RotoWire Partners

PGA Tour Stats Review: Entering the John Deere Classic

Jeremy Schilling

Schilling covers golf for RotoWire, focusing on young and up-and-coming players. He was a finalist for the FSWA's Golf Writer of the Year award. He also contributes to PGA Magazine and hosts the popular podcast "Teeing It Up" on BlogTalkRadio.

This week on the PGA Tour is the John Deere Classic, an event Steve Stricker owns and Jordan Spieth won in dramatic fashion last year. It is also the final event before next week's Open Championship, with the best finisher in the top-5 not previously in the field earning a ticket.

History Lesson

Spieth is in the defending champion, having defeated Zach Johnson and David Hearn in a playoff. In 2012 Johnson - who treats this as his fifth major - beat Troy Matteson in a playoff. Stricker won this event in three consecutive years, from 2009-2011.

Our picks are Spieth, Johnson and Stricker. Johnson has made this event a big focus of his season, has won it once and finished second twice. He's also had a strong year on tour, winning the opening event of the year and ranking sixth in driving accuracy.

Stricker made one of his cameo appearances on the PGA Tour last week at the Greenbrier Classic, tying for 35th. The finish is a tad misleading, however, as he was in contention until a Sunday 74 sent him down the leaderboard. He ranked 22nd for the week in strokes gained-putting.

Spieth, meanwhile, has had another strong season, has the great memories from last season and is eighth in scoring average and 24th in strokes gained-putting.

Who is Playing

The field includes Chris Kirk, David Duval, Patrick Cantlay, Harris English, Sean O'Hair, Kyle Stanley, Bo Van Pelt and more.

Our recommendation here is Kirk, a winner this season and eighth on the FedEx Cup points list. Statistically his strong point is in his putting where he's 36th in strokes gained-putting and eighth in putting from over 25 feet.

Sunday Surgers

Bud Cauley -
Cauley's Sunday 64, which included an ace on the 18th hole, rocketed him 39 spots higher on the final leaderboard and led to a T4 finish. For the week he ranked T14 in greens in regulation.

Charlie Beljan -
Beljan's final-round 65 sent him up 32 places on the final leaderboard at The Greenbrier Classic and into a tie for 11th. He hit it a long way last week, ranking sixth in driving distance at 311 yards.

Danny Lee -
Lee's Sunday 66 helped him jump 27 spots into a T16 finish. For the week he ranked T20 in driving accuracy at 73.21 percent.