EAST MOLINE, Illinois
Five PGA TOUR veterans - three of them major champions and one of the game's most famous runners-up -have committed to play in the 40th annual John Deere Classic, July 5-11, at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois.
Former PGA Championship winners Davis Love III and Shaun Micheel and former British Open champion David Duval will join 2008 U.S. Open runner-up Rocco Mediate and 50-year-old 2010 British Open qualifier Tom Pernice, Jr. in the Quad Cities this summer.
"The John Deere Classic is very excited to welcome five of the PGA TOUR's finest veterans to help us and our loyal fans celebrate the 40-year anniversary of this great community event," said tournament director Clair Peterson. "Not only are all five players well known for their past accomplishments, they're having terrific seasons and competing hard against a talented group of up-and-coming young players."
So far, two of the five players are exempt for the British Open and plan to board the John Deere Classic charter direct to St. Andrews immediately following the conclusion of the tournament, Peterson said. The highest John Deere Classic finisher not otherwise exempt also qualifies for the British Open.
Love, 46, has played solidly this year, his best finish a tie for fourth at the prestigious Players Championship, which features one of the most formidable fields of any event. He has finished in the top 20 in four of his 10 events and currently is 51st on the PGA TOUR money list. Over the course of his career Love has earned just under $40 million in official tournament winnings. In 1997 he won both the PGA Championship and The Players.
Duval's best finish in 11 tournaments so far this year was a tie for second at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February. As of today, he is 69th on the money list with $630,971 in official tournament earnings. The 2001 British Open champion was the runner up to Lucas Glover at last year's U.S. Open, his best finish of the season. The former World No. 1 also won the 1999 Players Championship.
Micheel, 41, has battled injuries since winning the 2003 PGA Championship. The Orlando native's best finish this year was a tie for fifth at the Shell Houston Open, where a 10-under par 65 in the final round got him to 10-under par. He also tied for 26th at the Byron Nelson Championship, starting off with two rounds in the 60s and finishing at 2-under par.
Mediate, 47, has won five times during his 24-year PGA TOUR career but perhaps his greatest fame came as a result of losing a dramatic sudden death playoff to Tiger Woods at the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines GC in La Jolla, California. Then 45 and trying to become the oldest U.S. Open champion ever, Mediate tied Woods with an even par 71 in the 18-hole Monday playoff. On the first hole of sudden death, Woods won with a birdie to Mediate's bogey.
Pernice tied for seventh last week at the Byron Nelson Championship, his best finish of the season on the regular PGA TOUR. Two days later, he shot 7-under par over 36 holes at Gleneagles in Plano, Texas to qualify for one of eight spots available at the event for this year's British Open. As a 50-year-old, Pernice has played four Champions Tour events this year and has three top 10 finishes; however he has said he still feels he can compete with younger players on the regular tour.
Steve Stricker will defend his title at this year's John Deere Classic. Other previously announced players in the field include 2009 JDC runner-up Zach Johnson, the Cedar Rapids native and 2007 Masters champion and 2008 JDC champion Kenny Perry.
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.The tournament moved to TPC Deere Run in 2000.
The tournament helped raise $4.6 million for 500 charities in 2009, ranking it first on the PGA TOUR overall in per capita contributions at $12.26 for each of the 375,000 residents of the Quad City area and fifth 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, Illinios. Since its founding in 1971, the tournament has helped raise $33.6 million for charity.