History Of John Deere Golf Classic
Curious about the history of the John Deere Golf Classic? The PGA Tour's John Deere Classic is one of the tour's top events. Established in 1971, the tournament has a rocky start in an Illinois suburb. Long before John Deere sponsored the event, the tournament was known as the Quad Cities Open, hosted by Crow Valley Country Club and sanctioned by the Chicago District Golf Association.
In 1972, it was made an official PGA Tour event. In 1973, officials scheduled the Open for the same week as the British Open, to accommodate pros who weren't exempt from the British Open. This proved challenging for organizers, and by 1975 the Quad Cities Open was on the verge of being cancelled. The Quad Cities Council of Jaycees offered to take over the tournament in 1975, and Ed McMahon signed on as celebrity host for the Quad Cities Open, saving it from certain doom. This influx of support, however, lasted a mere five years; by 1980, the tournament was on the verge of cancellation once more.
After struggling for a few more years, Hardee's Restaurants signed on as title sponsor in 1986. The tournament became the Hardee's Golf Classic; Hardee's sponsored the tournament until 1994. The tournament was moved to September, so as not to compete with the British Open.
In 1996, the eyes of the golf and sports world were on the Quad Cities Open, when 20-year-old Tiger Woods led much of the tournament in only his third pro event. This was also the year Deere and company got together with the PGA and golf course architect D.A. Weibring to discuss a new home for the tournament. In 1997, plans to build TPC Deere Run in Silvas, Illinois, were announced, and John Deere became the title sponsor of the tournament, now known as the John Deere Classic.
Today, the John Deere Golf Classic is played in July, one week prior to the British Open. The John Deere Classic is one of the PGA's top tournaments and one of the most charitable; it annually donates money to over 600 local charities. The Birdies for Charity program has raised over $16 million since 1993 based on pledges for birdies made during the John Deere Golf Classic.