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Favorite Plays by Tier (Posted After Podcast)
John Deere Classic
TPC Deere Run: Silvis, IL Par 71: 7,268 Yards
2018: 6th Easiest Course (out of 51), played 1.625 strokes UNDER par
2017: 13th Easiest Course (out of 50), played 1.247 strokes UNDER par
2016: 12th Easiest Course (out of 50), played 1.104 strokes UNDER par
2015: 10th Easiest Course (out of 52), played 1.352 strokes UNDER par
Player Withdrawals Since Podcast
- Kevin Streelman
- Jim Knous
It should not be a problem. The strongest winds are Thursday, potentially reaching 10 mph throughout the day. Friday has calm winds, potentially reaching 5 mph. Temperatures will be in the mid 80s, with high humidity in the morning, lessening throughout the day. This is nice compared to the over 100 degree heat index I have 90 minutes southeast of the tournament around Peoria on Wednesday. This course should play firm based on recent weather this week, but the greens still may have some moisture after a very rainy past couple of months. I'll give you an idea on Thursday night after being up there. But for now, I see no reason to stack tee times due to weather.
Everyone is excited about the young players this week. Maybe it's because it's a weak field, or maybe it's because they are all playing well. Yet, it's the "oldest" of the youngsters this week, Joaquin Niemann, that is getting the most attention, likely to fall somewhere between 20-25% owned, with potential at 30%. Just under him would be Viktor Hovland and Collin Morikawa. They should be around 20%, with Matthew Wolff falling around 16-18%. Some of this may be due to Kevin Streelman withdrawing, but I think it's just the excitement of these young players and what they have done recently.
As far as everyone else, here are other golfers who could push high teens or even 20% ownership this week, courtesy of Fantasy National and FanShare Sports (in no particular order): Joel Dahmen, Sungjae Im, Cameron Tringale, Sam Ryder, Troy Merritt, Peter Malnati, Scott Brown, and Brian Harman. It really is a week of spread out ownership after the top. With a lot of these names, there is a difference between the two sites in their ownership, so your golfer may be much higher owned or lower owned than expected.
I usually try to include a few bullet points for things to think about or my own selections (Troy Merritt and Hank Lebioda are the last two golfers that I was considering, but didn't make my team. So, probably Top 10s for them), but I think it will all be summed up here. It's looking like about 70-85% of lineups will have at least one of the 10k players in them. A few will have two, but most people are starting with one of the up and coming stars. It's been the main selling point for the tournament and has been talked up in almost every podcast I listened to. Matthew Wolff winning last week certainly helped that cause. And in this weak field, it makes sense to play one or two of these players, as their form is great. Five years from now, I don't think it will surprise anyone if these four are the top ranked four from this particular field. But, if you're looking for the contrarian view...
I'm not playing any of them. Do I think any of them are bad plays? Certainly not. It's time for me to play a little game theory here and present the other side of the argument. First, if avoiding any one of these players gives me leverage in tournaments, I'm in. Let's say Morikawa (insert whoever your favorite is) ends up doing the best, but finishes T14. Does he hurt your lineup? No. But, did he pay off his salary? Most likely not, barring a Rocket Mortgage like savagery where 4/6 easily cashed. Second, let's remember that these guys, while extremely talented and all look like potential stars and possible major winners, have only been playing professionally for a month or month and a half. This is their fourth straight week of playing (5th for Hovland and Morikawa, as they were in the U.S. Open), so fatigue may set in a little bit. Especially now that they are the focus of everyone this week. There's no DJ, Brooks, Bryson, Phil, or Rickie. How will they handle the attention, this early into their careers? So far, extremely well, as Hovland did well in prime showings at the U.S. Open, and Wolff/Morikawa handled the final group on Sunday great. But, what if everything finally catches up to them; would any of us be surprised? I don't think so; it's human nature.
If you listened to the podcast, you know who I'm very much in on: And, Zach Johnson's ownership is around 10%. I think tournament history does tend to mean something here, as we have seen ZJ and Stricker have consistent success. I feel like that is getting a little overlooked due to the excitement of the younger players. To me, this gives me a great leverage reason to play some of these veteran players. Now, will I get to Friday night and regret it because Niemann is leading Wolff and Hovland by two shots? Of course. The younger players are favored for a reason. But, it's a risk I'm willing to take, especially when I see former winners and proven PGA Tour players get overlooked this week. If you don't want to take a similar approach, I don't blame you. But, I think there is enough merit in fading the 10k+ guys in tournaments this week that come Sunday night, a lot of people may be looking back and say "Why didn't we consider guys like Johnson, Moore, Harman, Howell, Stanley and Palmer more in our lineup building?" Just food for thought.
Conclusion: Play whoever you think is best and going to win this week; but if you're not sold on anyone or want to be contrarian, starting a lineup in the 9k or 8k range gives you a lot of leverage.
Full Disclosure: I am playing Hovland and Johnson in One and Done leagues.
I'll post some pictures and updates of what I'm noticing tomorrow as I'll be at the event. Follow me on Twitter @skeeterrobinson, as that is where I will post these at. Good luck this week!
Yes, this is the weakest field of a non-alternate event or Swing Season event. But, as someone who lives less than two hours away from the tournament, it is one of my favorite tournaments of the year (I'll be going Thursday for round one). As you can see, TPC Deere Run does not play very hard. The cut will be under par and the winning score will probably be somewhere between -20 and -25. One unique thing about this course is that it is very hilly. On the banks of the Rock River, there are a lot of undulations in the fairways, meaning it may not be easy to get a flat lie. There is enough trouble if players miss the fairways that you may want to factor in bogey avoidance ever so slightly.
We've seen a recent run of first time winners, who were over 100-1 (or in Sucher's case, not listed) going into the tournament. It wouldn't be surprising to see that again here: however, this tournament does have some pretty good past winners. Zach Johnson will get the most attention, as he is from Iowa, and is on the Tournament Board of Directors for this tournament. With immaculate tournament history (isn't it nice to have this again after the past couple of weeks), he should be popular. I would also expect the recently turned pros (Morikawa, Hovland, Wolff if he plays) to garner a lot of attention. Stats wise, I'm looking at the scoring stats (Birdies or Better, DraftKings Points), along with Approach and Tee-to-Green.
I will post some pictures and observations on Thursday on Twitter (@skeeterrobinson), when I'm at the event. Make sure to check in on Wednesday for weather and ownership thoughts, and listen to the podcast with myself and James.