SILVIS, Ill. – You’ll have to pardon Patrick Rodgers if he sounds a little off this week.
Rodgers started noticing a sore throat last Sunday that kept “getting worse and worse.” By the time he went to the doctor yesterday, Tuesday, he was having trouble eating and drinking, struggling to swallow.
The 23-year-old was diagnosed with what his doctor called a “pretty bad” case of Tonsillitis.
“They had to give me a shot,” Rodgers said. “I don’t really like shots. I’m kind of a weenie when it comes to that stuff. But it was definitely worth it. I feel better today despite how bad I sound.”
Rodgers tees off at 1:10 p.m. on Thursday, which should give him some extra time for his antibiotics time to kick in. Opting to hang out and rest, he eschewed practice following his doctor's appointment, a luxury he can probably afford at TPC Deere Run.
“I’d say if there’s one event that I know the golf course well enough not to play a practice round,” he said, before getting some work in Wedesnday, “it would probably be here.”
This is Rodgers’ fourth appearance at the John Deere Classic, where he played twice as an amateur and for the first time as a professional last year. He failed to make the weekend in 2012 and 2014, but turned in a T-15 performance in 2013, becoming the only amateur in Deere history to record all four rounds in the 60s.
The former Haskins Award winner - given to the most outstanding collegiate golfer in the country - earned special temporary status on the PGA Tour for the remainder of this season after a T-40 at the Memorial last month. His friend, reigning Masters and U.S. Open champion Jordan Spieth, picked up his first PGA Tour victory here two years ago, playing under the same status.
Rodgers, whose best Tour finish is a runner-up at the Wells Fargo back in May, is in search of a similar launching pad.
“Yeah, obviously this week was everything for Jordan,” Rodgers said. “Not only was it the win that got him into the British Open, but it got him all his FedEx Cup points that he earned, and I think he ended up making it to the Tour Championship that year and making [the Presidents Cup] team.
“I obviously have ambitions to be in contention and win every week, but I couldn’t think of a more special place to kind of have my springboard event than here.”