Chuck Austin of the John Deere Classic recognized posthumously as PGA TOUR Volunteer of the Year


SILVIS, IL

Tournament Wins First Place for Most Engaged Community and Best Social Media Activation

John Deere Classic volunteer Charles “Chuck” Austin, who died tragically three days before this year’s tournament, was honored posthumously as PGA TOUR Volunteer of the Year at the Tour’s recent annual meetings.

Austin, who had volunteered at the tournament for 27 years, died tragically in an accident that occurred at TPC Deere Run on Friday, July 7, three days before the start of tournament week. He was 68.

“We were honored to accept the Volunteer of the Year Award from the PGA TOUR on behalf of Chuck’s family and friends,” said John Deere Classic tournament director Clair Peterson. “The John Deere Classic, our title sponsor - John Deere – and the tournament’s 1,750 volunteers are proud to have been associated with Chuck over all these years.  Like so many of our volunteers, Chuck was selfless in his devotion to the tournament and to his community.”

The Tour will donate $5,000 to the Charles O. Austin Scholarship fund, which is part of the Charles O. Austin Foundation.

The John Deere Classic also received the Tour’s Most Engaged Community Award for the sixth time and the Best Social Media Activation Award for the second.

“The Most Engaged Community Award is special because it is something we can share with everyone in town,” Peterson said.  “It reflects our strong attendance, the participation of 521 charities in our Birdies for Charity program, the nearly 17,000 individuals contributing through the Birdies program, and the record $12.27 million raised for charity this year.”

For the third straight year, the 2017 John Deere Classic earned the Best Social Media Activation Award, because it attracted more Facebook followers than any other PGA TOUR event, with 157,646, and reached nearly one million people during tournament week. The event had the second-most Instagram followers of any event on Tour (17,082) and the third-most on Twitter (25,470).

Andy Pazder, PGA TOUR EVP and chief tournaments and competitions officer, praised the John Deere Classic for working “tirelessly with its title sponsor on new and innovative ways of improving the tournament experience…”

The 2018 John Deere Classic will be held July 9-15 at TPC Deere Run.  Bryson DeChambeau is the defending champion.