John Deere Classic DFS picks 2024: Why our expert is buying Sungjae Im’s stock

July 02, 2024
DUBLIN, OHIO - JUNE 08: Sungjae Im of South Korea reacts after making par on the 17th green during the third round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday at Muirfield Village Golf Club on June 08, 2024 in Dublin, Ohio. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

The PGA Tour returns to Illinois for the John Deere Classic, a staple on the schedule since 1971. Formerly known as the “Quad Cities” Open, John Deere took over as the title sponsor in 1999, and TPC Deere Run has been the host venue ever since. Though the event rarely boasts a star-studded field, it remains one of the best-attended events on the PGA Tour and features a long history of dramatic finishes.

With the Monday withdrawal of Patrick Cantlay, this year’s John Deere Classic is wide open with no clear favorite at the top. Jordan Spieth remains the biggest name brand in the field, but enters this event with serious questions about his recent form. Spieth famously won the John Deere Classic in 2013, just two weeks shy of his 20th birthday, becoming the first teenager to win on the PGA Tour since 1931. Defending champion Sepp Straka, as well as Sungjae Im, who has recorded four top-10 finishes in his past six starts, headline a worthy crop of challengers. Yet with many of the tour’s best players resting up before the Open Championship in just two weeks, the door is open for less heralded players to breakthrough and stamp their ticket to Royal Troon. Let’s dive into the slate.

TPC Deere Run
TPC Deere Run
Silvis, IL
44 Panelists
The John Deere Classic began in 1971 as the Quad Cities Open (named for the four cities—Davenport, Bettendorf, Rock Island and Moline—that border the Iowa and Illinois sides of the Mississippi River, respectively). It moved to its current home, TPC Deere Run, in 2000, a layout designed at that time by former PGA Tour player D.A. Weibring and design partner Steve Wolfard. The architecture is befitting of a course that came off the desk of a tour pro and was calibrated to host a professional event: Though the strength of the field is typically diluted given the tournament’s traditional place on the schedule the week before the Open Championship, it’s a venue the players who participate in the John Deere Classic love.The routing constantly switches directions as it winds through a wooded property near Rock River, and most holes have some degree of left-to-right or right-to-left movement caused by doglegs and bunkers. At just over 7,200 yards and yielding winning scores around 20-under, it’s an attractive test for shorter players who like to work the ball as well as for those in dire need of seeing plenty of birdies on their card. --Derek Duncan
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$10,000 range

Play: Sungjae Im, $10,300:

Sungjae Im is playing excellent golf, recording top-10 finishes in four of his past six starts, including a third-place finish at the Travelers, where he gained strokes in all four major categories. While iron play has been an issue for Im all season, the three-time PGA Tour winner is coming off his best approach week of the season, and he has a strong track record of success in easier scoring conditions.

Fade: Jordan Spieth, $10,500:


Mark Smith/ISI Photos

Jordan Spieth certainly has some good memories at the John Deere, breaking onto the scene in 2013 with his first career PGA Tour victory at just 19 years old. With that being said, the 2024 version of Spieth is just not that guy anymore. The three-time major winner has struggled to find any semblance of consistency all season, and he is coming off another disappointing finish at the Travelers Championship, where he lost over five strokes ball-striking. This price tag is related to name brand alone, and we can no longer give Spieth that benefit of the doubt.

$9,000 range

Play: J.T. Poston, $9,100:


Mark Smith/ISI Photos

I always have interest in J.T. Poston on shorter, easier, wedge-heavy courses, and he is a former John Deere Classic winner in 2022. Poston remains one of the best bentgrass putters and wedge players in this field, and these two strengths allow him to always compete on softer setups. Coming off back-to-back top-six performances at TPC Deere Run, I’m expecting another strong performance from Poston in the Quad Cities.

Fade: Jason Day, $9,400:

Similar to Jordan Spieth, Jason Day is simply not the player right now that he once was. The former PGA Championship winner has now lost strokes in both ball-striking categories in four straight starts, and it appears to be getting worse before it gets better. Until we start seeing some signs of life with his tee-to-green play, Day remains an easy fade.

Watch the below video for our favorite bets and players we're fading for the 2024 John Deere Classic:

$8,000 range

Play: Lucas Glover, $8,700:


Gregory Shamus

Similar to Poston, Lucas Glover is another former champion at the John Deere Classic, which should not come as a surprise given his elite wedge play. Outside of his 2022 victory, Glover has recorded two other top-10 finishes at TPC Deere Run in his past four starts. Coming off another strong approach performance at the Travelers Championship, Glover should play a factor at the John Deere once again.

Fade: Kevin Yu, $8,800:

I would absolutely have some interest in Kevin Yu at a cheaper price tag, but I have a hard time justifying nearly $9K for a player of his caliber. Yu still possesses a very low floor due to his flat-stick, and prior to last week, he had lost strokes putting in eight starts. Given his ability to drop over four strokes putting in any given week, Yu is far too big of a risk in a golf tournament that is so dependent on a player’s ability to catch fire on the greens.

$7,000 range

Play: Nate Lashley, $7,400:


Minas Panagiotakis

Coming off a 25th-place finish last week at the Rocket Mortgage, Nate Lashley always seems to play his best golf on easier courses. Lashley has also recorded two top-30 finishes in three appearances at the John Deere Classic. His results on this style of golf course are far from a surprise given his spike ability on approach and bentgrass putting resume, my numbers suggest he is the best value at his given price point in this field.

Fade: Adam Schenk, $7,700:

Adam Schenk’s course history is doing a lot of work here, as his recent results have been troubling at best. In the course history vs. recent form battle, I always rule in favor of form, and Schenk is a great example of a player who is receiving an unnecessary bump based on prior performance. Schenk has failed to finish in the top-50 in his last six appearances, and he has lost strokes on approach in four of his last six appearances. Easy pass for me.

Flier: Justin Lower, $7,200:


Andrew Redington

Justin Lower remains one of the most deadly putters in this field, and I always have interest in him on golf courses with a high greens in regulation percentage that require spike putting. Lower is a capable approach player as well, and his combination of wedge play and putting inside 15 feet should play beautifully at TPC Deere Run.

$6,000 range

Play: Kelly Kraft, $6,600:


Mike Mulholland

Kelly Kraft always pops as value for me on these types of setups for his approach and putting upside, and this week is no different. Kraft ranks top-25 in this field in bentgrass putting, recent approach play and proximity from 100-150 yards. He recently finished T-13 at the CJ Cup presented by Byron Nelson on a similar setup, and I expect him to surprise this week again.

Andy Lack is a PGA Tour writer and podcaster from New York City who now resides in Los Angeles. He hosts Inside Golf, a twice weekly podcast focused on the PGA Tour, betting, daily fantasy, golf course architecture, and interviews, as part of the BlueWire podcast network. As well as contributing to Golf Digest, Andy is also a data analyst and writer for Run Pure Sports, where he covers PGA Tour betting and daily fantasy. He came to Golf Digest’s betting panel after previously writing for, the Score and GolfWRX. In his free time, Andy can likely be found on a golf course. Follow him on Twitter: @adplacksports