With the Greenbrier in the tour’s rear view mirror and many looking forward to next week’s Open Championship, there is still some work to be done. The work will come at this week’s John Deere Classic. There is still a birth at the British Open on the line at this week’s tour stop. In fact there is a chartered flight, presented by John Deere, Sunday night across the pond for the winner.
Some of the tour’s elite players will be heading to Scotland early to play competitive golf in preparation for Muirfield yet some will still come to Illinois and compete over the TPC Deer Run. Six of the world’s top-30 will be in the field. Louis Oosthuizen, ranked 10th in the world, will be the highest ranked player in the field. The defending champion, Zach Johnson, will be playing as well as three-time winner Steve Stricker. Some other notable players include Keegan Bradley, David Duval, Davis Love III and Boo Weekely.
The TPC Deer Run will be the venue and will play to 7,257 yards and a par of 71. The course is ranked number 42 out of the 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses by Golf Digest. The 72-hole record for the event is 258 shot by 2010 champion Steve Stricker. The 18-hole record belongs to Paul Goydos with a first round 59 in 2010. Can you think of the greatest moments at the John Deer Classic? If not, here is a refresher.
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Watching that highlight reel would lead you to believe that going low over the TPC Deer Run is possible but it does not come without a few holes that can creep up and destroy a round. The 485 yard par 4 ninth hole is the longest par 4 on the course. After a reasonable tee shot the players will be left with a long approach over an undulating, tree lined fairway to an elevated green. The green itself is narrow and protected by challenging bunkers on each side. While playable this is not a hole to fall asleep on and it can turn into a double-bogey in the blink of an eye.
The 465 yard par 4 15th and the 158 yard par 3 16th can be considered a challenging twosome. The 15th is the hardest hole on the back nine at TPC Deer Run. Players will have to play a tee shot that carries the valley then play a second shot into a long and narrow green. The green is surrounded by trees and bunkers. Making par here all four days is like getting a stroke or two on the field. The 16th is the “photo hole” here at TPC Deer Run. While short in nature the tee shot is all carry to a green on a bluff about 50 feet above the Rock River. A large front and right side bunker pairing will challenge an errant tee shot.
The 463 yard par 4 finishing hole requires accuracy off the tee. The 18th favors a tee shot to the left side of the fairway setting up a long approach to a narrow deep green protected by two bunkers on the left. The right side of the finishing hole will penalize players with a shot that could enter the long pond swallowing up victory aspirations. There are many places on the home hole that can destroy opportunities late Sunday afternoon.
Who will avoid the missteps and take home the title in 2013? Will there be a repeat winner? Will someone punch their card to the British Open this week? Let’s look at a few of the contenders for the title at the John Deer Classic.
Up Next: The Contenders