This year’s John Deere Classic will be played at TPC Deere Run for the 20th consecutive time in the 49-year history of the Quad Cities’ PGA Tour event.
The rolling 7,268-yard Par 71 layout first hosted the John Deere Classic shortly after the course opened in the year 2000, when rookie Michael Clark II won the event on the fourth hole of a two-man playoff with Kirk Triplett.
“We are very proud that TPC Deere Run has proven to be the kind of high-quality golf course that has consistently identified champions who are among the elite in their profession,” said John Deere Classic tournament director Clair Peterson.
“Over the first 20 years at Deere Run, our winners have included major champions Zach Johnson, Jordan Spieth, and Vijay Singh as well as other multiple Tour winners, such as Steve Stricker, Bryson DeChambeau, Sean O’Hair, Jonathan Byrd, Ryan Moore, Brian Harman and Kenny Perry,” Peterson noted. Many played on Ryder Cup and/or Presidents Cup teams.
D.A. Weibring, who designed the traditional tree-lined parkland style course along with golf course architect Chris Gray, views Deere Run with a special fondness.
“Our firm has been involved with more than 100 properties over the years but there isn’t one I’m prouder of than TPC Deere Run,” said Weibring, a Quincy, Illinois native and Illinois State alumnus.
Weibring, who won the Quad Cities event three times when it was played at Oakwood Country Club in Coal Valley, Illinois, said he has heard nothing positive feedback about Deere Run from Tour players from early on. Unlike many other PGA Tour courses, Deere Run has remained unchanged from a design standpoint from the day it opened with the exception of the addition of a back tee on hole No. 6.
“Last time I was there (in 2016), I told some of the players that we could tweak it here and there, add a couple of more tees, etc., but Davis Love said, ‘Don’t touch it. We love playing here,’ “Weibring said.
In 19 years at TPC Deere Run, the event has been decided by two shots or fewer 13 times, including six playoffs.
Deere Run’s final five holes on the back nine have produced remarkable drama over the years, Weibring noted. Because of each hole’s unique individual design as well as how the holes fit strategically in sequence, scores can fluctuate and leads can change in a matter of minutes.
The 14th is a short, risk-reward drivable par 4 that presents an opportunity for eagle – or bogey; No. 15 is a long, difficult par 4 that ranks as the fourth most difficult hole on the course; the picturesque par 3 16th nestled along the Rock River presents another opportunity for birdie; the short par 5 17th can produce anything from eagle to double bogey, and the potentially disastrous par 4 18th, with its intimidating water, sand and trees, consistently plays as the toughest hole on the course.
And the last three holes are as fan-friendly as any on the course. The side-by-side layout of the holes makes the action easily accessible not only for viewing but for hearing the roars reverberate off the hillsides and watching the huge leaderboard adjacent to the 18th green.
“I loved the idea of having the last few holes go back and forth where people could walk through the trees and hear the roars,” Weibring said. “That’s really turned out well and I’m really pleased.”
In 2018, John Deere Classic champion Michael Kim set a tournament record with a 27-under par total. Kim will be back to defend his title the week of July 8-14. Tickets are available at johndeereclassic.com