EAST MOLINE, Ill. Hunter Mahan and Jay Williamson, who engaged in a cross-generational sudden death playoff last Sunday in Hartford, will compete in this year's John Deere Classic, July 12-15, at the Tournament Players Club Deere Run in Silvis, Ill. Australia's John Senden is defending champion.
Mahan, 25, who won the Travelers Championship with a two-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole over the 40-year-old Williamson, has been on a hot streak over the last three weeks. Before winning Sunday, he finished in the top 25 at the Memphis tournament as well as the U.S. Open. He recently committed to the John Deere Classic.
Williamson's performance in Hartford motivated John Deere Classic tournament director Clair Peterson to offer him a sponsor exemption, which Williamson readily accepted. Williamson, who has been playing on the Nationwide Tour, also played Hartford on a sponsor exemption.
"We're really looking forward to having Hunter and Jay in our field this year," Peterson said. "With the way he has been playing lately, Hunter has put himself in the mix for a place on the President's Cup team. And Jay's story of losing his card, playing the Nationwide Tour, then nearly winning last week is pretty inspirational. Plus, Jay has been very loyal to us over the last five years."
In addition to Mahan and Williamson, other players joining the field in recent weeks include past champions Steve Jones (1998) and Mark Hensby (2004); Jeff Maggert, who won in Memphis last year, and Australia's Stephen Leaney, a seven-time winner worldwide who finished second at the 2003 U.S. Open.
Meanwhile, Nick Watney, winner of this year's New Orleans even, has withdrawn.
So far, this year's John Deere Classic is headlined by current Masters champion Zach Johnson and features a number of past major champions - including Paul Azinger, Steve Elkington, Todd Hamilton, Lee Janzen, Steve Jones, Bernhard Langer, and Bob Tway.
Another group of highly-accomplished PGA Tour veterans in the field includes Woody Austin, this year's winner in Memphis; Jesper Parnevik, and Kenny Perry.
Another group of young up-and-comers includes 2005 JDC winner Sean O'Hair, Carl Petterson, Heath Slocum, Jason Gore, Bubba Watson, and Boo Weekley.
"We're very excited about the way the field is shaping up," Peterson said.
Today's John Deere Classic began in 1971 as a satellite tour event called the Quad Cities Open. The event joined the regular PGA Tour the following year. John Deere assumed title sponsorship of the event in 1998.
Tickets for the John Deere Classic may be purchased by visiting www.johndeereclassic.com or by calling 800-336-4655.