DAVID TOMS COMMITS TO PLAY IN THE JOHN DEERE CLASSIC


SILVIS, Illinois

He won his first PGA TOUR event in the Quad Cities 14 years ago. Soon thereafter went on to win the 2001 PGA Championship and 10 other regular Tour events.

On Thursday, David Toms, now 44 and playing great golf, committed to compete in this year's $4.5 million John Deere Classic, July 4-10, at TPC Deere Run in Silvis.

"We are very happy to have David Toms join our field," said John Deere Classic tournament director Clair Peterson. "David has played extremely well so far this year and we're looking forward to him performing well at TPC Deere Run. He is one of our past champions and we always value having him here."

Toms is playing in the British Open and will travel to Royal St. George's on the John Deere Classic charter on Sunday evening following the tournament.

Toms' success story this year has seen him win the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial just one week after finishing second at the Players Championship. He finished third at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Orlando and tied for 17th last week at The Travelers. With eight top 25 finishes in 14 starts, he has amassed $2.9 million in official earnings, putting him fifth on the PGA TOUR money list.

The key to Toms' game could be instructive to casual players who are under the impression that playing great golf depends on great length off the tee. Toms is ranked 160th in driving distance on Tour, bashing it "only" an average of 278.6 yards off the tee. It's his other categories that make the real difference in his game.

Toms is No. 1 in accuracy off the tee, hitting the fairway 74 percent of the time. This helps him hit 72 percent of his greens in regulation, No. 2 on Tour. As a result he's putting for birdie a lot: he averages four birdies per round, 19th best on Tour. And on the rare occasions when he hits his approach into a greenside bunker he saves par 59 percent of the time, 11th best on Tour.

"David Toms' all-around golf skills make it possible for him to compete week-in-and-week-out on a tour loaded with young athletic players, many of whom out-drive him by 25-30 yards," Peterson said. "It's inspiring to anyone who doesn't hit it overly long."

Toms victory in the Quad Cities came in 1997 when the event was played at Oakwood Country Club in Coal Valley.

This year, the PGA will return to the Atlanta Athletic Club, where Toms won his major championship a decade ago.

Steve Stricker, the No. 1 American player in the world, will be trying to become the first player in tournament history to win the John Deere Classic three times consecutively. He will be opposed by a formidable international field of 155 other players, including defending British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen.

Tickets for the John Deere Classic are available athttp://www.johndeereclassic.com/or by calling 309-762-4653.

The PGA Tour began its run in the Quad Cities in 1971.John Deere, whose world headquarters is in Moline, Ill., assumed title sponsorship of the tournament in 1998 and is committed through 2016.The tournament moved to TPC Deere Run in 2000.

The tournament helped raise $4.34 million for 500 charities in 2010, ranking it first among regular PGA TOUR events in per capita contributions at $11.57 for each of the 375,000 residents of the Quad City area and eighth overall on the PGA TOUR.

The John Deere Classic, which includes Birdies for Charity, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization located in the John Deere Classic tournament offices at 15623 Coaltown Road, East Moline, Ill. Since its founding in 1971, the tournament has helped raise $37.94 million for charity.

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JULY 10 - 16