The John Deere Classic used to be one of the easiest PGA Tour events to predict. But then Steve Stricker got old, Zach Johnson regressed, and Jordan Spieth stopped coming. Now, things are as wide open as a big field after a tractor has gotten through with it, but we dug in the dirt to come up with a list of names we expect to play well at TPC Deere Run this week. Without further ado (and further farming analogies), here are our picks.
Brian Harman: The 2014 winner has three top 25s to go with two missed cuts in five trips to this event. More importantly, he comes in playing well after that recent runner-up at the U.S. Open. And guys who did well at Erin Hills have been on a nice run of late. Xander Schauffele picked up his first PGA Tour win at the Greenbrier Classic, and Brooks Koepka took fun trips to Las Vegas and the MLB All-Star Game. So. . . there's that.
Charles Howell III: CH3 returned from a rib injury to lose in a playoff to Kyle Stanley at the Quicken Loans National. Amazingly, Howell now has 16 runner-up finishes on the PGA Tour and only two wins, the last of which came more than a decade ago. He's long overdo for win No. 3 and he has more top fives (2) than missed cuts (1) in this event in 10 starts.
Wesley Bryan: The leading candidate for PGA Tour Rookie of the Year won earlier this season at Hilton Head and finished T-8 in his debut in this event last year. Also, look how excited he is to return!
We like the positive attitude.
Steve Stricker: And finally, we had to mention Stricker. The Strick Show will be making its first appearance in this event as a 50-year-old, but he's been playing solid golf of late. Starting with a T-16 at the Masters, Stricker has four top-16 finishes in his past six starts. He's only finished T-52 and T-35 at TPC Deere Run the pat two years, but prior to that he had a run of six consecutive top-11 finishes, including three straight wins from 2009 to 2011. Strick Show forever.
Just missed: Jamie Lovemark and Daniel Summerhays. Just, just missed: Bryson DeChambeau, who has gone T-26, T-17, T-14 after a stretch of eight straight missed cuts.
And for those of you playing other fantasy golf formats:
Yahoo! lineup: Kevin Streelman, Steve Stricker, Charles Howell III, Brian Harman (Starters); Smylie Kaufman, Jamie Lovemark, Daniel Summerhays, Wesley Bryan (Bench).
Knockout/One-and-done pick: Brian Harman.