A combination of young up-and-comers, hard core veterans, and recent champions comprise an increasing compelling commitment list for the 2017 John Deere Classic, July 10-16, at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois.
And the group looks to be a formidable challenge to last year’s champion, Ryan Moore, as he returns to defend his title.
Kevin Kisner, who recently won the Dean & DeLuca Invitational at Colonial Country Club, and this year’s Players Championship winner, Si Woo Kim, along with 2014 John Deere Classic champion Brian Harman, winner of this year’s Wells Fargo event, are three committed players who have notched victories on the PGA TOUR this year.
Winners of tournaments in the last two years include 2016 Memorial champion William McGirt, New Zealand’s Danny Lee, winner of the 2015 Greenbrier Classic; 2016 AT&T Pebble Beach winner Vaughn Taylor, and former Ryder Cup regular Hunter Mahan, winner of the Barclays FedExCup Playoff event. Others in the category include Germany’s Alex Cejka, Australia’s Greg Chalmers and Rod Pampling, Iowa’s Troy Merritt, and Texans J.J. Henry and Robert Streb.
In addition to Harman, John Deere Classic past champions Steve Stricker (2009,’10, ’11) and Zach Johnson (2012) are among the past champions who already have announced their intention to play. Jonathan Byrd (2007) and Sean O’Hair (2005) also have indicated they will return.
“The John Deere Classic is very pleased with the way the field has been shaping up so far,” said John Deere Classic tournament director Clair Peterson. “At this time of year, many players make their decisions closer to tournament week.”
The commitment list contains a group of solid veteran players, including Daniel Summerhays, who recently contended at Memorial; Ryan Palmer, who has notched two top 10 finishes, and Charles Howell III, whose steady excellence has him 26th in the FedExCup standings. Add to that the likes of Jason Kokrak, Harris English, David Hearn, Chez Reavie, Ricky Barnes and former Masters champion Angel Cabrera.
And there is the group of young players who are a constant at the John Deere Classic, trying to make their names in the game. They include former U.S. Amateur champions Kelly Kraft, who has three top 10 finishes this year, and Bryson DeChambeau, who has two top 10 finishes. Taiwan native and former University of Washington star C.T. Pan, who finished T-2 earlier this season at Torrey Pines in San Diego, is in the field, too.
The University of Illinois will be well-represented. In addition to Stricker and previously announced sponsor exemptions Dylan Meyer and Nick Hardy, the Illini alumnae will feature D.A. Points, Scott Langley, and Brian Campbell.
Consistent with its tradition of offering promising young players the opportunity to compete against the best, the John Deere Classic recently awarded sponsor exemptions to four of the game’s most accomplished amateurs, including two from the University of Illinois: Wyndham Clark of the University of Oregon; Meyer and Hardy from Illinois, and Maverick McNealy of Stanford.
Now in its 47th year, the 2016 John Deere Classic was recognized as the PGA TOUR’s Tournament of the Year for overall excellence. The Quad Cities-based event will feature its highest-ever purse: $5.6 million, with $1 million going to the winner.
Since 2004, the John Deere Classic has provided the final exemption to the Open Championship, with the top finisher not otherwise exempt receiving an invitation, provided he finishes in the top five. Since 2008, the tournament has operated a private luxury charter jet that typically transports 20-25 qualified players, their caddies, and one other person to the site of the Open.
Tickets for the John Deere Classic are available at www.johndeereclassic.com or by calling 309-762-4653.