The British Open is a week away, but first the PGA Tour heads to TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill., for the John Deere Classic.
The field isn’t as strong as in years past, which will give some players a chance to move up in the FedEx Cup standings. Kyle Stanley, who won two weeks ago at the Quicken Loans National, headlines the field, along with past champions Steve Stricker, Zach Johnson and Ryan Moore.
TPC Deere Run, a par 71 with three par 5s, will play at 7,268 yards this week. Players will need to make birdies this week to contend, and it will make things easier if they can avoid the rough by driving it accurately, and hit greens.
Here are my top 25 fantasy-golf options for this week’s John Deere Classic:
1. Kyle Stanley: Win at Quicken Loans was a long time coming. Runner-up in 2011 is one of four top-22 finishes for Stanley in seven trips here. Ranks second on Tour in GIR, fifth in SGTTG, 17th in driving accuracy and 23rd in par breakers. He could win again.
2. Charles Howell III: Hasn’t missed a beat since his return, finishing P-2 and T-45. Missed just one cut in 10 JDC starts with six top 25s, including two top 5s. Ranks 12th on Tour in GIR percentage, 36th in SGTTG and 51st in par breakers.
3. Daniel Berger: Tournament debut but has a win and a runner-up in his last three Tour starts. Ranks inside top 40 in both GIR percentage and SGTTG, and 14th in par breakers.
4. Charley Hoffman: Seven straight cuts made on Tour includes eighth and T-3 in his last two starts. Made half of his cuts in six JDC starts with two top 15s. Solid in GIR percentage (T-70) and ranks inside top 35 in SGTTG and par breakers.
5. Brian Harman: 2014 winner, but has missed three cuts in six JDC starts. Two other top 25s, though. Took a week off after T-35 at Travelers and T-2 at U.S. Open. Ballstriking stats aren’t great but his putter is his real weapon and he ranks 24th on Tour in par breakers.
6. Jamie Lovemark: T-3 finish at Greenbrier came after his 10th straight made cut on Tour. Has six finishes of T-27 or better during that streak. Perfect in four JDC trips, but nothing better than T-34. Ranks 34th in SGTTG, 46th in par breakers and T-61 in GIR.
7. Steve Stricker: Won this event three straight times, from 2009 to ’11. Five other top-11 finishes, and T-35 and T-52 the last two JDC trips. T-16 or better in three of last five Tour starts. Most accurate driver on Tour.
8. Ryan Moore: Defending champ has two other top-8 finishes and four more finishes of T-34 or better in eight career starts here. Not in great form, though, with two MCs and nothing better than T-53 in last four Tour starts. Accurate off tee and ranks 60th in par breakers, but 118th in GIR.
9. Zach Johnson: From 2009 to 2015 at the JDC, he was T-3 or better six times, including his win in 2012 and playoff loss to Jordan Spieth in 2013. Has made 12 of last 13 cuts here. Accurate off the tee (13th on Tour), but hasn’t hit a lot of greens this season. Has just one top 10 in a stroke-play event in 2017, his T-6 at Sony. Still, his course success will make him a reliable option this week.
10. Danny Lee: Two missed cuts in four JDC starts, but he was T-3 in 2015. Four top 10s in last seven Tour starts, so form is good. T-36 in par breakers and solid in ballstriking categories.
11. Kevin Kisner: MC at the Greenbrier followed an OK showing at the U.S. Open (T-58). T-20 and T-35 since opening JDC career with two straight MCs. Ranks 13th in SGTTG and is close to the top 50 in par breakers and GIR. Form isn’t great, but stats show he could do well.
12. Chez Reavie: Five made cuts in six tries here, including T-5 in 2011 and T-15 in 2013. T-4 in driving accuracy on Tour and solid from tee to green. Ranks 68th in par breakers. Four straight made cuts on Tour, including T-4 in Memphis and T-16 at U.S. Open.
13. Kevin Streelman: Three MCs but also two T-8 finishes in six JDC starts. Good from tee to green, and nothing worse than T-29 in his last five Tour starts.
14. Ben Martin: Runner-up last year after starting JDC career with a T-38 in 2011 and MC in 2014. Enters this year having made seven straight cuts.
15. Kevin Na: Slow start at this event, but has gone T-13, T-8 in last two trips. Has made four straight weekends on Tour, including T-22 at Quicken Loans. Ranks 42nd in par breakers.
16. Will McGirt: Three for five in cuts made here with best finish of T-23, in 2014. Hits greens (29th on Tour) and is eighth in driving accuracy. Just don’t make a lot of par breakers. Plays TPC courses well (T-22 at Players, T-24 in Phoenix).
17. David Hearn: Lost in playoff to Jordan Spieth in 2013. Just one missed cut in six JDC starts. Also, he’s been T-14 or better in three of last four Tour starts. Sleeper play, even though the T-168 rank in par breakers scares me a little bit.
18. Robert Streb: Before MC last year here, he went T-22, T-37 and T-14 in first three JDC starts. Has now made five straight cuts on Tour with a runner-up finish at the Greenbrier.
19. Bud Cauley: Hadn’t finished better than T-52 in three JDC starts before T-8 last year. Has cooled off of late with two MCs in his last three Tour starts. Not very accurate off the tee but hits greens. Ranks 76th in par breakers.
20. Bryson DeChambeau: Tournament debut but has seemed to have found something with finishes of T-26, T-17 and T-14 in his last three Tour starts. Getting better each week. Stats don’t fit great here (T-93 in GIR, 125th in driving accuracy), but he does rank 47th in SGTTG.
21. Daniel Summerhays: Three MCs but also three top-13 finishes in six trips here. Has made four of last five cuts on Tour with a T-10 at Memorial and T-17 at Quicken Loans. Short game makes up for average ballstriking.
22. Chris Kirk: T-30 in three of last four starts here. Ranks T-43 in GIR, 46th in par breakers and 68th in driving accuracy. Has missed three of last four cuts, though.
23. Ollie Schniederjans: Tournament debut and coming off DQ at Greenbrier that kept him from making his seventh straight cut on Tour. Ranks 54th in SGTTG and par breakers.
24. Curtis Luck: Tournament debut but has gone T-5 and T-20 in last two Tour starts. Great short game.
25. Jonathan Byrd: Made 10 of 12 cuts here with a win, in 2007. Three other top 25s. Teed it up in just two Tour events in 2017 as he’s played mostly on the Web.com Tour, but did make the cut in both events, including last week’s Greenbrier.