With many top golfers coming off an extended playing time streak and the fact that many will be heading to Scotland for next week’s Scottish Open, the John Deere Classic offers a desirable “off” week. The field is much weaker than we have seen recently, but these weeks usually benefit those who are well prepared and well researched.
TPC Deere Run will feature plenty of elevation changes and birdie opportunities for the course. Lucas Glover won in 2021 at 19 under, which was the “worst” winning score in the last three years. Expect lots of fireworks this week!
These are my favorite plays and fades from this week at the 2022 John Deere Classic.
Big Advantage: Denny McCarthy ($9,900 DraftKings | $11,200 FanDuel)
The style of golf McCarthy plays lends itself to some volatile results. He is one of the best putters on the tour and often depends on that for a solid week. He posted impressive results at the Memorial (T-5) and the US Open (7th) before missing the cut last week. He will need to kick well and not hit back too much in other areas of his game to compete again this week.
Safer option: Adam Hadwin ($10,400 DraftKings | $11,700 FanDuel)
Since the start of 2022, Hadwin has only missed field goals five times out of the 15 events he has played. His tee-to-green play has been sublime, earning 17.09 field shots in his last three starts alone. Well rested from his T-7 at the US Open, Hadwin should be ready for more big plays.
You’ll most likely be disappointed: Charles Howell III ($9,300 DraftKings | $10,800 FanDuel)
This is a heavy price to pay for Howell, who has three top-15 finishes in his last 42 events. He’s not as accurate off the tee as he has been in previous seasons, and he’s losing shots to TOUR on approach. He also dropped out of the top 150 in putting this season, which is just a bunch of red flags for a golfer who needs to finish inside the top 10 to pay himself.
Pick to Win: Webb Simpson ($10,600 DraftKings | $12,000 FanDuel)
Despite a “low year” for Simpson, he is still the best player in this field and is starting to show signs of significant improvement. He has three top-27 finishes in his last four starts and has won approach shots in six straight, according to the RickRunGood.com golf database. He is starting to look healthy again, and his metrics are following his example.
High Potential: Scott Stallings ($8,900 DraftKings | $10,600 FanDuel)
Stallings has been a feast or famine of late, earning two top eight finishes and three top 25 finishes in his last six races. He missed the cut in his other three tournaments. He has shown the advantage by winning over seven shots on the approach in two of his last four events, and has three top-20 finishes at Silvis in his last five trips.
Safer option: Brendon Todd ($8,500 DraftKings | $10,900 FanDuel)
Todd missed the cut on the number last week and didn’t do anything terrible in the process. He missed 0.08 field goals in his first two rounds and was sent packing. His T-13 at the RBC Canadian Open and his third-place finish at the Charles Schwab Challenge offer plenty of optimism that Todd will bounce back quickly.
You’ll most likely be disappointed: Lanto Griffin ($8,200 DraftKings | $9,400 FanDuel)
Griffin isn’t much like him these days, missing shots from tee to green in three of his last five. His best finish during that stretch is a T-51, and he has missed his last two cuts. With his driving accuracy rating outside the top 120 and his Greens in Regulation percentage outside the Top 100, he’s unlikely to find respite in Silvis, Illinois.
Pick to Win: Nick Hardy ($8,700 DraftKings | $10,400 FanDuel)
Hardy is going to be popular this week, and for good reason! He finished runner-up on the Korn Ferry Tour a few weeks ago and has racked up three more impressive finishes on the PGA Tour since: T-35, T-14, T-8. He is playing with a lot of confidence and looking for a big win.
Big Advantage: John Huh ($7,800 DraftKings | $9,800 FanDuel)
Huh’s greatest asset is playing from the fairway, ranking 22nd on the tour in driving accuracy. He has turned that skill into three consecutive top-25 finishes, where he has earned a total of 21.01 field shots. TPC Deere Run has historically rewarded precise drivers, so I expect Huh to continue the big play again this week.
Safer Option: Steve Stricker ($7,400 DraftKings | $8,900 FanDuel)
The three-time champion was likely to make an appearance here, but it’s not just the wins from a decade ago that catch my eye. Stricker hasn’t missed a cut at this event in 11 straight years, and he’s been sweeping it on the PGA Tour Champions. He has six straight top-11 finishes with one win and two second-place finishes. He made nine of his last 11 cuts on the PGA Tour and continues to play well no matter where he plays.
You’ll most likely be disappointed: Taylor Pendrith ($7,300 DraftKings | $9,300 FanDuel)
Pendrith broke a rib on The Players and had to push back his comeback date twice. I’m excited to see Pendrith back in action, but this start will require him to brush off the rust on a field that is not well suited for him. This is not the week for Pendrith, but keep an eye on him in the near future, like the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
Pick to Win: Sam Ryder ($7,100 DraftKings | $8,100 FanDuel)
Ryder has won a staggering 15.52 strokes at TPC Deere Run in his three starts. Clearly, he has been able to find something on these surfaces that he hasn’t been able to find at other stops on the tour. Combine that with his solid play from tee to green recently, winning 5.17 last week in the Travelers, and we have a recipe for success.
High Potential: Kelly Kraft ($6,700 DraftKings | $7,700 FanDuel)
Kraft is very accurate off the tee, ranking inside the top 30 on tour this season. He made four of his last five cuts, featuring a T-15 in Mexico and a T-13 in Canada. In his four trips to the John Deere Classic, he made the weekend every time and finished T-5 in 2016.
Safer Option: Lee Hodges (6,900 DraftKings | $8,700 FanDuel)
Hodges has found the weekend in three straight starts and is proving to be a decent ball-slugger, winning approach shots in all three. His weakness is driving distance and play around the green, both of which need to be mitigated at TPC Deere Run.
You’ll most likely be disappointed: Brian Gay ($6,200 DraftKings | $7,400 FanDuel)
Gay’s transition to the PGA Tour Champions hasn’t exactly gone according to plan. In her most recent five starts, she has two top-20 finishes and a few other disappointing finishes. He now returns to the PGA Tour, where he has missed eight of his last 14 cuts. Her game just isn’t sharp and the results match.
Pick to Win: Vaughn Taylor ($6,800 DraftKings | $7,700 FanDuel)
Taylor has won more than three approach shots in three straight starts, according to the RickRunGood.com golf database, something he hasn’t done since the fall of 2016. That should give him decent confidence when he returns to TPC Deere Run. , where he made four straight cuts with two top-20 finishes.