John Deere Classic

July 8, 2015 | Category: PGA

The John Deere Classic

By: John Heffelfinger


Jordan Spieth – I couldn’t pick him last week, but even with his extremely high price he is a great option. He has simply been on a tear this year making 15 of 17 cutswith 13 top 25’s, 10 top 10’s, 1 3rd place finish, 3 2nd place finishes, and 3 wins. It’s pretty obvious to see why Spieth is this expensive, but if Spieth has finished in the top 2 over 1/3rd of the time and will be well worth it if he does that. The John Deere Classic looks to be a tournament where the scoring will be low which has benefited Spieth here before. He won here in 2013 at -19 beating Zach Johnson and David Hearn in a playoff, and then tied for 7th last year at -16. Success at a course is very important and with 2 top 7 finishes in the last two years Spieth has plenty of that. Other than driving the ball, Spieth does just about everything else well. He is 2nd on the tour with 4.47 birdies per round, is 1st in scoring average with 68.922 strokes per round, is 2nd in strokes gained per round via putting and tee to green with 2.155 strokes per round, and has the best putting average with 1.695 putting average. There are so many other statistics that Spieth does well in, but his approach shots and putting are where he really excels. He is able to hit great shots out of the rough which is great with his accuracy off the tee not being that great. He may seem like the obvious pick every week, but he is never owned as much as he should be, and he is always at the top of the leaderboard.

Zach Johnson – This might seem a little boring picking the second most popular player, but he has had some great success at this tournament as well so it is really hard to not pick him. If you aren’t going to pick Spieth, you almost have to pick Johnson as he is set up to do very well here. In 2013 he went into the playoff with Jordan Spieth and ultimately lost, but still got a solid 2nd place finish. Last year, he came in 2nd place once again shooting -21 which would have won the year before, so the last two years Johnson has shot -40 here. Johnson has had a little bit of a down year making 13 of the 17 cuts, but only have 10 top 25’s and 6 top 10’s. The 6 top 10’s isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you are really hoping for a top 3 finish out of Johnson with his price being as high as it is. Johnson is another guy that can’t hit it super long, but he does drive it accurately at 71.18% which is 9th on the tour. He has been a very poor putter this year losing .211 strokes per round which is 154th on tour which has really been his downfall. He still though averages the 25th most birdies at 3.93 per round, gains .992 strokes per round from tee to green which is 16th on tour, and is 16th in scoring average at 70.104 strokes per round. He hasn’t been bad this year, but you are paying for past success which is totally fine with me.

zach johnson


Jerry Kelly – This is another pick going off of past results, but I believe Jerry Kelly provides good value for exactly this exact reason. In 2013, Kelly tied for 4th at -18, and then last year he tied for 3rd at-19 so he has shot -37 the last two years here combined. I think that Kelly might be low owned which is great for GPP’s as he has only made 11 of 18 cuts so far this year with 8 top 25’s and 3 top 10’s. His price is very high for these results, but again you are paying for past success and if he gets in the top 5 again, he will be a steal. To no major surprise, Mr. Kelly at 49 years can’t hit the ball very long (275.1 yards which is 189th on tour), but hits the fairway 70% of the time which 15th on the tour. He is above average in getting birdies at 3.75 per round which is 50th on the tour which has helped him to be the 22nd best scorer averaging 70.180 strokes per round. The one part of his game that looks sub-par is his approach shots which he is in the hundreds for almost everything from 50-225 yards which is a little concern. He is a good putter though which I love. He has a putting average of 1.580 which is 30th on the tour, only 3 putts 2.45% of the time which is 53rd on the tour, and 1 putts 42.94% of the time which is 9th on the tour. This is a little riskier of a pick, but one I like and someone who I think will be under owned.

jerry kelly 2

 Patrick Rodgers – Now this pick is a little bit different as Rodgers has actually had a solid year, and has only had limited success at the John Deere Classic. Last year he missed the cut by shooting +1 over two days, and in 2013 as an amateur finished tied for 15th at -14. Now 15th is pretty good but shooting a +1 at this course seems a little bit puzzling with all of the low scores. He is also a much different players than any of the other guys I have picked as well. He can destroy the ball off the tee averaging 334.5 yards per drive which is the best on tour, and hits the fairway 64.29% of the time which is above average (53rd). His ability to hit the ball long and accurate has helped him average the 6th most birdies at 4.38 on the Web.com tour. His putting is pretty bad however having the 140th best putting average at 1.944. On the PGA tour this year he has made 9 of 12 cuts which is pretty good with 1 top 25, 1 top 10 and 1 2nd place finish so he has the type of game where he gets hot he could finish highly. Because of this though, I would only pick him for GPP’s as his putting can really let you down any weekend.

Low Value/Punts

Chad Campbell – To be honest I don’t know much about Chad Campbell as a golfer, but looking at the last 2 years results he seems like a great low priced guy to target. Not only has he made the cut the last two years, in 2013 he tied for 15th at -14, and last year he tied for 13th at -14. Again that is -28 the last two years, for someone who you are just hoping makes it to the weekend. Campbell has not been too great on the year making just 13 of 23 cuts with 5 top 25’s and 2 top 10’s. The top 10’s are fine but 13 out of 23 cuts does make me a little worried about this weekend. Now this pick is going to be purely history based because Campbell has not been doing a lot well this year. He averages 3.33 Birdies per round which is 159th on the tour, he scores an average of 70.753 per round which is 73rd on the tour, and he doesn’t hit the ball long at 282.5 yards per drive which is 149th on the tour. He does drive it fairly accurately at 64.96% which is 57th and has a greens in regulation % of 68.11 which is 44th. He is in the 50-70 range for most of his approach shot stats which is above average which helps make up for his horrible putting (156th in overall putting average at 1.635). Again this is going to be a shot in the dark but if he can finish in the top 15 again, he will definitely be a great play.

Tim Clark – I honestly had forgotten that the South African still played as he has only played in 7 tournaments this year, but he has still made 6 of 7 cuts and has 1 top 10. He didn’t play in the tournament 2 years ago, but last year he tied for 5th at -18 which is exactly what I am looking for this weekend. His stats aren’t seeming to pop up for this year, but last he had success by driving the ball straight hitting 74.02 % of fairways which was 2nd on tour, being in the 50-80 range for most of his approach shots which is above average, and being a pretty solid putter with the 56th overall putting average at 1.601. There obviously isn’t too much to go on this year, but he knows the course, and to make over 80% of the cuts for a guy at this price is great and if he can get in the top 5 again that is just straight gravy.

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