The Open Championship takes place next week at Royal Birkdale. That’s prompted many PGA Tour players to head over the Atlantic for the Scottish Open to sharpen up their game on a links course. Other players have taken a different route and will compete in this week’s John Deere Classic to try and boost their confidence before the third major of the year.
Held every year at TPC Deere Run, the John Deere Classic is traditionally one of the easiest weeks of the year on the PGA Tour. That’s not to say that it is an easy tournament to win. Deere Run is one of the easiest courses on the PGA Tour in terms of hitting fairways and greens which has yielded winning scores of -20 or better in all but one of the last eight renewals.
Another element of Deere Run is the standard of the greens. The Bentgrass surfaces run around 11 on the Stimpmeter and they run very true so expect to see players pouring in putts from all over the place. It’s also a course where driving distance and accuracy are largely irrelevant. That means that this week’s winner will likely hit more greens than almost every other player simply to give themselves more chances of birdies and eagles.
Stricker Can Strike Gold at Deere Run
Steve Stricker is at the stage of his career at which he has to carefully manage his schedule. The 50-year-old tends only to turn up to tournaments in which he’s got a chance of contending and the John Deere Classic ticks that box. Not only is Stricker a three time winner of this event, he holds the tournament record score of 26 shots under par.
We haven’t seen Stricker since he finished in a tie for 16th at the US Open. That performance at Erin Hills was just one of several eye catching weeks for Stricker this week so he’ll be a real threat at 28/1 with Coral.
Stanley To Utilise Ball Striking Once Again
At 14 in the FedEx Cup standings, Kyle Stanley is having his best season on the PGA Tour. The American held firm in a playoff to win the recent Quicken Loans National during which he utilised his wonderful ball striking to hit a very high number of greens in regulation.
Stanley ranks third on the PGA Tour for strokes gained approaching the green and fifth from tee to green. With everybody expected to have a good time on the putting surfaces, Stanley’s poor stats in that regard shouldn’t hurt him so back him each way at 25/1 with Ladbrokes.
Wagner Set For Another Crack at TPC Deere Run
Johnson Wagner is not only the owner of the best moustache in golf, his recent form at TPC Deere Run is about as strong as you will find. The 66/1 shot with Bet365 hasn’t finished worse than seventh in his last three starts at the Illinois course and he showed that his strong game from tee to green can produce solid results when finishing fifth at the Quicken Loans National. We could see something similar this week.