PGA Tour Picks: John Deere Classic Odds and Expert Predictions
Golf has been rather newsworthy of late, generally overshadowing tournament winners. It's nice for Kevin Na that he won the Greenbrier in West Virginia on Sunday, but all anyone in the golf world wanted to talk about all week was the potential made-for-TV $10 million winner-take-all match between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson that's being discussed. This is almost surely going to happen, and I'll certainly watch it. What I'd rather see, though, is these two very rich dudes put up $5 million of their own money with the winner-taking-all. That's NOT going to happen.
Mickelson confirmed Saturday at the Greenbrier that this is in the works but did not elaborate on details regarding a date or location. Originally, it was being targeted for July 3 in Las Vegas, but TV network and corporate negotiations could not be completed in time. They need to play this next Wednesday in prime time when there's no baseball the day after the All-Star Game. That's maybe the worst sports day of the year from a betting perspective, but it's probably too soon to make that happen.
As for Na, he shot a final-round 6-under 64 at the Old White TPC to win the Greenbrier by five shots for his second career Tour win along with the Las Vegas stop in October 2011. Since then, Na had a whopping 36 Top-10 finishes without cashing in. Na was one shot behind co-leaders Kelly Kraft and Harold Varner to begin the day.
I liked Jimmy Walker at +3300 to win, but he missed the cut following rounds of 75-70. I did get Russell Henley at +135 for a Top 10 and a few head-to-head props but not much else. So, we move on.
This week's it's the John Deere Classic per at TPC Deere Run, a par 71 measuring 7,268 yards in Silvis, Ill., and right on the border with Iowa. This has been the week before the British Open for years and thus organizers make it a pretty easy, low-key event. They fly all British Open competitors overseas on Sunday night in an effort to lure a better field. It generally doesn't work, though. A bunch of guys withdrew as well this year, including Na and someone I might have picked to win, Brandt Snedeker.
One spot in the British Open is up for grabs for the highest Top 5 finisher who already hasn't gotten in. You may remember that Michelle Wie played this event in 2005-06. Or that Paul Goydos shot a 59 here in 2010. Or that it's the most recent event on Tour won three straight times by a player - Steve Stricker from 2009-11. He set the tournament record in 2010 by finishing at 26-under 258. He had a round of 60 that year. Stricker's playing again this year.
If we are being honest, the European Tour's Scottish Open has more star power this week (Justin Rose, Mickelson, Rickie Fowler), even though that tournament saw big names Henrik Stenson and Tommy Fleetwood withdraw. Stenson has an elbow injury that might put the British Open in jeopardy, while Fleetwood simply wanted to rest up for next week.
Golf Odds: John Deere Classic Favorites
Bryson DeChambeau and Francesco Molinari are each +1000 favorites and each are looking to win back-to-back in a way. DeChambeau is the defending champion. Last year, he was four down to Patrick Rodgers to start his round but shot a 6-under 65 to finish at 18-under 266 for his first Tour win. Rodgers closed with 70 and finished one back. DeChambeau also won a few weeks ago at the Memorial Tournament.
Molinari is playing as well as anyone in the world right now, and he usually sticks to the European Tour. He won overseas a month ago at the BMW PGA Championship and then did again last time out at the Quicken Loans National for his first PGA Tour victory. It's the Italian's debut here.
This is essentially Zach Johnson's tournament as he's on the board and from neighboring Cedar Rapids. Johnson (+1200) is a true Horse for the Course with a win and five other Top 5s since 2009, including three seconds. Ryan Moore is +1400 and rising young star Joaquin Niemann +1600. Moore won here in 2016 but missed the cut last year. Niemann is the former top-ranked amateur in the world making his tournament debut. He's going to win an event sooner rather than later.
Golf Odds: John Deere Classic Picks
Have to take Johnson (-105) for a Top 10. Also like Wesley Bryan (+350), who has been Top 10 in two trips here, and Kyle Stanley (+195). Head-to-head, go Stricker (-150) over Chesson Hadley (+115), DeChambeau (+115) over Molinari (-150), Moore (-130) over Niemann (even), and Bryan (-110) over Andrew Landry (-120).
It's almost too easy to pick Johnson to win - plus, he has only on Top 5 this year. So let's go Scott Stallings at a fabulous price of +8000. He comes off a solid T13 last week and has finished fifth and 16th here the past two years.
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