A year ago, the John Deere Classic celebrated its 50th anniversary. This week, it will crown its 50th official champion.
For an explanation, how TPC Deere Run sets up and other details concerning the annual stop in the Quad Cities, scroll past the ranking of golfers projected to contend.
POWER RANKINGS: JOHN DEERE CLASSIC
Jason Day, Cameron Champ, Charles Howell III and former champion Zach Johnson will be among the notables reviewed in Draws and Fades.
The inaugural John Deere Classic was contested in 1971. Then-future PGA TOUR commissioner Deane Beman prevailed by two strokes over Dow Finsterwald. It was a satellite event and contested concurrently with the Ryder Cup late that summer.
A year later, Beman defended his title for what was the second consecutive debut of sorts, because the 1972 staging was the first official edition of the tournament. Incidentally, although Illinois’ Oakwood Country Club in Coal Valley (1975-1999) and TPC Deere Run in Silvis (2000-present) have carried the load since the nascent days, it was Crow Valley Country Club across the Mississippi River in Bettendorf, Iowa, that held the first four of what known simply as the Quad Cities Open (1971-1975).
TPC Deere Run is a par 71 that tips at 7,289 yards. Its 21 additional yards from how it routed since 2007 is due to a new tee on the par-4 first hole that now can reach 416 yards. But that’s not the only modification. In fact, a widescale renovation and strategic shifting of bunkers will generate the need for updated notes among those in the field of 156 who have played here before.
For most intents and purposes, the course hosts a shootout every year. Last year’s scoring average of 69.513 was the latest in a string of bull’s-eyes at TPC Deere Run. The field averages almost 13 greens in regulation per round, but the course further forgives in that it’s often among the easiest to avoid three-putting on bentgrass greens prepped for a standard 12 feet on the Stimpmeter. So, the primary challenge is keeping the pedal down while navigating potentially new landing areas off tees amid the introduction of newly positioned bunkers. The longest rough stands four inches.
The wild weather that the Midwest endured this spring slides aside in favor of a proper summertime heat wave this week. Thursday’s daytime high amid a sunny sky should eclipse 90 degrees. The threat of inclement weather will command attention on Friday and maybe again on Saturday before Sunday’s finale is held in similar conditions to the opening round, albeit in slightly cooler air.
ROB BOLTON’S SCHEDULE
PGATOUR.com’s Rob Bolton recaps and previews every tournament from numerous perspectives. Look for his following contributions as scheduled.
MONDAY: Power Rankings
TUESDAY*: Sleepers, Draws and Fades
WEDNESDAY: Pick ’Em Preview
SUNDAY: Medical Extensions, Qualifiers, Reshuffle, Rookie Ranking
* - Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, which also publishes on Tuesday.