Van Sickle set to tee off Thursday at John Deere Classic

July 8, 2009

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SILVIS, Ill. -- Mike Van Sickle's childhood dream of playing in a PGA Tour event will become a reality Thursday afternoon when he takes to the 10th tee at TPC Deere Run for the first round of the John Deere Classic.

"It's really a great opportunity for me to test my game at the highest level, to see where my game is at and exactly where I stack up against these players," said Van Sickle. "It's just going to come down to execution, and I'm feeling confident."

Van Sickle, who graduated from Marquette University in May, has been paired with PGA Tour professionals Colt Knost and Gary Woodland for the first two rounds of the four-round event. The threesome will tee off at 1:35 p.m. (CST) on Thursday, followed by an 8:35 a.m. tee time on Friday.

Live television coverage of the tournament will be available from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. each day of the event. Coverage will be provided Thursday and Friday on the Golf Channel and CBS will televise the last two rounds.

"I watched him play the whole day yesterday, and I thought he looked pretty good, especially with his wedges," said head coach Tim Grogan who was in the Quad Cities area for Van Sickle's practice round Tuesday. "He has worked really hard the last three weeks preparing for this. He is starting to get more comfortable being there - comfortable with the course and his surroundings."

Video aired May 12, 2009 on Time Warner Sports 32

Van Sickle's father Gary is caddying this week for the former Marquette star as he gets set to play in his first PGA event. Gary Van Sickle has covered professional golf for a number of years and is currently a senior golf writer for Sports Illustrated.

"With being involved in golf for so long, it's a special thing for Gary to be on his son's bag when he makes his PGA debut," said Grogan. "They've played so much golf together that they know what to expect out of each other and the comfort level will be huge for Mike."

Currently ranked No. 8 in the world according to the R&A World Amateur Ranking, Van Sickle received sponsor's exemptions into this week's tournament and he will be back in Milwaukee next week to also play in the U.S. Bank Championship at Brown Deer Park Golf Course, July 16-19.

It has been reported that Van Sickle (Wexford, Pa.) will remain an amateur through the summer in hopes of representing the United States in the 2009 Walker Cup -- an international collegiate event similar to the Ryder Cup -- to be held September 12-13 at Merion Golf Club in his home state of Pennsylvania.

Van Sickle captured five of his school-record 11 collegiate victories this past season competing for the Golden Eagles. He was named BIG EAST Conference Player of the Year and earned PING First Team All-America honors, in addition to being named recipient of the Byron Nelson Award.



Live Leaderboard

Live Television Coverage*
2 p.m. - 5 p.m. - Thursday, July 9 (Golf Channel)
2 p.m. - 5 p.m. - Friday, July 10 (Golf Channel)
2 p.m. - 5 p.m. - Saturday, July 11 (CBS)
2 p.m. - 5 p.m. - Sunday, July 12 (CBS)

* - Central Standard Time


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