The PGA Tour heads to Illinois this week for the John Deere Classic. Jordan Spieth defends the title and there’s a final chance for someone to secure a spot in the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.

Lowdown:
The PGA Tour heads to Illinois this week for the John Deere Classic. Jordan Spieth defends the title and there’s a final chance for someone to secure a spot in the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.

It may not be the most significant event on the PGA Tour schedule in terms of prize money or Fed-Ex Cup points, but there’s a Major incentive on offer at the John Deere Classic. The winner of the tournament, or first player in the top-5 not already exempt, will receive a spot in the Open Championship at Hoylake.

The course at TPC Deere Run in Illinois was designed by DA Weibring in 1999, but it was remodelled by the PGA Tour in 2007. It has been host to the John Deere Classic since 2000. The course is located near the Rock River and the valley it creates affects a number of holes here.

TPC Deere Run is known for producing low scoring – as evidenced by Paul Goydos’ 59 in this event in 2010. A winning total around the 20-under-par mark is standard.

The event began life back in 1971 as the Quad Cities Open. Since then it has seen some notable winners, including Dave Stockton, Payne Stewart, Scott Hoch and Vijay Singh.

Last year 19-year-old Jordan Spieth came through a playoff against Zach Johnson and David Hearn to become the first teenage winner on the PGA Tour since Ralph Guldahl won the 1931 Santa Monica Open. Spieth triumphed at TPC Deere Run at the fifth extra hole.

There’s been a considerable amount of rain in the Quad Cities area over the last few weeks and more this week looks likely. Soft conditions could help scoring, though rain-delays might cause disruption.

Venue: TPC Deere Run, Silvis, Illinois
Date: Jul 10-13
Course stats: par 71, 7,268 yards
Purse: $4,700,000 Winner: €828,000
Defending Champion: Jordan Spieth (-19)

TV Coverage:

Thursday 10 – Sky Sports 4 from 8pm
Friday 11 – Sky Sports 4 from 8pm
Saturday 12 – Sky Sports 4 from 7.30pm
Sunday 13 – Sky Sports 4 from 7.30pm

Player Watch:
Zach Johnson – He won in 2012 was runner-up last year and in 2009, and was third in 2011. Needless to say, he likes this course.

Jordan Spieth – Last year’s winner will be looking for a repeat performance.

Bud Cauley – An outside shot, but he was tied fourth at The Greenbrier and has finished in the top-25 in four of his last eight outings on the PGA Tour.

Key hole: 16th. A par 3 of just 158 yards, it’s all carry to a bluff sitting 40 feet above the Rock River. The front of the putting surface is guarded by a shale outcropping and a large bunker.