Power Rankings: John Deere Classic
July 09, 2018
By Rob Bolton , PGATOUR.COM
- Zach Johnson returns to his home event this week at the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Illinois.
For the second consecutive week, a PGA TOUR sophomore will defend his breakthrough title after scaling inside the top 25 of the Official World Golf Ranking.
Xander Schauffele (currently 24th in the OWGR) factored at A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier until a final-round 75. He finished T21. At this week's John Deere Classic, Bryson DeChambeau (22nd) is poised to enjoy the memories of his one-stroke victory a year ago.
For more on this duo, the tournament, how TPC Deere Run plays and DeChambeau's strange formula for success in 2017, scroll beneath the ranking.
Si Woo Kim, Scott Piercy, Chris Kirk, Kevin Streelman and Bill Haas will be among the notables covered in Tuesday's Fantasy Insider.
Both Schauffele and DeChambeau were first-time members in 2016-17, and Schauffele went on to win the Rookie of the Year award, but DeChambeau exhausted his rookie eligibility as a non-member the previous season, so the two didn’t battle for votes. Both have won again since lifting their first trophies, but it's their consistently strong form that has each positioned firmly on the global stage.
That's exactly what tournament organizers of the John Deere Classic want. Every year, emergent talent is invited to compete. The timing is terrific just a few weeks removed from the conclusion of the collegiate season and a few weeks prior to qualifying school for the Web.com Tour, if necessary. DeChambeau was an amateur when he was extended a sponsor exemption in 2015. He rewarded the tournament with his return last year, and then used it as his springboard. A literal win-win.
This week's slate of headliners among that crowd includes Fred Haskins Award winner Norman Xiong, NCAA individual champion Broc Everett, 2017 U.S. Amateur runner-up Doug Ghim and former University of Illinois teammates Dylan Meyer and Nick Hardy.
No matter where any of the 156 in the field at TPC Deere Run is situated on his career trajectory, he couldn't ask for a more predictable and fair layout against which to test his game.
In favorable conditions last year, the field averaged 69.753, thus extending its streak to nine consecutive years of a scoring average within a half-shot window. It's a target that should be split again this week despite the threat for rain and storms mid-tournament. Warm and muggy air with light breezes support the proliferation of red numbers, so it's another green-light special on deck.
The field can expect to average over 10 (of 14) fairways hit and about 13 greens in regulation per round on the par-35-36=71 stretching to 7,268 yards. With bentgrass greens rolling at just 11.5 feet on the Stimpmeter and with what are annually among the easiest par 3s and par 4s of any course, this will be another shootout.
On the way to 18-under 266, DeChambeau's line reads like a misprint, so he's proof that anyone can prevail. He ranked T11 in greens hit and T29 in scrambling – fine – but he was second in strokes gained: putting despite finishing 50th in conversion percentage inside 10 feet. He did co-lead the field in par-3 scoring but ranked T30 in par-4 scoring, which is usually an automatic indicator of success because there are more par 4s than par 3s and par 5s on every golf course.
With his victory last year, DeChambeau also secured the final exemption into the Open Championship. Up for grabs again this week, it will go to the highest finisher, not otherwise exempt, inside the top five. As of Monday afternoon, 14 in the field already know that they are headed to Carnoustie.
ROB BOLTON’S SCHEDULE
PGATOUR.COM’s Fantasy Insider Rob Bolton reviews and previews every tournament from numerous angles. Look for his following contributions as scheduled.
MONDAY: Rookie Ranking, Qualifiers, Reshuffle, Medical Extensions, Power Rankings
TUESDAY*: Sleepers, Facebook Live, Fantasy Insider
WEDNESDAY: One & Done; Champions One & Done
* - Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf presented by SERVPRO, which also publishes on Tuesdays.