The PGA Tour stays in the midwest this week, moving shop from Detroit to the Quad Cities for the 52nd edition of the John Deere Classic.
This event had its start in 1971 as the Quad Cities Open. After a handful of name changes, the event has boasted one of the longest-running title sponsorships and has been known as the John Deere Classic since 1999.
That same year was when TPC Deere Run became the host venue.
It’s a D.A. Weibring design that measures 7,257 yards for a par 71.
It’s a parkland course with plenty of tree lines. It’s very much a second shot course as it’s very scorable from the fairway but it can be penal if you’re out of position off the tee.
Distance is not a big factor this week at the John Deere Classic.
Success will come down to accuracy, strong iron play, and putting.
The JDC traditionally draws weak fields in its usual spot before the Open Championship. It now slots in before the Scottish Open and two weeks before the Open.
This year, nine of the top 50 from the June 26 Official World Golf Ranking are present.
That’s a modest jump from last year with only one top-50 player.
A big reason is more players need to rack up FedEx Cup points. Only the top 70 players qualify for the playoffs beginning this year instead of the 125 it had been for over a decade.
Weather for the week looks relatively benign with tournament days projecting to be dry with temperatures in the upper 50s to low 80s Fahrenheit and wind a minimal factor.
Despite the dry conditions, don’t expect a firm and fast course. Humidity and a proclivity for TPC Deere Run to be one of the more green and lush courses on the PGA Tour schedule will make for a dart board birdie fest.
Winning score has been 20-under-par or better three of the last four years. It’s never dipped worse than 16-under since 1997.
Let’s get down to this week’s power rankings:
Sepp Straka has a top-10 in a major as part of four top-40s in his last six starts.
The Austrian posted his best finish in a major this spring when he took T-7th at the PGA Championship. This result at Oak Hill was a positive development for a player who has mostly struggled this season. He won the 2022 Honda Classic en route to qualifying for the Tour Championship and took solo second to start his 2022-23 campaign at the Sanderson Farms Championship, but he didn’t have much to show for since last fall.
Straka followed it up with T-29th against a good field at the Charles Schwab Challenge, T-16th at a designated event, the Memorial Tournament, and two more made cuts in his last two starts.
He was on pace for a high finish last week through 36 holes at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. Rounds of 68-66 had him toward the top of the leaderboard before Straka was derailed by a 76 on Saturday.
The former Georgia Bulldog arrives to the John Deere Classic for the third time. He finished T-26th (70-67-64-71) in 2019 and missed the cut (70-73) in 2021.
The 30-year-old ranks 18th on the PGA Tour in strokes gained per round on approach (.574). He’s a positive in every SG category except for around-the-green.
Straka is one of nine top 50 players from the Official World Golf Ranking in the field this week.
He’s not mentioned much as far as a Ryder Cup selection, but if he catches fire late in the summer, there are spots to be had to round out the team.
Straka making the squad could be huge for Austrian golf.