John Deere Classic: Ryan a fair price for Moore success at Deere Run

Ryan Moore – fancied to put up a bold defence at Deere Run
Ryan Moore – fancied to put up a bold defence at Deere Run

We're off to Illinois on the PGA Tour this week for the annual birdie-fest at Deere Run. Read our man's in-depth preview of the John Deere Classic here...


“Ryan Moore hasn’t played for five weeks because of a strained tendon in his left shoulder so there’s a danger he’s rushing back to make his defence. That’s the only reason I can see for his price of 42.041/1 but if you flip that on its head, maybe he’s waited to get back in A1 condition to put up a bold defence on a course he clearly loves?”

Tournament History

The John Deere Classic was originally a satellite evert named the Quad Cities Open. First staged in 1971, it was initially played at the Crow Valley Country Club in Davenport, Iowa, before it moved to Oakwood Country Club in Illinois in 1975. Since 2000 its permanent home has been here at Deere Run.

The tournament had been staged in the week before the Open Championship since the last century but it got switched to August last year when the schedule was rejigged to accommodate the Olympics. Between 2008 and 2015, a special charter plane was lined up to take Open entrants straight to Blighty and that became something of a tradition. No doubt the custom will be reinstated this year as the tournament returns to its usual slot.


Venue

TPC Deere Run, Silvis, Illinois.


Course Details

Par 71 - 7,268 yards
Stroke Index in 2016 - 69.9

Designed by D.A Weibring and sitting on old Native American settlements, TPC Deere Run is a very easy track indeed, where low scores are very much the norm. Chad Campbell fired a 62 in the third round three years ago but that wasn't even the best of the day as Scott Brown shot 61 and that was the same score that Jordan Spieth shot in round three two years ago. And Paul Goydos shot 59 here in 2010.

Water is in play on five holes and the average-sized bentgrass greens usually run at around 11 on the stimpmeter. The two nines end with the two hardest holes on the course but they're far from impossible. The par four ninth and 18th holes both ranked the joint-hardest on the course last year but at 4.16 they only just averaged over-par. It really is an easy course for pro golfers and only five of the 18 holes averaged over-par for the week last year.


Weather Forecast


TV Coverage

Live on Sky all four days, starting at 21:00 on Thursday.


Last Five Winners

2016 - Ryan Moore -22
2015 - Jordan Spieth - 20 (playoff)
2014 - Brian Harman -22
2013 - Jordan Spieth - 19 (playoff)
2012 - Zach Johnson -20 (Playoff)


What Will it Take to Win The John Deere Classic?


The John Deere Classic is essentially a birdie-fest with seven of the last eight winners reaching at least 20-under-par. Ryan Moore won on a rain-softened course after several rain delays and his stats were exactly what we'd expect.

Driving distance is irrelevant here and Driving Accuracy hasn't been an essential prerequisite either. Moore ranked 34th for DD and 12th for DA.

Jordan Spieth, who is missing the tournament for the second year in-a-row, has won two of the last four renewals because he's scrambled and putted brilliantly and Moore ranked first for Scrambling and sixth for Putting Average, but the secret to success here is usually relentlessly finding the putting surfaces. Greens In Regulation is the most important stat but how you play the par fives is key too. Moore ranked first for GIR and nobody played the par fives better.

Spieth managed to win here in 2013 when playing the long holes in just six-under-par but 12 of the last 13 winners have played them in at least eight-under-par for the week and Moore played them in nine-under-par.


Is There an Angle In?


Form at Colonial Country Club, home of the Dean & Deluca Invitational, is worth close scrutiny. Since this event moved to Deere Run, Steve Stricker, Zach Johnson, Kenny Perry and Jordan Spieth have won both tournaments and Tim Clark has come close to winning both, finishing runner-up in each event.

Sean O'Hair, who won this tournament in 2005, finished tied for second in this year's Dean & Deluca alongside Deere Run specialist, Jordan Spieth, and the 2014 JDC winner, Brian Harman, finished tied for seventh alongside Stricker at this year's Dean & Deluca.

Check out Valspar Championship form too as four men have won that tournament as well as this one - the aforementioned Spieth, John Senden, Sean O'Hair and Vijay Singh.


Is There an Identikit Winner?

Brian Harman was a triple-figure price three years ago but you have to go all the way back to 2001 to find the previous winner to go off at more than a double digit price. Dave Gossett was around the 125/1 mark. Moore was pre-tournament 28/1 chance last year and Spieth was 40/1 when he won his first PGA Tour title here in 2013 but in the main, those at the very front of the market have prospered of late.

An American has won the last 10 renewals and there have only been seven overseas winners in the event's 45 year history.


In-Play Tactics


Moore sat third after round one and he was never headed form halfway but don't worry if your fancy has a poor first round as a slow start can be overcome at Deere Run.

Steve Stricker and Zach Johnson have both won recently having trailed by seven strokes after round one and Spieth trailed by six after the opening day in 2013 and by eight two years later!

Spieth was still five back at halfway in 2015 and he trailed by six shots after round three in 2013. And a year earlier Zach won having trailed by four strokes through 54 holes. Sean O'Hair won in 2005 from five back and in 2004 John E Morgan lost a playoff to Mark Hensby having trailed by five with a round to go. Hensby himself had trailed by four, so there are examples of players making up strokes to win but making up lots of places is really hard.

Dave Barr was five off the lead and tied for 16th with a round to go in 1981 but every other winner has been inside the top-10 after 54 holes. In the 45 renewals to date, 21 third round leaders or co leaders have gone on to win and 35 winners have been inside the top-three and ties.


Market Leaders


Daniel Berger sandwiched a missed cut at the US Open with a successful defence of his St Jude Classic title and a playoff defeat at the Travelers Championship last time out so he makes his Deere Run debut in good form.

Berger missed the cut at the Valspar Championship and at the Dean & Deluca Invitational earlier this year so on that evidence, if those course correlations are credit worthy, Berger could be one to avoid or even take on.

Dave Tindall makes a strong case for Brian Harman here and I can see where he's coming from. Harman's course and current form can't be questioned but he's a bit too short for my liking.

Dave's also sweet on Charley Hoffman and again, I can see why, but Charley's notoriously iffy in-the-mix and I'm not keen on him at just 21.020/1 on the exchange.

Dean & Deluca Invitational winner, Kevin Kisner, looks like he should be a great fit here but his form figures only read MC-MC-20-35 and he may have gone off the boil since his victory. He was sixth in the Memorial Tournament the following week but he was only 58th in the US Open and he missed the cut at the Greenbrier Classic last week. I wouldn't be surprised to see him bounce back here but I'm more than happy to swerve him.

Danny Lee is in fine form but he's only ever won once on the PGA Tour and since his win at the Greenbrier Classic two years ago he's had a few chances he's messed up and recent Quicken Loans National winner, Kyle Stanley, might be a better prospect.

Stanley's first win, at the Phoenix Open in 2012, came a week after he'd blown a great chance to win the Farmers Insurance Open so we know he can hold his form and he was runner-up to Stricker here back in 2011.


Selections


Tournament standing dishes, Zach Johnson and Steve Stricker were first and second favourites last year. They're getting long in the tooth now and Zach, in-particular, is struggling form wise but I thought they were worth small savers at around 30.029/1 and I also like the defending champ and this year's Heritage winner, Wesley Bryan.

Ryan Moore hasn't played for five weeks because of a strained tendon in his left shoulder so there's a danger he's rushing back to make his defence. That's the only reason I can see for his price of 42.041/1 but if you flip that on its head, maybe he's waited to get back in A1 condition to put up a bold defence on a course he clearly loves? In a tournament where course form repeats year after year, Moore's a cracking price and well worth chancing.

I'm a bit confused to see Wesley Bryan priced up at 80/1 with a few books given he was eighth here on debut last year, has already won this year and that he was seventh at the Valspar. He hasn't been in sparkling form of late but that's more than factored into the price. It's also worth noting that he finished second in Illinois on the Web.com Tour last year and that he was tied for the lead at halfway last year. I like his chances at around the 80/1 mark.


Selections:

Zach Johnson @ 29.028/1
Steve Stricker @ 30.029/1
Ryan Moore @ 42.041/1
Wesley Bryan @ 75.074/1


I'll be back on Thursday or Friday with the In-Play Blog.


*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter


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