EAST MOLINE, Illinois
A prestigious group of major champions, Ryder Cup players, and current-year British Open contestants populate the John Deere Classic field list a little more than a month before tournament week.
In addition to defending champion Kenny Perry and former Masters champion Zach Johnson of Cedar Rapids, the first wave of commitments includes the likes of David Toms, Chad Campbell, Todd Hamilton, David Duval, Chris DiMarco, Mark Calcavecchia, and Jesper Parnevik. They will compete across the TPC Deere Run in Silvis, which will host the event July 6-12for the 10th consecutive year.
Twenty-one tournament winners over the last two years have committed to play in the $4.3 million event, which offers a British Open exemption to the highest finisher not otherwise qualified for the year's third major championship. Among those tournament winners are Brian Gay, Jerry Kelly, Pat Perez, Carl Petterson, and D.J. Trahan.
"We are very excited with the field that is shaping up for this year's John Deere Classic," said tournament director Clair Peterson. "Players tell us they love the golf course and enjoy the friendly Midwestern atmosphere that surrounds the event. They also are able to accumulate points for the FedEx Cup race and to make the team for this year's President's Cup teams."
Players have until July 3 to officially commit, and many of the higher ranking players don't add their names until closer to that deadline.
Other players on the early commitment list include Rich Beem, Mark Brooks, Steve Elkington, and Shaun Micheel, who, like Toms, are past PGA Championship winners.
So far, 19 British Open-qualified players have committed, including Briny Baird, Calcavecchia, Duval, Campbell, Ken Duke, Kevin Sutherland, Dudley Hart, James Driscoll, and Jeff Overton.
In addition to Toms (1997), past champions whose names appear on the commitment list are Jonathan Byrd (2007), John Senden (2006), Mark Hensby (2004), J.P. Hayes (2002), and J.L. Lewis (1999).
Other fan favorites who have committed are: Jason Gore, Joe Durant, Charlie Wi, Brian Davis, J.J. Henry, and Peter Lonard.
The PGA Tour began its run in the Quad Cities in 1971. John Deere, whose world headquarters is in nearby Moline, Ill., assumed title sponsorship of the tournament in 1998. The tournament moved to TPC Deere Run in 2000.
Information about tickets and corporate hospitality is available at www.johndeereclassic.com or by calling toll free 1-800-336-4655.
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 in 1971, the tournament has helped raise $29 million for charity.