2021 John Deere Classic odds, preview, and course notes
The 50th annual John Deere Classic could grant a life-changing opportunity to one lucky winner at TPC Deere Run this weekend.
With the Open Championship at Royal St. George's set for next week, the John Deere Classic provides one last opportunity for players to qualify for the major and earn a ticket on a sponsored charter flight from Silvis, Illinois to England on Sunday night.
The event has also been home to a number of maiden PGA Tour victories for a handful of golf stars, including Payne Stewart, Bryson DeChambeau, and a 19-year-old Jordan Spieth.
DeChambeau and Spieth have turned their focus overseas, but a few familiar names and past John Deere Classic winners will make a stop in Silvis to fill out the 156-player field.
John Deere Classic 2021
Sun, July 11 2021, 9:00 PM
The No. 16 golfer in the world, Daniel Berger, is the favorite (+1000), following his seventh-place finish at the U.S. Open.
The winner of the 2014 John Deere Classic, Brian Harman (+1200), is another top contender who comes to the Quad Cities region in solid form, along with Sungjae Im (+1400), Russell Henley (+1800), Kevin Streelman (+2200), and last week's Rocket Mortgage Classic champion, Cam Davis (+2800).
Three-time John Deere Classic winner Steve Stricker (+3300) is back for a crack at a record-setting fourth win, while defending champ Dylan Frittelli (+5000), Zach Johnson (+3300), Ryan Moore (+6600), and Michael Kim (+50000) will each look for their second victory at Deere Run.
John Deere Classic course notes and relevant statistics
The last three winners (Frittelli, Kim, DeChambeau) all ranked first or second in strokes gained putting the week of their victory.
Short game is where players separate themselves from the pack at the par 71, 7,268-yard TPC Deere Run, which features bentgrass greens that average 5,500 square feet and some of the easiest fairways to hit on tour.
Dating back to 2016, John Deere Classic winners also ranked sixth or better in ball striking, while five of the last six champions were in the top 10 in par 3 scoring.
The D. A. Weibring design includes four par 3s from 158 to 226 yards, as well as three par 5s between 561 and 596 yards, and 11 par 4s, from 361 yards to 503.
Nearly 80 bunkers, three water hazards, and four inches of bluegrass and fescue add to the challenge, but in general, you can expect another birdie-fest, similar to the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
Best bets for the 2021 John Deere Classic
One player to eye for a top finish is Henley (+1800), who placed second in the most recent Classic in 2019.
The 32-year-old from Hawaii enters off a 19th-place finish at the Travelers Championship and an 11th at the U.S. Open. He also posted three top fives earlier in the season, at the CJ Cup, Zozo Championship, and Honda Classic.
He ranks fourth on tour in strokes gained approaching the green, 16th in scoring average, 18th in greens in regulation, and 26th in par 3 scoring.
For a longer shot on the verge of his first PGA Tour win, look to Florida native Hank Lebioda (+5000).
Last week, the 27-year-old finished 17-under to place fourth at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. He also earned a top five at the Travelers and finished in the top 20 at the Valspar Championship and Byron Nelson earlier this spring.
The Florida State alum ranked fourth in strokes gained putting and tied for eighth in birdie or better percentage at last week's event, held at Detroit Golf Club.
He should ride that momentum at another easy course and push for a top spot on the leaderboard.
How to watch the 2021 John Deere Classic
The winner of the 2021 John Deere Classic will receive $1.116 million of the $6.2 million purse, plus 500 FedEx Cup points. If the victor is not exempt for The Open, he will earn a spot in next week's field. If the winner is already entered in The Open, the best finisher inside the top five who is not exempt will gain a spot in the field.
You can catch the action Thursday and Friday, 3-6 p.m. ET, and Saturday and Sunday, 1-3 p.m. ET, on the Golf Channel. CBS will provide live coverage Saturday and Sunday from 3-6 p.m. ET.