the cut in 2018 and tied for 57th in 2019.
He doesn't appear to be going into his sixth appearance with his game in a good place. After five solid performances -- including an eighth-place finish in the PGA Championship -- Streelman missed cuts in his last two starts.
The first was at Hartford, a tournament in which he was a past champion, and the second was at the JDC where he had three Top 10s in nine appearances.
"I was pretty tired," he said. "I'd played in nine of the previous 11 weeks and been home only four nights in nine weeks," he said. "We spent a few days at Cape Cod (Massachusetts) and a few days in Lake Geneva and planned to get it going (in the JDC), but I didn't play as well as I wanted. Still, it was a nice week with the family, nice to eat Whitey's Ice Cream (a tournament tradition) and get to see some friends from Chicago."
Instead of competing at TPC Deere Run, he worked on his game at Black Sheep in Sugar Grove before catching the flight from the Quad Cities airport to England.
"We'll figure it out. We're not far off. I'm sure about that," he said.
Streelman has had a good year and holds out hope of making the U.S. Ryder Cup team for the matches at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.
"With a monster British Open and a good FedEx Cup Playoff run I can get there," Streelman said. "I'll take two weeks off after the British. That'll be key for me because I've played a ton the last few months. That was a good problem because it got me into more tournaments than I would have done. I got into the PGA and the U.S. Open, but now I need a recharge."
Streelman, 42, lives in Phoenix and spent the early stages of the pandemic shutdown getting in good family time that included golf with son Rhett, who is just starting to play. Streelman was ready to go when the PGA Tour resumed its schedule June 11.
For the 2020-21 season, he has made 17 of 26 cuts, accumulated three top-10 finishes, earned more than $1.8 million and got his FedEx Cup ranking up to No. 57.
Here and there: The Women's Western Amateur, a tournament held without interruption since 1901, begins a six-day run at Park Ridge Country Club July 19 and the 90th Illinois State Amateur tees off the following day at Mistwood in Romeoville. ... Winnetka's Elizabeth Szokol, Chicago's only LPGA Tour player, tied for second Sunday in the Marathon Classic in Ohio and earned her biggest check: $157,123. ... Vince India, Deerfield's former Illinois Open champion, finished a strong sixth Sunday in the Korn Ferry Tour's TPC Colorado Championship. ... A notable miss from last week's Illinois Women's Open: Hinsdale's Elyssa Abdullah, 14, finished tied for eighth at Mistwood. Her parents are Medinah members and her coach is Ian Grant at Oak Brook Golf Club. ... Former University of Illinois stars Thomas Detry and Thomas Pieters will represent Belgium in the Tokyo Olympics.
• Illinois Golf Hall of Famer Len Ziehm is on the "Golfers on Golf Radio 820" show at 4 p.m. Saturdays. He co-hosts the "Ziehm & Spears Golf Podcast Series" on social media. Past columns are at lenziehmongolf.com.