2007 John Deere Classic Raises $4.6M for Charity in 2007


EAST MOLINE, Illinois Total Represents an Increase of $700,000

John Deere Classic officials today announced that this year's edition of the Quad City-based PGA Tour event helped raise $4.6 million for 600 area charities, an increase of $700,000 over last year.

Significantly, this was the first time since the inception of the event in 1971 that the amount donated to charity exceeded the tournament purse, which was $4.1 million this year, according to tournament director Clair Peterson.

"Once again, as they do every year, the people and businesses of the Quad Cities and neighboring communities have stepped up in a big way to support their favorite local charities," said Peterson. "The John Deere Classic is proud to be the engine that drives this annual outpouring of generosity. We are very happy to have been able to provide an additional 10 percent to each charity by way of tournament revenues and other fund raising events.

"Of course, none of this would be possible without the steadfast support of John Deere, which in the minds of many is the finest corporate sponsor on the PGA Tour," Peterson said.

The tournament office recently mailed checks to the 600 participating charities that utilized the tournaments Birdies for Charity program to raise money for their organizations. In addition to receiving 100 percent of the Birdies pledges collected on their behalf, the charities each received a 10 percent bonus from the tournament totaling more than $320,000.

The 2007 charity total of $4.6 million was up from the 2006 total of $3.9 million. Charitable contributions were generated by a combination of tournament revenues, direct donations, and the highly successful Birdies for Charity program.

The $4.6 million total translates to a per capita contribution of $12.27 for every man, woman, and child living the Quad Cities, which has a population of 375,000. That makes the John Deere Classic one of only a handful of PGA Tour events to exceed $4 million in money raised for charity and easily makes it the No. 1-ranked tournament for per capita giving among regular PGA Tour events.

"The PGA TOUR would like to congratulate the John Deere Classic on this remarkable charitable achievement," said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. "Everyone associated with the event, including Deere & Company and other corporate sponsors, tournament staff and volunteers, and the countless fans who supported the tournament should take a great deal of pride in raising this very significant sum for those in need in the Quad Cities. The John Deere Classic has truly taken a leadership position in supporting the TOUR's mission of giving back in communities in which we play."

This year, the Birdies for Charity program saw 23,000 individuals and businesses pledge $3.8 million to individual charities of various sizes and missions, according to Kristy Ketcham, director of Birdies for Charity. Under the Birdies program, donors typically pledge one cent for each birdie made during the tournament and Wednesday pro-am. In 2007, 1,863 birdies were recorded, meaning most donors wrote a check for $18.63 for the charity to which they pledged. Many donors pledge to more than one charity.

Ketcham said the increase in donations came primarily from large individual and corporate donors seeking to take advantage of the 10 percent matching program.

"Donors are starting to realize that giving to their favorite charity through Birdies is a win-win situation," Ketcham said. "With the matching program, the John Deere Classic will turn around and add another 10 percent to their total donation. It's a smart way for donors to give their charities extra bang for their buck."

PGA Tour veteran Jonathan Byrd won the 2007 John Deere Classic on Sunday, July 15 at the Tournament Players Club Deere Run in Silvis, Ill. 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 offices at Stone House, 15623 Coaltown Road, East Moline, Ill. Since 1993, the tournament has helped raise $18.6 million for charity.

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