With the Olympic Golf Tournament taking centre stage this week, there’s a chance for those not competing in Rio to shine at the John Deere Classic. Zach Johnson headlines the field.
Zach Johnson headlines and Steve Stricker is in the field for this week’s John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois. The event, running alongside the Olympic Golf Tournament, 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, Steve Stricker and Vijay Singh.
In 2013, 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.
Spieth won again in a playoff last year when 46-year-old Tom Gillis, looking for his first PGA Tour victory, hit his approach shot into the water on the second extra hole.
Jordan Spieth swing sequence:
Spieth won’t be back to defend his title but a number of star players are on the start sheet. Zach Johnson headlines the field. The two-time Major champion Johnson lives locally in nearby Cedar Rapids and is a tournament board member. He has a fabulous record in this event: A winner in 2012, he has finished inside the top-three on six of his last seven starts. He’s an incredible 124-under-par for those tournaments.
Steve Stricker also enjoys this venue. He has a chance at becoming a four-time winner of the competition. He won three straight from 2009 to 2011.
This is the penultimate tournament counting towards the FedEx Cup playoffs with the top 125 after the Wyndham Championship progressing to The Barclays. Retief Goosen is currently outside the bubble and he needs a good result here to push his way in.
The course at TPC Deere Run in Illinois was designed by D.A. 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.
This is the first time since 2003 that this event has not been contested in the week prior to The Open Championship.
The weather looks like being unsettled. The week will start hot and humid and thunderstorms could be a factor on Friday.
Venue: TPC Deere Run, Silvis, Illinois
Date: Aug 11-14
Course stats: par 71, 7,268 yards
Purse: $4,800,000 Winner: $864,000
Defending Champion: Jordan Spieth (-20)
Thursday 11 – Sky Sports 4 from 10pm
Friday 12 – Sky Sports 4 from 10pm
Saturday 13 – Sky Sports 4 from 8pm
Sunday 14 – Sky Sports 4 from 8pm
Zach Johnson – He’s got this course mastered. As mentioned above, his record is superb with a win, three seconds and two third place finishes in the last seven years.
Steve Stricker – Another man who has the measure of TPC Deere Run. He has won over the layout on three occasions. He plays a limited schedule these days, but when he does start, the Ryder Cup Vice Captain tends to perform – he was fourth at The Open Championship.
Jon Rahm – He’s been something of a sensation this year. Since turning professional, he’s made the cut in all five PGA Tour events he’s played. He has a second and a third place to his name.
Key hole: 16th “Mother Earth.” 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.