Five Open Champions Give Midwest Tourney a British Accent
Former British Open champions Mark Calcavecchia and David Duval have committed to play in the upcoming John Deere Classic, July 7-13, at Tournament Players Club Deere Run in Silvis, Ill., tournament officials announced today.
Calcavecchia and Duval join fellow former British Open champions John Daly, Todd Hamilton, and Tom Lehman and in the field of 156. The top finisher at the John Deere Classic not otherwise exempt earns the right to play at this year's Open Championship at Royal Birkdale in England the week after the John Deere. "We are excited that Mark and David have decided to play in this year's John Deere Classic," said tournament director Clair Peterson. "With five former British Open champions, several other major champions, a number of national team members, and more than a dozen players who have won in the last year or so, our field is really shaping up."
Peterson said Calcavecchia plans to join other British Open contestants on the John Deere Classic's chartered jet, which leaves the Quad City International Airport on Sunday evening and flies non-stop to Manchester, arriving Monday morning.
Calcavecchia, 48, won the PODS Championship in Tampa Bay last year and had four other top 10 finishes, including a tie for second at The Tour Championship with Zach Johnson. This year, he had a better-than average start with four top 20 finishes in his first seven events, including a T-4 at the Honda Classic's difficult PGA National course. He currently stands 89th on the 2008 PGA Tour money list with more than $600,000 in official earnings.
Calcavecchia won the 1989 British Open at Royal Troon, defeating Greg Norman and Wayne Grady in the first multiple-hole playoff instituted by the Royal & Ancient Golf Club, which conducts the championship. The native Nebraskan who now makes his home in Florida last played in the Quad Cities in 1994 when he finished in a tie for 10th at Oakwood Country Club in Coal Valley, Ill. He has 18 victories worldwide since turning pro in 1981, including 13 on the PGA Tour.
Duval won the 2001 British Open and was ranked as the No. 1 player in the world for a time. In recent years, he has struggled with swing issues and this year is playing on a Major Medical Extension due to a family crisis in 2007 (wife, Susie, had a difficult pregnancy). Under the extension, Duval has 20 events in which to earn $713,235 to keep the exemption the rest of the season.
Duval, 37, has 15 victories worldwide and has nearly $17 million in official earnings. He is a two-time Ryder Cup team member (1999, 2001) and played on the Presidents Cup team three times (1996, 1998, 2000).
The PGA Tour began its run in the Quad Cities in 1971. John Deere, whose world headquarters is located in Moline, Ill., assumed title sponsorship of the tournament in 1998. The tournament moved to TPC Deere Run in 2000.
Information about tickets and corporate hospitality is available at www.johndeereclassic.com or by calling toll free 1-800-336-4655.
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, Illinois. Since its founding in1971, the tournament has helped raise $24.6 million for charity.