For years, when people in golf spoke of bifurcation, this was not what they had in mind. But here we are, heading into the Fourth of July holiday, with a widening divide in the professional game.
Over the same weekend in which Saudi-backed LIV Golf stages its first State-side event, outside of Portland, the PGA Tour will soldier on with its own schedule. And so will we.
We’ve got our eye on the John Deere Classic, at TPC Deere Run, in the Quad Cities. And though it’s not the stoutest field of the season, that doesn’t mean we can’t make strong picks.
Once more, we’re playing on Chirp.com, a free-to-play mobile platform, affiliated with GOLF.com, that offers a range of weekly contests, including a Trifecta contest that calls for users to choose three players: a favorite, a contender, and a long shot — all categories based on the Official World Golf Ranking.
For help with our selections, we’re looking to Golf.com’s expert prognosticator Andy Lack, who is also a data analyst for OddsChecker and RickRunGood.com, and the co-host of ‘The Scramble,’ a twice-weekly golf handicapping show.
Because it’s fun to track public opinion, too, we’re also sharing data from the nearly 1,000 users who have already signed up for this week’s Trifecta. You can see where those folks are leaning at the bottom of this page.
Good luck this week.
Andy Lack’s Picks
Favorite: Maverick McNealy (OWGR: 86)
Despite missing his last two cuts, Maverick McNealy remains one of the premier talents in this field. He ranks second in Birdies or Better Gained, third in Easy Scoring Conditions, and he finished 18th in this event last year. Look for the pedigreed Stanford product to shine the Quad Cities
Contender: Adam Svensson (OWGR: 163)
Though he hasn’t received the fanfare of Sahith Theegala, Cameron Young, Davis Riley or Mito Pereira, Adam Svensson has been one of the most consistent players in a strong rookie class. He’s made 12 of 17 cuts this season, and he is coming off back-to-back starts where he’s gained over 2 strokes in both ball-striking categories. I expect the young Canadian to be firmly in the mix come Sunday afternoon.
Longshot: Tyler Duncan (OWGR: 374)
One of the safer, steadier players in this field, Duncan has gained over a stroke on the field off the tee and on approaches in back-to-back starts. He also has a solid resume on shorter, easier golf courses. If he can get the putter going, Duncan will be a factor this week.
Those are a pro’s picks. But what about the Chirp-using public?
With Daniel Berger a late withdrawal, Webb Simpson leads the way in the favorite’s category, with 23.33 percent of the vote. He’s followed by Sahith Theegala (9.47 percent) and Adam Hadwin (5.20 percent).
Among contenders, Scott Stallings has the most support, with 18.71 percent of the vote. Matt Wallace (11.09 percent) and J.T. Poston (10.16) are in second and third place, respectively.
Lastly, the long shots. Brandt Snedeker is the people’s choice. He’s got 18.82 percent of the vote, following by Kevin Tway (16.05 percent) and Austin Smotherman (12.01 percent).
Want in on the fun? Click here to enter Chirp’s free-to-play Trifecta game for yourself.