The history of the John Deere Classic stretches back to 1971, but it’s only been played at TPC Deere Run, rather neatly, since the start of the 21st century. The event has a traditional slot in the week before the British Open which has an automatic effect on the qualiy of the field, but the action is not to be overlooked. For one thing, recent British Open winners Zach Johnson and Francesco Molinari finished top three here ahead of their major championship triumphs. And, for another, there is a secondary prize up for grabs this week: the top finisher (top five and ties) who is not already exempt will earn the final ticket to Royal St. George’s next week.
TPC Deere Run
A par 71 that plays to 7,257 yards, TPC Deere Run does not present a long test and the width of the fairways means there is no great test from the tee either. However, it can also be a little deceptive. As we’ll see, a glance down the list of winners reveals a series of golfers who might easily be left behind if this was a track that can be overpowered from the tee box.
The key is that the driving needs to be smart and also that those who thrive tend to be golfers who can play undulating courses well because the elevation changes are a key factor here. Brainless thrashing won’t really cut it, but good driving will. Then it’s a matter of finding a good week on the bent grass greens.
Zach Johnson knows, and loves, the layout so he’s not a bad fellow to ask for clues. He said ahead of the 2019 edition: “The Midwest in July means humidity and that means soft greens. It also means the ball flies further in the heat. So it’s manageable and you’re able to attack. I feel like it’s a first shot and putting golf course. If you get the ball in the fairway you’re attacking.”
The weather Silvis, Illinois could make life a little difficult for the tournament organisers and the players who are set to make the journey across the Atlantic. The week will start fine, but there are prediction of lightning and thunderstorms starting Wednesday and continuing into the weekend. The temperatures and humidity will rising from low 70s to mid-80s all week, with a good chance of rain arriving with those storms. If the expected breeze rises to a decent wind it might blow all that through. Otherwise, it could get messy.
Past Champions in the John Deere Classic
As might be expected from a tournament held at a crucial time in the schedule for the big boys, it has presented a fine opportunity for the journeymen to grab a share of the loot and the glory. But there have also been some high class winners and many of them have thrived time and time again.
The first winner at TPC Deere Run was Michael Clark II, followed by David Gossett – they set the tone for the likes of Aussies Mark Hensby and John Senden, plus 2018 winner Michael Kim. They all pounced when given a rare sniff of a win.
But in 2003 Vijay Singh claimed the win, Kenny Perry triumphed in 2008, Steve Stricker completed a hat trick of win from 2009, Zach Johnson and Jordan Spieth followed him, and Bryson DeChambeau was the winner in 2017. High class names all of them.
Another thread has been the victories of solid performers who have won elsewhere, but never quite taken the step into world class – the likes of Sean O’Hair, Jonathan Byrd, Brian Harman and Ryan Moore. The ‘defending’ champion is South Africa’s Dylan Frittelli.
Those undulations call to mind Valspar Championship host Innisbrook, Masters venue Augusta National, and the Tournament of Champions at Plantation. Stricker is not alone in pouring on the quality here. Johnson has six top three finishes, Spieth finished T–7 between his two wins, Harman has five top 30s in seven starts. It’s a repeater course.
Here’s are some entirely FREE suggestions for you this week with MORE for subscribers (DraftKings Prices)
|A list||K. Streelman||$9,700|
|B list||Z. Johnson||$8,500|
|B list||J. Vegas||$8,000|
|C list||S. Stricker||$7,700|
|C list||B. Burgoon||$6,700|
Kevin Streelman ($9,700) There’s a lot to like about solid type Streelman this week, not least that fact that he’s got a lot of Steve Stricker/Zach Johnson vibes going on: straight from the tee, strong with the short irons, tidy in the brain. Form-wise he reeled off five straight top 30 finishes (four of them top 20) ahead of one bad round at TPC River Highlands that cost him a weekend. But he’s a past winner at Innisbrook who is 5-for-8 at Deere Run with three top 10s.
Zach Johnson ($8,500) His course form is clearly magnificent: he’s made his last 11 cuts here, always finished top 40 in that spell, nine times T–21 or better with six top threes and a win in 2012. You might wonder, though, about his form with five recent missed cuts. But, with one exception, he’s played four rounds at the shorter tracks and had quick exits when the yardages have been too much for the veteran. This week suits in that sense.
Jhonattan Vegas ($8,000) T–9 at the AT&T Byron Nelson, then T–2 at the Palmetto Championship in recent starts and, given his usual struggles in the majors, even a cut made at Torrey Pines reads well. His stats sit nicely for this week too, strong from the tee and with approaches, and he’s putted well at Deere Run in the past. He’s 4-for-5 at the course, with T–3 in 2014 and he was the halfway leader in 2019.
Steve Stricker ($7,700) Given what came later it is almost comical that Stricker missed his first cut at Deere Run – but he’s never done so since. That’s 13 appearances, eight finishes of T–11 or better and three wins. Hang on, though, he’s on the Champions Tour, right? Well, he was T–5 here not so long ago and also won a Senior major championship at the end of last month. Where better to celebrate with another found rounds?
Bronson Burgoon ($6,700) Ideal if you’re spending big at the top of the roster. Burgoon thrashed a second round 62 here in 2018 to get himself into second and he spent the rest of the week in that position. Either side of that, he made the cut on the course and was briefly in-contention both times. I like that he was T–13 at Innisbrook this season. He seems to like undulations.
Luke List ($7,300) A player often popular to fill the lower order and yet there is no real reason this week. He’s played the tournament four times, missed the cut twice and never finished a week better than T–56. He’s also missed three of five weekends at Innisbrook, and has one top 50 finish in his last seven starts. Look for a bargain elsewhere.
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- A couple of good alternative picks to help you build out GPP options based around not one but two CORE lineups.
Here’s Another Alternate of Core Picks For the John Deere Classic
|A list||S. Im||$10,700|
|B list||C. Howell III||$7,900|
|B list||D. Redman||$8,200|
|C list||S. Stallings||$7,400|
|C list||V. Taylor||$7,000|
Sungjae Im ($10,700) A big wage, but the Korean has opted not to travel to England for the British Open, preferring to prep for the Olympics instead. He looks to be timing his run at that nicely, going T–35, T–35, T–8 in the last three starts. Undulating courses? He finished T–2 on debut at Augusta National, T–5 at Plantation, T–4 and T–29 at Innisbrook, and T–26 on debut here. The Im pause seems to like going uphill and downhill.
Charles Howell III ($7,900) Another player who has already backed out of the British Open so, should it get fraught later in the week, he’ll have less issues to fret about. He’s missed only one of 12 cuts at the course (with eight top 25s) and has a similar profile at Innisbrook: 16 starts, 13 cuts made, seven top 25s. These are hilly tee to green tests that suit him.
Doc Redman ($8,200) Had everything gone to plan for Redman the last two weeks he’d be a much bigger salary. He finished T–2 at the Palmetto and was excited about River Highlands and Detroit, having played well there in the past. It didn’t happen, but he can regroup this week. His Strokes Gained stats off the tee and on the greens were good on his course debut (T–37) – ideal for the Zach Johnson MO.
Scott Stallings ($7,400) He was T–3 at the AT&T Byron Nelson, a short time after impressing at Quail Hollow, and T–25 last week was a return to those ways. Now back at a track where he has finished top 20 in three of his last four visits. “I love the golf course,” he said. He’s also a neat performer at Innisbrook: T–3 on debut, T–9 two years ago, T–21 this season.
Vaughn Taylor ($7,000) A great salary for a man who has always thrived on these summer weeks when the elite are pre-occupied elsewhere. On this track he is 9-for-13 with five top 20s, two of them in his last three appearances. He was also T–6 at Innisbrook earlier this season.
Aaron Wise ($9,200) A couple of T–9s in his last five starts, and cuts made every time, explains the salary, but picking him is not a choice I’d rush to make. True, he was T–16 on course debut, but missed the cut in his other start, his only visit to Innisbrook reaped T–68, and he never did much in his only visit to Plantation. Good player, but one to play at this price when there is a lot more in his favor.
I won’t be backing away from course form. It can sometimes be tricky landing the winner with that alone, but for consistency it’s a big factor this week. Beyond that I’m keen on form at those other three courses mentioned (Innisbrook, Augusta National and Plantation). I’ll happily take that over current form. There are golfers who just can’t “see” the shot when the land shifts – and others who come to life when presented with that kind of challenge.
Other Player Options For the John Deere Classic
• Winner here in 2018 Michael Kim has had a terrible time of it since: 65 appearances, just 11 cuts made, only two top 50s and a best of T–32.
• Ryan Moore plays the course very well (10-for-11, seven top 30s), but he’s waiting for a first top 25 finish of the calendar year.
• Last week’s playoff loser Troy Merritt is on a nice trot of form at the moment: 7-for-8 with four top 10 finishes.
COVID-19 and Injury Warning:
Pro DFS players know it makes sense to stay up-to-date on Twitter, DraftKings, FanDuel and-or subscribe to any number of email feeds and whatever to remain up to speed with injuries or COVID-19 withdraws. Players that don’t make the cut are tough enough. Players that don’t play all four rounds (even when pulling out at the last minute) make for a pretty weak lineup.
Go win your lineups and then tell us how you did. Twitter (@FantasyDFSX) is a good place for that.
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