This may be one of the biggest weeks on the PGA Tour. No, it’s not a major. In fact, it’s not even one associated with Arnie or Jack. But that doesn’t lessen the importance of this week’s John Deere Classic.
The tournament, which is held at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois, is notorious for producing first-time winners on the PGA Tour.
Don’t believe us? Well, here you go: In the 50 years of the tournament, there have been 23 first-time winners. Almost 50%.
And the way the younger pros have been playing in the 2021-2022 wraparound season, there’s no reason we can’t add No. 24 to that list this week.
After all, with most of the big-names taking the week off, it’s an ideal spot for those making their way up the golf ladder to finally get the chance to make a name for themselves. But with a chance like this comes a lot of pressure. Some handle it better than others.
This week is one of those stops on the PGA Tour that can be a dream or a nightmare.
If a player has a great week and contends for the title (and in the ends gets a massive paycheck), it’s all fun and games. But if one or more of these guys struggles against players of his same caliber–or lower–and doesn’t have a good week, it can certainly wreak havoc with that player’s confidence going forward.
Oh, and one more perk for the week: The top-three finishers who aren’t in the field for the Open Championship, the Tour’s fourth major, will punch their tickets. That’s just a little more added pressure as if these guys needed more pressure.
With that in mind, let’s scope out who might just be the next “one to watch” on the PGA Tour.
Odds to Win the John Deere Classic (FanDuel)
Webb Simpson +1000
Adam Hadwin +1800
Jason Day +2200
Sahith Theegala +2200
Denny McCarthy +2900
Maverick McNealy +2900
Brendon Todd +3100
Scott Stallings +3300
Adam Long +3300
As always, shop around the sports betting industry for the best odds on your plays.
A Quick History Lesson
Like we said, 23 of the 50 winners earned their first victories right here. And there’s more as those looking to make a comeback have also had success here.
Just ask Lucas Glover, the defending champ, who won for the fourth time on Tour but had gone more than a decade without a victory. When guys like Jordan Spieth (2013 winner as his first victory on Tour) and Bryson DeChambeau (2016 winner and his first win) can make a statement with their first victory, it’s not a matter of will someone new win here but when?
So the Tour’s big guns–guys like Scottie Scheffler, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm and others–will be watching from the comfort of their home (or skiing in Vail or snorkeling in the Bahamas or…well, you get the picture).
That swings the door wide open for the rest of the field. Who makes a name for himself with a week he will never forget? This week our picks to win will be all Adam, all the time.
Among the Favorites
The Adam theme starts with Adam Hadwin, who is one of the favorites at +1800. (Make sure to check out a variety of sportsbooks because, as an example, odds on Hadwin run anywhere from +1000 to +1800. Guess which number we want to grab?)
At those odds, he’s a great price. And with the lack of talent this week–there are zero top-50 players in the world rankings here after Daniel Berger withdrew–this should be a week where he shines. As an aside, the LIV Tour has a much more impressive lineup of players this week. But back to Hadwin.
He’s coming in off a T-7 at the U.S. Open, and he’s had a solid resume since the calendar changed to 2022. And when he plays well he tends to stay hot…at least for awhile.
In March he was T-9 at The Players and followed that up with a T-7 at Valspar and a T-4 at The Valero Texas Open. So when he gets on a roll, he tends to strike while the iron is hot. This would seem to be one of those weeks that should fit his game right now after his latest finish at the U.S. Open.
He hasn’t played this event since 2016 when he finished T-8, so we will see if the good vibes are still with him some six years later.
Let’s Go with Golf’s Worst Named Player
That would be Adam Schenk at +5500. OK, it’s not as bad as shank (which we can write but can never say out loud) but it’s close…especially for a golfer.
We’re sure he’s had more than his share of ribbing on and off the golf course about his last name. That aside, he’s seen his game start to rise a little. In his last five outings, he has a T-9 as well as a T-79 to go along with a couple of mid-20 finishes. He also has a missed cut.
But the good news is he’s had very, very good vibes around this track. He was T-6 three years ago and T-4 last year (the 2020 tournament was cancelled due to COVID).
Sure, he hasn’t proven he can beat the big boys yet. And he hasn’t won on the PGA Tour yet. With a win this week he would at least cross one of those off his list, and maybe get rid of some of the flak he takes because of his last name.
On the Prop Scene
We’re going to head over to DraftKings for a prop bet that has us feeling positive.
Sahith Theegala had one hand on the trophy at last week’s Travelers Championship before a double bogey on the last hole cost him dearly.
Now while that may dampen his spirits for a bit, it should excite him to know he was in the hunt until the very end against a field that had some of the world’s best players.
With that in mind we’re going to pick him to finish in the top five at +650. He’s now 66th in the world rankings and 37th in the FedEx Cup standings. Last week’s near-miss finish might just have been the incentive he needs to start him on that rise to stardom.
Also read: Open Championship Betting Guide