Nothing runs like a Deere, and in the case of TPC Deere Run, that’s a pretty accurate statement. My namesake’s tournament has arrived on the PGA TOUR schedule. We head to Silvis, Ill., for the 2022 John Deere Classic. That means looking at the John Deere Classic odds.
This tournament has always stood out as one of the weaker fields of the PGA TOUR. That has exacerbated further after some adjustments to the 2022 schedule that deterred effectively every top name from making a pit stop in the Midwest.
Regardless of who’s shown up in the past, the John Deere Classic always seems to produce great drama and log-jammed leaderboards with players of diverse skillsets. TPC Deere Run is not a challenging course by any means, but the presence of undulated fairways, steep elevation changes, and tight doglegs will ask players to use their full bags.
Expecting a birdie fest, I’m looking for a balance of Birdie or Better Gained, SG: TOT (Easy Scoring Conditions), SG: Ball Striking, Good Drives Gained and Course & Comp Course History. Driving Distance will not prove particularly useful. The layout should reward the most precise ball strikers, who are able to convert a volume of birdie looks.
Ahead, we’ll run through the key facts and info about TPC Deere Run ahead of the 2022 John Deere Classic.
JOHN DEERE CLASSIC ODDS: THE FAVORITES
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JOHN DEERE CLASSIC FIELD AT A GLANCE
The John Deere Classic drew the short end of the stick on the PGA TOUR schedule. The event formerly preceded The Open Championship. It served as a final opportunity for unqualified players to punch their tickets overseas.
New to 2022, the PGA TOUR has adopted the Scottish Open as a co-sanctioned event with the DP World Tour. As a result, a larger pool of top players who’ve qualified for both the Scottish Open and The Open Championship have understandably chosen to travel to Scotland and not Illinois. Combine this with LIV’s growing roster of former contenders and headlining names become scarce.
In 2021, the John Deere Classic featured the second-weakest strength of field for a primary PGA TOUR event, a notch above the Bermuda Championship. We should expect the strength of field to dip even further in 2022. Just how weak is it? Thirty-two players on the PGA TOUR average over 1 SG: TOT over their last 50 rounds. Zero of them will tee it up at TPC Deere Run.
Daniel Berger would have served as presumptive favorite until the TOUR announced his withdraw Monday. Webb Simpson and Christiaan Bezuidenhout are the only players inside the OWGR top 75.
Past winners of this event in the field this week include Lucas Glover, Dylan Frittelli, Ryan Moore, Zach Johnson and Steve Stricker. Other winners Bryson DeChambeau, Jordan Spieth, Brian Harman, and Michael Kim will not play this week.
Editor’s Note: Daniel Berger mentions have been kept in below to serve as context on where players rank in key stats vs. Berger, the original favorite to win the tournament before his WD.
INTRODUCTION TO TPC DEERE RUN
TPC Deere Run is a fun course in the Quad Cities, on the border of Illinois and Iowa. This event has historically been kind to local Midwesterners. Players like Zach Johnson, Steve Stricker, Kevin Streelman, Doug Ghim and Adam Schenk have enjoyed putting on a shows in Deere country.
In its 50-year history on the TOUR schedule, the event has consistently produced drama and climactic finishes. Similar to the Travelers, we’ve come to expect playoffs and one-stroke victories. Although the last three years have seen more of a cushion for the champions, the winners have emerged from a playoff or one stroke 16 times since 2000.
In part because top-tier players have chosen to routinely skip this event, it’s also been a launching pad for young players to pick up their first career wins. Jordan Spieth secured his first here, holing out from the green-side bunker on 18 to force a playoff at the age of 19. Bryson DeChambeau, Dylan Frittelli, Michael Kim and Brian Harman also notched their first career wins at this event. It’s a great time to cast aside “win equity” from an outright betting perspective, and a great opportunity for the mid-tier players on TOUR. Rookies like Davis Riley, Sahith Theegala and Alex Smalley who have started to peak represent interesting betting options.
How It Breaks Down
TPC Deere Run is a traditional, angular, tree-lined course with Bentgrass greens and fairways and very thick Kentucky bluegrass rough. Organizers like to move the tee boxes around often at TPC Deere Run, but the stock yardage is 7,268 for this par 71. It features three par 5s, four par 3s and 11 par 4s.
The hole distribution measures very balanced across the par 3s and par 4s. So, we needn’t hone in on players who specialize in a particular range. Further, the breakdown of average proximity ranges on approach fall closely in line with the PGA TOUR average. This course should suit the best all-around approach players who can generate birdie opportunities with every club. All three of the par 5s funnel to the 550-600 yard range. That is the one area I’ll look to hone in on, as capitalizing on the Par-5 Scoring is crucial this week.
Twelve holes at TPC Deere Run have a scoring average under par. The easiest scoring opportunities lie on the three par 5s and three par 4s which play under 400 yards. Hole No. 2, the 561-yard par 5, is the easiest on the course. It averages more than a half stroke under par and yields a 4% eagle rate, one of the highest on TOUR. Over the years, TPC Deere Run has annually ranked top five on the PGA TOUR in Birdie Rate. The winning score has pushed beyond -20 in nine of the last 12 years. I expect we’ll see another winning score beyond -20.
Traits And Recent Notable Facts
TPC Deere Run’s best defense may actually be the field itself. If all the top players in the world came here annually, I would expect winning scores to commonly fall in the mid-twenties under par. Average scoring on both the par 3s and par 4s has been amongst the easiest on TOUR, with the par 5s also producing more scoring than average.
Although the fairways measure wider than TOUR average (between 36 to 40 yards), and players annually hit them well over 70% of the time (about 5-6% higher than TOUR average), misses incur steep penalties. With four-inch Kentucky bluegrass rough, Deere Run ranks top five among most difficult courses to play out of the rough. Similarly, the rough around the greens will require some touch to navigate. We’ve seen SG: ARG correlate strongly with success at the John Deere Classic, an unusual trait for a birdie-fest event. Any bogeys on the card can really derail a player’s round.
With greens of over 5,500 square feet on average, players have also reached in regulation at a high clip. They have had an easier time holing putts here than the average PGA TOUR course across both long and short ranges. The absence of resistance to hit both fairways and greens in regulation opens the course up to more randomness. Less of a premium exists on the ball-striking categories. But with such a high volume of birdies needed, it’s still a week you’ll want to align on the top ball strikers.
TPC DEERE RUN COURSE SPECS
- Yards: 7,268
- Par: 71 (4x 3s / 11x 4s / 3x 5s)
- Greens: Bent
- Architect: D.D. Weibring
- Historic Cut Line: -3
- Median Four-Round Score: -10 (’21), -10 (’19), -11 (’18), -10 (’17), -9 (’16)
- Comp Courses: TPC River Highlands, Detroit Golf Club, TPC Twin Cities, TPC Boston, The Summit Club, East Lake
- Past Winners: Lucas Glover -19 (’21), Dylan Frittelli -21 (’19), Michael Kim -27 (’18), Bryson DeChambeau -18 (’17), Ryan Moore -22 (’16)
- Hole-by-hole Breakdown:
COURSE HISTORY AND COURSE COMPS
With its wide fairways, large greens, and weak fields, we’ve seen accurate ball strikers to find success at this event. That makes this an important week to reference course history as a baseline indicator for high floor players. Dylan Frittelli won in his John Deere Classic debut in 2019. However, in general, it’s taken players one or two years of prior experience to see the course before they’ve gone on to win.
Looking at the recent John Deere Classic results, eight players have multiple T15 finishes over the last five years. That list includes Ryan Moore, Scott Brown, Zach Johnson, Lucas Glover, Adam Schenk, Andrew Landry, Cameron Percy and Wesley Bryan. Double check the form of the top Course History players, though. Very few encouraging 2022 starts come from that cast of players.
Eleven players have avoided missing the cut over each of the last five years (min. three appearances): Johnson, Glover, Patrick Rodgers, Charles Howell III, Landry, Daniel Berger, Patton Kizzire, Steve Stricker, Sam Ryder, Martin Laird and Kelly Kraft.
The top-10 players in Course History at TPC Deere Run are Johnson, Moore, Brown, Schenk, Johnson Wagner, Steve Stricker, Frittelli, Adam Hadwin, Chris Stroud, and Glover. Notables who have routinely struggled on these grounds include Brendon Todd, Robert Streb and JJ Spaun.
The Ryder Cup Captains
In 2023, Sam Burns and KH Lee will vie to upend Stricker as the last player to three-peat at a PGA TOUR event. Stricker did so at the John Deere Classic in a dominant 2009-2011 stretch. He has barely looked back, making the cut here in in all eight appearances since, including four additional top-10 finishes. That goes to show that this course can really suit the eye of certain players. Stricker has not made a start yet in 2022, so he will be a great case study for course history truthers this week.
Stricker’s successor as Team USA captain for next year’s Ryder Cup, Zach Johnson also boasts an impressive record here. Like Stricker, Johnson’s also made it through the cut in every appearance over the last decade. That includes a win in 2012, a playoff loss to Jordan Spieth in 2014 and two additional runner-up finishes. In total, Johnson’s racked up eight T15 finishes over his last dozen appearances at this event. And with three T25 finishes already in 2022, the form hasn’t deteriorated enough to suggest he can’t contend.
As a par 71 at just over 7,200 yards, TPC Deere Run is short by PGA TOUR standards. Still, it features too many long par 3s and 450+-yard par 4s to be classified with all other short TOUR courses. With tight tree lines and thick rough that will force layups, though, the formula players have used to find success on other short courses should translate well.
You won’t have to look far to find the top comp course this week, as TPC River Highlands really does embody all of the relevant characteristics. These include tight tree lines, premium on accurate ball striking, and thick, penal rough surrounding the fairways and greens. Spieth has had repeated success at both events, along with DeChambeau, Berger, Harman, and Streelman.
In addition to TPC River Highlands, I also like Detroit Golf Club on similar Midwest, predominantly Bentgrass agronomy. Both feature birdie making at a premium and opportunities best suited for those who lay back off the tee and approach from the fairway. TPC Twin Cities and TPC Boston also yield low scores on similar TPC layouts.
According to DataGolf, The Summit Club and East Lake share the same course fit profile of Driving Accuracy emphasis, although the course design at each looks drastically different. Overall, courses that put a premium on precise ball striking and birdie making have had a strong correlation with top performance at TPC Deere Run.
Combine performance across this list and the top-10 players in Comp Course History here are Hank Lebioda, Brice Garnett, Maverick McNealy, Mark Hubbard, Brian Stuard, Chez Reavie, Howell III, Johnson, Schenk and Vaughn Taylor.
KEY STATS TO CONSIDER
- SG: APP / SG: BS
- SG: ARG
- Birdies or Better Gained
- Good Drives Gained
- Par-4 Scoring
- Par 5: 550-600
- SG: TOT (Easy Courses)
- SG: Putting (Bent) / 3-Putt Avoidance
- Course & Comp Course History
At the 2021 John Deere Classic, I looked to refine my player pool to those above average in SG: Ball Striking, Birdie or Better Gained, Good Drives Gained, SG: P (weighting TOT and Bent), SG: TOT (Easy Scoring Conditions) and Course History. That formula produced the winner and first round leader from a short list of just seven names. Unfortunately I didn’t heed my own advice last year and missed out on the Lucas Glover outright, but we’ll go back to the same simple formula. Six players in the 2022 field meet the same criteria: Adam Hadwin, Davis Riley, CT Pan, Maverick McNealy, Patrick Rodgers and David Lipsky.
The best starting point for 2022 would seem isolating Birdies or Better Gained. The top-10 players in Birdie or Better Gained entering this week are Davis Riley, Chad Ramey, Kurt Kitayama, Hadwin, Scott Brown, Charles Howell III, McNealy, Nate Lashley, John Huh and Jason Day.
Approach performance hasn’t predicted success as much at the John Deere as most other courses given the larger greens. But, it still stands at a premium. The 10 best approach players entering this week are Daniel Berger, Pan, Nick Taylor, Austin Smotherman, JJ Spaun, Doug Ghim, Kitayama, Glover, Vaughn Taylor and Hadwin. When combining SG: APP with Fairways Gained on shorter, positional courses to hone in on the precise ball strikers, 10 players rank top 30 in each: Berger, Pan, Spaun, Brendon Todd, Ryan Moore, Chase Seiffert, Tyler Duncan, Glover, Martin Laird and Alex Smalley.
Course Fit by Hole Ranges
Par-4 Scoring is a bit of an overrated stat. But given the importance of making putts, and the presence of 11 par 4s, I think it’s a slightly better reference point for recent form than SG: T2G. Given the diverse spread of par-4 hole ranges on this course, it should serve as a helpful resource to identify the players who can best position themselves to generate birdies. The top-10 of par-4 scorers this week includes Riley, Day, Ryan Armour, Denny McCarthy, Lashley, Berger, Adam Long, JT Poston, Hadwin, and Howell III.
Par-5 Scoring from 550-600 rates of particular importance this week. That should favor the players with plus distance who are able to reach in two and more easily capitalize on these birdie opportunities. The top-10 players in Par-5: 550-600 are Berger, Brandon Wu, Taylor Pendrith, Robert Streb, Huh, Laird, Trey Mullinax, McNealy, Dylan Frittelli, and Anirban Lahiri.
When plugging in all 18 hole ranges with with respective weighting, the top-10 players best suited for this course’s layout are Berger, Riley, Hadwin, Todd, Howell III, Huh, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, McCarthy, Lahiri and Webb Simpson.
Looking at the correlation charts this week, many of the characteristics we’d come to expect from the average TOUR course continue to pop at TPC Deere Run. The most notable changes compared to TOUR average are the de-prioritization of Par-3 Scoring and SG: OTT. With distance advantage mitigated by forced layups and penal rough, and the scoring opportunities coming predominantly from the par 4s and par 5s, that would all seem to check out.
Instead, SG: ARG, Par-4: 400-450 and Good Drives Gained make the most notable jumps in importance. It’s natural to dismiss around-the-green skillsets on a course that routinely yields winning scores beyond 20-under par. However, players are not completely immune from missing these greens in regulation, and history has shown that avoiding bogeys by scrambling for pars is a necessary skillset at this event.
Only four players in the field rank above average in each of the above 10 key stat categories: Berger, Hadwin, Pan, and Riley.
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: DAVIS RILEY
Editor’s Note: After publishing this post Sunday, Davis Riley withdrew from the tournament on Monday. He will not play in the John Deere Classic. But read on to learn more about his recent form for future tournaments.
It’s hard to feel expressly confident behind any bet placed this week. In a field so bereft of options, we must stomach some sickeningly short odds on unproven players. But as I look down the board, I give Davis Riley the second-best chance of winning this golf tournament behind only Daniel Berger. I expect most books will open with Webb Simpson and Adam Hadwin ahead in a second tier, Riley grouped behind with the likes of Maverick McNealy and Denny McCarthy.
If that happens, Riley will find himself on my card at anything longer than 20-to-1 odds.
Ever since Riley’s playoff loss to Sam Burns at the Valspar Championship, the rookie seems to have turned a corner. At the John Deere Classic, he should be licking his chops at the lack of competition.
Riley has already posted five T10 finishes as he continues to put together a solid Rookie of the Year case. He strung together five consecutive T13-or-betters leading into the U.S. Open. It’s always encouraging to see a rookie look comfortable in his first time playing a new course. He’s already put himself in contention in multiple debuts. That should help put us at ease about lack of prior history on a course that has rewarded experience.
The course profile fit for Riley seems perfect. He’s No. 1 in Par-4 Scoring and Birdies or Better gained and also ranks inside the top 10 in SG: TOT (Easy Scoring Conditions), SG: P, SG: Ball Striking, P4: 400-450, SG: Short Game and SG: T2G. Riley’s strengths lie in irons and putter. He’s gained 3+ strokes on approach in five consecutive starts and 2+ strokes putting in five of his last six. For a short, easy course like TPC Deere Run, trending form in those areas sets up perfectly.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR AT THE 2022 JOHN DEERE CLASSIC
The profile of player who’s gone on to win here varies from burgeoning young stars (Spieth, DeChambeau) to wily veterans (Glover, Stricker). There are many ways to get yourself in contention at a birdie-fest like the John Deere, but I’ll look to hone in on those who’ve either proven they can navigate these grounds or the young players who can overpower this course with their raw talent. It will be interesting to see just how much the LIV Portland event overshadows this weaker field. I do expect to see another eventful finish, even without the star power we’ve come accustomed to seeing week to week on the PGA TOUR.
With all the course-fit profiles in mind, I’m leaning early towards the below player pool. Naturally, I’m looking their way in the 2022 John Deere Classic odds as well. I’ve broken the list down by projected pricing/odds tier for DraftKings.
In my model, I’m emphasizing SG: APP, Par-4 Scoring, Birdie or Better Gained, Comp Course History and Good Drives Gained, followed by a more balanced mix of Par-5: 550-600, SG: TOT (Easy Scoring Conditions), SG: ARG, SG: P and 3-Putt Avoidance.
No surprise, just as we saw at last year’s John Deere Classic, Daniel Berger comes up in the top spot of the model. He’s in his own class from an OWGR standpoint and rates out top 10 in all the key categories for this week. He’s No. 1 in SG: APP, P5: 550-600, SG: Ball Striking, SG: TOT (Easy Scoring Conditions) and SG: T2G, so it’s difficult to imagine he won’t hang around in contention assuming he’s fully healthy. But this is golf, so anything can happen.
After Berger, the rest of my model’s top 10 features Adam Hadwin, Davis Riley, CT Pan, Mark Hubbard, Maverick McNealy, Charles Howell III, JJ Spaun, Lanto Griffin and Chris Stroud.
When odds open on Monday, I’ll be looking to target Riley, Patrick Rodgers and Martin Laird if value exists in drifted odds. Check back in later this week for more updates, and best of luck navigating the 2022 John Deere Classic odds!