The PGA Tour heads to Silvis, Illinois this week for the John Deere Classic and last chance to qualify for next week’s Open Championship.
The TPC Deere Run has played host to the John Deere Classic since 2000 and seems to serve as a catapult for greenhorns. In 2013 a teeny Jordan Spieth pulled off a playoff victory to become the first teenager to win a PGA Tour event in more than 80 years. Hedging that reality, Spieth won again in 2015, when he outlasted veteran Tom Gillis in another playoff. Now that Spieth is no longer a pup on the farm, he’ll be resting up for Royal Portrush next week.
Youth has its blessings
As demonstrated at last week’s 3M Open, the young guns can provide plenty of farm strength. First time PGA Winner Matthew Wolff (+2200 this week) eagled the 72nd hole to flex victorious at the ripe age of 20. The tater-tot trio of Wolff, Collin Morikawa (+1900) and Viktor Hovland (+1550) showed last week that it doesn’t take a lot of professional experience to play like a champion. Morikawa, at 22 years old, finished tied for second, just a stroke behind after Wolff’s chip-in at 18. While Hovland, 21 years young, also rose to the challenge and fired a bogey-free 65 in the last round to tie for 13th. Many of the ol’ farm dogs are taking this week off, so expect to see plenty of blooming bombers rise up the John Deere leaderboard.
When I was your age…
If not a young calf, who else will run wild this week? When the 2012 John Deere Classic winner, Zach Johnson (+2800) was 20 years of age, neither of the aforementioned had even been birthed in the barn. The 43-year-old Iowa native has sowed many a field and has posted seven top-five finishes in the last ten attempts at Deere Run. Johnson had a chance to go back-to-back in 2013, but lost in a playoff to the teenage champion Spieth. Look for Johnson to teach these boys a thing or two alongside Rock River this week.
The coffee can coin goes to…
In a season of first-timers, Cameron Tringale (+6600) has the game to continue the breakthrough theme. With his only professional win coming in a team event with Jason Day in 2014 (Franklin Templeton Shootout), Tringale is ready to stand on his own. The 31-year-old veteran is due and well worth the last of the Maxwell House rusty rattle.
When the rooster crows…
As much as I look forward to exuberant exhibition of the PGA’s youth, experience will win out this week at the John Deere Classic. My money will be in the callused hands of Johnson, as he looks to wrangle his 13th PGA Tour win.