The Olympics have caused their fair share of chaos in the world of golf this year. The sport’s return to the Games after a 112 year absence has been something of a nightmare for the schedulers on the PGA Tour but after this week’s John Deere Classic it is back to normal. The John Deere is usually held the week before the Open but plenty of players in the field this week will find this an event worth waiting for.
Jordan Spieth won the John Deere Classic for the second time last season. His score of -20 took him to a playoff with Tom Gillis but that is by no means a freak. The last five champions all shot a score of -19 or better en route to victory and once again we should be in line for a massive number of birdies. At 7,268 yards, TPC Deere Run is a relatively long par 71 layout but of all similar courses on the PGA Tour, this is one of the easiest.
Whenever you look at an event where low scores are predicted it is important to be betting on players who will hit a high percentage of greens and hole the majority of their putts. Spieth putted his way to success last season but generally those two stats have combined to produce the winner of this event. Once again, we should be looking towards accurate players who will not crumble under the inevitable pressure of having to shoot a good score.
There was not a chance in the world that Zach Johnson would be missing this event. The 2012 John Deere Classic champion has a phenomenal record at TPC Deere Run and must almost budget for at least a third place cheque when he previews his season at the start of the year. The course sets up perfectly for his eye and game style, something which he capitalises on time and time again. Johnson is in decent form at the moment and with the added confidence that playing at this course brings, he can once again clean up at odds of 15/2 with Betfred.
Jerry Kelly raised a wry smile in the scorer’s hut at last week’s Travelers Championship as Russell Knox rolled in the winning putt. Had Knox missed from 12 feet, Kelly would have been in a playoff. As it was, he had to be content with finishing as runner up. That will put fire in the belly of the man who has already secured his PGA Tour card for next season. It will be hard for Kelly to hack the scoring pace for four days but he may well be able to grab the first round lead at odds of 45/1 with Betfred.
The John Deere Classic was one of the first events that Jordan Spieth won on the PGA Tour and it could prove to be a similarly important stepping stone in the career of Patrick Rodgers. Having made the step up from the Web.com Tour, Rodgers has now found his feet amongst the big boys but is just lacking that first win. He’ll love the chance to hit a ton of birdies this week and could well hit enough to win at 45/1 with Bet365.