Skip to main content

Power Rankings: 2019 John Deere Classic

Getty Images

Golf Channel's game has a new look in 2019.

This year in addition to picking a tournament winner we’re also shifting the focus to head-to-head matchups, with both the Golf Pick ‘Em game and an additional Sunday-only contest that focuses on the final round. Both contests can be found in the NBC Sports Predictor app, which fantasy players can download to make their selections each week.

Players can compete for weekly cash prizes, with the best scores during the season qualifying for the season-ending FJ $100,000 Championship, where cash and prizes will be awarded to top finishers.

The contests continues this week with the John Deere Classic, as the PGA Tour heads to the Quad Cities portion of Illinois. Here's a look at some of the players to keep an eye on as Michael Kim defends his title against a field of players hoping to snag the lone remaining spot in next week's Open at Royal Portrush:

1. Sungjae Im: The rookie has been sensational this year, and he has stepped his game up in recent weeks. Four starts, four top-25 finishes including a T-15 result last week in Minnesota. Im has 13 top-25 finishes this season and against a weaker field seems like a lock to contend this weekend.

2. Collin Morikawa: Morikawa's scorching finish at the 3M came up one shot short on Sunday, but the former Cal standout has shown enough game to prove that wasn't a fluke. Morikawa has made all five PGA Tour cuts this year and has finished T-36 or better in each of his last four starts, including the U.S. Open. Expect that streak to continue at TPC Deere Run.

3. Viktor Hovland: Hovland watched as his former Oklahoma State teammate burst through to win last week, but his pro debut hasn't been far off Matthew Wolff's pace. Hovland has finished T-13 each of the last two weeks, shooting a bogey-free 64 to close in Detroit and following that with a final-round 65 last week in Minnesota.

4. Matthew Wolff: Last week's champ now has the enviable task of adjusting to life as a PGA Tour winner while making just his fourth start as a pro. It wouldn't exactly be a surprise if Wolff is slow out of the gates just days after an emotional and career-altering victory, but his game and potential are such that he still deserves a spot on this list.

5. Joaquin Niemann: After bursting onto the pro scene a year ago, the Chilean was in danger of losing his card as recently as May. But that changed quickly for Niemann, who has been on a summer tear that included T-5 finishes in Connecticut and Michigan and has already earned him a spot in The Open next week.

6. Charles Howell III: At world No. 55, Howell is the highest-ranked player in the field and one of the few who have already secured a ticket to Portrush. Howell's finishes the last two weeks (T-35 in Detroit, T-23 in Minnesota) are somewhat deceiving given his 54-hole position at each event, but sluggish final rounds aren't permanent for a player of his stature.

7. Zach Johnson: If the two-time major champ is going to end his tailspin, it's likely to start at this event. Johnson has been a staple both in the Deere field and on the leaderboards, winning in 2012 amid a nine-year run that included seven finishes of T-5 or better. It's a course affinity that can't be overlooked even though the veteran has struggled mightily this season, recently slipping outside the top 100 in the world rankings for the first time since 2004.

8. Brian Harman: Harman earned his first of two PGA Tour wins at this event back in 2014, and he tied for 10th two years ago in his most recent appearance. After a slow spring he has once again found some form, sandwiching a missed cut in Detroit between top-10 finishes at Travelers (T-8) and 3M (T-7).

9. Lucas Glover: The former U.S. Open champ remains in the midst of a resurgent season, one that he continued last week with a 62 in the final round in Minnesota. That helped him snag a share of seventh place, his fifth top-10 and 13th top-25 finish of a season in which he ranks inside the top 20 in total strokes gained.

10. Daniel Berger: Berger had a tough time returning from injury early this season, but in recent week's he's played more like the guy that made the Presidents Cup team two years ago. Berger has missed just one cut in his last nine starts, notching a T-15 finish last week with four rounds in the 60s in Minnesota. At 117th in the season-long points race, he'll be feeling some urgency to keep up that momentum this week.