2015 John Deere Classic picks + predictions, plus the Driver-Off-The-Deck BOLD Play of the Week #isitThursdayyet

One of the great things that makes watching sports so enjoyable is the true admiration we all have towards the athletes and their respective talents.  Throwing a 100 mph fastball, running a wide receiver route across the middle of the field and getting smoked by an opposing linebacker and slam-dunking from practically anywhere inside the free throw line are just a few of the many things that come to mind in terms of sheer awe I have when watching sports. 

In the case of golf and the PGA Tour, this week’s John Deere Classic is one of my annual reminders that the “These Guys Are Good” motto is so perfectly spot on.  Having been lucky enough to play the host course- TPC Deere Run- I can tell you that the average winning score of 21-under-par the past six years is just flat out ridiculously impressive.  Oh yeah, as is the fact that Paul freaking Goydos shot 59 here a couple years ago in the first round and didn’t even win the tournament!

At 7,268 yards, TPC Deere Run isn’t overly beefy yardage-wise, and overall the fairways are rather generous.  But with fescue grasses, trees and/or hazards on both sides of each hole, along with some highly undulating greens and deep bunkers, the course certainly is penal to those hitting it offline.   When playing the course a few years back, I recall our group continually exclaiming, “they shoot how many under here?!”  Not only is the winning score mighty impressive, but from ’09 through ’13, it took 4-under or better just to see the weekend (last year the cut was 2-under).  These guys definitely are good.

My picks last week at the Greenbrier Classic were less than stellar to say the least, as Lockzillas Graham DeLaet + Pat Perez and Semi-Flier Brendon de Jonge all made the cut, but only Perez cracked the top 25 (t-22nd).

Now, let’s hop into some picks for this week:

LOCKZILLAS (Last Week: DeLaet t-37th, Perez t-22nd)

Zach Johnson
Zach Johnson
– I should’ve put a picture of Lebron James or Kevin Garnett here filling their hands up with chalk and then clapping it up into the air or all over the scorer’s table, as Zach is as chalky as they come this week.  Have no fear though, as not only is Zach’s track record here absolutely Lockzilla-house (5 top 3s in past 6 appearances, including a win in ’12), but he’s in fine form as well coming in with 7 top 20s in his past 8 PGA Tour stroke play events, including a solo 6th just two weeks ago at the Travelers Championship. More than worth the price of admission this week.

Steve Stricker
Steve Stricker
– Many may be afraid to roster the 48-year-old Wisconsinite this week following his MC at the Greenbrier, but Stricker may have been more focused on assisting his buddy Tiger Woods in making the cut than focusing on his own game last week.  I can tell you right now that watching Stricker fail to birdie the 18th hole on Friday to miss the cut by one stroke was sheer dejection on his face–basically, the guy still has strong desires to play well with the young pups on the PGA Tour.  Well, what better course to do so than TPC Deere Run, where he’s a 3-time champ and hasn’t finished worse than t-11th in his past 6 starts here.  I’m not worried whatsoever that he doesn’t have a top 25 in an official PGA Tour event since last year’s PGA Championship.  Let others steer clear with worry, while you capitalize on Stricker’s playground.

SEMI-FLIER (Last Week: de Jonge t-60th)

Luke Guthrie
Luke Guthrie
– I wrote up Luke in this same Semi-Flier spot last year, and he ultimately finished in t-27th place.  Now, with another PGA Tour season under his belt, the University of Illinois boy prodigy is inching closer to tapping into his true potential.  I admittedly expected more out of him earlier in his career, but trust me when I say that his best is easily still yet to come.  In addition to his t-27th here last year, Guthrie finished t-5th here in a sponsor’s exemption in ’12, when he opened with a 65 and closed with a 64.  Only one top 10 all season thus far (t-7th at the Valspar), but predicting right now that he’ll double that top 10 season total this week.

HOSEL-ROCKET BUST (Last week:McNeill t-22nd)

Danny Lee
Danny Lee
– Easiest fade on the board this week, as with his breakthrough win last week at the Greenbrier Classic, Danny will still be in celebration mode come his Thursday tee time.  For an experienced veteran it’s even a challenge to remain focused the week after a win, so for a first-time winner it’s all the more difficult.  Expect a weekend off for the young Kiwi this week.

DRIVER-OFF-THE-DECK BOLD PLAY OF THE WEEK (Last Week: Beljan MC)

Jason Kokrak
Jason Kokrak
– Much like my Semi-Flier Luke Guthrie, I’ve been high on Kokrak’s long term potential for his entire career, as with his prodigious length of the tee and proven winning pedigree from the Web.com Tour, it’s simply inevitable that he’ll burst through into the winner’s circle at some point in his PGA Tour career.  Following a sizzling stretch of finishes of t-7th, t-6th, t-11th and t-18th from the Valspar to the RBC Heritage (also with an MC at the SHO during that stretch), Kokrak bottomed out into a 4 straight MC streak.  But, the Canadian has showed more signs of life lately, making his last three cuts.  It doesn’t sound like much momentum, and his only course history here is an MC from ’12, but this I have a feeling about Kokrak this week.  Roster him now and thank me later.

#isitThursdayyet

Joel Harrington
@joel4deepgolf

 

Speak Your Mind

*