Recent John Deere Classic Symbolises The Threat Facing The PGA Tour

Winning the tournament with a winning score of -28, Thompson’s victory netted him a cool $1.4 million in prize money, a place inside the world’s top 40 and one of the final few spots for the Open which will be taking place in a few weeks time.

Thompson’s win comes off the back of a second place finish at the Rocket Mortgage Classic and a top ten finish at the U.S Open. Clearly swinging the club as well as he has ever done, he will head to Troon hopeful of leaving a mark.

However, whilst nobody can deny how well Thompson played in winning the John Deere Classic, his winning score of -28 can be viewed as a problem. At a time where the PGA Tour is struggling for viewers, golfers tearing courses apart doesn’t make for the best of viewing experiences and many have long pleaded that setups and courses that assist with exceptionally low scoring need to be consigned to the past.

Here are a few of the talking points to have come from last week’s action.

The PGA Tour needs to Strike a Balance Between The Challenge Of Pinehurst And The Ease Of TPC Deere Run

To those close to the PGA Tour, Davis Thompson’s winning score of -28 at the John Deere Classic wasn’t surprising, TPC Deere Run has long been regarded as one of the easiest courses that PGA Tour players face all season. Whilst it is unbelievable to see the best in the business tear up courses with birdie blitzes, if it becomes all too common, it can make those trying to watch the action at home numb.

Over the past three weeks, the Travelers Championship, Rocket Mortgage and John Deere have yielded winning scores of -22, -18 and -28 respectively and whilst nobody can deny the skill and craft on show, seeing courses that have very little risk and plenty of reward isn’t helping the PGA Tour’s dwindling viewing numbers.

Without doubt the best tournament of the year has been the U.S Open. Played on the brilliant Pinehurst No.2 course, the setup and layout of the course resulted in just five of the 156 man field finishing under par. Similarly, if the layout of Pinehurst were to be replicated every week, the constant high scoring would turn off watchers, but for the first time in a long time at Pinehurst there was a sense of jeopardy and danger. 

Every shot had to be heavily considered and thought through. Danger was lurking behind every corner and any mistake could see a player drop instantly out of the running.

Dramatic and gripping, the U.S Open had everyone on the edges of their seats and if the PGA Tour hierarchy wants to see a boost in their numbers, lessons from the U.S Open must be learnt.

The Ease Of TPC Deere Run

Weeks Like The John Deere Reveal Golf’s Great Divide

With the Open drawing quickly upon us, it is a stark reminder that for the final time in 2024, the very best of the PGA and LIV Tours will collide. 

Sadly for fans all over the world, the fractured nature of men’s professional golf looks set to continue as there doesn’t seem to be any agreement in sight between the PGA and LIV Tours.

The timing of the John Deere just a few weeks before the Open has often meant that there is an absence of top stars and that was evident once again this week. Headlining the field at the John Deere in terms of ranking were Sungjae Im and Jordan Spieth. Whilst Spieth certainly has pulling powers, an absence of any players in the top ten made the tournament slightly difficult to watch and it certainly isn’t what current and futute sponsors want to see.

In weeks like this, the PGA Tour misses those who have defected to LIV, whilst it’s highly unlikely that the likes of Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and Cam Smith would have teed it up, LIV still has a raft of top professionals on their books, all of whom would have made the John Deere field far better and deeper.

The majors have really stood out this season simply because the best players in the world are together. Golf fans on the course and at home don’t care about money. All they care about is seeing the best take on the best and all areas of the men’s games are greatly missing the competition between the game’s elite.

If both the PGA and LIV Tours are to prosper, an agreement needs to be reached quickly.

Stuttering Stars Still Failing To Fire

It has been a strange year on the PGA Tour as many of the Tour’s best players have suffered dips in form. Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay, Max Homa, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler and Hideki Matsuyama are yet to win this season and in most cases, all of these names have largely been absent from the top of the leaderboards.

With the established names struggling, a new breed of champions have emerged to the fore. Whilst it has been great to see the breakthroughs of Nick Dunlap, Jake Knapp, Davis Riley, Taylor Pendrith and now Davis Thompson, none of these names turn the dial and they reveal the lack of star quality currently on show within the PGA Tour. 

Upon the completion of the Open the Tour will embark on the FedEx Playoffs, whilst several of the Tour’s newest stars will be making their first appearances in the lucrative Playoffs, those associated with the Tour will hope that eventually the cream will rise to the top and the Tour’s big names start to challenge for some of the year’s remaining prizes.

Stuttering Stars Still Failing To Fire

Attentions Turn to The Scottish Open

With the Open now under two weeks away, attentions are turning towards the Scottish Open. Played amidst the beautiful surroundings of North Berwick, around 30 minutes outside of Edinburgh, this week offers an opportunity for all of the PGA Tour’s best players to get some vital Links experience ahead of the challenge to come at Royal Troon.

Scottie Scheffler is opting to stay Stateside with his new family, so the field will be headlined by Rory McIlroy who will be back to defend the title he memorably won last year. 

With Xander Schauffele, Justin Thomas, Tom Kim, Tommy Fleetwood, Robert MacIntyre and last year’s Open Champion Brian Harman all due to be in attendance everything is set for a brilliant week of action.