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John Deere Classic 2024 Preview, Picks & Analysis

By: | Mon 01 Jul 2024

THE John Deere Classic is a big tournament for Jordan Spieth. He is a two-time winner at TPC Deere Run in Illinois but is not having the best of seasons. Defending Champion Sepp Straka returns following T23 at the Travelers Championship.

This a tournament that holds a special place in his heart for Spieth. It was here way back in 2013 that he recorded his first PGA Tour victory at the age of 19 when he came from six shots behind in the final round, holed a stunning bunker shot on the 18th green that would get him into a three-man playoff and won it with a par on the fourth hole of sudden death (18th), defeating David Hearn and Zach Johnson. He thereby became the youngest winner on tour since 1931.

Jordan Spieth

(Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)

Spieth’s history in the Quad Cities began in 2012 when he made the cut as an amateur playing on a sponsor exemption. On his fourth visit in 2015, Spieth already had won that year’s Masters and U.S. Open and he added his second John Deere Classic title with another playoff win with a par on the second hole of sudden death over journeyman Tom Gillis.

“I am really looking forward to returning to the Quad Cities and playing in the John Deere Classic,” Spieth said. “TPC Deere Run holds special memories for me, professionally and personally, and I can’t wait to return with my family to relive many of them and pursue another win.”

Jason Day, who started his career at the John Deere Classic, is another who has endured some spectacular highs and lows.

The 36-year-old former World No. 1 was due to play in the 2022 John Deere Classic but had to withdraw because of injury. In recent years he has been dogged by back pain and has been forced to make swing changes to take the pressure of his back muscles.  He last competed here in 2011.

Upon arriving in the U.S. from his native Australia at the age of 19, Day played his first PGA Tour event at the 2006 John Deere Classic, where he received a sponsor exemption. He made the cut.

“We are thrilled to have Jason Day in our field,” said John Deere Classic tournament director Andrew Lehman. “After starting his PGA Tour journey at the John Deere Classic back in 2006, Jason has had an excellent career and we’re pleased that he has chosen to return here.”

Over the years, Day has battled a bad back, but recently he has remade his swing to lessen the stress in that area of his body with positive results. This year, he has started to once more look like the player who topped the world rankings. He is ranked ninth in Total Driving, 23rd in Putting and 13th in Scrambling this year.

The defending champion is Austria’s Sepp Straka, who 12 months ago secured his second PGA Tour title thanks to a final round of 62. He finished with a double-bogey and was then left to stew to see whether any of the golfers still on the course could match or better his 21-under-par score of 263.

But one by one they came up short.

Brendon Todd finished with a final round 3-under 68 and posted a 19-under 265 total. That was two strokes off the pace. Alex Smalley, after a birdie at No. 14, finished his 4-under 67 round with four straight pars to finish two strokes back and tied with Todd. Ludvig Aberg could only sit and watch after carding his pro career low round of 63 and skyrocketing up the leaderboard. He finished at 18-under 266. Adam Schenk closed with a 3-under 68 and an 18-under total to tie Aberg for fourth. For Schenk, it was his third top-10 finish in five JDC starts.

Since its founding in 1971 the tournament has helped raise an astonishing $174 million for charity.

Tournament Winners

It was won in 2015 by Jordan Spieth, in 2016 by Ryan Moore, in 2017 by Bryson DeChambeau, in 2018 by Michael Kim, in 2019 by Dylan Frittelli, in 2021 by Lucas Glover, in 2022 by JT Poston and last year by Sepp Straka. There was no tournament in 2020 because of the pandemic

The Course

TPC Deere Run is a par 71 measuring 7,257 yards. It is one of the easier courses on the PGA Tour - the tournament record winning score is 257, set by Michael Kim in 2018. Designed by DA Weibring, it features ponds, ravines and plenty of trees, but generous fairways and large, soft greens.

Form Guide

On current form there is no reason to believe that Jordan Spieth is going to do anything special this week but he adores this course and it would be a huge surprise if he does not contend. Patrick Cantlay has had a solid season without setting the world on fire - and this is a golf course that suits his game

To win:

Jordan Spieth. Adores this place

Each way:

Jason Day. Nearly back to his best

Each way:

Sepp Straka. Underrated Austrian

Five To Follow

Jordan Spieth.  Could do with a win

Jason Day. Trending in the right direction

Sepp Straka. Terrific ball striker

Adam Schenk. Has a good record here

Patrick Cantlay. World-class

Five Outsiders To Watch

Daniel Berger. It’s still in there somewhere

David Skinns. Needs to string four rounds together

Aaron Rai. Enjoying life on the PGA Tour

Brandt Snedeker. Course should suit the veteran

Harry Hall, In desperate need of a big week


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Tags: PGA Tour Golf Previews FedEx Cup

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