Twenty Years and Counting
This year’s John Deere Classic marks the twenty-year anniversary of the unprecedented sponsorship agreement between John Deere and the PGA TOUR. The title sponsorship deal, which extends through 2023, has helped make the Quad Cities’ tournament the third-longest title sponsor relationship on TOUR.
Over the course of the last 20 years, not only has the John Deere Classic provided electrifying drama, but the sponsorship of John Deere has allowed the event to become the charity engine that has helped raise $80 million for hundreds of worthy causes.
The 2016 John Deere Classic was named the PGA TOUR Tournament of the Year and also received awards for Most Engaged Community and Best Social Media Activation.
John Deere Classic and the FedExCup
With just six weeks (eight events) remaining, the John Deere Classic will once again prove pivotal in the race for the FedExCup. Only the top-125 after the Wyndham Championship advance to THE NORTHERN TRUST, the first of four Playoffs events.
- John Deere Classic champions have an impressive history in the Playoffs the year of their win at TPC Deere Run. Nine of the 10 winners of the John Deere Classic in the FedExCup era have qualified for the season-ending TOUR Championship (Brian Harman, 2014).
- Last year’s John Deere Classic winner Ryan Moore not only made it to East Lake, but was part of a playoff Sunday night. Rory McIlroy eventually clinched the tournament and FedExCup title, though Moore finished a career-best seventh in the final FedExCup standings.
A look at the 2016 John Deere Classic
Starting last year’s final round with a one-shot lead at 18-under, Ryan Moore played his last 46 holes without a bogey en route to a final-round, 4-under 67 and two-stroke win over Ben Martin at 22-under 262. Moore had just two bogeys in last year’s event, the fewest of any player. With his 67 Sunday, he extended his streak of sub-par rounds at TPC Deere Run to 23 straight. The win, his fifth on the PGA TOUR, came in his eighth start at the John Deere Classic. It marked his third top-10 in the event to go along with a T8 in 2012 and T7 in 2014.
More on Ryan Moore
In addition to his banner year on the PGA TOUR last season, Moore went on to make his first Ryder Cup team, where he went 2-1-0 at Hazeltine. The most significant point of the matches, Moore’s 1-up Singles win over Lee Westwood on the final day clinched the Ryder Cup for the American Team.
This week’s John Deere Classic will mark Moore’s 298th career start on the PGA TOUR. So far this season, he has collected two top-10 finishes, highlighted by a T3 at the Tournament of Champions. In 16 starts in the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season, Moore has missed just three cuts and comes into the week 61st in the FedExCup standings.
Given his ties to the event and area, Zach Johnson is perhaps the most popular winner in event history (2012).
- Making his 16th consecutive start at the John Deere Classic and will begin the week on the strength of 33 consecutive rounds of par-or-better at TPC Deere Run (totaling 133-under-par) Not since round three of 2008 (75) has he posted an over-par score.
- With the exception of last year (T34), has finished no worse than T3 in the event since 2011 (T3-2011, 1st-2012, T2-2013, 2nd-2014 and T3-2015).
- Native of Cedar Rapids and played collegiately at Drake University in Des Moines.
- Serves on the Board of Directors for the John Deere Classic.
- University of Iowa supporter, who has played in Pro-Am with Hawkeye head football coach Kirk Ferenz in the past.
- In July 2010, announced formation of the Zach Johnson Foundation to benefit children in need in the Greater Cedar Rapids area. The Zach Johnson Foundation Classic and Gala raised $1 million during its second event in 2012. Those dollars support Kids on Course, a pilot program at Van Buren Elementary and Harrison Elementary Schools.
- In 2014, John Deere announced a multi-year sponsorship of Johnson. Johnson’s bag features the John Deere logo, and a portion of the company’s sponsorship goes to the Zach Johnson Foundation.
Other notables in the field
- Three-time John Deere Classic champion Steve Stricker is poised to make his 16th career start at this year’s John Deere Classic. Stricker, who won the event consecutively from 2009-2011, will attempt to add a fourth John Deere Classic to his resume this week. In addition to his three wins, he claimed top-10 finishes in 2004 (T4), 2012 (T5) and 2013 (T10). After just five career starts on PGA TOUR Champions this year, Stricker has finished inside the top 10 four times. This September, Stricker will serve as U.S. Captain for the 2017 Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club.
- Daniel Berger, who successfully defended his FedEx St. Jude Classic title in June, will make his first start in the John Deere Classic this week. In addition to his second career title at TPC Southwind in June, Berger has collected four additional top-10 finishes this season, highlighted by a T2 at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions and a playoff loss to Jordan Spieth three weeks ago at the Travelers Championship. Berger is currently ninth in the FedExCup standings.
- 2017 PLAYERS Championship winner Si Woo Kim will make his second start in this week’s John Deere Classic. In 2013, he posted rounds of 74-69–143 to miss the cut. In May of this season, Kim was one of just three players to post four rounds of par-or-better at the TPC Sawgrass en route to claiming his second career PGA TOUR title, a three-stroke margin of victory over Louis Oosthuizen and Ian Poulter. Kim first won the 2016 Wyndham Championship.
- Just two weeks after claiming a share of fifth place at the Quicken Loans National, Australia’s Curtis Luck will make his first start at the John Deere Classic by virtue of a sponsor exemption. Winner of the 2016 U.S. Amateur, the 20-year-old Luck was also formerly the world’s No. 1 ranked amateur. As an amateur earlier this season, he finished T46 at the Masters Tournament. This week’s John Deere Classic will mark his eighth start as a professional, as he continues to try and qualify for Special Temporary Membership.
- Kevin Kisner, who claimed his second career PGA TOUR win earlier this season at the DEAN & DELUCA Invitational in Texas, will be a part of this week’s John Deere Classic for a fifth time and first since 2015 (T35). His best showing at TPC Deere Run, T20, came in 2014. Including his win at Colonial Country Club, Kisner has finished inside the top-10 on the PGA TOUR this season six times. Among them was a T2 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and a playoff loss at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, the two-man team event in which he was paired with Fellow South Carolinian Scott Brown. Kisner holed a chip for an eagle-three at the 72nd hole Sunday at TPC Louisiana to forces sudden death with the team of Jonas Blixt and Cameron Smith. On the fourth extra hole Monday morning, Blixt and Smith emerged victorious. Kisner comes to TPC Deere Run this week eighth in the FedExCup standings.
- 2012 and 2014 Masters champion Bubba Watson will be making his fifth start at this week’s John Deere Classic, but first since 2010 (MC). His best finish at TPC Deere Run is a T17 in his first start of 2006. So far this season, Watson has amassed three top-10 finishes, with the most recent being a T6 at the Memorial Tournament. Watson will be in search of his 10th career PGA TOUR title this week.
- Davis Love III and IV will be in the same field for a second time this week. Davis and “Dru” were previously both in the same field at the 2015 RSM Classic and last week’s Greenbrier Classic. At last week’s Greenbrier Classic, the 53-year-old Love opened with a 7-under 63 to hold solo possession of second place. Ensuing rounds of 69-68-75—275 (-5) resulted in T29 honors.
Tradition of young invitees continues
The John Deere Classic’s tradition of offering playing opportunities to deserving up-and-coming young players continues in 2017 with four sponsor invitations; Wyndham Clark, Maverick McNealy and University of Illinois golfers Nick Hardy and Dylan Meyer. Amateurs to play the John Deere Classic in recent years include Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Patrick Rodgers and Bryson DeChambeau.
- In May of this year, Dylan Meyer was hospitalized for the first time in his life. He was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, an inflammation of the large intestine, and will have to undergo treatment every eight weeks for the rest of his life. The day after being released from the hospital, Meyer joined his Illini team at regionals. Despite feeling the effects of his ulcerative colitis and having played just one round between then and the Big Ten Championship, Meyer won the title. It was his third straight win of the year. This week’s John Deere Classic will serve as Meyer’s first-ever PGA TOUR start.
- Fellow University of Illinois senior Nick Hardy made at least one visit to the hospital every day his teammate Meyer was undergoing treatment. In two previous starts on the PGA TOUR, Hardy finished T52 in the 2015 U.S. Open and missed the cut in the 2016 U.S. Open.
- After three seasons at Oklahoma State University, Wyndham Clark spent his senior year at the University of Oregon, where he helped lead the Ducks to a NCAA Championships match a few weeks ago. Clark won the individual title at the Pac-12 Championship in April. He made his PGA TOUR debut last month at the Travelers Championship (MC). A week later, he finished T51 at the Quicken Loans National.
- Maverick McNealy, who equaled Tiger Woods and Patrick Rodgers as the winner of 11 tournaments during his career at Stanford, won both the Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson Awards this year.
A broader look at the field
- Seven winners of PGA TOUR events in the 2016-17 PGA TOUR Season are in the field, highlighted by reigning PLAYERS Championship winner Si Woo Kim. The others: Daniel Berger (FedEx St. Jude Classic), Wesley Bryan (RBC Heritage), Cody Gribble (Sanderson Farms Championship), D.A. Points (Puerto Rico Open), Brian Harman (Wells Fargo Championship and Kevin Kisner (DEAN & DELUCA Invitational).
- Six major championship winners will compete in this year’s John Deere Classic: Bubba Watson (2012, 2014 Masters), Zach Johnson (2007 Masters, 2015 Open Championship), Angel Cabrera (2007 U.S. Open, 2009 Masters), Lucas Glover (2009 U.S. Open) and Geoff Ogilvy (2006 U.S. Open).
- Six past John Deere Classic champions are in the field: Ryan Moore (2016), Brian Harman (2014), Zach Johnson (2012), Steve Stricker (2009-2011), Jonathan Byrd (2007) and Sean O’Hair (2005).
John Deere Classic notes
- From 2000-06, five of the John Deere Classic’s winners made the title their first on the PGA TOUR: John Senden (2006), Sean O’Hair (2005), Mark Hensby (2004), David Gossett (2001) and Michael Clark II (2000). From 2007-12, each champion had already amassed at least one win on the PGA TOUR. Jordan Spieth and Brian Harman joined the former group with their first-ever PGA TOUR wins in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
- Since moving to the TPC Deere Run in 2000, six of the 16 outcomes have been decided through a playoff (2015-Jordan Spieth, 2013-Jordan Spieth, 2012-Zach Johnson, 2008-Kenny Perry, 2007-Mark Hensby and 2000-Michael Clark II).
- Since its 1971 inception, only six players have won the John Deere Classic more than once: Deane Beman (1971-72), D.A. Weibring (1979, 1991, 1995), Scott Hoch (1980, 1984), David Frost (1992-93), three-time champion Steve Stricker (2009-11) and Jordan Spieth (2013, 2015).
- Paul Goydos’ 59 in round one of the 2010 John Deere Classic made him just the fourth player in PGA TOUR history to post the elusive score. Those who preceded him: Al Geiberger (1977 FedEx St. Jude Classic), Chip Beck (1991 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open) and David Duval (1999 CareerBuilder Challenge). Stuart Appleby (2010 The Greenbrier Classic), Jim Furyk (2013 BMW Championship), Justin Thomas (2017 Sony Open in Hawaii) and Adam Hadwin (2017 CareerBuilder Challenge) have since added their names to that list. Furyk also posted a 12-under 58 in the final round of the 2016 Travelers Championship.
- Annually, the John Deere Classic continues to raise more charitable dollars per capita than any other event on TOUR through its “Birdies for Charity” program. Dating to 1971, the John Deere Classic has provided more than $80 million to regional charities.
Trend of young winners on TOUR continues
21 of the 35 wins have come from 16 different players under the age of 30, including multiple wins by Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth, the youngest-ever winner of THE PLAYERS in Si Woo Kim (21) and the emergence of Spain’s Jon Rahm. At last week’s Greenbrier Classic, PGA TOUR rookie Xander Schaueffele claimed his first TOUR title at the age of 23 years, 8 months, 14 days. Here’s a look at winners under the age of 30 over the last four years:
Different winners under the age of 30
2016-17 17 (21 total through 35 events)
2015-16 14 (18 total wins)
2014-15 14 (24 total wins)
2013-14 16 (22 total wins)