JOHN DEERE CLASSIC EXPERIENCE
Course: TPC at Deere Run
Location: Silvis, Illinois
Most wins: Steve Stricker (3)
The John Deere Classic debuted on the PGA Tour in 1972 in the community of Silvis, Ill., and was originally known as the Quad Cities Open, which refers to the group of five cities straddling the Mississippi River on the Iowa-Illinois border. The tournament has been held in various places over the years, including the Crow Valley Country Club in Davenport, Iowa, until 1974, the Oakwood Country Club in Coal Valley, Ill., from 1975 to 1999, and the TPC at Deere Run in Silvis since 2000. The stroke play tournament carries a prize fund of $4.6 million and is played each July in the thick of the PGA Tour season. Over the years, the event has played host to many of the world's greatest golfers and offered up some of the professional tour's most memorable moments.
Ever since 2000, the John Deere Classic has been played at the TPC at Deere Run, which has provided significant challenges to golfers of all skill levels. The par-71 course spans 7,257 yards and is relatively new by PGA Tour standards, having only been opened in 2000. The course was designed by D.A. Weibring Golf Resources in tandem with the PGA, who were looking to create a world-class golf facility that could accommodate the John Deere Classic. The course has consistently been named one of America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses by Golf Digest magazine and offers a fantastic spectator experience with elevated walkways, stadium seating and an abundance of amenities.
Of course, like many of the PGA's world-class golf tournaments, the organizers have also gone the extra mile to give back to the community it serves. The John Deere Classic is ranked No. 1 for the most dollars given to charity per capita of any PGA event, and it continues to provide a wealth of funds and services to many area charities. The event is also known for its Birdies for Charity program, where spectators can pledge an amount of money and get a chance to guess how many birdies will be made over the course of the tournament and possibly win a series of prizes. The 2012 program managed to raise $6.79 million for a variety of non-profit organizations.
Over the years, there has been no shortage of great moments and stellar performances on the course. Steve Stricker and D.A. Weibring hold the record for most tournament wins with three each, with Stricker winning three in a row between 2009 and 2011. Stricker also holds the aggregate score record of 258 and the to par score of 26 under during his magnificent performance in the 2010 tournament. With the John Deere Classic's close proximity to The Open Championship on the PGA calendar, the event is seen as a final tune-up before golfers get into the thick of the late summer and fall season, and it always seems to have a few great moments in store year after year.