Golf Picks: John Deere Classic Preview & Predictions

While Tiger is taking time off to see his kids, and Lefty is playing at the Scottish Open for a shot to take over the world’s No. 1 ranking, the PGA will head to Silvis, Ill. Thursday for the John Deere Classic.

Many big name players are preparing for the British Open by playing some links golf at the Scottish Open or taking the weekend off from competition, and the top spot at the John Deere Classic will be there for the taking.

The par-71 TPC Deere Run stretches over 7,257 yards and doesn’t pose a big challenge for the pros. Steve Stricker won last year’s tournament at 20 under and is looking to repeat his title. He is the top choice at sportsbooks at 14/1.

Stricker has made the cut in all 11 events he has played and has finished in the Top 10 four times. He won the Northern Trust Open in February and finished third at the Sony open in Hawaii in January.

The 43-year-old has struggled a bit lately and hasn’t had a Top 10 finish since March. He did finish 17th in the Memorial Tournament the first weekend of June. His last time out, he finished 58th at the U.S. Open.

Stricker could bounce back with the fairly easy competition, and a course that he has shown he can win on. The American is currently 13th in the 2010 PGA Money List and is looking to add to his $2,171,123 winnings.

Zach Johnson, K.J. Choi, and Tim Clark are the second choices at the sportsbooks at 16/1. Clark is the most interesting choice here. He is fifth in the money list and has shown at the U.S. Open that he is in the right form to win. He finished 12th at Pebble Beach and played a solid tournament.

Clark has made 12 of 14 cuts and won the Players Championship in May. He is third on the Tour in driving accuracy and fourth in putting, a great combination to succeed in any tournament. He will take those skills to Silvis and should rank at the top of the leaderboard come Sunday.

Choi is only 34th in the Money List, but has made the cut in every tournament he has played in 2010. His relatively short driving distance could hurt him a bit, but he has shown some flashes lately. He finished 13th at the Crowne Plaza Memorial at the end of May and has a fourth place at The Masters to show for.

The South Korean finished second at the Transition Championship in March, and has two Top 10 finishes in 2010. He ranks 10th on the Tour in greens in regulation, and 17th in sand saves.

Johnson won the Crowne Plaza Memorial and came in 12th at the St. Jude Classic. He finished 77th in the U.S. open, his last time out. He is 18th in the Money List with $1,833,899 in earnings.

Bubba Watson is definitely worth a look at 28/1. He won the Travelers Championship, the last tournament he played. He has three Top 10 finishes and has made ten out of 14 cuts. He is No. 15 in the Money List with $2,072,761 in earnings.

Pick Watson to beat Kenny Perry in head-to-head play at -110. Also look at Jeff Overton to beat Rickie Fowler at -115. Overton has played well lately, making the Top 3 in three of the last five events he has played. He finished 12th in one of the others, but missed the cut at the Travelers Championship. His last time out was last weekend at the AT&T National, where he came in third.

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