EAST MOLINE, Illinois In it continuing effort to improve the quality of its field, the John Deere Classic will offer eligible contestants a direct flight on a charter jet from Moline to the British Open following next year's event, tournament director Clair Peterson announced today.
The 65-passenger first-class jet would leave Quad City International Airport a few hours after the conclusion of the John Deere Classic and fly directly to Manchester, England. There, ground transportation would take the players and their caddies to Royal Birkdale in Lancashire, site of the 2008 Open Championship. "Our goal is to give British Open-eligible players another great reason to play in our tournament," Peterson said. "Based on conversations we've had with players and agents, we think the convenience, security, and hassle-free nature of a charter jet will provide great incentive for players to include the John Deere Classic in their schedules."
Flying on a charter jet would enable players and their caddies to keep a closer eye on golf clubs and luggage than is possible on a commercial flight, Peterson said. In recent years, some players' clubs were lost or did not arrive in a timely manner.
Last year, two PGA Tour events - the Canadian Open and The Travelers - successfully introduced charter jet travel to bring players to their events. Both plan to use charters again this year.
The 2008 John Deere Classic is scheduled for July 10-13 at the TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill. The British Open is the next week.
The PGA Tour began its run in the Quad Cities in 1971. Moline-based John Deere assumed title sponsorship in 1999 and the tournament moved to the newly built TPC Deere Run in 2000.
PGA Tour veteran Jonathon Byrd won the 2007 John Deere Classic last July 15. It was the third PGA Tour victory for the 29-year-old native of South Carolina.
The John Deere Classic, which includes Birdies for Charity, is a 501(C)3 non-profit organization located in the John Deere Classic tournament office at 15623 Coaltown Road, East Moline, Illinois. Since 1993, the tournament has helped raise $18.6 million for charity.