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Monday, July 7, 2014

John Deere Classic - Power Ranking

With the John Deere Classic inching closer by the minute, let's dive in and take a look at this week's Power Ranking. There is a nice mix of elite options, as well as some solid value a littler further down the list comprised of players fighting for a breakthrough victory. This also serves as the last chance to qualify for the Open Championship, as the highers finisher not already exempt earns a trip to Royal Liverpool.

Without further ado, here we go:

  1. Steve Stricker - He almost lost the top spot due to his trends headed in the wrong direction, but a win-win-win-T5-T10 record in his last five trips to TPC Deere Run keeps him atop the heap. A poor final round last week at The Greenbrier cost him a top 10, falling all the way to T35, but his recent form has still been just good enough to remain here. 
  2. Jordan Spieth - The defending champ continues to be a top-20 machine almost any time he plays and this course has a recent history of being extremely kind to defending champions as demonstrated by both Stricker and Zach Johnson. It helps that he is arguably the class of the field.
  3. Zach Johnson - Last three trips to this event have gone T3-1-P2 in his unofficial fifth major, but he's struggled of late. His last three TOUR starts have gone T53-T40-MC, thus dropping him to the third of the three elite options. His course history demands you play him in formats like Yahoo!
  4. Ryan Moore - If you're looking for a player of strong pedigree with the right mix of current form and course history just below the radar of the big three, Moore is  your guy. His last two trips to TPC Deere Run have resulted in a T8 and a T22 and his last PGA TOUR start was a tie for fifth at the Travelers Championship. If you followed my lead by going against the grain by burning both Stricker and ZJ earlier in the year (one-and-done gamers), then Moore should be on your very short list for that spot this week.
  5. Billy Hurley III - We will soon find out how he responds to a "disappointing" tie for fourth at The Greenbrier Classic following his T8 at Congressional. It just so happens that he tied for eighth in this event back in 2012, so he lines up nicely in most formats this week.
  6. Harris English - Broke out of a slump with his T7 at the Travelers and offers the familiarity of T15 in this event last year. Should be a solid option.
  7. Chris Stroud - Knocked on the door for a breakthrough win at the Greenbrier last week (T4). He's five-for-five in this event with a pair of top 25s, so it stands to reason that he could make some noise.
  8. Jason Bohn - Quietly tied for 11th at the Greenbrier last week and has made 6/8 cuts at the John Deere with four top 25s including a T22 last year. Was the third-highest player in my weekly statistical breakdown, so he checks all of the boxes.
  9. John Senden - The past champion in this event has putted out of his mind (12th in SGP) this season. While he's cooled off a bit of late, he also had a fourth-place finish at TPC Deere Run in 2012 proving the win wasn't a fluke.
  10. Michael Thompson - He's turned a corner in terms of consistency this season, meaning his T11 last week coupled with a T12 at the JDC back in 2011 could bode very well. He's 11th in SGP and has the reputation of a strong putter, which is a good trait in an event that annually yields a bunch of birdies.
  11. Ben Martin - Missed the cut last week after a T13-T3 run at the Travelers and Quicken Loans National. While a missed cut isn't ideal, a few days off could prove valuable. He tied for 38th here in 2011 and he's playing well above that season's curve this year. 
  12. Chris Kirk - I took some grief for leaving him out last week, and it looked like the crowd was right through 36 holes. In the end, he tied for 45th. His value this week lies in his consistency. He has a T22-T30-T22 record in his three trips to TPC Deere Run. That makes him a solid Yahoo! option if nothing else. 
Next 5 (alphabetical): David Hearn, Jerry Kelly, Scott Langley, Kevin Na, Kevin Streelman

We will return with the one-and-done tomorrow. As a little teaser, my Rotoworld colleague, Mike Glasscott, and I are working up a little something different in terms of a head-to-head challenge between the two of us that I will reveal on Wednesday night. Glass came up with the idea due to his uncanny ability to always play the wrong guys in the Yahoo! lineup, so there's your hint. 

Until then, best of luck to all!


  1. The only justification for Stroud at #7 has to be based on recent form. He hasn't played at JDC 2 out of the past 4 years and his last top 25 was in 2009. His last 2 "5 for 5" cashes were bottom of the barrel.
    2013 DNP
    2012 T68 @ -4
    2011 T71 @ -1
    2010 DNP.

    One golfer you don't have listed anywhere is Troy Matteson who consistently outplays his rankings at the JDC.
    2013 T27 @ -12
    2012 solo 2nd @ -20 (lost in playoff)
    2011 T74 @ -1
    2010 T10 @ -14

    1. I gave Matteson a hard look, especially after his second-round 61 at the Greenbrier, but that was the only time he's broken 70 since New Orleans. I wouldn't mind him as a deep dark horse, but can't endorse him at level value.

      Stroud could flame out, but he's a really good putter and ranks inside the top 20 in Par Breakers and Par 4 Scoring. Those stats and his current form had just as much to do with his ranking as his course history. His course history tells me that if everything else is clicking (which it seems to be right now) the course isn't a bad fit to where it would hurt him.

      Thanks for the comments....nice thoughts.

  2. Am I crazy to like Ryan Moore over Zach Johnson this week... Zach's form scares the hell out of me...

    1. No, you aren't crazy at all. Given the egg Zach laid at Colonial (where he is usually elite), there is reason to be concerned about ZJ this week.