Tournament: John Deere Classic, July 13-16
Course: TPC Deere Run, 7,268 yards, par 71 (outside of Moline, IL)
Defending Champion: Ryan Moore. The UNLV product shot 65-65-65-71 for a 2 stroke victory, but nothing is easy on this course. Except the course.
Fun Fact: Being the week before the British Open, many big names stay home. But if you win on Sunday, you qualify for the Open. So the tournament committee charters a plane to take players directly from the tournament over to Heathrow in London so they can get to the Open as soon as possible. 15 golfers playing this week are already scheduled to be on that charter, and if the winner is not already qualified, he can join them.
Television: Thursday-Friday, 4-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 1-2:30 p.m. (GC), 3-6 p.m. (CBS).
Former 'Dawgs in the Field ( Six/Five ): Both of my sources list Bubba Watson, Brian Harman, Kevin Kisner, and Chris Kirk. One of my sources lists Harris English, and the other says no English but does include Brendon Todd. Guess we’ll find out when they tee it up.
Brian Harman achieved his first PGA Tour victory here in 2014, so he will most always play this tournament for sentimental reasons and loyalty. Brian won earlier this spring at the Wells Fargo, and is already qualified for next week’s Open Championship in England.
Bubba is playing this week, probably to continue working out the kinks in his swing, but he too is qualified for the Open for multiple reasons (high world ranking, multiple major winner, etc.)
Kevin Kisner played last week, and is qualified for the Open for high world ranking and recent Tour winner reasons. I’m a bit surprised he’s playing this week but I’m always glad to watch the steely glare of the Kiz when he’s on a roll.
Chris Kirk has been a bit off his game this spring and summer, so I’m hoping the easy scoring conditions this week give him a boost of confidence. He apparently was in a bit of a funk mentally as well, but has taken time for introspection and maybe kickstarting his season in style. He is not qualified for the Open.
Harris English had a top 30 showing last week, but as I stated above, I don’t know if he’s actually playing this week. If he does, a top showing could get him qualified for next week’s Open since he’s not currently entered.
Brendon Todd also might or might not be playing. He has limited Tour status, so the fact that most of the world’s highest ranked golfers aren’t playing might give him a chance to make a cut and scare a leaderboard. Obviously he needs a win to qualify to play next week, but the state of his game over the last 20 months does not give one good feelings.
Russell Henley is not playing this week, but the #53 player in the world captured his third Tour title in Houston this past April and will be playing at Royal Birkdale next week.
So this “tractor story” will likely not end with your girlfriend contracting gonorrhea from riding a tractor in her bikini. But being in the Moline, IL area, you just never know.
And as always...