John Deere Classic Awards Sponsor Exemptions to Three Top College Players

Silvis, Illinois

Former College Star Patrick Rodgers Receives a “Spieth” Exemption

The John Deere Classic’s tradition of offering valuable playing opportunities to elite young players continued Wednesday when the tournament announced it has awarded sponsor exemptions to three of the nation’s top college players – all of whom qualified for next week’s U.S. Open - and to former college star Patrick Rodgers, now making his way impressively as a touring pro.

Here are the sponsor exemptions:

  • The Scratch Players world No. 1-ranked amateur, Bryson DeChambeau, 21, of Clovis, Calif., won the NCAA Individual title this year and followed it up by qualifying for his first U.S. Open, which takes place next week.  A rising senior at SMU, he was a PING First Team All-American, having shot par or better in 68 percent of his college rounds this season.  In 2014, he advanced to the final 16 of both the U.S. Amateur and the Western Amateur.  DeChambeau plans to return to school next year to get his degree in Physics.  He also wears a “Hogan” cap to pay respect to the great Ben Hogan; he often wears plus-fours in homage to another of his golf heroes, the late Payne Stewart, who won his first PGA TOUR event in the Quad Cities in 1982.
  • Lee McCoy, 21, the world’s fourth-ranked amateur, went 2-0-0 in match play this spring to help lead his Georgia Bulldogs to the semifinals of the NCAA tournament, after which he qualified for next week’s U.S. Open. McCoy finished the college season ranked fourth in the nation based on his consistently excellent play throughout the year.  The 21-year-old native of Clarksville, Ga. was co-medalist at last year’s U.S. Amateur, and finished top 10 in the Canadian Amateur (T-8), Southern Amateur (7th), Northeast Amateur (T-3) and the Azalea Invitational (8th).
  • Brian Campbell
    , 22, of Irvine, Calif., is the No. 8-ranked amateur in the world, according to Scratch Players.  He just completed his senior season at Illinois, where he posted a scoring average of 71.8 and helped his team make it to the NCAA Finals.  Next week, he will be competing in his second consecutive U.S. Open after qualifying earlier this week.  In 2014, Campbell was Big Ten Player of the Year, was a semifinalist at the Western Amateur, and finished T-4 at the Trans-Miss Amateur.
  • Formerly the world’s No. 1-ranked amateur, Patrick Rodgers, 22, now playing professionally, will receive his fourth exemption to compete in the John Deere Classic.  Rodgers recently earned special temporary membership on the PGA TOUR, meaning he now has access to unlimited sponsor exemptions through the end of the season – the same path Jordan Spieth used to get on the Tour in 2013.  Spieth won the John Deere Classic to gain full status. A native of Avon, Ind. who played his college golf at Stanford, Rodgers was runner-up last month at the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte.

“The John Deere Classic is thrilled to announce that Bryson DeChambeau, Lee McCoy, Brian Campbell and Patrick Rodgers have accepted sponsor exemptions to compete in the 2015 championship,” said John Deere Classic tournament director Clair Peterson.  “The John Deere Classic has a proud history of giving top young players an opportunity to test their games against the highest level of competition. We do so in order that the tournament may give its loyal fans a glimpse of the PGA TOUR’s future stars.”

In addition to Spieth, winner of this year’s Masters, some other past sponsor exemptions whose careers panned out well include:

Jason Day (2006), Zach Johnson (2002-‘03), Matt Kuchar (2001), Bill Haas (2004) Patrick Reed (2013), Webb Simpson (2008) and Tiger Woods (1996).

This year’s John Deere Classic will be played July 6-12 at TPC Deere Run.

Tickets for the John Deere Classic are available at or by calling 309-762-4653.

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