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Fire up the tractors! I’s John Deere week on the tour.
The PGA Tour heads to the friendly Midwest and the Quad Cities, where everything is decorated with landscaping equipment.
Birdies? They’re a-plenty, too.
TPC Deere Run is a long-standing host that dates back to the earliest days of the Tour. It’s worth noting, too, that the Quad Cities community has an amazing connection to this event, which annually raises millions for local charities.
*Please pause for enthusiastic golf claps.*
From a golf perspective, TPC Deere Run is another pillow-soft landing for PGA Tour pros in the midst of major championship season. With just the Open Championship at historic St. Andrews lurking, young guns and old guys with questionable style choices have a chance to play a great week and sneak an invite to the final major championship of the season.
LET IT BREATHE
Simply put, our run of surprisingly strong fields for average PGA Tour stops has come to an end this week. One would think that moving the John Deere’s spot on the PGA Tour calendar from one week before The Open to two weeks before The Open would help the quality of the field. Instead, it hurt. In fact, it further solidified an off week for most of the best players in the world. The top players are choosing to take a weeklong sabbatical, and many will fly over this weekend and play the “prep week” Scottish Open overseas to adjust to links golf for The Old Course at St. Andrews.
It’s a busy time in the golf calendar and there’s also tours NOT named the PGA Tour playing this week in the United States, as well.
As for the top guys teeing it up in Silvis, Illinois… the field is highlighted by Daniel Berger, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker and a slew of past champions looking to recreate their past glory here. Past winners Lucas Glover (2021), Dylan Frittelli (2019) and 2012 Champion are all in the field and ready to roll.
TPC DEERE SPRINT…
Is what TPC Deere Run should be renamed.
As lame as that joke is I could not pass it up because it WORKS. Annually the John Deere is home to some of the best statistical ball striking and putting rounds you’ll see. The course is rather unchanged in recent years and is a straightforward TPC style layout, and going low is a necessity. The winning score has been at least 16 under par or lower EVERY year since the turn of the century. There’s very little wiggle room for coasting home with pars to win this event on Sunday, and the 18th has been home to some birdie heroics from everybody from a young Jordan Spieth to an old Steve Stricker. That is to say, anyone can compete and win as here, and TPC Deere Run’s 7,200 yards is a test that is aced with precision off the tee and positioning yourself for as many birdie opps as you can find. Just like cutting your yard perfectly: it’s all about the angles at TPC tracks.
PICKING THE JOHN DEERE
When you are laying out your roster and making a play this week, lean on guys who like this track and know it. With a particularly weak field at hand, I’m covering my card with horses for the course, plus a mix of young guns that may sneak a big week and guys that drive it cleanly and give themselves chances to score with approaches. Recent champions have broken the mold of familiar champions, as the John Deere seems to be one of those weeks that present a breakthrough chance for an unknown on tour to get it done.
MAKING YOUR PICKS
I’m prefacing my weekly picks based on exactly what I value the most. With every play I make, I’m always taking into account these factors. For The John Deere, it’s familiar trophy-lifters and accurate drivers for my plays.
1. Who’s hot and trending – recent high finishes, top 10 streaks and consistent play are never a bad thing.
2. Horses for courses – players love certain courses and course familiarity and experience are invaluable in a field of the world’s best.
3. What the numbers tell you this week – while I’m far from analytical, there’s always a tournament darling or two scattered across the golf talk stratosphere that stuns on paper.
4. Intangibles – while this allows for theater of the mind, there’s a mysterious optimism surrounding that feels “due” or if the price looks just right for buying.
Last week at the The Travelers, I had two horses near the top in Patrick Cantlay and Webb Simpson. In the end, neither got it done but their strong finishes were good omens for my card. No winner last week. But< with a couple of guys in the mix I’ll take a B for my picks this past week – on to the next!
THE SIXPACK OF PICKS
(Wanna start a Pick-X pool with your friends? Learn more here! Or, if you’re looking to start your own PGA One-and-Done pool, check those out here) (Hint: the main difference between the two is how many players you’ll pick each week)
1: Webb Simpson – I have to go back to the well for a second week in a row. He’s one of the best ball strikers in this field and coming off of a solid week in Connecticut (T-13).
2: Scott Stallings – Maybe the best combination of playing well last week and playing well in Quad Cities past events. Seems he should figure into the equation this weekend.
3: Dylan Frittelli – The 2019 champ at this event has been a little mum. Familiar grounds should get him back into weekend form this week.
4: Nick Hardy – Going “local” with this pick, an Illinois native and University of Illinois alum. After impressive showings in the last few weeks including his best major ever at Brookline, Hardy seems due for a big week.
5: Maverick McNealy – I’ve been waiting for him to burst through, and a top 20 here last year could rekindle some form for the all world ball striker on a course that rewards precise irons and wedges.
6: Christian Bezuidenhout – In his debut season on tour the South African has been consistently playing on weekends, so why not take a look at a guy like C-Bez on low odds?
My RYP One-and-Done Pick: Webb Simpson
Where to watch: Golf Channel, ESPN+ and CBS all weekend long. Take a drink every time you see a tractor.
Why to watch: While not star-studded, the John Deere always has a history of late finishes and a classic tour stop is on display this holiday weekend.
What to eat: Get your butter and salt ready. This here is corn country.
Purse: $7.1 million
Winner’s Share: $1.28 million