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John Deere Classic: Expert Picks

The Olympics created a weak field, will a new name step up an win their first PGA Event?

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

John Deere Classic
When: August 11th -€” 14th
Where: TPC Deere Run Club
2015 Winner: Jordan Spieth (-20)

The format of this will go: I will select golfers based on the Yahoo format. I will select one A golfer, 2 B golfers and 1 C golfer that I think will do well as well as one dark horse pick, this should space out the selections and provide a vast field to select from for anyone who is in a format where you are limited to 10 starts per year.

TPC Deere Run Club -€” Given the placement of water traps and dog legs, it sounds like the long driver should succeed here but instead it becomes the player who can putt. Not enough is said about the difficulty of the greens at TPC Deere Run where quite often, the stronger putters succeed in the end. Spieth won last year and as per usual was at his peak in terms of putting.

Ryan Moore -€” He hasn't been at his best recently, he did finish 17th at the Travelers Championship and has made 5 straights cuts but only one has been in the top 25. He is one of the most familiar A players with this course though. His track record here -€” 24th (2015), 7th (2014) and 22nd (2013). He's 31st on the tour in stokes gained putting.

Zach Johnson -€” He is a gimme at this course for his great record here alone -€” 3rd (2015), 2nd (2014), 2nd (2013), 1st (2012) and 3rd in 2011. Add to that 4 top 20 finishes in his last 6 starts and you have a good contender for a top 5 result down the stretch.

Jerry Kelly -€”After he missed four straight cuts, he went on to finish 26th at the RBC Canadian Open and 2nd at the Travelers Championship. He finished 17th here in 2015, 3rd in 2014 and 22nd in 2013.

Steve Stricker -€” I've always enjoyed Stricker's composure and composed play on the course. He had a rough start to the season but has come in strong late with top ten finishes in 3 out of 4 tournaments. He finished 35th here last year, 11th in 2014 and 10th in 2013. He could be a strong player down the stretch given his familiarity and recent play. He's 2nd on the tour in strokes gained putting.

Sleeper Pick:
Aaron Wise -€”
At 19 years old, this rookie won the NCAA Championship last year as part of Oregon's team. He is playing red hot and will get a chance to show off his solid play in a weakened field at the John Deere Classic

Last tournament results -€” Travelers Championship (156 total) -€” Picks: Watson, Hoffman, Koepka, Rahm and Hatton
A: 25th place
B: 9th place; 25th place
C: 25th place
Dark Horse: 17th place

YTD Avg: (Average field of 135 people)
A: 38th place
B: 37th place
C: 51st place
Dark Horse: 50th place

Fun factoid about this tournament: 15 year old Michelle Wie got an exception to play here in 2005.