Because of the continuing COVID-19 restrictions around events and public gatherings in the surrounding area, the 2020 John Deere Classic has been canceled, tournament officials announced today.
The tournament will, however, continue its commitment to the 2020 Birdies for Charity campaign, including a promise to deliver at least a five percent bonus to all participating organizations. Last year, the tournament raised $13.8 million for 543 organizations.
“Because of the ongoing health and safety concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic, the difficult decision was made to cancel the 2020 John Deere Classic,” said tournament director Clair Peterson. “While we considered several alternatives for the Classic, this was the choice that made the most sense for our guests, the players and the Quad City community at large.”
A spokesman for John Deere, which has been title sponsor of the tournament since 1998, mirrored Peterson’s comments.
“Our top priority is the health and well-being of players, fans, volunteers and support staff of the John Deere Classic,” said Mara Downing, Vice President Global Brand and Communication. “We know this announcement will come as a disappointment to the Quad City area and to the broader golf community. We look forward to celebrating the 50th playing of the tournament in 2021.”
Peterson emphasized that the tournament and John Deere remain committed to providing organizations that participate in the Birdies for Charity program with a five percent bonus over what they raise.
“Thanks to John Deere’s ongoing support, we are able to promise a five percent bonus even though we are not having the tournament,” Peterson said.
Meanwhile, the Birdies for Charity program already has instituted minor procedural changes because of the pandemic. For example, instead of the Birdies staff physically passing out pledge forms, charities may access printable forms on the website – www.birdiesforcharity.com.
In addition, donors are encouraged to make their pledges electronically to reduce the number of paper touch points normally involved in the process. Each penny pledge received will be converted to a flat $20 donation, and all donors will be eligible for a random drawing for the traditional prizes, including the grand prize of a 2-year lease on a Lexus NX sports utility vehicle.
This year’s John Deere Classic was scheduled for July 6-12 at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois. It would have been the Quad Cities’ 50th PGA Tour event and the 21st played at Deere Run. Dylan Frittelli is the defending champion.
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 in 1971, the tournament has helped raise $120 million for charity, 99 percent of it since Deere assumed title sponsorship in 1998.