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PGA Tour Golf John Deere Preview And Picks

by Aaron "1-iron" Garry of  Doc's Sports Picks

 

Last Week:

 

As Al Czervik said to Judge Elihu Smails on the first tee at Bushwood Country Club in the movie Caddyshack: "Ok, you can owe me!"

 

As Jim Furyk closed out Tiger Woods at the Cialis Western Open, the golf gods smiled on "1-iron's" Woods/Furyk 1-2 prediction in last week's column. As "1-iron" has been saying week after week, Furyk was bound to break through with a win after seven top 10s in 2005. After falling four down to Ben Curtis early on Sunday, Furyk eventually had to fend off the charge from a fired up Woods to claim his first Western Open Championship. While most shuddered after a Furyk bogey on 17 reduced the lead to two over Woods, "1-iron" knew Furyk was in complete control of the event. Jim is a seasoned veteran of the PGA Tour, and more importantly, as evidenced by 10 PGA Tour Victories, he knows how to win. His Barclay's collapse to Paddy Harrington the week prior was an aberration that won't soon be seen again.

 

Now that he's won in 2005, I'm throwing Furyk into the "Big 5" as a replacement for Retief Goosen. As far as "1-iron" is concerned, Furyk is someone to watch each time he puts the ball in the air. He's fifth on the money list, third in scoring average, fifth in greens in regulation, and 12th in putting. There's not a better thing going right now, and he's surely going to be included in "1-iron's 6 who will" for the British Open.

 

A couple more things to note. Congrats to Ben Curtis for getting things back on track with a 3rd place finish at Cog Hill. "1-iron" loves the Mid American Conference, and Ben played college golf at "1-iron's" Ohio University rival, Kent State.

 

Also, props to Billy Mayfair for coming back strong to the PGA Tour this year on his Major Medical Exemption. Billy's 15th on the money list and a threat to the top-5 week after week!

 

This week:

 

The Big "Wie'sy" gets a shot at the men this week at the John Deere Classic at the TPC at Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois. While Mark Hensby returns to defend his 2004 title, the spotlight will shine brightly on Michelle Wie, and her quest to prove she belongs on the Men's Tour. As the golf world waits for a formal opinion from the "1-iron" let's just put this in perspective.

 

First, Wie is 15 years old and female. Second, Michelle has won zero professional golf tournaments against women. Third, the John Deere classic is saddled with the worst date on the PGA Tour schedule, being one week before the British Open. Fourth, Wie is coming off a very ugly choke job at the US Women's Open, where she fired a final-round 82 to finish in a tie for 23rd. Fifth, Wie is not even considered the No.  1 amateur golfer in the United States, as Morgan Pressel holds that honor.

 

What does all this mean to the "1-iron?" - It means that there's no problem with women being allowed to play on the PGA Tour, as long as they are deserving of a spot. Annika Sorenstam - Deserving. Birdie Kim - Deserving. Michelle Wie - Not so deserving. Now maybe in 10 years, that will change with some stellar showings on the LPGA circuit. However, "1-iron" does understand that the John Deere is faced with ridiculous odds of survival if it doesn't up the corporate ante with gimmicks like this, so if it's the difference between having a tournament or not having a tournament, then "1-iron" endorses the move.

 

18 Shots for the John Deere Classic

 

6 Who Will:

 

1. Zach Johnson (20/1): Hails from nearby Iowa City, Iowa and quietly had a breakout season in 2004. Has 3 Top 10's this year during the Florida swing, including a T3 at Doral. Recorded a Top 20 last year at Deere Run, and may just come back hunting for more this year.

2. Vaughn Taylor (Field 3/2): "1-iron" ain't afraid! He ain't afraid. I'll go with a giant long shot as my #2 pick this week. Vaughn Taylor, not to be confused with Jacque Vaughn, Mo Vaughn, or any other Vaughn you might think of. "Vodka Tonic" as he will now be known is having a nice season with 2 Top 10's and 4 Top 25's. He finished T5 at Wachovia a few weeks ago and should be ready to go this week.

3. David Toms (7/1): The marquee player in this event, who's spot on that roll call is usually reserved for one of the big five. Toms brings some much needed star-power to this event. He's fourth on the money list and hasn't played since that up and down roller coaster at the US Open at Pinehurst. His last 4 tourney's have all been Top 15's and 3 of his last 4 have been Top 10's. Guys comin in Hot, and should carry it over to the British.

4. Mark Hensby (14/1): Besides Tiger Woods, who has performed the best so far in the the two majors? Yep, Mark Hensby with a T5 in the Masters and a T3 in the US Open. The 2005 John Deere Classic will head to St. Andrews next week for the British Open, but a repeat is not out of the question. 7 Top 25's this year.

5. J.L Lewis (50/1): Why? Guy owns the John Deere Classic. Don't read that again, just let it marinate. 1999 Winner of the Event and 2003 Runner Up. Played well at Oakwood and at TPC of Deere Run. Definitely a Top 20 this week and nothing less will do.

6. Billy Mayfair (15/1): Fair Warning, there's a chance The Mayflower may set sail for Scotland this week, as his 4th place finish at Cog Hill qualified him for the B-Open next week at St. Andy's. Withdrew last year after an opening round 75, so should have little motivation in the Quad Cities this week. However, if he plays, there's nobody hotter right now. 6 Top 10's this year, including last week's solid performance. Oh baby.

 

6 Who Can:

 

7. DJ Trahan (Field 3/2): This will be his first John Deere Classic, but it may be his last as an unknown Clemson Tiger. Trahan's had a great season and could very well put an exclamation point on it this week. He's made 9 of 14 cuts, has 2 Top 10's, and finished T16 last week at the Western. 22nd in Greens in Regulation. Solid.

8. Todd Hamilton (65/1): He's the defending British Open Champion, he hails from the Quad Cities area, and he generally plays pretty good here. However, he hasn't finished higher then T18 this year, and ballooned to T54 after his final round 78 last week at the Western. Anything over 50/1 is something I'd lock in for a few units.

9. Kevin Sutherland (50/1): "Bagels" and the "1-iron" at Randy's Bageland in West Palm Beach, Florida circa 1995. "1-iron" still remembers Sutherland's cool demeanor as he launched a Bialy with cream cheese during the week of Qualifying school that year. "Bagels" has made 14 of 16 cuts this year and has 3 Top 10's. Should be fine against the watered down field this week.

10. Kirk Triplett (30/1): The 2000 John Deere Runner-Up has been playing well of late. 4 Top 25's in a row before an untimely missed cut at the Western Open should bode well for Triplett, who seems to hold the Deere close to his heart. T17 in Driving Accuracy will make a big difference this week.

11. Kent Jones (Field 3/2): Has struggled since his T7 at the Shell Houston Open, but might be showing signs of a comeback after his opening round 68 at Cog Hill last week. Stands 201st on the money list, but I like him as a long shot this week.

12. Jonathan Byrd (50/1): One of the Clemson Tigers on tour has made 13/18 Cuts and finished T2 in the 2003 Edition of the Deere. One of the longest hitters on tour, his game is starting to come into form with T67 at the Booz, and a T40 at the Cialis.

 

6 Who Won't:

 

13. Michelle Wie (Field 3/2 - Possibly other bets out there): See my notes above. I'm hoping she makes the "1-iron" look like the "L-Wedge" this week, but I'll take my chances. This is a 7,150 yard course, not a 6,400 yarder. Breaking 75 one day would be a victory. 2 Missed Cuts out of 2 Tries thus far on Tour, both coming in the Sony Hawaiian Open.

14. Jeff Sluman (40/1): Currently 56th on the Money list but coming off an ugly, ugly missed cut last week at the Western Open where he opened with 76-74. While "1-iron" thought it would be an advantage playing close to home last week - it wasn't.  Slu's made 15/17 cuts this year, but has never been a threat to win. Shouldn't change this week.

15. Esteban Toledo (Field 3/2): Coming off a win last week at the Nationwide Lake Erie Charity Classic is a good springboard to Esteban's week at the Deere. However, "1-iron" read his autobiography, and the former boxer will need every ounce of fight to make the cut this week. Estey is a short hitter with a short temper. If he can overcome both this week, he might be ok, but for now - we'll keep him here. Missed 3 of 4 cuts on the PGA Tour this year.

16. Robin Freeman (Field 3/2): With "1-iron" being in Chicago, and this tournament being held a few hours away, "1-iron" asked Mr. Freeman if he needed a looper, a jock this week. With no response to the inquiry, it earned Robin Freeman a 6 who won't bid in lieu of the virtual anonymity that he usually retains. Robin's missed 2 of 4 cuts, and currently stands at +14 on the season. Ouch.

17. Tjaart Van Der Walt (Field 3/2): Playing on the same Major Medical that Billy Mayfair has made the most of, Tjaart stands 231st on the PGA Tour money list with $12,823. He's missed 4 of 5 cuts, and is a safe bet to make it 5 of 6 this week.

18. Ben Weir (Field 3/2): I couldn't resist. You see "Weir" in the field, and you immediately think Mike. Nope. Not this time. Nadda. This is Ben Weir. Moline High standout who missed US Open Qualifying this year by 1-shot. Weir has played in 5 John Deere/Quad Cities tournaments, and has missed the cut all 5 times. Ouch.

 

Fantasy Salary Cap Value Pick of the Week: Trahan.

 

Comments? Questions? Suggestions? - Email "1-iron" at 1iron@docsports.com

All odds are approximate. Please check bodog.com for updated odds.

 

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