PGA Tour Odds and Predictions: John Deere Classic
by Alan Matthews - 7/7/2011
It’s the final tuneup for the British Open this week on the PGA Tour as it stops at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill., for the John Deere Classic. It’s not an overly great field in all honesty, as many of the top names either are taking the week off to practice overseas for the Open or are playing in Scotland for the European Tour stop this week – guys like Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Matt Kuchar and Phil Mickelson are over in Scotland.
Overall just six of the Top 50 in the world rankings are in Illinois. The cream of the crop at the John Deere are the likes of Steve Stricker, who goes for a threepeat in this tournament, Jason Day, David Toms, Kenny Perry, Zach Johnson and defending British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen. It’s rather odd that Oosthuizen, a South African, is playing in the States this week rather than over in Europe. But Oosthuizen grew up on a farm and bought himself a tractor last summer after winning the British Open. So for him, a visit to a small town in Illinois for this tournament did mean something special. Plus, he is a member of both the PGA and European Tours, and because he withdrew from the Memorial last month he thought he needed to add a tournament to meet the minimum requirement for events played on the PGA Tour to keep membership. In addition, this tournament charters a plane for players headed to the British Open that leaves on Sunday night (about 20 will be on it). Both the John Deere Classic and the Scottish Open are offering a spot in the British Open to the highest finisher among the top five not already exempt.
Not surprisingly Stricker, who went to the University of Illinois, is the big favorite this week at 7/1 on Bodog, according to PGA Tour odds. He broke the tournament record with a 26-under total of 258 to beat Paul Goydos by two shots last year. You might remember the first round of this event last year because Goydos shot a 59 in the first round, while Stricker shot 60. Stricker hasn’t missed a cut all year and hasn’t finished outside the Top 20 in his past six tournaments, including a win at the Memorial. In fact, he is working on a PGA Tour-leading streak of 34 consecutive cuts made. But it’s nearly impossible to win a tournament three times in a row, according to my John Deere Classic predictions.
Day, the runner-up at the Masters and the U.S. Open, is the second-favorite at 11/1. He hasn’t played in the States since Congressional. He hasn’t finished in the Top 10 in four stops at this tournament, but has finished T15 the past two years.
Toms (20/1) is first on Tour in driving accuracy, second in greens in regulation and fifth in the all-around category. He's also coming off a 17th-place finish at the Travelers where he shot in the 60s in all four rounds. Toms won this event back in 1997 but missed the cut in his last appearance in 2009.
The best average finish of any player at this tournament is Perry at 15.3 in 10 tournaments. He won here in 2008 and finished T15 last year. He would seem like great value at 100/1 even though he has missed the cut at this past three PGA Tour events and has shot under 70 in just one round in those three. Perry has been very good in his Champions Tour events.
But I like Jonathan Byrd (22/1) to win this week. In his seven starts in this event, Byrd has one win (2007), one tie for second (2003), has made every cut, has 24 (out of 28) rounds of par or better, and is a collective 70 under. He hasn’t played since missing the cut at the U.S. Open.
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