Fantastic Four: Stadium sets perfect stage for great shots

Legendary 17th hole can catapult players up the leaderboard

SILVIS, Ill. - You don't need to be a comic book or superhero fan to appreciate the Fantastic Four. We're not talking about 'the thing.' We're talking about the course.

We spent the last three days showing you fantastic holes the pros play in the John Deere Classic that don't get a lot of attention on television.

We finish our Fantastic Four with one that's a superstar.

TPC courses are built to be grand events for the fans at home watching on television and the fans who came to see greatness in person.

It's hard to find one that exemplifies it more than the 17th hole simply named Stadium.

"Really, really special," said TPC Deere Run Head Golf Pro Ron Scheyd. "Beauty is one way to put it. Terrifying is another way to put it. Standing behind the 17th green you've got a wonderful, wonderful view of most of 17, the 16th tee and also pretty much all of 18 as well."

Beautifully sandwiched between the amazing par three 16th hole and the spectacular par four 18th finishing hole, the 17th is a glorious par five that provides scoring opportunities for the pros that can decide the John Deere Classic.

"The whole idea is to get some excitement down the stretch," Scheyd said.

Trees line the narrow fairway. A long drive opens up the rest of the hole and gives the pros a chance to go for the green in two and putt for eagle. Otherwise, it's a layup for the approach while navigating a tricky fairway bunker.

Birdies are common. Bogeys for the pros are costly here.

"The players are going to go for it all week long," Scheyd said.

Two years ago, Jordan Spieth found trouble off the tee, laid up for his second and went for the green in three.
"Drives it in low again. Struck it beautifully. Uh uh uh uh ahhhhh. There we go."

So that happened and some goofball in the crowd had a wild reaction. That happened to be me, Jim Niedelman, caught in a photograph jumping in the air after Spieth hit his incredible shot for eagle.

Now it's time to try out 17 personally.

The pros play it at 569 yards. Common hackers like me -- 487 hards.

TPC Deere Run Head Golf Pro Ron Scheyd absolutely crushes his drive.

Hawkeye Headquarters Reporter Adam Rossow proves he's human for the first time this week with a slice that winds up in some historic space -- a Native American burial ground that's out of bounds. He takes his penalty and finds the fairway.

A low line drive from me finds the fairway.

Ron in great position goes for the green in two and almost gets there. It just rolls off to the side.

Adam plays nicely from here with two solid shots to the green.

Then I try to channel my inner Jordan Spieth. Not even close. A layup lands in the bunker, then I go bunker to bunker, stay in the bunker and finally out. You get the point.

Adam two putts from the green.

And, Ron does it like the pro that he is. He can't make the eagle shot, but birdie it is.

Here's how it looks on the scorecard. Ron's four gives him a birdie.

Adam wound up with a double bogey seven, but would have had a par five if it wasn't for that first errant tee shot.

And, I am clearly longing for winter in the middle of summer. I struggled with another snowman for eight.

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