The John Deere Classic
TPC Deere Run
TPC Deere Run
Par: 71 (35-36)
Greens: Bentgrass; 8,000 square feet on average.
Rough: 3” Kentucky bluegrass
Water Hazards: 3
Course Architect: D.A. Weibring & Chris Gray (1999); PGA Tour Design (2006-07)
Winner’s Share: $845,000
FexExCup Points: 500 to the winner
Defending Champion: Jordan Spieth, 19, became the youngest player to win on TOUR since Ralph Gudahl in the early ‘30s as he defeated Zach Johnson and David Hearn in a five-hole playoff.
Dates: July 10-13
Notes: The only way to crash the party at Hoylake is to be the highest finisher in the top five this week who hasn’t already qualified for The Open.
Recent History Lessons
After winning 31 of 40 tournaments in 2013, the USA has now won 23 of 34 events in 2013-14. Harris English, Jimmy Walker (THREE), Webb Simpson, Ryan Moore, Dustin Johnson, Chris Kirk, Zach Johnson, Patrick Reed (TWO), Scott Stallings, Kevin Stadler, Bubba Watson (TWO), Russell Henley, Chesson Hadley, Matt Every, Matt Kuchar, J.B. Holmes, Brendon Todd, Ben Crane and Kevin Streelman have won for the USA.
Adam Scott, Matt Jones, Steven Bowditch, John Senden and Jason Day, all Australians, have cashed five victories. Hideki Matsuyama joined Seung-yul Noh as the Asian representatives and Martin Kaymer now has a play pal as Justin Rose joins the European effort. Cabrera will fly the flag for South America.
S.Y. Noh, Steven Bowditch, Matt Every, Jimmy Walker, Kevin Stadler, Chesson Hadley Matt Jones, Brendon Todd and Hideki Matsuyama are the first-time winners this season. There were 12, first-timers in 40 events last year and we’ve had nine in 34 events so far in 2014.
Young Guns Versus Prime Time Versus Old Guys
Jimmy Walker (34) started the season out on the right foot for the Prime Time guys and has since added two more wins to lead the FedExCup standings. He has been joined by Ryan Moore (30) in Malaysia, Zach Johnson (37) at Kapalua, Kevin Stadler (33), at WMPO and Bubba Watson (35), joined them at Riviera. Matt Every (30), Steven Bowditch (30) and Matt Jones (33), all first-timers, flew the flag before Watson picked up victory No. 2 of the year at Augusta. Since the first major, Matt Kuchar (37), J.B. Holmes (32), Adam Scott (33), Ben Crane (38), Kevin Streelman (35) and Justin Rose (33) are the prime time players to cash winner’s checks.
Scott Stallings (28), Patrick Reed TWICE (23), Chris Kirk (28), Webb Simpson (28), Dustin Johnson (29), Harris English (24), Jason Day (26) and Russell Henley (24) Seung-Yul Noh (22), Martin Kaymer TWICE (29), Brendon Todd (28) and Hideki Matsuyama (22), are the twenty-somethings who have made large noise this year.
Australian John Senden (42) and Argentine Angel Cabrera (44) are the only two crusty veterans to claim victory this season.
Pay Attention: It’s FREE!
TPC Deere Run became the exclusive home to the JDC in 2000. That’s a very solid history base for gamers.
Only Steve Stricker has defended his title at TPC Deere Run. He’s does it twice as he won three straight from 2009-2011.
For the second week in a row, the TOUR makes a stop on a course that has hosted a 59. TPC Deere Run saw Paul Goydos hit the magic number in 2010. Last week, the Old White TPC reminded us of Stuart Appleby’s 59 to win in 2010.
Here are the winners at TPC Deere Run since 2000:
2000: Michael Clark -19
2001: David Gossett -19
2002: JP Hayes -22
2003: Vijay Singh -16
2004: Mark Hensby -16
2005: Sean O'Hair -16
2006: John Senden -19
2007: Jonathan Byrd -18
2008: Kenny Perry -16
2009: Steve Stricker -20
2010: Steve Stricker -26
2011: Steve Stricker -22
2012: Zach Johnson -20
2013: Jordan Spieth -19
*names in Italics are not playing this week
In the last 14 editions, five have resulted in extra holes on Sunday including the last two, to determine the champion.
Since 2000, there have been six first-time winners but only two in the last eight years (Senden, 2006; Spieth, 2013).
Steve Stricker holds the tournament record (254) at 26-under par.
Paul Goydos holds the course record with 59 in 2010.
Only 10 players have won the week before a major and have gone on to win the following week. Phil Mickelson did it last year before The Open when he won the Scottish Open in a playoff.
Speaking of the number 10, there are 10 players in the field who have already won on TOUR this season.
Jimmy Walker, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Martin Kaymer are the only players on TOUR with multiple victories in the 2013-14.
This Will Win You a Bar Bet
Former TOUR Commissioner Deane Bemen won the first two editions of the JDC.
Inside the Ropes
As you can see above, the winning scores around this joint look like the forecast in early winter in Alaska. Birdies and bogey-avoidance are clearly the recipe for success. Steve Stricker made 31 birdies here in 2010 to set the tournament record and win by two over “Mr. 59” Paul Goydos. Daniel Summerhays made 27 of them last year yet finished T4 as he missed out on a three-man playoff. The highest winning score since the move in 2000 is 16-under. Last year was the first year in five years that the winning score dropped below 20-under.
With greens averaging 8,000 square feet, EVERYONE should be on in regulation so this means it’s time for a putting contest! The last three winners here, Stricker, Johnson and Spieth are all classified as excellent putters and short-game wedge players. There’s no wonder why they own the last five titles!
As we have seen over the years, ball-strikers can also succeed around here as Vijay Singh, Sean O’Hair have shown with wins and J.J. Henry, Chad Campbell and Lucas Glover proved to us last year with T15 or better finishes. Ball-strikers always have a chance because their strength is hitting it as close as possible as often as possible so don’t write them off.
The most successful this week will make the most birdies and avoid the most bogeys. Stricker made four bogeys in 2009, five in 2010 (three in the final round!) and three (plus a double) in 2011. Zach Johnson made 24 birdies to just five bogeys yet won his playoff with a double bogey! Jordan Spieth made five birdies on his last six holes last year to make the playoff. He circled 25 birdies against six bogeys last year. Players only have three par-five holes to play catch-up and any par-or-worse on those holes will take two birdies just to catch back up.
If you are fan of scoring, this is the week for you. If you are a fan of out and out chalk, Stricker, Johnson and Spieth should make for an interesting weekend. As we have seen with most birdie-fests, hang on to your hat because just about everyone in the field will have a chance!