Genesis Scottish Open

The Renaissance Club


John Deere Classic: 2 Ryder Cup hopefuls get into early contention


Stacy Revere

With most of the golf world's focus shifting abroad ahead of the two-week Scottish Open-Open Championship stretch, many of the game's highest-ranked players are opting for a week of rest.

It's probably the smart move, which makes it all the more interesting that Cameron Young decided to tee it up this week.

It may just work, too.

At World No. 19, Young is the highest-ranked player in the field this week, though the man who finished solo second at the 2022 Open Championship has struggled for form in 2023, with no top-10 finishes since a T-7 at the Masters in April.

Young's U.S. Ryder Cup prospects have taken a hit accordingly (he's down to 10th in the U.S. standings). But a six-under opening-round 65 leaves him T-3 after his first round at the John Deere Classic, and a chance to create some momentum for a late-season surge.

More Power for Team Europe?

Masters 2023

Christian Iooss

Speaking of Ryder Cup hopefuls looking to boost their chances of a ticket to Rome: Irishman Seamus Power with a five-under 66 opening round. Unlike Young, Power is trending in a direction where he will make the team (he's currently 11th in the World Points standings), though a good stretch starting this week would secure those ambitions. It would be welcome news for the European Team, too, which is lacking the same depth as its U.S. counterparts at the bottom of the order.

Rest and opportunity

All in all, the beauty of weeks like the John Deere Classic is that they're an opportunity for anybody else with an itching sense of unfinished business. Patrick Rodgers (T-65), Young (T-3), Denny McCarthy (T-23) and Byeong Hun An (T-13) have each made more than $10 million on the PGA Tour, but are all winless. Zac Blair (T-23) is chasing full membership after a T-2 finish at the designated Travelers Championship, and joins an army of others looking for a last minute ticket to Royal Liverpool. It's not often the big names take a break. The opportunity this week is to work hard while they rest.