Spieth To Plough On In John Deere
John Deere Classic
2013 John Deere winner, Jordan Spieth, is the hot 7/2 favourite to claim a win before heading to The Open next week.
The John Deere Classic dates back to 1971, and was originally known as the Quad Cities Open. The prize money is reasonable by PGA standards, but attracting the best players can be a challenge as the tournament concludes just four days before the start of the British Open, which gives US golfers who play this event little time to acclimatise in Britain. No European has ever won the John Deere.
Since 2000, this event has been held at TPC at Deere Run, Illinois. It’s a tree-lined par-71 layout that measures around 7200 yards, but the wide fairways, generous greens and paucity of hazards make it one of the easier courses on the PGA Tour.
Combine the lack of difficulty with an absence of many of the big names, and the result is a tournament that often doesn’t take too much winning.
In The Bunker
Kevin Kisner has hit a rich vein of form in recent weeks, but his record in this tournament is ordinary. He missed the cut on his first two visits to Deere Run and finished just inside the top twenty last year. With two classier players ahead of him in the market, he looks short at odds of 16/1 and those looking for a long shot to oppose Speith and Johnson can find better value elsewhere.
Double Major winner Jordan Speith is using this event as his British Open warm-up and not surprisingly has been installed as antepost favourite at cramped odds. Generally speaking, you don’t want to be lumping on any golfer at 7/2 but this is one of those rare occasions when it can be justified.
Speith won this event in 2013 and made the top ten last year and is the best player in the field by some distance. It’s hard to see anyone beating him and he looks a solid bet.
With Speith dominating the market, Zach Johnson, the other big name in the field, is available at decent odds of 9/1 and given his history at this event, he should be on everyone’s shortlist. He has made the top three five times at Deere Run, winning it in 2012 and finishing second in 2013 and 2014. He has six top-tens to his name this season, but this is his best opportunity to land a title so far.
One of the PGA’s brighter prospects, Brian Harman has had a largely disappointing season, but he had shown signs of form in May, making the top ten at Colonial and The Players Championship and last time out managed his best finish to date: a third at the Travelers Championship.
That upturn in form comes just in time for his return to Deere Run, where he won his first PGA Tour title twelve months ago, beating Zach Johnson into second place, and at odds of 28/1, he’s a decent outside bet.
*Prices correct at time of publication