Schedule Shift Is a One-Time-Only Event to Accommodate the Olympic Games
John Deere Classic officials today announced that the 2016 edition of the tournament has been scheduled for the week of Aug. 8-14 at TPC Deere Run, a one-time shift to accommodate the return of golf to the Olympic Games.
In 2017 and beyond, the John Deere Classic will return to its normal early-July dates – the week before the British Open, officials said.
The John Deere Classic is one of several PGA TOUR events, including major championships, that have been rescheduled to accommodate the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The 60-player men’s Olympic golf competition – a four-day, 72-hole stroke-play event – will be played Aug. 11-14.
“The John Deere Classic will embrace our 2016 date with an eye toward delivering the kind of compelling and dramatic golf tournament that our local fans and TV golf viewers around the world have come to expect,” said John Deere Classic tournament director Clair Peterson. “TPC Deere Run is a golf course with a set of great finishing holes that were designed by course architect D.A. Weibring specifically to produce the kind of exciting finishes we have had since the tournament moved here in 2000. We think next year will be just as enjoyable for our fans.”
Peterson noted that the tournament’s reigning champion, Jordan Spieth – currently ranked as the world’s No. 2 player - likely will be competing in the Olympics in 2016 rather than defending his title at the John Deere Classic.
“While, selfishly, we would love to have Jordan back to defend his title here in the Quad Cities in 2016, I think I speak for our fans, sponsors and our 1,900 volunteers in saying that we can think of no better representative of our country in terms of championship performance and great sportsmanship than Jordan Spieth. We have had the privilege of getting to know Jordan over the last four years, and next summer the rest of the world will have a chance to get to know him, too.”
Peterson also noted that many players who might not otherwise put the John Deere Classic on their schedule could do so because of the date change, assuming they are among a large group of players not participating in the Olympics. Most countries will have only two players competing in the Olympics, and even the most dominant nations, including the U.S., will have no more than four.
“We feel confident that a number of the players who have told us over the years that they’d love to play here will finally find a way to do it,” Peterson said.
Among other tournaments affected by the Olympics are the PGA Championship, which will move to July 25-31 from its normal mid-August date and the Travelers Championship, which will move to Aug. 1-7 from its usual week-after-the-U.S.-Open spot on the schedule.
Spieth won the John Deere Classic for the second time earlier this summer when he beat Tom Gillis on the second hole of a sudden death playoff. The following week Spieth –trying to capture the third leg of the calendar Grand Slam - finished tied for fourth at the British Open, one stroke out of a playoff that eventually was captured by Zach Johnson, winner of the 2012 John Deere Classic.
Eight years ago, the John Deere Classic inaugurated a charter direct to the site of the British Open, which had the effect of increasing the number of Open-qualified players to compete in the tournament. Moreover, with the final British Open exemption awarded to the top John Deere Classic finisher not already qualified, the tournament gained profile and relevance to the world’s oldest championship.
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. The tournament moved to TPC Deere Run in 2000.
Having recently completed its 45th year, the tournament generated $6.33 million for its participating charities in 2014, ranking it first among regular PGA TOUR events overall in per capita contributions at $16.88 for each of the 375,000 residents of the Quad City area. The tournament’s charity contributions consistently rank among the top five overall on the PGA TOUR. Final tournament charity revenues for 2015 are not yet available.
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, Illinois. Since its founding in1971, the tournament has helped raise more than $61.33 million for charity.