As the golfing world’s attentions moves east(ish) to the UK for the Open Championship in two week’s time, the PGA Tour heads west(ish) to Silvis, IL for the John Deere Classic held at TPC Deere Run. A Track that has seen lots of success between two golfers in particular, it has also had its share of difficulties in attracting the top names in the sport, due to its location and timing with most golfers beginning to travel and prepare for the season’s third major. So unless your name is Steve Stricker or Zach Johnson (aforementioned studs on this course), you face a tough decision on whether or not to tee it up on the PGA Tour this week. Between the two, Stricker and Johnson have amassed a grand total of $3,808,885 in the past five years, in a tournament with one of the smallest purses on Tour. That includes three consecutive wins for Stricker (2009-11), a win for Johnson in 2012, two runner-up finishes for Johnson, including a playoff loss last year, a T3 for Johnson, and two additional top 10 finishes for Stricker. As for everybody else, well… everybody else who?
Last year, Jordan Spieth earned his first PGA Tour win at TPC Deere Run, beating out Zach Johnson and David Hearn in a three-man playoff. Aside from these horses for the course, J.J. Henry, a name you don’t hear as much these days, has earned a top 15 and two top 10s in the past 5 years. Kevin Streelman will be making his first start since the record-breaking birdie streak that won him the Travelers, and he returns to a place where he finished T8 in 2012 and solo-8 in 2009. And finally, John Senden, another winner on Tour this year, earned a solo-4 in 2012, a T12 in 2010, and won the thing way back in 2006.
Plenty of players will be feeling good vibes this week, and the field has a solid list of PGA Tour regulars, despite the lack of big names to boost the ratings. The winner typically hovers around 20-under par, so whoever wants to take home the top prize will need to get things going as quickly as possible. Stay tuned as we get our predictions going soon, and enjoy another great week for golf.