Most of the world’s top golfers are already in Scotland this week in preparation for The Open Championship, but a handful of contenders stuck around in the United States to iron out their own games at the John Deere Classic in Illinois.
Daniel Berger stands out among the field at the John Deere this week as the only top-25 player in the world competing in the event.
Berger preparing for Open Championship in his own way
TPC Deere Run plays host for the John Deere, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Berger comes in as the +950 favorite to win the title this weekend, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
For Berger, the tournament provides a more relaxing option ahead of The Open next weekend.
“I think it’s a good tune-up event for me before The Open Championship,” Berger told reporters. “I know it doesn’t play the same as obviously an Open Championship would play, but I think it can give you a lot of confidence.”
Berger plans to stay at the John Deere through Sunday, at which point the tournament has provided a charter flight to England for next week’s major. While the field looks weak, Berger says that in golf, there’s nothing close to a guarantee of victory at any event.
“I think anybody can win,” Berger said. “It’s so tough to go out there and say that I’m going to go win that golf tournament, but if I prepare the way that I’ve been preparing and I play the way I’m capable of playing, then I feel very good about my chances.”
Frittelli returns as defending champion
Other notables in the John Deere field include Brian Harman (+1500), Sungjae Im (+1700), and Russell Henley (+1700). Conspicuously absent from that list is Dylan Frittelli, who won the tournament in 2019. Because the PGA Tour canceled this event due to the COVID-19 pandemic last year, Frittelli reigns as the defending John Deere Classic champion.
|John Deere Classic Odds (via FanDuel Sportsbook)|
|Daniel Berger: +950||Brian Harman: +1500|
|Sungjae Im: +1700||Russell Henley: +1700|
|Kevin Streelman: +1900||Si Woo Kim: +2800|
|Cameron Davis: +2800||Alex Noren: +3100|
|Seamus Power: +3100||Maverick McNealy: +3500|
|Aaron Wise: +3500||Jhonattan Vegas: +3600|
|Doc Redman: +3600||Steve Stricker: +3900|
Frittelli earned his first PGA Tour victory by winning this event two years ago. He hasn’t won on tour since then, and has struggled this season, missing the cut in six of his last seven starts.
“[Winning] gave me a sense of belonging,” Frittelli said, via the Daily Herald. “You’ve obviously got to get over that hill before you can win two or three times. I’m proud to have made that step at the John Deere Classic.” Frittelli comes in as a +8000 long shot to repeat as champion.
As noted, most of the world’s top players are already in Britain ahead of The Open, with many pros participating in the Scottish Open on the European Tour, including Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele, Rory McIlroy, and Justin Thomas.