Up this week is the birdie bonanza otherwise known as the John Deere Classic.  The tournament will be played at TPC Deere Run; a 7,258-yard par-71 course that traditionally plays as the easiest course on tour (scorecard).  The last five winners have finished between -19 and -26!  Don’t be fooled by the seemingly average course length.  The three par-5s are responsible for a relatively large portion of that total yardage, and the course will effectively play much shorter than 7,300 yards.   The players will be hitting wedges into most greens, and the scores will be very low.

Here are the previous five winners (click on the name to see the full leaderboard).  A lot of the guys in this field play this tournament every year, so course history is definitely something to take into account.

Brian Harman (2014)
Jordan Spieth (2013)
Zach Johnson (2012)
Steve Stricker (2011)
Steve Stricker (2010)

If you’re a narrative street guy, here are a few things to consider:

  • Jordan Spieth won his first-ever PGA Tour Event here in 2013; defeating Zach Johnson and David Hearn in a playoff.  In a week where most of the big names have already made the trip across the pond to play the Scottish Open, Spieth will be in Silvis, IL.  He’s passing up early prep time overseas while in pursuit of a Grand Slam to be here; this tournament clearly means a lot to him.  I expect him to take this week seriously.
  • Speaking of Zach Johnson… he isn’t only a previous champion, he’s also on the John Deere Classic Board of Directors.
  • As you can tell from the list above, Steve Stricker has had some success at this tournament.  He actually carried out an MJ-like 3-peat from 2009-2011.
  • There is one British Open qualifying spot up for grabs this week.  The top finisher who A) has not already qualified and B) finishes in the top-5 will be playing at St. Andrews next week.  There’s a little extra motivation out there for guys who aren’t already in.

Finally, there might be some rain in the forecast, so take that into consideration when making your picks.

The experts believe there are three stats you should focus on this week when making your selections: driving accuracy, GIR, and birdie or better percentage (you should always consider strokes gained: tee-to-green and putting as well).  It’s going to take a score around -20 to win this thing, so you need to focus on guys who can go really low.  Here are the top-5 in each of the aforementioned course-specific categories:

Driving Accuracy

  1. David Toms 73.8%
  2. Jason Bohn 72.3%
  3. Chez Reavie 72.1%
  4. Zach Johnson 71.2%
  5. Ryan Moore 70.2%

Greens in Regulation

  1. Jim Herman 72.2%
  2. Stewart Cink 72.0%
  3. Lucas Glover 70.1%
  4. J.J. Henry 70.1%
  5. Will Wilcox 69.9%

Birdie or Better Percentage

  1. Jordan Spieth 25.4%
  2. Justin Thomas 23.8%
  3. Tony Finau 23.1%
  4. Pat Perez 23.0%
  5. Shawn Stefani 22.9%

With those stats in mind, these are the players the experts will be targeting:

  • Brendon de Jonge
  • Chad Campbell
  • Chez Reavie
  • David Hearn
  • Erik Compton
  • J.J. Henry
  • Jason Bohn
  • Jerry Kelly
  • Jordan Spieth
  • Kevin Chappell
  • Kevin Kisner
  • Robert Streb
  • Ryan Moore
  • Scott Langley
  • Shawn Stefani
  • Steve Stricker
  • Steven Bowditch
  • Tim Clark
  • Tony Finau
  • Will Wilcox
  • Zach Johnson

If you ever have any PGA DFS-related questions, you can send them to me on Twitter @oreo_jenkins, and I will do my best to get back to you.  Best of luck this week!


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