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PGA TOUR

Is the John Deere Classic the first victim of the war with LIV Golf?

The LIV Golf Invitational in Portland is already the clear winner this weekend as The John Deere Classic fields a group of second-tier players.

Is the John Deere Classic the first victim of the war with LIV Golf?
Joseph McMahon
jmcmahonztown
Update:
The LIV Golf Invitational in Portland is already the clear winner this weekend as The John Deere Classic fields a group of second-tier players.
Charles Laberge/LIV GolfGetty

The LIV Golf Invitational in Portland is already the clear winner this weekend as the John Deere Classic fields a group of second-tier players.

The nail in the coffin was hammered in when Daniel Berger, no. 25 in the Official World Golf Ranking, withdrew from the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Illinois citing back pain. The fact that 3-time winner Steve Stricker, 55, also withdrew didn’t help the PGA Tour event this week. Some names sound familiar, but Lucas Glover, Webb Simpson and Adam Hadwin won’t get the media attention the tournament deserves

Golf’s bad boys

Despite protests in Portland against those backing the LIV Invitational tournament, the press and golf fans just can’t stop talking about the new bad boys of golf. Brooks Koepka, Pat Perez and Bryson DeChambeau were the center of attention during the events held prior to the second LIV event. The talking points most of the LIV players stuck to were the advantages of playing fewer events and making more money doing so. “I’ll be the first one to say it, it’s not been an easy last couple of years, and I think having a little more breaks, a little more time at home to make sure I’m 100% before I go play in an event and don’t feel like I’m forced to play right away — that was a big thing for me,” Koepka said.

Show me the money!

The players at the John Deere Classic will be competing for a $7.1 million purse, with the winner taking home $1.3 million. The winner at the LIV event in Portland will pocket $4 million, and, as in the first event in London, there will be no cut, so the player finishing last (in 48th position) is guaranteed $120,000, roughly the same amount the no.16 finisher will make in Illinois.

Pat Perez, 46, who recently defected to the LIV Invitational is ranked no.170 on the OWGR. Despite his downward slide in recent years he was very clear about which tournament has a stronger field this weekend. “Look how many guys are here (Portland). That didn’t work at all. So the top threats and all that kind of stuff, and how many major winners do you have here compared to John Deere? It’s not even close,” he said. “The tour wants to keep talking about the strength of the field ... the strength of the field is here. So whether everybody wants to talk about it or not, that’s what it is. Facts are facts.”

This year John Deere isn’t outstanding in its field

Webb Simpson, ranked no. 56, is the top player at the PGA Tour event this weekend, while the LIV tournament in Portland includes eight players in the top 50, including No. 17 Dustin Johnson and No. 19 Koepka, who haven’t played well so far this year, but Perez has a point this weekend. The players at TPC Deere Run in Illinois are fighting for more than money as they try to move up the ranks and possibly earn one of three spots for the British Open. It certainly didn’t help that many of golf’s big names have already crossed the pond to get ready for next week’s Scottish Open, with the British Open only two weeks away, which will be played from July 14 - 17 at St. Andrews, a world away from Portland and the Quad cities.

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