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  • Writer's pictureNate (@WeKnowFantasy)

Out of the Rough: John Deere Classic (2024)


The PGA TOUR continues its mini-Midwest swing with a stop in Western Illinois for the John Deere Classic.


Held annually at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, IL, there isn’t anything on TOUR quiet like both this event and course.


With the final Major event of the season in The Open just two weeks away and a stop in Scotland for the Genesis Scottish Open a week away, this event annually serves as a bye week for many of the TOUR’s best.


That doesn’t mean there will be a lack of drama this week as this event annually offers a log-jammed leaderboard with players of diverse skill sets.


There too is a lot to play for, with the top finishers having a chance to punch their ticket to The Open.


The Field

With the majority of the Tour’s best preparing for their trip overseas for both the Genesis Scottish Open and The Open Championship, this week naturally serves as a bye week.


Last week’s winner Cam Davis and event headliner Patrick Cantlay have already withdrawn on Monday.


That leaves Jordan Spieth to spearhead the betting boards this week as he desperately looks for some form before he heads overseas.


Joining him are just six others within the top 40 of the Official World Golf Rankings teeing it up this week. Those names include Sepp Straka, Jason Day, Sungjae Im, Denny McCarthy and Lucas Glover.


Straka comes in as the defending champion as he carded a 62 on Sunday to win by two strokes.


Other former champions of this event in this week’s field include J.T. Poston (2022,) Glover (2021,) Dylan Frittelli (2019,) Michael Kim (2018,) Ryan Moore (2016,) Spieth (2013 & 2015) and Zach Johnson (2012.)


The Course

TPC Deere Run has been the host of this event since 2000. It was designed by D.A. Weibring and comes in at 7,258 yards and plays as a par-71.


For the third straight week on TOUR, we can expect another birdie-fest this week as the winning score typically breaks into the -20’s under par.


A winning score of -20 under-par or better has been the norm here as 11-of-the-last-14 installments reached that mark.


Michael Kim hold’s the event record with his impressive victory in 2018 where he finished -27, winning by eight strokes.


It goes without saying, this is not a challenging track. Despite that fact, there is the presence of undulated fairways, steep elevation changes and tight doglegs.


Due to this, golfers are required to use every club in their bag. There will be a premium on ball striking and short game, more than a typical birdie-fest. This course will reward the most precise ball strikers on TOUR who are able to convert most birdie looks.


The fairways and greens are above average in size in terms of TOUR standards. Due to this, accurate ball strikers who can find the fairways and then greens in regulation will have success


Despite the fairways playing wider than most TOUR tracks, there are plenty of tight tree lines and ticker rough that forces layups.


There are multiple long par-threes and par-fours beyond 450 yards featured this week.


As previously mentioned, this event has been the host of many dramatic and climactic finishes. Like the Travelers, we’ve come to expect playoffs and one-stroke victories here at the John Deere Classic.


The winner has emerged from a playoff or by one-stroke 16 times since 2000.


Course form isn’t a necessity here but the correlation to other short course birdie-fest type tracks is. For example, Poston, the 2022 winner, placed T2nd at the Travelers Championship a week prior. He did not have a finish better than T64 in four prior John Deere Classic starts.


The Weather

As of the time of writing this, Thursday calls for a significant chance of precipitation at 70-percent. Sunday calls for a 40-percent chance of precipitation as Friday and Saturday call for at most 20-percent. Winds will be at the highest on Friday at 16 miles-per-hour. The winds will settle at ten-or-11 miles-per-hour over the weekend and at just nine miles-per-hour on Thursday. Temperatures will range between 78-to-84 degrees across all four days this week. In all, there are a few chances for some steady precipitation which can force the course to play soft.


Key Stats

  • Ball Striking

  • Strokes Gained: Putting on Bentgrass (SG: PUTT Bentgrass)

  • Strokes Gained: Approach

  • Greens in Regulation Percentage (GIR%)

  • Strokes Gained: Off the Tee (SG: OTT) / Hit Fairway Percentage 

  • Par Four Average Scoring

  • Par Five Average Scoring

  • Strokes Gained: Around the Green (SG: ATG)

  • Proximity to the Hole from 75-150 Yards / Proximity to the Hole from 15-175 Yards

  • Birdie or Better Percentage


DFS Suggestions

$10,000+

The ownership numbers for anyone in this price range are going to be rather high with just four names to choose from. My first suggestion is Aaron Rai ($10,000.) I’m not one to back Rai in the outright market with his putting struggles, but when it comes to DFS, playing the guy at the bottom of any price range is beneficial. He is currently first on Tour in hit fairway percentage, second in GIR%, sixth in SG: APP, tenth in ball striking, 14th in par four average scoring, 28th in SG: OTT, 42nd in par five average scoring, 49th in proximity to the hole from 150-175 yards, 58th in SG: ATG, 77th in birdie or better percentage and 86th in proximity to the hole from 75-150 yards. Of course his downfall is putting as he ranks 113th in SG: PUTT Bentgrass. However, he had his best showing last week at the Rocket Mortgage Classic with the flatstick as he gained 1.2 strokes-per-round on the greens. If he can maintain that bit of form, he’ll be in contention once again. He’s fresh off a T2nd at last week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic and prior to that went T19th at the U.S. Open, T14th at the Rocket Mortgage Classic and T4th at THE CJ CUP Byron Nelson. He’s made the cut in seven consecutive events, including five top 25’s, three top 15’s and two top fives. Also consider Sepp Straka ($10,400.) Straka is currently third on Tour in hit fairway percentage, eighth in proximity to the hole from 150-175 yards, 25th in ball striking, 32nd in SG: APP, 33rd in SG: OTT, 55th in par four average scoring, 84th in SG: PUTT Bentgrass and 95th in proximity to the hole from 75-150 yards. He has a few downfalls however as he is currently 134th on Tour in birdie or better percentage, 139th in SG: ATG and 156th in par five average scoring. However, he is the defending champion for a reason, shooting a nine-under final round to win by two strokes a season ago. He comes into this week in some decent form as well. He has made the cut in four straight events and dating back to the Arnold Palmer Invitational he has eight top 25 finishes in 12 events. Included in that run was a T5th at the Memorial Tournament, T5th at the Charles Schwab Challenge, T8th at the Wells Fargo Championship, T5th at the RBC Heritage, T16th at the Masters and T16th at THE PLAYERS Championship. I’m also playing two units on him at +2000 this week.


$9,000-$9,900

My favorite play in this price range is Davis Thompson ($9,600.) Thompson is in some insane form coming into this week as he’s fresh off a T2nd at last week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic and a T9th at the U.S. Open. He also has finishes such as T27th at the Memorial Tournament, T17th at the Charles Schwab Challenge and T2nd at the Myrtle Beach Classic dating back to May. He also placed T31st here a season ago. Thompson is also 13th on Tour in SG: ATG, 14th in par five average scoring, 24th in birdie or better percentage, 25th in all of SG: APP, GIR% and proximity to the hole from 150-175 yards, 26th in ball striking, 38th in par four average scoring, 66th in SG: OTT, 94th in proximity to the hole from 75-150 yards and 99th in hit fairway percentage. He does struggle a bit on the greens but did gain 0.538 strokes-per-round putting last week. He also gained 0.565 strokes-per-round putting at the U.S. Open. I’m playing two units on him at +3000 this week. Also consider Keith Mitchell ($9,200.) Again, I was high on Mitchell last week and he missed the cut but once again, he models rather well this week. In 17 events he’s played this season, he has placed top 25 in eight of them. In his last outing prior to last week’s missed cut, he went T10th at the RBC Canadian Open. Dating back to the Valspar Championship, in eight events, he has four top 25’s, two top 15’s and a top ten. Mitchell made the cut here last year and placed T7th in 2018 as well. He is currently fourth on Tour in SG: OTT, seventh in SG: APP, eighth in birdie or better percentage, ninth in both ball striking and par five average scoring, 14th in par four average scoring, 16th in proximity to the hole from 150-175 yards, 23rd in proximity to the hole from 75-150 yards, 93rd in SG: PUTT Bentgrass, 97th in hit fairway percentage and 123rd in SG: ATG. I think this is a perfect lower-ownership bounce back spot for Mitchell.


$8,000-$8,900

Leading off this price range is the 2021 John Deere Classic champion Lucas Glover ($8,700.) Glover absolutely loves this golf course. Dating back to 2017 he has played this event five times. Outside of one missed cut he won here in 2021, placed T6th a season ago, went T10th in 2019 and T25th in 2017. He also placed T15th here in 2013. That in itself should sell you on him this week. However, he isn’t in the best of form, placing T44th in his last outing at the Travelers Championship and prior to that missed back-to-back cuts. He did place T12th at the Charles Schwab Challenge and T16th at the Wells Fargo Championship recently however. Glover is currently fourth on Tour in proximity to the hole from 75-150 yards, sixth in hit fairway percentage, tenth in proximity to the hole from 150-175 yards, 13th in SG: APP, 28th in par four average scoring, 43rd in SG: ATG, 75th in ball striking, 77th in GIR%, 91st in SG: OTT, 111th in birdie or better percentage, 122nd in SG: PUTT Bentgrass and 164th in par five average scoring. I don’t think he has what it takes to win here again, but everything is pointing towards another strong performance here this week. Also consider Kevin Yu ($8,800.) Yu placed T6th here a season ago. He also comes into this week on half-way decent form, making the cut in four consecutive events, including a T31st last week at the Rocket Mortgage Classic and a T4th at the Myrtle Beach Classic in May. He is currently fifth on Tour in both GIR% and SG: OTT, eighth in ball striking, 15th in SG: APP, 19th in par five average scoring, 67th in proximity to the hole from 75-150 yards, 71st in par four average scoring, 73rd in birdie or better percentage, 82nd in proximity to the hole from 150-175 yards and 122nd in hit fairway percentage. We know Yu struggles on and around the greens as he ranks 154th in SG: PUTT Bentgrass and 162nd in SG: ATG. As much as it pains me as the original Yu backer, the putting and around-the-green work will keep him out of real contention, but everything else will elevate him to a strong DFS performance.


$7,000-$7,900

I’m going with Daniel Berger ($7,400) to lead the charge in this price range this week. A name I haven’t written up in quite some time. He is currently 11th on Tour in ball striking, 14th in GIR%, 16th in hit fairway percentage, 20th in SG: APP, 28th in proximity to the hole from 75-150 yards, 29th in SG: OTT, 52nd in par five average scoring, 55th in proximity to the hole from 150-175 yards, 93rd in par four average scoring, 112th in SG: PUTT Bentgrass, 115th in SG: ATG and 149th in birdie or better percentage. Berger has made the cut in six-of-his-last-nine events. He missed the cut last week at the Rocket Mortgage Classic but placed T21st the U.S. Open prior. He also placed T13th recently at THE CJ CUP Byron Nelson. Berger also has some decent course history here as well. Although he hasn’t played here since 2021, he placed T34th in 2021, T33rd in 2019 and T5th in 2017. Also consider Doug Ghim ($7,600.) Ghim is currently 14th on Tour in both hit fairway percentage and par five average scoring, 17th in SG: APP, 23rd in GIR%, 28th in par four average scoring, 33rd in proximity to the hole from 150-175 yards, 40th in SG: OTT, 41st in ball striking, 53rd in proximity to the hole from 75-150 yards, 75th in SG: ATG, 109th in birdie or better percentage and 115th in SG: PUTT Bentgrass. Ghim has made the cut in four-of-his-last-six events. It’s been awhile but earlier this year he had a run of events where he placed T13th at the Farmers Insurance Open, T12th at the WM Phoenix Open, T8th at the Mexico Open, T16th at the Cognizant Classic and T16th at THE PLAYERS Championship. He also has a bit of course form here, placing T26th a season ago and T18th in 2021. 


$6,900-

I’ll just repeat what I did in the $5,900-and-below price range last week with this price range this week. First up we have Patton Kizzire ($6,900.) He placed T20th last week at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. He also placed T10th at the Myrtle Beach Classic, T24th at the CJ CUP Byron Nelson and T23rd at the Corales Puntacana Championship within his last six events. Kizzire also has some great course history here. He missed the cut here last season but prior to that placed T16th in 2022, T11th in 2021, T30th in 2018 and T25th in 2017. Kizzire is currently third on Tour in par four average scoring, fourth in GIR%, eighth in SG: APP, tenth in proximity to the hole from 150-175 yards, 18th in birdie or better percentage, 26th in proximity to the hole from 75-150 yards, 35th in ball striking, 65th in hit fairway percentage, 95th in par five average scoring, 112th in SG: OTT, 128th in SG: PUTT Bentgrass and 137th in SG: ATG. Not a bad resume for someone down here at all. Also consider Carson Young ($6,700.) Young missed the cut last week at the Rocket Mortgage Classic but prior to that placed T14th at the RBC Canadian Open. He also placed T32nd at the Myrtle Beach Classic and T30th at THE CJ CUP Byron Nelson recently. Young is currently 11th on Tour in hit fairway percentage, 42nd in ball striking, 45th in SG: OTT, 52nd in par five average scoring, 55th in par four average scoring, 57th in proximity to the hole from 75-150 yards, 64th in GIR%, 67th in SG: PUTT Bentgrass, 78th in birdie or better percentage, 81st in SG: APP, 101st in proximity to the hole from 150-175 yards and 140th in SG: ATG. I’m also playing a unit on him +15000.


Betting Card

  • Sepp Straka (+2000) - 2u

  • Davis Thompson (+3000) - 2u

  • J.T. Poston (+3500) - 1u

  • Ryo Histatune (+7000) - 1u

  • Carson Young (+15000) - 1u


J.T. Poston (+3500)

Poston won this event in 2022 and placed T6th a season ago. He’s also made the cut in four straight events coming into this week, including a T32nd at the U.S. Open, T22nd at the Memorial Tournament and T12th at the Charles Schwab Challenge. He also placed T5th at the RBC Heritage. Poston is currently 22nd in hit fairway percentage, 29th in SG: PUTT Bentgrass, 38th in birdie or better percentage, 46th in proximity to the hole from 150-175 yards, 49th in SG: ATG, 55th in par four average scoring, 80th in par five average scoring, 84th proximity to the hole from 150-175 yards, 95th in ball striking, 98th in SG: OTT, 113th in GIR% and 116th in SG: APP. I’m playing a unit on him.


Ryo Histatune (+7000)

Histatune made the cut in four-of-his-last-six events. He placed T13th at THE CJ CUP Byron Nelson, T18th at the PGA Championship, T35th at the RBC Canadian Open and T31st at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. He is currently eighth on Tour in par four average scoring, 12th in GIR%, 31st in SG: ATG, 42nd in birdie or better percentage, 47th in ball striking, 60th in SG: APP, 64th in proximity to the hole from 75-150 yards, 83rd in hit fairway percentage, 95th in proximity to the hole from 150-175 yards, 100th in SG: OTT, 118th in SG: PUTT Bentgrass and 128th in par five average scoring.

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