JOHN DEERE CLASSIC TO FEATURE AN INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR
This year's John Deere Classic will have a distinctly international flavor, with approximately 40 of the 156 players who tee it up next Thursday at TPC Deere Run hailing from outside the United States.
As always, the largest contingent of non-Americans is from Australia, which will have 11 players in the field, including 2006 John Deere Classic champion John Senden and 2009 PGA TOUR Rookie-of-the- Year Marc Leishman, who tied for fourth at this year's Masters.
The number of Koreans in the field has grown to seven, making theirs the second largest foreign contingent. PGA TOUR veteran K.J. Choi and 2009 PGA Championship winner Y.E. Yang lead this group. Charlie Wi, D.H. Lee , Jin Park and 18-year-old Si Woo Kim also are among the Korean group.
Si Woo Kim is believed to have been the youngest player ever to graduate from the PGA TOUR Qualifying School at 17 years, five months and six days. Kim became eligible to play on the PGA TOUR when he turned 18 on June 28. He has played on the Web.com Tour this year.
One other Asian player, Ryo Ishikawa of Japan, also will make his debut at the John Deere Classic.
Sweden is next with six players. Carl Pettersson is a regular at the John Deere Classic, but this year he is joined by Jonas Blixt, Peter Hanson, Robert Karlsson and Henrik Norlander, all of whom will be making their debuts at TPC Deere Run. The sixth is Jesper Parnevik, who played here 2007-2009, but who has battled injuries the last few years.
Canada boasts four players this year, including former Masters champion Mike Weir, former Players Championship winner Stephen Ames, third-year player William McGirt and David Hearn, who will be making his fourth appearance at the Deere.
England and South Africa both have three players in the field with Gary Christian, Brian Davis and Greg Owen from England, and former Masters champion Trevor Immelman, former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and Rory Sabbatini coming from South Africa.
Brendon de Jonge is the lone representative of Zimbabwe. He has two top 10 finishes and a top 20 over the last three years of play at the John Deere Classic.
The field also features three players from South America: Camilo Villegas, a native of Colombia, and Fabian Gomez and Andres Romero of Argentina.
Of the 39 foreign players currently in the field nine are exempt for the British Open at Muirfield, and will fly to Edinburgh on the John Deere Classic charter.
"The charter has made it possible for the John Deere Classic to attract more international players, who may or may not be exempt for the British Open," said John Deere Classic tournament director Clair Peterson. "It's no secret that golf is an international game, and the jet enables us to compete for players we might not have been able to attract before we had it."
The winner of the John Deere Classic receives an exemption to play in the British Open, if he is not otherwise exempt.
This year, a field of 156 players will contend for a purse of $4.6 million with the winner receiving $828,000.
Tickets for the John Deere Classic are available at 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 event in 1998. The tournament moved to TPC Deere Run in 2000.
Now in its 43rd year, the tournament helped raise $6.79 million for 493 charities in 2012, ranking it first on the PGA TOUR overall in per capita contributions at $18.11 for each of the 375,000 residents of the Quad City area. It is among the top five in overall charity donations 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, Illinois. Since its founding in 1971, the tournament has helped raise $49.08 million for charity.