Three years ago, Jordan Spieth played the John Deere Classic on a sponsor exemption as an 18-year-old amateur, and made the cut.
He returned in 2013, at age 19, and won the tournament in a sudden death playoff. In so doing Spieth became the youngest player to win on tour in 82 years, and announced the arrival of America’s next great player. Last year, in a spirited title defense, he finished seventh.
This year, the 21-year-old Dallas native will return to TPC Deere Run, July 6-12, for the fourth consecutive year as the reigning Masters champion.
“We are thrilled that Jordan Spieth will be competing in the John Deere Classic for the fourth consecutive year,” said John Deere Classic tournament director Clair Peterson. “It’s obvious to anyone that Jordan is both a tremendous player and a terrific young man. We know our fans are going to give him a great Midwestern welcome and support him as they have done in prior years.”
Spieth’s incredible season actually started last November, when he won the Australian Open by six strokes over a field that included World No. 1 Rory McIlroy and 2013 Masters champion Adam Scott. The very next week, Spieth authored a 10-stroke blow-out win at Tiger Woods’ Hero World Challenge in Orlando versus a 20-man field that was “limited” only in the sense that it featured only elite players.
Spieth’s first “official” full-field PGA TOUR victory came in March at the Valspar Championship at the Innisbrook Resort in the Tampa Bay area. Spieth made a 30-foot birdie putt on the third hole of sudden death to defeat his Ryder Cup partner and fellow Texan Patrick Reed and former fellow John Deere Classic champion Sean O’Hair (2005).
Then came Spieth’s historic wire-to-wire victory at Augusta, where he used his incredible short game and putting skills to hold off England’s tough-as-nails Justin Rose in the final round and claim his first green jacket. Meanwhile, his acceptance speech on the 18th green was practically presidential.
Spieth won’t be the only star at the John Deere Classic. Former Masters champion and Iowa native Zach Johnson, winner of the 2012 JDC, will be on hand along with three-peat champion and former Illini Steve Stricker (2009-11). Twenty-plus British Open-eligible players will compete in the event, too, before cruising trans-Atlantic to St. Andrews in the JDC’s luxurious chartered jet.
Defending champion Brian Harman will be back trying to recapture his magic from last year to hold off Johnson’s final round rally. Harman’s best finish so far this season has been a T-8 at The Players, but he also finished T-10 at Colonial.
Click ‘N Print tickets purchased online at johndeereclassic.com cost $25 for grounds passes, $35 for clubhouse badges and $60 for Greenside Club tickets.
Senior Day is Thursday, when the 60-and-older set pays just $18 at the gate. Kids 12-and-under are free with a paid adult. Students with an ID get in for $18 every day. Nearby parking is $5 with a complimentary shuttle that features a drop-off directly in front of the clubhouse, 50 yards from the first tee.