Weekly Preview: John Deere Classic

Weekly Preview: John Deere Classic

This article is part of our Weekly Preview series.

John Deere Classic

TPC Deere Run
Silvis, IL

The PGA Tour heads to Illinois for the latest edition of the John Deere Classic.

Let's face it folks: this is not going to be pretty. It comes as no surprise that the field this is thin. After all, with the Scottish Open now on the PGA Tour schedule, the best players in the world simply can't fit this week's event in. The Deere has always taken a hit because of its proximity to the Open Championship on the calendar, but with many golfers defecting to LIV Golf, it's now much worse. Don't get me wrong, it's not as if Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson or Brooks Koepka would be playing in Silvis, but the mid-tier guys – the ones who "thicken" the field, if you will – tend to give a tournament a little more life, and that's what we will be missing. What we are left with is the hope that perhaps a young golfer can break through here, like Jordan Spieth and Bryson DeChambeau did in recent years. The problem is, I'm not sure we have any of those players in the field, other than perhaps Sahith Theegala

It's a good thing I'm not employed by the PGA Tour, because I'm not doing a good job selling this event, but it is what it is. I'm hoping for the best but expecting little. Hopefully I'll be surprised by the time Sunday rolls around.

All odds via golfodds.com as

John Deere Classic

TPC Deere Run
Silvis, IL

The PGA Tour heads to Illinois for the latest edition of the John Deere Classic.

Let's face it folks: this is not going to be pretty. It comes as no surprise that the field this is thin. After all, with the Scottish Open now on the PGA Tour schedule, the best players in the world simply can't fit this week's event in. The Deere has always taken a hit because of its proximity to the Open Championship on the calendar, but with many golfers defecting to LIV Golf, it's now much worse. Don't get me wrong, it's not as if Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson or Brooks Koepka would be playing in Silvis, but the mid-tier guys – the ones who "thicken" the field, if you will – tend to give a tournament a little more life, and that's what we will be missing. What we are left with is the hope that perhaps a young golfer can break through here, like Jordan Spieth and Bryson DeChambeau did in recent years. The problem is, I'm not sure we have any of those players in the field, other than perhaps Sahith Theegala

It's a good thing I'm not employed by the PGA Tour, because I'm not doing a good job selling this event, but it is what it is. I'm hoping for the best but expecting little. Hopefully I'll be surprised by the time Sunday rolls around.

All odds via golfodds.com as of 5:00 PM ET Tuesday.

LAST YEAR

Lucas Glover shot a final-round 64 on his way to a two-stroke victory over Ryan Moore and Kevin Na.

FAVORITES

Webb Simpson (12-1)

Simpson is not having a good season, which goes to show you how thin this field is. He is the favorite and I can't argue with that. His name sticks out like a sore thumb as the only accomplished golfer in the field who is anywhere near his prime. It's a curious move, however, as Simpson hasn't played here in a decade and doesn't have much of a track record here. Perhaps he sees this as an opportunity to pick up some FedExCup points. Whatever the case, he's obviously got a chance to win, but I wouldn't touch him at this price.

Adam Hadwin (18-1)

You read that right. Hadwin, who hasn't won since 2017, is the second option on the betting board. Hadwin has been fairly consistent throughout his eight seasons on Tour, but he has just one win and only three second-place results in 212 starts. He has the game to beat everyone in the field, but again, it's tough to make an argument with odds like this.

Sahith Theegala (20-1)

This is where things start to get interesting. Theegala doesn't have the resume of the two guys in front of him, but his form is unquestionably better, as he almost won the Travelers Championship against much tougher competition. That wasn't the first time he impressed this season, as he posted top-5s at the Phoenix Open in February and the Memorial earlier this month. The hurdle this week is getting past the disappointment of his double-bogey on the 72nd hole at TPC River Highlands, which I think he can do.

THE NEXT TIER

Denny McCarthy (25-1)

If you've followed along this season, you know I've been expecting McCarthy to break out for quite some time now. While that hasn't happened yet, he has shown some flashes recently, like his T5 at the Memorial and his T7 at the U.S. Open a couple weeks ago. With a decent showing at Deere Run, McCarthy will double his previous career high for earnings in a season, which tells me he's on the ascent. He has the game to get on top of this field, and at this number, there's enough incentive to make a play.

Adam Long (35-1)

I'll preface this by saying we need adjust what we consider to be "good form" in this field. In a normal week we are looking for guys who have posted a recent top-10 – perhaps even a top-5 – but this is different because of the strength of the field. With that in mind, Long's current form is pretty solid, as he posted a top-25 in his two most recent starts. He also played well here last year, when he also recorded a top-25. It should be noted that the adjusted expectations works for track records as well.

Adam Schenk (40-1)

You know the name, but you'd have a tough time picking him out of a crowd. You're going to get a lot of that this week. Come to think of it, there's the appeal we need – putting faces to names who almost get airtime! Seriously though, Schenk finished T4 here this past year and T6 the year before. His form is also good enough to make me think he's got a run in him.

LONG SHOTS

Anirban Lahiri (60-1)

Honestly, I'm a little surprised that Lahiri is listed at this price. Sure, he missed the cut in his previous three starts, but guess what? He missed three cuts and finished T74 in the four starts he made before nearly winning THE PLAYERS in March. Proving that wasn't a total fluke, he posted a T6 a couple months later at the Wells Fargo Championship. I can't say it enough – when looking for long shots, you want guys that pop every now and then. Consistency does you little good.

Ryan Moore (80-1)

I'm going with the variety pack in this pairing of long shots. Lahiri has no record of success at this event but has played well at times this season. Moore, on the other hand, has not been playing well at all but has a solid track record here. Moore is well past his prime, but that was the case this past year when he posted a runner-up at Deere Run. He's also coming off his best showing of the season at the RBC Canadian Open, where he notched a "solid" T35.

ONE-AND-DONE LEAGUES

Highly-owned Pick: Sahith Theegala - It seems crazy to think that Theegala will be the most popular player in this format this week, but that appears to be the case. I'll explain further in a minute. His performance in Connecticut put him back on the radar, and with few decent options to choose from, he's going to be very popular here. If you are near the top of your league, he looks like the safe play.

Moderately-owned Pick: Webb Simpson - It would make sense if Simpson is selected by more players in your league than anyone else, but if you've held onto him this long, you're probably saving him for the Wyndham Championship. I'm going that route, but I wouldn't fault anyone for thinking Simpson is the best play at this event. He has looked better in recent weeks, and if he's locked in mentally, he could easily win.

Lightly-owned Pick: Anirban Lahiri - Lahiri has an extreme range of outcomes. He could miss the cut, but he could also wind up top-5. Those who are trailing in the standings and need to make a move might want to go this route, because I can guarantee not many of your league-mates will be on him.

Buyer Beware: Jason Day - How do you pick one guy out of this field to underperform? It's not easy, as seemingly anyone could win. However, I think it's safe to fade Day, who just isn't himself right now. He certainly has the talent to win, but he has just one top-10 all season and he's coming off a missed cut at the Travelers Championship.

Last Week: Brian Harman - T8 - $243,605

Season Total: $10,020,962

This Week: Sahith Theegala - I considered someone with a little more experience – say, Hadwin or McCarthy – but I like the upside Theegala brings. He's shown a lot of consistency, making the cut in 20-of-25 starts, and he's also flashed some upside with five top-10s. I'm hoping others will be drawn to Simpson and that I can make a move with Theegala, but I'm expecting him to be the play for many.

FANDUEL PICKS

Upper Range: Sahith Theegala ($11,500)
Middle Range: Adam Long ($10,500)
Lower Range: Ryan Moore ($8,900)

SURVIVOR LEAGUES

Last Week: Brian Harman - T8

Streak: 3

This Week: Charles Howell III - It's been a while since we've seen this name in this piece, but all things considered, Howell ooks like a great option in this format. He not only has a nice track record here, having made the cut in 12 of 13 appearances, but he comes in having played the weekend in his past two starts. Oh – the perception of what is a "long: cut streak is also altered this week.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Greg Vara
Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the FSWA Golf Writer of the Year in 2005 and 2013. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.
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