John Deere Classic

As total purses go, this week’s John Deere Classic is a little light at $4.1 million. Compare that with The Players ($9 million) and the WGC events (all $8 million), look at this week’s field, and you can understand how a golfer’s season has been measured not by points per game, batting average, receiving yards, and so on, but by moolah. Until this year.

I’ve only recently referred to a golfer’s FedEx Cup points, the new points-based playoff system that will end in a whopper of a purse: $10 million come the fall.

But the real reason for this week’s relatively weak field (Pat Perez is getting 25-1 odds in the outright, not exactly a bargain for someone who’s missed seven cuts this year) is not about the money. It’s about the British Open next week. The top players in the world aren’t playing this week in Illinois for various reasons of preparation for the Open---some are playing in Scotland (such as Phil Mickelson,Ernie Els, and Retief Goosen, all members of what was fleetingly referred to as the Big Five until Tiger Woods put an end to such talk of bottlenecking at the top by winning two majors in 2005 and two last year) and some are resting (Woods and Vijay Singh).

So it’s tractor time. I don’t know how they get the corn so high in the heartland. There are answers, of course, but this is not the space for a discussion of them. What I know is Zach Johnson is no hayseed when it comes to winning. More on that after the tally.

At this week’s John Deere Classic, take Zach Johnson (14-1), 1/6 unit in the outright: Illinois is as close to Iowa as Johnson is going to get this year on Tour, geographically. The PGA Championship is in Oklahoma, which is two states away from Illinois by stretch, but the Memorial in Ohio was closer in terms of mileage. Point is, Johnson’s done real well this year with two wins. He’s coming off a MC at The Travelers but he’s the best short bet this week.

Take Anthony Kim (25-1), 1/6 unit: Four top-10s and nine top-25s, this guy’s having what will be a breakout year if he can win. A birdie machine, he just needs to make more putts.

Take Carl Pettersson (33-1), 1/6 unit: He got off to a slow start but he’s coming off T17 and T15 at the U.S. Open and Travelers, respectively.Pettersson’s sort of the definition of workmanlike, but he’s managed a win in each of the last two years.

by: Staci Richards - - Email Us

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