Preview: PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic

Preview — PGA Tour — John Deere Classic — TPC Deere Run — Silvis, Illinois –

Welcome to the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic takes place this week in Illinois at TPC Deere Run.

For some it’s the final shot to earn a spot in the Open Championship in England the following week. The event also serves as an opportunity for PGA Tour members to earn valuable FedEx Cup points as the Playoffs are quickly approaching.

Still for others, this event creates a chance to make a run up the Ryder Cup Standings for the U.S. team.

Steve Stricker, making just his 9th start this season, won this tournament three straight years from 2009 to2011. In 2010, Stricker opened with a first-round 60. The course also yielded a 59 in recent years as well.

Low scores are a must at TPC Deere Run. The par-71 layout reaches more than 7,200 yards and like most TPC tracks features large greens. Four rounds in the 60s certainly lock up even a Top 10 finish here.  

The field includes defending champion Jordan Spieth, ranked 10th in the world, and former Masters champion Zach Johnson, a champion here in 2012 in a playoff. A host of PGA Tour champions from 2014 are here and looking to take it a multi-win season including Kevin Streelman, John Senden and Russell Henley.

Television coverage includes The Golf Channel for Thursday and Friday action and CBS Sports for the weekend.

2013 Recap:

  • Spieth holed out on the 71st hole en route to earning a spot in a playoff with Zach Johnson and David Hearn at 19-under overall. Spieth, who won it on the 5th playoff hole, became the first teen to win on tour since 1931 shooting rounds of 71-65-65-65. Martin Flores, 63 on Sunday and Jerry Kelly were T-4. Stricker, Matt Jones, Patrick Reed and J.J. Henry logged Top 10s.

FANTASY: Fairways, greens and birdies are a must at TPC Deere Rune. Stricker should contend along with Johnson. Both are Top 20 players in the Official World Golf Ranking. Look for some players to check out mentally in preparing for the Open unless they ride a hot putter into the weekend. Take Hearn, who was in the playoff last year, and Cameron Tringale, who was T-4 last week. Chris Kirk is 20 for 20 in cuts made this season. Spieth is a Top 10 machine – including a T-2 at Augusta and T-4 at The Players, so take him to finish solid.

BETTING: Spieth edged Stricker as the betting favorite at 11-to-1 at this week. Stricker, 12-1, is coming off a solid week at The Greenbrier Classic where he was T-4 heading into the weekend.  Kevin Na (33-1) is a nice pick here. He was in a playoff at the Memorial before finishing runner-up. Brendon de Jonge is a great long shot at 50-1 to breakthrough for his first win considering his birdie prowess.

Other Golf news:

  • ESPN2 is handling the tournament television coverage for the RICOH Women’s British Open beginning Thursday from Royal Birkdale Golf Club. Rolex Ranking No. 1 Stacy Lewis is the defending champion.
  • Na finished T-12 at the U.S. Open just a few weeks ago. He is also in the Top 5 on tour in Scrambling statistics.
  • De Jonge ended up 10th last season on the PGA Tour in Greens In Regulation percentage.
  • Rory McIlroy is the betting favorite at the European Tour’s Scottish Open this week.