Connect with us

Tour News

6 Picks to win the 2015 John Deere Classic

Published

on

As a transplanted Midwesterner, I may be biased, but this week’s John Deere Classic (J.D.C.) may be one of the most underrated events on the schedule.

Yeah, I know, the field here isn’t particularly deep, but the TPC Deere Run layout fails to get its due, and the crowd support at this event is always unbelievable.

At the very least, DraftKings isn’t taking the tournament lightly. For the John Deere, DraftKings offers up a $275,000 pot with the winner $100,000 richer. As usual, all top-10 finishers will capture at least $1,000. And remember, you only have to pay $3 to enter, which makes passing on the opportunity here kind of insane.

Enter this week’s $275K contest here!

We all know, too, that the Open Championship is a week away, and you can already reserve entry in that DraftKings contest. You can actually draft your team now, so it might not hurt to take a peak at the roster roll, considering first place there garners $1 MILLION!!!

An exciting couple of weeks. Anyway, onto my analysis…

The Course 

We all know that the TPC Deere Run layout doesn’t really scare these players. Pretty much every year, the J.D.C. is a flat-out birdie-fest.

www.tpc.com

www.tpc.com

Despite being a very well-known course, it was actually tough to find information on TPC Deere Run’s reputation. Mostly what I gathered is that the track is known to really dilute any long-hitter advantage, as TPC Deere Run is short by PGA Tour standards, and even tinier when you account for the generous roll of these fairways.

TPC Deere Run is also a tight, tree-lined course, which means accuracy has been consistently touted as essential to victory here (Zach Johnson’s and Steve Stricker’s constant contention only aids that assumption). Otherwise, there was little else. I got the sense that some think approach play is quite important here, especially from wedge distances.

What did my usual sample have to say about this?

Well, this limited set is pretty much entirely correct. My five-year sample showed that top-tier approach play was most predictive of a good finish at the J.D.C. Driving was second-most potent, with putting and short game coming in a close third.

And for the first time since Harbour Town, there were more short-hitters in my sample than long-hitters, and at a near 2:1 ratio. Accuracy proved to be quite important among my five-year group, while length had almost no effect. In fact, long-hitters may actually be at a bit of a disadvantage at TPC Deere Run.

Anyway, the sample proved that TPC Deere Run does indeed call for a stealthy approach player with consistent driving accuracy. But watch out for those with great all-around games, too. In the sample, there wasn’t a huge separation in any of the four main categories, as approach play, driving, short game and putting all proved at least decently potent.

Also, pay attention to what they say in the next couple of days about rough height. The rough was up more than usual at this course last year and if that’s the case again in 2015, definitely lean even more toward accurate drivers.

Six-Man Roster (Last Week: 339 points, 67,281st of 95,825)

  • Zach Johnson — $11,400
  • Justin Thomas — $8,700
  • Scott Brown — $8,600
  • Carl Pettersson — $8,200
  • Luke Guthrie — $7,200
  • Ken Duke — $5,800

I refuse to go into a deep explanation for Johnson, it should just be obvious. He absolutely owns the J.D.C., finishing 2-2-1-3 in his past four starts here. His game remains in great shape, so don’t try to overthink here.

JustinThomasDraft

Yeah, not the best finish from Thomas last week. Such a dismal performance under pressure can have a negative short-term effect, but Thomas’ confidence is unrelenting. I really don’t think his tumble at the Greenbrier will hurt his performance, and in fact I believe he’ll use it as fuel to stride right back up there. That is why I am going after Thomas this week even though his lack of accuracy doesn’t make him a great fit for this venue. But accuracy is also important at the Greenbrier and Thomas was leading through 62 holes, and he finished T11 at Harbour Town, too. Thomas is clearly playing well, and the guy loves birdie-fests, something that this event all but promises.

I’ve been on the Brown train a lot of late, and it would be idiotic to hop off now. He’s now made 12 of his past 13 cuts, and he can’t get enough of this event, with two top-10s in three starts. This is another instance of not overthinking it.

CarlPettersson

Pettersson may be my first true risk among this group. He’s had kind of an up-and-down season and missed the cut in his most recent start. I definitely wouldn’t characterize his J.D.C. history as robust, with several finishes in the T30-T60 range, a couple of missed cuts and a fifth way back in 2007. Still, I do think this course suits him, though, as he’s proven he can perform well in pretty much any part of the game, especially approach play. And he’s usually a decently accurate driver. His play has been ramping up of late, too, with three consecutive top-40s (including a top-5) in his starts before last week’s missed cut.

If you picked Guthrie each of the past seven weeks (for some reason), you’d probably be unbelievably frustrated. The guy has experienced some massively hot stretches in several instances over this stretch and has been on the verge of a top-10 finish on multiple occasions only to sink on Sunday. I have reason to believe he finally puts it together this week. After all, Guthrie is an Illinois boy through-and-through, which makes this a hometown event. He’s playing on bentgrass greens that he’s admitted he’s much more comfortable on. He loves this course, as a T27 and T5 in two of his three appearances here show. All of that should finally allow him to get over the hump and acquire that high result he’s deserved of late with the way he’s played.

Enter this week’s $275K contest here!

I’m taking a bit of a flyer on Duke. He actually did make four straight cuts before failing to advance to the weekend at the Greenbrier. He doesn’t have a resounding history at the J.D.C., but his short-hitting accurate ways should pay off at this venue at some point. He’s also a fantastic approach player when he wants to be. I think his recent form and a game that should break out soon at TPC Deere Run will prove a potent combination this week.

Alternate Six-Man Roster (Last Week: 337 points, 68,222nd of 95,825)

  • Kevin Kisner — $10,700
  • George McNeill — $8,600
  • Jerry Kelly — $8,400
  • Kevin Streelman — $8,300
  • Brendon de Jonge — $7,500
  • Eric Axley — $6,100

Kisner and McNeill are both prefect course fits (accurate drivers, great approach players, potent all-around games) and have been on scorching hot steaks over the past couple of months. I don’t see a reason to back off now.

JerryKelly

This pick was really between Kelly and Stricker. Kelly is in the Johnson/Stricker “I own TPC Deere Run” club with top-5s in his past two starts at the venue. I went with Kelly because he still plays a full schedule and the cost is significantly less for a guy who has a really enticing record at this venue just like Stricker’s.

Streelman has faded of late (CUT-77 in his last two starts), but, again, he never stays down for long. I also like how his game sets up for Deere Run (accurate driver, solid iron player, all-around game aficionado) and a T8 at the event in 2012 shows that he has some moxie at this venue.

Speaking of players who have fallen off, de Jonge has two missed cuts and has no top-35s in his past four starts after a fantastic stretch of play in March and April. He’s too talented, though, to stay down for long, and I’m pinpointing the J.D.C. for his resurgence. His last two showings at the event are mediocre, but he produced a T7-T7-T19 stretch from 2010-2012. His impressive accuracy and approach play speak to a game that really should perform at Deere Run, and I think we’ll see that emerge again this week.

Axley was experiencing an extremely tough season (3-of-13 in cuts made), but had really turned it around with three made weekends in a row in his most recent events. With a shallower field, at this price, he’s probably your best bet. Along with his recent form, it can’t hurt that he has a 2008 T4 at the J.D.C. that he can use as a positive memory.

Enter this week’s $275K contest here!

Your Reaction?
  • 8
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK10

Kevin's fascination with the game goes back as long as he can remember. He has written about the sport on the junior, college and professional levels and hopes to cover its proceedings in some capacity for as long as possible. His main area of expertise is the PGA Tour, which is his primary focus for GolfWRX. Kevin is currently a student at Northwestern University, but he will be out into the workforce soon enough. You can find his golf tidbits and other sports-related babble on Twitter @KevinCasey19. GolfWRX Writer of the Month: September 2014

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Tour Photo Galleries

Photos from the 2024 RBC Heritage

Published

on

GolfWRX is on site this week at Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island for the RBC Heritage. Plenty of golfers who competed in the Masters last week will be making the quick turnaround in the Lowcountry of South Carolina as the Heritage is again one of the Tour’s Signature Events.

We have general albums for you to check out, as well as plenty of WITBs — including Justin Thomas and Justin Rose.

We’ll continue to update as more photos flow in from SC.

Check out links to all our photos, below.

General Albums

WITB Albums

Pullout Albums

See what GolfWRXers are saying and join the discussion in the forums.

Your Reaction?
  • 9
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL2
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP1
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

Tour Photo Galleries

Photos from the 2024 Valero Texas Open

Published

on

GolfWRX is on site this week at the Valero Texas Open.

The event has been around since 1922, making it one of the oldest on the PGA Tour calendar. Over the years, it’s been held at a variety of courses across the Lone Star State, but it’s found its home at TPC San Antonio in recent years. Some of the biggest names in golf have taken home the title here, including Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan, Lee Trevino, and Ben Crenshaw.

GolfWRX has its usual assortment of general galleries, WITBs and special pull-out albums. As always, we’ll continue to update the links below as more photos come in from TPC San Antonio.

General Albums

WITB Albums

Pullout Albums

See what GolfWRXers are saying in the forums

Your Reaction?
  • 16
  • LEGIT3
  • WOW6
  • LOL2
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

Tour Photo Galleries

Photos from the 2024 Texas Children’s Houston Open

Published

on

GolfWRX is on site in the Lone Star State this week for the Texas Children’s Houston Open.

General galleries from the putting green and range, WITBs — including Thorbjorn Olesen and Zac Blair — and several pull-out albums await.

As always, we’ll continue to update as more photos flow in. Check out links to all our photos from Houston below.

General Albums

WITB Albums

Pullout Albums

See what GolfWRXers are saying in the forums.

Your Reaction?
  • 19
  • LEGIT5
  • WOW2
  • LOL4
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP1
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

WITB

Facebook

Trending