The John Deere Classic
I have been writing a bit about the Open Championship in a little less than two weeks. I had completely forgotten that there is one more PGA tour event before the last Major of the season. That would be the John Deere Classic in Moline or some other little town in Illinois (yes, Moline is a little town in my book). It is generally a tournament with one or two big names (one is always Zach Johnson), very low scores (winners in the past three years have ranged from -18 to -27) and the biggest story is not the tournament itself, but the fact that tourney organizers arrange a jet to take qualified players directly to the Open Championship. So, given baseball is on hiatus until Friday for the All Star Break and the Open Championship is still almost two weeks away, I took a look at the John Deere Classic today. And you know what? Despite my implied disdain above, I liked what I saw. So, let’s take a look at this tournament and see if we can identify some players to carry home some lineups.
The course is easy. No use sugarcoating it. It is a 7,257 yard par 71 that is not difficult anywhere. Players feast on it and it seems like a fun tournament for spectators. Unless it is 100 degrees, that is. Right now, the weather looks good for Thursday and then 90 degrees + Friday through Sunday. We’ll have to see if rain softens it up or if it plays hard and very fast. Going low, especially on the par 4s (only three par 5s on the course), is required even just to make the cut. As such, we want birdie makers and players that give themselves legit shots at birdies with their approach shots. Bogey avoiders and steady par makers have no place in our DFS lineups for this tournament. So, who might some of those players be? I’m deliberately writing this blog before DK pricing comes out so that I just focus on the golfing fundamentals. Clearly, pricing will determine roster construction if you choose to roster any of these players.
Zach Johnson Any discussion of players at this tournament needs to start with Zach Johnson. Zach is a local boy who feasts on this tournament. He finished 16th last year and that showing was almost pathetic compared to his run of wins and top fives. I saw a stat that he has played 45 of his last 46 rounds here under par. Zach the course horse must be considered here despite his stats not really jumping off the page at me.
Taylor Gooch Taylor is top 20 in 2019 stats for par 4 scoring, par 4 birdie or better, par 5 birdie or better and total birdie or better rankings. His results have been very up and down all season. Top 10 or 15 followed by a miss cut and vice versa. He just finished 73rd this week, so top 10 next week?
Cam Champ Wow his results over the past few months look horrendous. However, this guy can go low on par 5s and par 3s (top 50th percentile here) and his early season form saw him crushing par 4s. His total birdie percentage is elite and this is the type of course where his flaws can be forgiven.
Matt Every I think of Every as the guy who either withdraws or never enters tournaments due to injury (mental or physical I don’t know). However, while his form has been up and down recently, this season he has been putting together some very strong finishes. A birdie machine at times (#13 in total birdie or better % in 2019), he could make a run on this course.
Jason Kokrak I have never rostered Kokrak, because I hate his name. And his face. Seriously. But his stats can’t be ignored. Top 30 in par 4 birdie or better % as well as total birdie %, Kokrak can score.
I think that is enough for now. As pricing comes out, my views on these players could get incrementally more positive or negative.
EDIT – Kokrak is not in the field. Not sure what I was looking at to make me think he was.