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Celebrating 40 Years – The John Deere Classic

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Set on what used to be the home to Friendship Farms, where champion Arabian horses were bred and groomed to perfection, a different kind of thoroughbred will be on display this week at the TPC Deere Run.

With a charter flight made available to whisk them off of to next week’s Open Championship once the trophy has been awarded Sunday, a strong contingent of players has committed to the 40th playing of the John Deere Classic (JDC). The highest John Deere finisher not already qualified will also get a surprise seat on that plane. It provides the basis for what could be another incredible week in the Quad Cities area. 

In 2009 Wisconsin native Steve Stricker took down the trophy at the John Deere and he returns to defend and lead a quality field that includes the likes of Rickie Fowler, K.J. Choi, recent Travelers Champion winner Bubba Watson and two quality former N.C. State WolfPack players – Tim Clark and Carl Pettersson. Pettersson is coming off a 6th place finish at the AT&T National.

Finishing just behind Stricker last year, in a tie for second, was Zach Johnson who warmed up for the tournament this week by playing in his nearby hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa with some friends and family. Johnson, the 2007 Masters Champion, has almost become the unofficial face of the tournament with his local ties. “There is not anything I don’t like about this golf tournament,” said Johnson on Tuesday. He also mentions that often finds himself recruiting players to play in the John Deere Classic. “I brag it up all the time,” he commented on the subject while citing the ease for players to transition from the John Deere to the Open Championship with the courtesy jet on hand and the hosting job done by John Deere and the community.  “It’s become a family oriented event. It’s not a hard place for a family to come during the week of the golf tournament.”

Yes, in four decades, even when many new tournaments came to the forefront, The John Deere Classic (still referred to as the Quad Cities by many people for its pre-sponsor name) has thrived by taking an endearing community approach. At the same time they have stepped up to compete with other events with a growing purse ($4.4 million this year) and a quality golf course that players have grown to admire in just a few short years of its use.

Johnson says the turf is always perfect at Deere Run and that when the conditions are right it tests every facet of your game. “It matures every year,”   said Johnson when asked about the layout. He comments that even when it is wet you still have to execute and the finishing holes all have a lot of character. “Everybody likes the course that plays here; I haven’t heard a negative comment. Is it the best course in the world? No. Is it the best course on the tour? No. But it’s a good test,” he stated with sincerity.

Much of the kudos for the success of the JDC falls on the shoulders of Tournament Director Clair Peterson. The silver-haired man receives great respect from the players. At the Transitions Championship this March, when Peterson was working the range looking for tournament commitments, I can’t say I have ever heard more heartfelt apologies by players who would not able to make it this week. The JDC is the little tournament that could and the players respect that. Of course, the 767 charter to Scotland does not hurt either and it was a brilliant idea for the JDC and RBC Canadian Open to share the cost of the plane for the over and back journey. The result is a stronger field for both events, especially among the domestic crowd which is especially important for the JDC, held in the heartland of America.

"We're very happy that so many of today's top American players are choosing to compete in the John Deere Classic," Peterson said. "They love TPC Deere Run and really enjoy the way they're treated by the fans and in the community.”

CBS picks up the weekend television coverage this week with The Golf Channel, as usual, with the broadcast for the opening rounds.

This report provided to GolfWRX.com courtesy of Flagstick Golf Magazine (www.flagstick.com)

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10 interesting photos from Tuesday at the Zurich Classic

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana, where, among other things, a giant three-legged crocodile roams.

Now in it’s second year, the tournament’s unique two-man team format has attracted a wealth of top talent, including 10 of the top 14 golfers in the OWGR. We’re on the scene snapping bag pictures and have five galleries from TPC Louisiana’s range Tuesday. We also have a look inside Ryan Ruffels bag, a peek at Jimmy Walker’s putter, a look in Brooks Koepka’s bag, and more!

Let’s dig in.

Well, this certainly is interesting, Xinjun Zhang. Not sure about the context, but not something you traditionally see on a PGA Tour driving range…

Hard not to love Ryan Ruffels’ 009M

Look’s like Michael Greller is enjoying some well-earned relaxation

Ryan Palmer boldly going where few Tour pros dare to: serif font

Roman numeral loft stamping? Savage grind? We like your style, Bud Cauley

Is this a new Wilson Staff PMP wedge prototype or a one-off thing for Ricky Barnes?

Finally, Whitney comes to a wedge

Ham & egg!

Jimmy Walker’s silver Spider

Our Tour Photographer risking the wrath of Bubba (we assume he had permission)

 

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Detroit could be getting a PGA Tour event

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As a business based in the Detroit metro area, GolfWRX is happy to hear this: the Motor City could be getting a PGA Tour event.

With the PGA Tour’s 2019-2020 schedule expected in the weeks ahead, the Detroit News reports the Tour could announce (Detroit-based) Quicken Loans will sponsor an event at Detroit Golf Club. The company ceased sponsorship of the former Quicken Loans National in Washington, D.C. last year.

The Detroit News quotes a source with knowledge of the Tour’s scheduling discussions as saying an official announcement is near.

While the Tour, Quicken Loans, and Detroit Golf Club are mum on the matter, Quicken Loans’ statement to the paper last year made clear the company’s intention to bring a tournament to the city.

“As we look to the future, we remain interested in exploring ways to highlight the energy and revitalization taking place in Detroit…A prime golf event, featuring the world’s best players, is certainly something we would be interested in pursuing as a way to showcase our great American city.”

If the Detroit tournament takes the calendar spot of the The National, it would be contested in late June/early July. Additionally, with the PGA Championship’s move to may next year, there’s some speculation the Detroit event could be contested in August.

As mentioned, we know the PGA Championship is moving to May in 2019. Additionally, The Players will move to March, TPC Southwind will take over  WGC hosting duties from Firestone Country Club, and the FedEx Cup Playoffs will wrap before start of football season.

We’ll have to wait (eagerly) for official word on the Detroit event.

 

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Tuesday’s Photos from the 2018 Zurich Classic

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana (par 72; 7,425 yards), designed by Pete Dye with consultants Steve Elkington and Kelly Gibson.

The Zurich Classic is a unique event on the PGA Tour because it’s not an individual stroke-play event. Instead, the format consists of two-man teams playing best-ball on Thursday and Saturday, and alternate-shot on Friday and Sunday.

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Last year, Cameron Smith and Jonas Blixt won the event after four playoff holes against Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown. The Smith/Blixt duo will be back to defend their title, and the Kisner/Brown pairing will be back avenging their loss.

Other notable pairings in the field include Daniel Berger/Gary Woodland, Wesley Bryan/Jon Rahm, Patrick Reed/Patrick Cantlay, John Daly/Rory Sabbatini, Jason Day/Ryan Ruffels, David Duval/Jim Furyk, Tony Finau/Daniel Summerhays, Sergio Garcia/Rafa Cabrera Bello, J.B. Holmes/Brand Snedeker, Matt Kuchar/Bubba Watson, Louis Oosthuizen/Charl Schwartzel, Sean O’Hair/Jimmy Walker, Pat Perez/Jason Dufner, Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson, Jordan Spieth/Ryan Palmer, Justin Thomas/Bud Cauley and more!

Check out our photos from the event below!

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