Defending British Open champion Zach Johnson and Steve Stricker - two of the John Deere Classic’s most beloved and enduring stars - are among the players who have officially committed to compete in the PGA TOUR’s 46th annual edition of Midwestern magic on the links.
Both Stricker and Johnson have authored many a magical moment at TPC Deere Run, home of the event since 2000. Stricker won it three straight times from 2009-’11. Johnson, who won the 2007 Masters, finally won the Deere in 2012, 10 years after his first appearance. Johnson also has two runner-ups at Deere Run and twice finished T-3, including last year.
Other early commitments include U.S. Open (2007) and Masters (2009) champion Angel Cabrera of Argentina; former Masters (2008) champion Trevor Immelman of South Africa; U.S. Open (2009) winner Lucas Glover; 2009 British Open champion Stewart Cink, and PGA Championship (2001) winner and John Deere Classic (1997) champion David Toms.
In addition to Stricker, Johnson and Toms, other past John Deere Classic champions who have committed are John Senden (2006) of Australia and Jonathan Byrd (2007).
Daniel Summerhays, who recently tied Johnson for eighth at this year’s U.S. Open, is another early commitment. He tied for eighth last year at the John Deere Classic and finished T-4 and T-13 in 2013 and ’14, respectively.
“The John Deere Classic is pleased and excited about the players who have committed to play in this year’s tournament,” said John Deere Classic tournament director Clair Peterson. “Because of the compressed nature of this year’s PGA TOUR schedule, we know many other players will make their decisions closer to the tournament.”
Winners over the last two years who have committed include Ben Crane, Chesson Hadley, J.J. Henry, Billy Hurley III, Peter Malnati, Troy Merritt, Seung-Yul Noh, Senden, Scott Stallings, Robert Streb, Stricker, Brian Stuard, Vaughn Taylor, Nick Taylor and Brendon Todd.
This year’s John Deere Classic has a purse of $4.8 million with $864,000 going to the champion. The winner also receives 500 FedExCup points, which can help determine a player’s eligibility for the FedExCup Playoffs.
As always, the PGA TOUR’s quintessential American heartland event has an international flavor, reflecting the nature of contemporary pro golf.
In addition to Senden, Australian players include Robert Allenby, Stuart Appleby, Steven Bowditch, Cameron Smith, Jarrod Lyle and Rod Pampling.
Europeans include Jonas Blixt, Henrik Norlander and Freddie Jacobson. Brendon de Jonge of Zimbabwe, Rory Sabbatini of South Africa, Arjan Atwal of India also are in the mix along with Carlos Ortiz and Abraham Ancer of Mexico.
In addition to players from exotic places, those from domestic locales will be trying to make their presence felt. The University of Illinois will have at least four representatives: Stricker, D.A. Points, Luke Guthrie and Scott Langley.
This year also boasts a strong contingent of sponsor exemptions, including several recent college stars who have just turned pro. They include 2016 NCAA individual and Oregon team champion Aaron Wise; 2016 Big Ten Player of the Year Charlie Danielson, an Illini who hails from Wisconsin; Spaniard Jon Rahm, an Arizona State player who finished T-3 in his pro debut at the Quicken Loans event after earning the Silver Medal as Low Amateur at the U.S. Open; Oklahoma State grad and Wisconsin native Jordan Niebrugge, low amateur at last year’s British Open, where he tied for sixth, and Georgia’s Lee McCoy, who tied for fourth earlier this season at the PGA TOUR’s Valspar Championship in Tampa Bay, playing as an amateur.
Next year, the John Deere Classic returns to its traditional dates, July 10-16, the week before the Open Championship.
Tickets for the John Deere Classic are available here or by calling 309-762-4653.