Originally known as the Quad Cities Open, the John Deere Classic was first staged as a satellite tournament on the PGA Tour way back in 1971. It became an official event 12 months later and this year's renewal is the 51st.
Initially played at the Crow Valley Country Club in Davenport, Iowa, the tournament moved to Oakwood Country Club in Illinois in 1975 and since 2000 its permanent home has been here at Deere Run.
For all but two editions this century, the John Deere Classic has been staged in the week before the Open Championship but as next week's DP World Tour event - the Scottish Open - is now co-sanctioned with the PGA Tour, this year's edition is being staged two weeks before the year's final major.
TPC Deere Run, Silvis, Illinois
Par 71 - 7,289 yards
Stroke Index in 2021 - 69.53
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 seven 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 - six years ago. Paul Goydos shot 59 here in 2010 and the surprise 2018 winner, Michael Kim, amassed an incredible 27-under-par total with rounds of 63, 64, 64 and 66.
Water is in play on five holes and the average-sized bentgrass greens will be set to run at 12 on the Stimpmeter. The two nines end with two of the hardest holes on the course but they're far from impossible. The par four ninth has been the hardest for the last two editions and the par four 18th was the toughest on the track in the three years before that.
It really is an easy course for pro golfers, although it has been tweaked before this year's edition. The par four opening hole has been extended by 21 yards and fairway bunkers have been strategically moved throughout the course. The longest rough stands at four inches high.
Live on Sky Sports all four days, starting at 18:00 on Thursday
Last Five Winners with Pre-event Exchange Prices
2021 - Lucas Glover -19 70.069/1
2020 - Event Cancelled
2019 - Dylan Frittelli -21 90.089/1
2018 - Michael Kim -27 800.0799/1
2017 - Bryson DeChambeau -18 55.054/1
2016 - Ryan Moore -22 32.031/1
What Will it Take to Win the John Deere Classic?
The last ten winners here have had an average Driving Distance ranking of 26th and an average Driving Accuracy ranking of 29.6 so what you do off the tee is largely unimportant.
The 2019 winner, Dylan Frittelli, only ranked 32nd for Driving Distance but that was by some margin his worst statistical ranking for the week and he ranked second for Strokes Gained Putting. He made all 53 putts inside seven feet and he missed just two of 62 inside ten feet!
Lucas Glover ranked 15th for Greens In Regulation last year and the two winners before him ranked second and seventh for GIR. No winner in the last decade has ranked any worse than 34th for GIR (Spieth) but the GIR average ranking for the ten is still only 17.6 and this event is nearly always won on or around the greens.
Glover topped the Putting Average stats last year and although Frittelli only ranked 22nd in 2019, he ranked second for Strokes Gained Putting and Russell Henley, in second place, ranked first for PA. The 2018 winner, Kim, ranked first for both PA and Strokes Gained Putting, the first two home in 2017 ranked second and first for SGP and the average Putting Average ranking of the last ten winners is only 9.8.
A hot putter is essential but so too is a deft touch around the greens most years. Jordan Spieth only ranked 18th and 32nd for Scrambling but Glover ranked fifth last year, three of the last five winners have ranked first and the average Scrambling ranking for the last ten winners is 12th.
Is There an Angle In?
Form at Colonial Country Club, home of the Charles Schwab Challenge, 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 the 2017 Charles Schwab Challenge, alongside Deere Run specialist, Jordan Spieth, the 2014 JDC winner, Brian Harman, finished tied for seventh alongside Stricker and the 2019 Charles Schwab winner, Kevin Na, finished second here 12 months ago.
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?
Glover was generally a 70.069/1 chance last year (matched at a high of 80.079/1) and Dylan Frittelli was matched at a high of 150.0149/1 when the market first opened three years ago so the last three winners have been relatively unfancied. Frittelli was quietly gambled in to around 90.089/1 but the 2018 winner, Michael Kim must go down as one of the strangest ever winners on the PGA Tour.
Matched at 800.0799/1 before the off, Kim came into the event with form figures reading MC-MC-18-MC-MC-MC and he's not done anything special since. He contended at the Puerto Rico Open in March before a poor final round but he hasn't finished inside the top-ten on any Tour since he won here.
Brian Harman was another triple-figure priced winner in 2016 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. DeChambeau was a 50/1 chance five years ago and Spieth was 40/1 when he won his first PGA Tour title here in 2013.
Prior to Frittelli's victory three years ago, an American had won the previous 12 renewals and the South African was only the eighth overseas winners in the event's 50-year history.
This is a great place for up-and-coming players and five of the last eight winners have been getting off the mark on the PGA Tour for the first time here.
In addition to the top-class Scott Hoch, who really should have won the 1989 US Masters, major champions, David Toms, Payne Stewart, Jordan Spieth, and Bryson DeChambeau all won their first PGA Tour titles at the John Deere Classic.
Winner's Position and Exchange Price Pre-Round Four
2021 - Lucas Glover T12th - trailing by four 50.049/1
2020 - Event Cancelled
2019 - Dylan Frittelli T5th - trailing by two 16.015/1
2018 - Michael Kim Led by five 1.422/5
2017 - Bryson DeChambeau 2nd - trailing by two 9.417/2
2016 - Ryan Moore Led by two 2.166/5
Lucas Glover caused a bit of a shock last year - winning from so far back - and we have to go all the way back to 1981 to find the previous player to win this title from outside the top-ten with a round to go but that doesn't mean we haven't witnessed plenty of drama over the years.
Jordan Spieth was six back with 18 to play in 2013 but he birdied five of the last six to claim his first title and he confounded the stats two years later. He sat tied for 101st and eight adrift after round one but he led by two after round three following a 64 in round two and a 61 in round three, proving a slow start can be overcome.
Spieth's dramatic finish wasn't the first exciting finale and it certainly won't be the last. In fact, the 2017 finish was quite something...
Zach Johnson was the first to trade low when he hit 2.526/4 with a three-foot putt to take the lead on the par four 14th but he missed that, bogeyed the 15th and was eventually beaten by three. Daniel Berger then hit a low of 2.6213/8 and Patrick Rodgers was matched at just 1.21/5, before he lost his way on the par five 17th. DeChambeau's finish wasn't too dissimilar to Spieth's in 2013 as he birdied seven of the last ten holes.
The combination of the LIV defections and the move in the schedule has resulted in one of the weakest PGA Tour events we've seen in some time with Webb Simpson, without a win in more than two years, heading the market.
Simpson hasn't played here in 12 years and given his course form reads a very ordinary MC-39-21, it's perhaps understandable that he abandoned Deere Run after three straight visits.
He finished 13th last week in the Travelers Championship but sat tied fifth and just two off the lead after round one and he was tied for the lead at the Charles Schwab Challenge after round one at the end of May so he's sneaking into form. Although he ended up finishing only 27th.
The 2017 Valspar winner, Adam Hadwin, is the second favourite, despite that being his only win on the PGA Tour, but the support makes sense.
Hadwin finished seventh in the US Open last time out, having led after round one, and in two visits here, he's finished 18th and eighth.
The only other player trading at less than 30.029/1 is the unfortunate Sahith Theegala, who has twice been matched at short odds without winning on the PGA Tour this year.
He was matched at a low of 2.0421/20 before finding water on the penultimate hole at the Phoenix Open in February and he traded at long odds-on (sub 1.42/5) on Sunday night before recording a double-bogey six on the 72nd hole. He's going to do extremely well to lift himself after that and he's playing here for the first time too so makes little appeal.
In such a weak field, last year's Rocket Mortgage winner, Cam Davis looked a fair price at 46.045/1.
He's only played here twice previously and he's yet to break the top-50 but that doesn't put me off. He arrived at Deere Run with form figures reading MC-MC-MC-MC-MC-35-MC-43-MC-MC when he made his debut in 2019 so the fact that he sat 10th after round one before eventually finished 53rd could be considered a plus and we can forgive hiss 55th placed-finish 12 months ago as he'd got off the mark on the PGA Tour just the week before.
Davis was a fast finishing third at The Heritage in April and he finished seventh at the aforementioned Charles Schwab last month after leading after round one. He was a bit disappointing last weekend, falling from second to 56th but he's clearly close and a low scoring event like this should be ideal.
My only other pick is Cameron Champ who was sitting second and just two off the lead after round three last year.
He's missed his last four cuts but he's more than capable of bouncing back and given he's a three-time winner on the PGA Tour and that he was tenth in the US Masters and sixth in Mexico just a few months ago, I thought 75.074/1 was fair.
Cam Davis @ 46.045/1
Cameron Champ @ 75.074/1
I'll be back tomorrow with the Find Me a 100 Winner column.
*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter