Stat attack!: John Deere Classic preview

By John AntoniniJuly 8, 2014, 7:00 pm

Nothing against Jordan Spieth, who won the 2013 John Deere Classic at age 19, but the story of the last five years at the PGA Tour’s Quad Cities tournament has been the one-two punch of Steve Stricker and Zach Johnson (above), who have combined for four wins, two seconds, 37 rounds in the 60s, an aggregate of 184 strokes under par and more than $4.5 million in earnings. The Midwesterners – Stricker hails from Wisconsin, Johnson from Iowa – have a combined scoring average of 66.40 at TPC Deere Run. Here’s their record since 2009.

Steve Stricker at the John Deere Classic: 2009-2013

 Year Finish Scores To par Earnings
 2013 T-10 67-66-69-66—268 -16 $119,600
 2012 T-5 65-67-66-70—268 -16 174,800
 2011 Won 66-64-63-69—262 -22 810,000
 2010 Won 60-66-62-70—258 -26 792,000
 2009 Won 71-61-68-64—264 -20 774,000

Zach Johnson at the John Deere Classic: 2009-2013

 Year Finish Scores To par Earnings
 2013 T-2 64-66-67-68—265 -19 $404,800
 2012 Won 68-65-66-65—264 -20 828,000
 2011 T-3 66-69-67-65—267 -17 261,000
 2010 T-21 67-69-69-68—273 -11 36,418
 2009 T-2 69-68-64-66—267 -17 321,066

Johnson has a collective under-par score on 16 of the 18 holes at Deere Run, with a the 18th hole giving him fits. In 2010 he was 5 over on the finishing hole, although it didn’t’ matter much as he finished 15 strokes behind Stricker, who set a tournament-record at 26-under 258. Stricker is also over par on the finishing hole, although by just a stroke. He’s an astounding 45 under on the par-5 holes  at TPC Deere Run in the last five years.

So picking a winner has never been easier, right? Well, OK, right. A win is never a guarantee at any PGA Tour event – neither player won last year, remember – but the way they’ve played this course, Stricker and Johnson should make another run at the JDC this week.

A good week won’t come a moment too soon for Stricker, who is 125th on the FedEx Cup standings and has said he probably won’t play the British Open. He’s 42nd on the Ryder Cup standings. Johnson, too, is on the outside of the automatic eight spots that will make up the bulk of Captain Tom Watson’s team. At 15th, he has some work to do as well.

U.S. Ryder Cup standings

 Rank Player Points
 1 Bubba Watson 6,828.138
 2  Jimmy Walker 5,379.505
 3  Dustin Johnson 4,844.499
 4 Matt Kuchar 4,716.483
 5  Jordan Spieth 4,547.698
 6 Jim Furyk 4,302.834
 7 Rickie Fowler 3,831.433
 8 Jason Dufner 3,466.285
 9 Patrick Reed 3,301.393
 10 Brendon Todd 3,177.977
 11 Phil Mickelson 3,095.086
 12  Webb Simpson 3,086.070

A victory this week would move Johnson into the top eight and get Stricker halfway there, into the low 20s (although given his penchant for spending time with his family, would Stricker want to be make the trip to Gleneagles if he doesn’t make the team on merit?) If you’re wondering, Tiger Woods is 72nd, percentage points behind Jim Renner.

The top finisher among the top five at the John Deere Classic will qualify for the British Open, as Jordan Spieth did when he won in 2013. Who might be the best bets for that final spot? The following players are not currently exempt into Hoylake and have finished in the top five at the JDC in the last three years.

JDC contenders who are not qualified for the British Open

 Player World ranking Best JDC finish
 David Hearn 94 T-2 in 2013
 Daniel Summerhays 95 T-4 in 2013
 Jerry Kelly 139 T-4 in 2013
 Luke Guthrie 149 T-5 in 2012
 Martin Flores 151 T-4 in 2013
 Kyle Stanley 228 2 in 2011 
 Troy Matteson 559 2 in 2012

The following players in the field, also not exempt into the British Open, have played well in recent weeks on the PGA Tour.

Top recent PGA Tour performers not qualified for the British Open

 Player Best recent performances Best previous JDC finish
 Chad Campbell T-7 Travelers Seventh in 2008
 Bud Cauley T-11 Travelers, T-4, Greenbrier 72nd in 2012
Robert Garrigus T-11 Quicken Loans T-23 in 2009
 Scott Langley T-11 Travelers, T-26 Greenbrier T-33 in 2013
 Richard H. Lee T-11 Quicken Loans No cuts made
 Andres Romero T-5 Quicken Loans T-21 in 2010
 Michael Thompson  T-11 Greenbrier T-12 in 2011
 Will Wilcox T-4 Greenbrier No starts

Among that group, Thompson is perhaps the best bet. Look out for Langley as well. He has put together some solid weeks and is a Illinois native, no small thing at this event. 

One final thought: With most of the best international players already overseas preparing for the Open Championship, the John Deere Classic has been dominated by American players. Spieth’s win a year was the seventh straight by an American, and among the top-10 finishers only Canadian David Hearn (T-2) and Aussie Matt Jones (T-7) were foreign born. John Senden was the only non-American in the top 10 in 2012, as were Brendon de Jonge and Cameron Percy in 2011.

If you haven't already done so, please follow me on Twitter at @johnantoninigc

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

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Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

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Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

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Pros comment on the president

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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