Quick look at the John Deere Classic
July 10, 2019
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Zach Johnson discusses the state of his game before John Deere
Generation next is already here and they’ll go on show again this week at the John Deere Classic. Sure there are some gimmicks to watch, from last start winner Matthew Wolff’s shimmy shimmy shake and Ho Sung Choi’s fisherman swing, but this field is way more than that. This tournament has long been a launch pad for young players and with Wolff and co ready to rumble at TPC Deere Run the birdies are sure to fly. Want to see the games next stars up close? Tune in.
While TPC Deere Run yields plenty of birdies the 476-yard par-4 18th is not a hole you can expect one. It has long been one of the tougher closing holes on the PGA TOUR, ranking fifth of all 18th’s last season. At 4.247 last year it was one of just six holes at TPC Deere Run to average over par at the tournament and with 95 bogeys and 28 doubles it was the toughest. The tee shot negotiates the trees on either side with a bunker on the left of the fairway. On approach the pond on the left is just waiting for a wayward shot. Here’s a closer look.
TPC Deere Run - Hole No. 18
Generally speaking you need to go low at TPC Deere Run and the par-5 2nd hole is one you need to get after. It was the easiest on the course last season with the 561-yard hole playing at more than half a stroke under par (4.479). There were 18 eagles and 236 birdies despite water lurking up near the green. With a generous landing zone off the tee everyone’s eyes light up at this hole. One of the highlights last year – Trey Mullinax made a par after failing to reach the fairway from the tee in the second round. You can see his landing spot, as well as the rest of the fields below.
From on-site meteorologist Willis Young: Cooler and less humid air will filter southward for Thursday, with the pleasant conditions remaining through Friday. Winds will turn southwesterly over the weekend but remain rather light. Both temperatures and humidity levels will increase this weekend, with heat index values climbing to near 100 by Sunday afternoon. Isolated storms can’t be ruled out this weekend, but for the most part we will remain dry.
For the latest weather news from Silvis, Illinois, check out PGATOUR.com's weather hub.
SOUND CHECKI'm 43. The realist in me understands that there's probably things that, regardless of how good I'm swinging it, how good I'm hitting it down my line, age can be a factor there, but I'm not going to use that as an excuse. Just not going to happen.
BY THE NUMBERS
8 – The number of shots Michael Kim won by last season at TPC Deere Run. Since then he’s made just five cuts from 28 tournaments including missing 18 straight cuts leading into his title defense.
41 – Rounds in a row at par or better at the John Deere Classic from Zach Johnson. He won the title in 2012.
22 – This marks the 22nd anniversary of John Deere being the title sponsor, the third-longest relationship on the PGA TOUR.
100 million – With a record 13.4million in charitable giving in 2018 the tournament eclipsed the 100 million mark over it’s lifetime.
The John Deere Classic offers the chance for the last spot in The Open Championship. As part of the Open Qualifying Series the top player not otherwise exempt who finishes inside the top five and ties will receive an invitation to the 2019 Open Championship at Royal Portrush and be able to join the special charter flight the tournament provides each season. Form from the tournament has helped some players in recent years. Jordan Spieth was T4 in 2015 at St Andrews after winning at TPC Deere Run. Last year Francesco Molinari was runner up before heading over to Carnoustie to win.
The John Deere Classic’s tradition of offering playing opportunities to deserving up-and-coming young players continues in 2019 with its sponsor exemptions including Viktor Hovland and Justin Suh. Matthew Wolff and Collin Morikawa were originally scheduled to play via sponsor invite also before earning their way in. Notable sponsor exemptions at the John Deere Classic over the years include Zach Johnson (2003), Jason Day (2006), Jordan Spieth (2012 and 2013), Justin Thomas (2013), Bryson DeChambeau (2015) and Jon Rahm (2016).
This week will mark the second PGA TOUR start for internet sensation Ho Sung Choi. The 45-year-old with the funky fisherman’s swing shot 72-75-77 to miss the cut at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am earlier this season but has his sights firmly set on the weekend at TPC Deere Run. He will also tee it up at the Barracuda Championship in Reno later this summer. Choi has won several times on the Korean Tour, once on the Japan Tour, and cracked the top 200 in the world with a victory at the 2018 Casio World Open.
There are just four weeks left in the FedExCup regular Season meaning we will know who makes it into the Wyndham Rewards Top 10 soon. With none of the players inside the top 14 of the standings in action this week it is a tremendous opportunity for those close to the rewards zone to make a move. Charles Howell III (15th), Ryan Palmer (22nd), Sungjae Im (23rd), Kevin Tway (33rd) and Lucas Glover (35th) are the best placed to make a surge. Of course it is a crucial week for the race to the FedExCup Playoffs also. There are 91 currently eligible players in the field outside the top 125 in the points race. There are also 30 players outside the top 200, the mark to be part of the Korn Ferry Tour Finals.