(Courtesy: Bunkers Paradise)

It’s time once more for the Zach Johnson/Steve Stricker showdown at TPC Deere Run — the John Deere Classic.  Okay, okay — they aren’t the only two teeing up this week in the Quad Cities. But they will be and they will be forces to be reckoned with.

Each year, the John Deere Classic is played the week before the Open Championship and features a mix of guys trying to get themselves in gear for the next major and those still trying to qualify for it. It usually presents us with one of the more competitive events of the year.

Just in the last nine years we’ve seen Steve Stricker go back-to-back-to-back, Jordan Spieth hole out in a playoff to collect his first PGA Tour win and the arrival of golfer/scientist Bryson DeChambeau — who enters this week’s event as the reigning champ. Unfortunately, two-time JD Classic winner, Spieth, will not be here this week.

TPC Deere Run also presents an opportunity to go low. Since 2009, the winner of this event has failed to crack 20-under par just twice.

So, what does this mean for junkies and degenerates like us? It means it’s going to come down to confidence. Here’s a look at my can’t-miss, no-doubt, slam-dunk, mortal locks for the John Deere Classic:

John Deere Classic
TPC Deere Run – Silvis, Illinois
July 12 – 15, 2018

ODDS to Win:
Francesco Molinari 10/1
Bryson DeChambeau 12/1
Zach Johnson 12/1
Ryan Moore 16/1
Joaquin Niemann 16/1
Steve Stricker 20/1
Kyle Stanley 20/1
Chesson Hadley 25/1
Austin Cook 30/1
Wesley Bryan 40/1
Chris Kirk 40/1
Andrew Landry 40/1
Aaron Wise 50/1
Danny Lee 50/1
David Lingmerth 50/1
Chez Reavie 50/1
Patrick Rodgers 50/1
Kevin Tway 50/1
Brian Gay 50/1
Kelly Kraft 50/1
Si Woo Kim 60/1
Bill Haas 60/1
Scott Piercy 60/1
Kevin Streelman 60/1
Andrew Putnam 60/1
C.T. Pan 60/1
Keith Mitchell 60/1
Sung Kang 60/1
Joel Dahmen 60/1
Ryan Blaum 60/1
Scott Stallings 60/1
Johnson Wagner 60/1
Nick Watney 80/1
Ryan Palmer 80/1
Harold Varner III 80/1
Tyler Duncan 80/1
Bronson Burgoon 60/1
Sam Saunders 80/1
Corey Conners 100/1
Rory Sabbatini 100/1
Troy Merritt 100/1
Trey Mullinax 100/1
Matt Jones 100/1
Brandon Harkins 100/1
J.T. Poston 100/1
Alex Cejka WD
Seamus Power 100/1
David Hearn 100/1
Whee Kim 100/1
Robert Streb 125/1
Scott Brown 125/1
Ben Crane 125/1
Dylan Meyer 125/1
Stephan Jaeger 125/1
Richy Werenski 125/1
Chris Stroud 150/1
Aaron Baddeley 150/1
Chad Campbell 150/1
Harris English 150/1
Sean O’Hair 150/1
John Huh 150/1
William McGirt 150/1
Mackenzie Hughes 150/1
Andres Romero 150/1
Sam Ryder 150/1
Patton Kizzire 150/1
Denny McCarthy 150/1
Robert Garrigus 150/1
Vaughn Taylor 150/1
Lanto Griffin 150/1
Zac Blair 150/1
Brice Garnett 200/1
Dominic Bozzelli 200/1
Michael Kim 200/1
Hudson Swafford 200/1
Nick Taylor 200/1
Talor Gooch 200/1
Hunter Mahan 200/1
Doug Ghim 250/1
Field (all others) 6/1

Mortal Locks: 

Zach Johnson — He may not be the all-time money winner here or anything, but few people have a stranglehold on one venue the way Zach Johnson does TPC Deere Run. The two-time major champion is 9-for-9 since 2009, with a win, three runner-up’s and two third place finishes. If that’s not domination or a betting best-bet, I don’t know what the hell is. At 12/1, this is as sure a thing as there is or ever will be.

Joaquin Niemann – Still riding high on this kid. Hasn’t won yet, but seems to have a Schauffele-ian trajectory towards a potential Rookie of the Year-type campaign. Last week he came close — this week, I think he might just get it done. The form is there. The pedigree is there. The confidence is there. The results are there. All that’s missing is a victory. At 16/1, you’ll be glad when he makes good.

 Bang for Your Buck:

Steve Stricker — I’ll be honest — I really didn’t want to pick Stricker this week, but I kind of have to, right? I assumed since Stricker has been playing most of his golf on the PGA Tour Champions that he’d be slowing down. That, however, is not the case. With two wins on that tour already in 2018, he’s playing great golf — and carrying momentum into a place where he’s already the all-time money winner and has finished top-10 in 50% of his appearances in this event to go along with the three aforementioned wins. At 20/1, you’d be remiss to skip on Stricker.

Chesson Hadley — Another  young gun with some solid recent for this week is Chesson Hadley. I’m a big Chesson Hadley guy. Love his game, love his attitude. This week presents a fantastic opportunity for the human string bean since the field is on the weaker side. Not that he can’t hold his own against the best of the best — which he can — it’s just that this test will be a little easier. Kind of like multiple choice. At 25/1, you’re not going to find a better bargain.

Fun Under $5:

Hunter Mahan — Where have you gone? Hunter Mahan, a nation turns it’s lonely eyes to you. Woo, woo, woo. At 200/1, why not? This field is so weak it’s bonkers.

There you have it, friends and degenerates. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go pick up my American flag suit from the dry cleaners. Wouldn’t be a trip to merry ol’ England without reminding them which side of the Declaration of Independence I’m on. Until next time, friends and degenerates — go and choose wisely…


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