This week the Tour heads to familiar TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois for the John Deere Classic. This event serves as a warm up for some as they prepare to head over for The Open Championship the following week. Many players choose to skip this event in order to get overseas and begin preparing, but for a few they are drawn by past successes. Zach Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Steve Stricker are such players, and all will be competing this week. Some have criticized Spieth’s decision to compete at the John Deere as he seeks to win a third major in a row and move one step closer to a grand slam season. Along with competing this week, Spieth’s preparations have also included playing St. Andrews on his personal simulator at home.
Built on a former Arabian horse farm, TPC Deere Run is a par 71 track, measuring over 7200 yards. This event serves as the last opportunity for players to earn their way into the Open Championship. With one spot available, the highest finisher within the top-5, who has not yet earned the right to compete, will be making quick travel plans come Sunday evening.
Below are a list of players worth consideration as you put together your fantasy lineups for the week.
Zach Johnson - In 2012, he won this event in a playoff against Troy Matteson. In 2013, he lost in a playoff to Jordan Spieth. Last year, he finished one shot back of champion Brian Harman. I see no reason to argue against picking Zach for your fantasy team.
Jordan Spieth - Returning to the site of his inaugural PGA Tour win as a 19 year old in 2013. Warming up for the British Open as he seeks to conquer the Grand Slam this season.
David Hearn - Lost in a playoff in 2013 to Spieth. A terrific posting at The Greenbrier last week, losing in a playoff to Danny Lee. Has been quietly playing some very steady golf this season, and seems primed to take another shot at earning his first PGA Tour win.
Steve Stricker - Has won this event three times (2009, 2010, 2011), and is always inside, or around, the top-10 come Sunday. Has struggled this season as he seeks to return to form after back surgery.
Ryan Moore - T7, T22, T8 in last three trips to this event. A golfer who consistently plays well on certain courses, and this is definitely one of them.
Patrick Rogers - Finished T15 in 2013 as an amateur in this event. Has been playing well enough this season to earn conditional status on Tour.
Kevin Kisner - Lost in playoff last week at The Greenbrier. Was the third playoff loss he’s suffered this season. Getting a lot of experience around the lead, and experience leads to wins.
Robert Streb - Has finished inside top-20 in four of last six events played. Lost in playoff last week at The Greenbrier despite making five birdies while putting with his wedge after his putter broke mid-round.
Tony Finau - Having a great rookie season. Has finished outside the top-20 only once in last seven events.
Brian Harman - Playing well as of late. Went into final round at the Travelers Championship with the lead. Is this week’s defending champion, as he captured his first PGA Tour win at this event last year.
Martin Flores - Finished one shot out of the playoff in 2013. A little streaky this season, but has shown that he has the game to contend.
Jim Herman - Finished T10 in 2013. Has cooled off a bit as of late, but still playing steady golf. His missed cut last week was his first since late March.
Troy Matteson - Lost in playoff to Zach Johnson in 2012. Has made one cut in six events played this year.
Jerry Kelly - Has played some great golf this season. Finished T3 at this event last year.
DraftKings!! Another large pot week, with the winner earning $100,000. Something I love about the DraftKings platform is the fact that they do a tremendous job of making a ton of payouts. There have been weeks where I’ve felt my team has not performed very stellar, and yet I’ve still received a payment. This is just one of the many ways that DraftKings has managed to make fantasy golf exciting for the masses. I’m using the John Deere as my final fantasy warm-up before the $1,000,000 tournament which celebrates the The Open Championship.
Zach Johnson - $11,400
Ryan Moore - $9,900
Steve Stricker - $9,300
Tony Finau - $8,500
Davis Love III - $5,600
Trevor Immelman - $5,200
My strategy for this team was to take players like Johnson, Moore and Stricker who have dominated the leaderboard at this event for the past three years. I then took Finau due to his solid recent performances. These picks left me with very little draft money, so I decided to take two former major champions in Love III and Immelman. I’m hoping their veteran experience will carry them into the top-5 for that final ticket to the Open.
Jordan Spieth - $13,700
Zach Johnson - $11,400
Will Wilcox - $6,400
Nick Taylor - $6,000
Andres Gonzales - $5,700
Tim Petrovic - $5,600
With this team I went top heavy for similar reasons as with my first team - both Spieth and Johnson seem like locks to excel this week. With my remaining money, I went with players who I have a gut feeling on. Tim Petrovic has recorded a top-10 this year, Nick Taylor continues to prove that he belongs after winning the Sanderson Farms late in 2014, and Wilcox and Gonzalez can certainly compete any given week. I realize that my reasons for these last four picks are not incredibly convincing, but golf is not a game of absolutes. Sometimes gut feelings are what pay. If you want proof, take a look at last week’s Greenbrier leaderboard.
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About the Author
This article was written by Jonathan Carr (@jonathanwcarr) as part of our weekly #FantasyGolf series. Each week we preview the upcoming PGA Tour event and highlight some of the players we'll be keeping an eye on. As a scratch golfer himself, Jonathan has a keen eye for what it takes to be successful on and off the golf course. His passion for golf is surpassed only by his passion for his faith and his family. Read some of Jonathan's other articles here.
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