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Some like Harmon, others Hoffman


With golf's oldest major, The Open Championship, coming up next week, the bulk of the game's big guns are in Britain this week, either getting in some links golf at the Scottish Open at Dundonald or sizing up next week's Open battlefield at Royal Birkdale.

Consequently, US young gun Daniel Berger, the current World No 20, is the highest-ranked player in the field for this week's storied PGA Tour event, the John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run.

Having said that, however, we shouldn't forget that golf is no longer dominated by a handful of superstars.

These days the general standard of play is so high the stars now have to share their titles with a host of lesser-ranked but highly geared antagonists, some of them 20-something upstarts like Berger, this week's bookmaker's favourite at 12/1, 30-something tournament winners like the defending champion Ryan Moore, Brian Harmon and Kevin Kisner or seasoned 40-somethings like former Open Champion Zach Johnson, a one-time winner here who can also claim to have picked up six top-three finishes at TPC Deere Run, and Charlie Hoffman, the man PGA Tour tipster Rob Bolton sees as the most likely US winner this week.

This because this 40-year-old blond warrior is carrying good form right now, having finished 8th at the US Open and having tied for 3rd at the Travelers Championpiobship in his last two starts.

Hoffman happens to be one of the games best players in the wind, but he'll have very little need for these special skills in a week when there will some early morning rain on Thursday, plenty of sunshine for the rest of the time and no wind worth talking about until it stiffens a little on Sunday when it is expected to get up to a manageable 17km/h.

Hoffman won't get much advantage there, but like the other 30 and 40 somethings who know Deere Run's 7,268-yard track like the back of their hands, their course knowledge could be a key benefit.

This because it has changed very little, if any, in the past decade and is currently ranked as one of the most consistent courses on the Tour. It offers very little mystery or guesswork to those who know it and if they can do what they know must be done, it will be hard to beat them.

Harman, the 2014 John Deere champion, could well be one of them. He's the favourite of Rotoworld tipster Ryan O'Sullivan who says: "Harman is playing the best golf of his life. He's accurate, hits his irons close and can get hot with the putter. That combination is perfect for the John Deere Classic."

I have to agree with him, though I wouldn't write of Berger, the Bookmaker's favourite, or Hoffman for that matter.

(Noon Tuesday, July 11, 2017)

Daniel Berger 12/1
Brian Harman 14/1
Danny Lee 16/1
Kevin Kisner 20/1
Kyle Stanley 22/1
Charley Hoffman 14/1
Steve Stricker 22/1
Zach Johnson 25/1
Ryan Moore 35/1
Jamie Lovemark 35/1
Kevin Na 40/1
Charles Howell 35/1
Kevin Streelman 35/1
Daniel Summerhays 40/1
Bud Cauley 40/1
Ben Martin 50/1
Bubba Watson 50/1
Robert Streb 50/1
Bryson Dechambeau 55/1
Nick Taylor 50/1.

Neville Leck

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