We preview the 2021 John Deere Classic taking place a TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois.
2021 US PGA Tour
John Deere Classic
TPC Deere Run, Silvis, Illinois
Michigan was fun. Despite not attracting a stellar field, the Rocket Mortgage ultimately turned into a pulsating event over the weekend. Troy Merritt fired a hole-in-one on Saturday to seize the initiative, only for Aussie Cam Davis to claw his way back on Sunday. The Australian ultimately prevailed in a tense five-hole playoff against Merritt. The tour now moves from Michigan to Illinois for this traditional lead-in event for the Open Championship: The John Deere Classic. In an attempt to tempt bigger stars to play a week outside of the Open, a charter plane has been used since 2008 to escort Open entrants to Britain directly following the event. Originally known as the Quad Cities Open, the John Deere Classic was first staged as a satellite event back in 1971. It then became an official PGA Tour event 12 months later. TPC Deere Run has been the permanent home of this event since 2000. There was no event here last year, which means that the off-form Dylan Frittelli will be defending his title this year.
This course is a par 71 that is just a smidge over 7,200 yards. TPC Deere Run traditionally ranks as one of the easiest par 71’s on the entire tour. It was designed by D.A Weibring and sits on old Native American settlements (Pet Sematary vibes abound). The fairways are fairly generous while the bentgrass greens are easy to find. Water is in play on five holes and the greens run at about 12 on the stimp. This is a birdie-fest. What you do off the tee here is largely irrelevant (though I’d always favour length over accuracy on a layout such as this). The key to success here is a hot putter. You can expect ridiculous scoring this week. Michael Kim shot an unbelievable 27-under-par when winning in 2018, with rounds of 63, 64, 64 and 66. Paul Goydos also shot a 59 here in 2010.
Daniel Berger leads the market in Illinois this week. He is an ultra-consistent competitor who certainly deserves the price. Former John Deere champion Brian Harman has enjoyed an excellent season, regularly hobnobbing with the world’s greatest players in huge tournaments. 2019 runner-up Russell Henley has been in great touch, contending at both the US Open and Travellers Championship. Rocket Mortgage Classic champion Cam Davis will also be in the field this week. He will be joined by his arch-nemesis Troy Merritt. Merritt will look to exorcise the memories of that painful six-footer from Sunday.
2020: no event
2019: Dylan Frittelli (-21)
2018: Michael Kim (-27)
2017: Bryson DeChambeau (-18)
2016: Ryan Moore (-22)
To Win Outright:
Daniel Berger 10/1
Brian Harman 14/1
Sungjae Im 16/1
Russell Henley 20/1
Kevin Streelman 22/1
Kevin Streelman- To Win 22/1 | To Place 48/10
Kevin Streelman is a regular fixture in this event. The Illinois native finished T7 during his last visit in 2018. A disappointing missed-cut at the Travellers was preceded by top 15 finishes at both the US Open and US PGA Championship. He is currently 25th on tour for Greens-in-Regulation and 28th for Scoring Average. This could be a brilliant opportunity for Streelman to flex his muscle, with only a handful of the world’s top 50 in attendance.
Beau Hossler- To Win 66/1 | To Place 14/1
Beau Hossler is currently playing extremely steady golf, stealthily notching up consecutive top 25 finishes in his last three events. Once ranked as high as 64 in the world rankings, he enters this week as World Number 288. But at least he’s been trending in the right direction. He tied for 26th at the 2019 John Deere Classic, with 1.48 SG: Putting per round. That’s the key component to this game and will make him an interesting dark horse this week. This is a severely limited field and he could benefit from that.
The Man to Beat- Brian Harman- To Win 14/1 | To Place 3/1
Brian Harman has to be my bet this week. TPC Deere Run just lines up perfectly for him. While not especially long off the tee, Harman is an electric putter who loves these greens. The 2014 John Deere champion has enjoyed an excellent season. He finished 3rd at the Players Championship prior to a 12th at the Masters. He was 5th at the Travelers Championship last time out and he should be a strong contender to win his 3rd PGA Tour title this week.