KEEGAN BRADLEY TO MAKE JOHN DEERE CLASSIC DEBUT
Former PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley, emotional leader of last year's U.S. Ryder Cup team, will make his first appearance at the John Deere Classic, July 8-14, at TPC Deere Run.
The addition of the 27-year-old native New Englander now gives the John Deere Classic field 10 players currently ranked among the top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings and 53 among the top 100 in FedEx Cup points.
Last fall, at Medinah, an impassioned Bradley teamed with Phil Mickelson to go 3-0 at the Ryder Cup, where he finished with an admirable 3-1-0 record - same as John Deere Classic defending champion Zach Johnson. This year, on TOUR, Bradley has six top-10 finishes in 17 events, and is ranked 10thin FedEx Cup points. He's ranked No. 16 in the World Rankings.
"We are very excited to welcome Keegan Bradley to our field and to our community for the first time," said John Deere Classic tournament director Clair Peterson. "Keegan is a leading light among the many bright young stars in our field this year, and we are delighted he has decided to join us."
Ranked No. 5 in driving distance on TOUR with a 303-yard average, Bradley is a bomber who could contend at Deere Run, with its generous fairways, moderate length and large greens.
Along with Bradley, who won the 2011 PGA, Peterson announced the addition of two other major champions: 2009 PGA Championship winner Y.E. Yang of Korea and 2003 Masters champion Mike Weir of Canada. Yang shocked the golf world when he came from behind to defeat Tiger Woods for the PGA title at Hazeltine National.
In addition, Peterson said fan favorite K.J. Choi, also of Korea; second-year pro Harris English, winner of this season's FedEx St. Jude Classic, and left-handed second-year pro Brian Harman have committed. The addition of English means the field now counts 31 players who have won tournaments in the last two years.
Bradley, Choi and Yang also are exempt for the British Open at Muirfield, and will be taking the John Deere Classic charter direct to Edinburgh following the tournament.
"The fact that we can offer our contestants a direct flight to the British Open helps our field immensely," Peterson said. "This will be the sixth consecutive year we have offered the charter, and it has been a true success."
Meanwhile, on Sunday (June 30), eight players who have committed to the John Deere Classic were among the top 12 finishers at the AT&T National at Congressional Country Club, including up-and-coming star Jordan Spieth (6th), who will play here on a sponsor exemption. Others were Robert Castro (2nd), Jason Kokrak and D.H. Lee (T-3), Charlie Wi (7th), and Brian Davis, James Driscoll and Morgan Hoffmann (T-8).
"The PGA TOUR is loaded with players of incredible talent and immense skill," Peterson said. "Each year, we do our best to give our fans a chance to see them compete on a great D.A. Weibring-designed golf course, which from the time it opened in 2000 consistently has produced exciting finishes and great champions."
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.