The TPC course at Deere Run is an established event on the tour and plays to a Par of 71 and is around about 7,278 yards in length. Whilst accuracy of the tee is a positive, it is not a necessity, it’s good scrambling ability that is a major benefit; year after year this event to out be a shoot out, so a player who has good irons and can get hot with the putter will be what we are looking for.
The greens, whilst undulating, are very accessible for the players and a birdie fest is guaranteed this week. The winner will in all probability have to shoot in the -20s and, to be honest, it not one of my favourite events – as I feel this type of event doesn’t really test the player’s all round skills.
The man of the moment, Jordan Spieth has decided to play here rather than the Scottish Open. The decision is undoubtedly been coloured by the sponsors being so good to the player when they gave him a sponsor exemption when he was just 18 years old and I’m sure he plays here every year to return the favour.
However, for a player going for the Grand Slam, I think he is being far too considerate and should be getting in some links practice in Scotland, but you have to admire the player for his integrity.
I won’t be betting on him – as his price is far to short and I’m not sure if a tear up on the eve of The Open is something he would like.
Someone who has to be onside is Zach Johnson, a player with great stats when approaching the greens from 50 to 125 yards (10th) and historically a slick putter, though he’s not been as deadly as normal this year.
Hopefully, he will back on track this week. He’s had three top 5 places here in the last three years and has two top ten places recently in other events this year.
Justin Thomas is a real birdie machine and, if he get over a grim last round last week at the Greenbrier – where he went from a winning chance to playing like a complete hacker and falling all the way down the leaderboard – he should be able to contend again.
Youth can be is great equaliser when having these type of meltdowns and he looks as if he can notch a maiden win at some point soon.
Another player who looks as if he could be a fit for this course is Patrick Rodgers. He had a tied 15th on this course in 2013 and, since then, is putting together a consistent few seasons together. He’s a tremendously long driver (306yards average), and he should pick up plenty of easy birdies on the Par 5s.
He does sometimes unravel in the final round when in contention and, in running, merchants should keep an eye out for a possible trade out.