Announcing the John Deere Classic Sales Event; featuring a variety of retail specials on select models of Riding Lawn Equipment and Gator Utility Vehicles in celebration of the storied tournament. You can check out the variety of equipment specials down below, as well as an exploration of the history of this illustrious event and the journey it took to become a touchstone for golf and John Deere enthusiasts alike.
Journey to Greatness:
The first iteration of the John Deere Classic wasn’t located at TPC Deere Run and didn’t even include John Deere or the Professional Golf Association (PGA). It would take a number of highs and lows for this Illinois based tournament before it would be scooped up by John Deere and become the gateway to the majors that it is today.
Established in 1971 by founding members of the Crow Valley Country Club, the Quad Cities Open featured a $5,000 first prize and was won by future PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Beman. The following year, it became an official PGA Tour tournament, with Beman returning to defend his title, winning his second of five career tournaments and in 1973 he took over as the league commissioner and elevated this fledgling event into the spotlight, shifting it to mid-July for players who weren’t exempt for the British Open.
Only two years later, the tournament was in trouble as the supporting sponsor, Hardee’s Restaurants, couldn’t continue their support and provide the $125,000 mandated PGA Tour purse. A press conference was soon scheduled to announce the end of the tournament, but shortly before the conference; the tournament was moved to the Oakwood Country Club in Coal Valley, Beman allowed a one-time purse of $75,000 and Ed McMahon signed on to host, bringing in a number of big-name celebrities and sponsorships.
While this much-needed boost kept the Open alive through the 70s, the lack of a title sponsor and purses falling well below the tournament average, put the now decade-old event in jeopardy once again. The PGA insisted on a purse increase from $200,000 to $300,000 in 1981 and the community and Beman stepped in to save the event, with local city tax donations contributing $84,000 and the PGA Tour providing the remaining $16,000. These fundraising efforts and support from the Miller Brewing Company kept it alive until 1986, when Hardee’s returned as the title sponsor, transforming the tournament into the Hardee’s Golf Classic that ran until 1994, as an unsuccessful move to September slowly took a toll on the event and ended their sponsorship.
As the new commissioner, Tim Finchem secured a deal to fund the tournament for four-years in exchange for filling a slot in the Presidents Cup; moves behind the scenes would soon solidify its place as a staple of the PGA Tour. Three-time winner and course architect D.A. Weibring met with tournament organizers, PGA executives and the leadership team at Deere & Company about building a brand new course to take over the tournament. After one year of negotiations, plans to build TPC Deere Run on the Friendship Farm, property owned by ancestors of John Deere since 1928, were announced in 1997, with Deere signing on to be the title sponsor for the newly christened John Deere Classic, establishing one of the longest standing sponsorships in Tour history. In addition, John Deere became the official turf equipment provider for the TPC network of courses and the rest, as they say, is history.
The John Deere Classic Today:
It was a long road for the Quad Cities Open to become the John Deere Classic, but thanks to a dedication by the Illinois Community and PGA Tour, this small satellite tournament has transformed into one of the most successful and exciting tournaments on the PGA Tour Today.
This week marks the start of two straight weekends of PGA Tour competition, with the opening round of the 2019 John Deere Classic on July 11 and just a week later the 2019 Open Championship. While most eyes look ahead to the final major of the year, one shouldn’t shy away from watching the events at TPC Deere Run, as it holds the final Open qualifying spot for the top finisher of the tournament.
In addition to being a gateway to a major tournament, this par-71, 7,213-yard championship layout has been recognized by the PGA as the most charitable tournament on the tour (surpassing $100 million in all-time charitable giving in 2018), is consistently named among the “100 Best Golf Shops in America” by Golf World Business magazine and was honored as the best title sponsor integration in 2018, showcasing a 1-ton driver attached to a 470G Excavator.
Keeping with the spirit of integrating machinery with golf equipment, John Deere has partnered with Bridgestone and Ping to create a larger than life short-game experience for attendees this year. If a massive driver head wasn’t enough, how about an interactive 17G Compact Excavator PING putter combo that allows fans to putt a giant Bridgestone golf ball into an oversized cup. On top of that, they have a feller buncher holding a giant “pin” displaying a John Deere Classic flag and a number of other installments that will be revealed to the public throughout the event.
You can catch live coverage of the John Deere Classic on the Golf Channel this Thursday and Friday and the final two rounds on CBS starting Saturday. Be sure to check out the exciting deals available on select equipment through the 2019 John Deere Classic Sales Events, available from July 11 to July 15 at your nearest Papé Machinery location.
2019 John Deere Classic Sales Event Promotions
This promotion will begin at 12:00 am on Thursday, July 11 EST and end at 11:59 pm on Monday, July 15 EST.
Riding Mowers/Lawn Tractors - $500 Off the John Deere X390, X580 or X739 Select Series Tractor
ZTRAK Zero-Turn Mowers - $500 Off the Z540R ZTRAK Mower
Gator Utility Vehicles - $700 Off the XUV835R or XUV865R Gator Utility Vehicle