PGA Preview – More than Money on the Line at John Deere Classic
by Kent Whitaker Scores & Statson
There’s more on the line than payouts for PGA Tour pros at the John Deere Classic! The tournament, teeing of Thursday at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois, is the last opportunity for a player to be awarded a berth for the upcoming Open Championship in Scotland. That means this week’s favorites, Bryson DeChambeau and Francesco Molinari, will be fighting off a whole bunch of hungry players hoping hear bagpipes in the future!
The ticket to the Open Championship goes to the player finishing highest in the top-five this weekend who has not already qualified for The Open. No pressure there!
The good news for players at the John Deere Classic is that many of the familiar “big” names on the PGA tour are taking a break. Names like Fowler, Watson, Mickelson, Woods, Johnson, Thomas and more will be watching from home.
Fear not, there are still several players in the Official World Golf Ranking top-25 that are in the John Deere field as well as former major champions such as Zach Johnson, Davis Love III, Angel Cabrera, and Geoff Ogilvy. The field also includes Steve Strickler who is a past three-peat John Deere Classic champion. With all that firepower in the field, odds makers are still leaning heavily on both DeChambeau and Molinari. Here’s a look at the top-five.
Bryson DeChambeau +1000 Francesco Molinari +1000 Zach Johnson +1200 Joaquin Niemann +1600 Ryan Moore +1800
DeChambeau Defending Champion
DeChambeau is currently ranked 22nd in the Official World Golf Rankings and 6th in the FedExCup standings. He’s also the defending champion of the John Deere where he picked up the first PGA Tour win. Last year he finished one stroke ahead of Patrick Rodgers with a tournament total of 266 which was 18 under. He shares the top favorite spot with Molinari who is ranked 15th.
The defending champion stated earlier in an interview for the John Deere Classic media office that he feels that his game is moving in the right direction.
“I know my game is good enough to be with the elites in the game,” DeChambeau said. “I'm not there yet. I know that. But I certainly am moving in the right direction, figuring a lot of great things out that's helping me on the golf course.”
A total of 14 entrants at the John Deere Classic are already heading to Scotland and The Open including both DeChambeau and Johnson. However, Molinari, Niemann and Moore are still looking to earn their way in and the Classic is the last opportunity. Those are three players worth watching starting Thursday
Favorites for the John Deere Classic
Francesco Molinari 9/1 Bryson Dechambeau 11/1 (2017 Winner) Zach Johnson 11/1 Ryan Moore 16/1 Joaquin Niemann 19/1 Brandt Snedeker 20/1 Steve Stricker 20/1 Kyle Stanley 22/1 Austin Cook 35/1 Chesson Hadley 35/1 Wesley Bryan 40/1 Andrew Landry 50/1 Chris Kirk 50/1 David Lingmerth 50/1 Patrick Rodgers 50/1 Brian Gay 60/1 Aaron Wise 65/1 Chez Reavie 65/1
The Course – TPC Deere Run
The course was completely redesigned in 1999/2000 and is now considered one of the most scenic venues on the PGA Tour. The design incorporates the natural rolling terrain, oak trees and well-placed bunkers. The good news for players, both Tour pros and leisure, is that the fairways offer plenty of opportunities for great second shots. Look for players making multiple birdies in a row.
The course also has several signature holes including the 18th finishing hole named the “conquistador.” The hole plays long as a 476-yard par 4 with a massive bunker midway on the left. Past the bunker, also on the left, a large scenic pond protects the fan gallery as well as the left side of the green. A well placed second shot gives players a great chance at a birdie. Going too far right may put the ball in the bunkers forcing a bogey.
Location: Silvis, IL Designers: D. A. Weibring Golf Resources, in association with PGA TOUR Design Services Elevation: 650 feet (200 m) Established: 2000 Par: 71 Length: 7287 yards Course rating: 75.8 Slope rating: 144 Greens: L-93 Bentgrass Fairways: Southshore Bentgrass