There are always interesting, fun facts floating around the John Deere Classic. Here are a few:
Thanks to John Deere and a PGA Tour subsidy, the John Deere Classic upped this year's purse to $6 million. The winner will receive a check for $1,080,000. Even with the increase, the JDC purse remains in the lower third of prize money offered on Tour this season.
“This is not done in hopes of two or three more high-profile guys coming to play,” JDC tournament director Clair Peterson said. “We want to prove to all 156 guys coming that we are a major league stop and that we are excited about them being here. We're looking forward to crowning a champion that we're proud of and we're proud of all of our champions.”
Per PGA Tour regulations in effect at all Tour events, Peterson said that all patrons must now go through security checks before entering the grounds, including a magnetometer screening such as those used at airports.
That means anyone using the park-and-shuttle service to get to the course will now be dropped off at the front gate and directed to go through the welcome center on the north edge of the property.
Keeping it cool
The JDC has offered two neat items to help fans handle the heat that normally is associated with the July tournament: the cooling benches and the water refill stations. Both have returned this year.
The cooling benches are located between the clubhouse and the satellite pro shop near the putting green and the Oasis food tent. The water refill stations are again located behind the clubhouse near the old-fashioned scoreboard, and the other near the practice facility near the 10th tee.
According to Peterson, 56,000 bottles of water were filled last year at the refill stations.
Giving a hand
For the 2018 event, 2,177 volunteers stepped up to help make the JDC a success, a lifeline that has helped make each of the previous 48 events a success.
Each year, the JDC makes an investment into the Deere Run infrastructure that benefits the course and the tournament. Some of the previous investments have included the steps behind the 18th hole and Deere suite, cart path work, and improvements to the main driveway and parking lot.
This year, the tournament set up a new home for the Shotlink semi trailers. A new hard-surface pad was added near the irrigation pond near holes 4 and 5 that will now serve as Shotlink's home for tournament week.
The storyboards return to help tell golf fans about the local charities that participate in the Birdies For Charity program. A new addition last year, 42 boards were offered by charities and designed by Edwards Creative of Milan to help spread the word about their organizations. Up to 50 could be dedicated this year.
These boards are highlighted again on the cart path leading from No. 9 green to the clubhouse.
New view for Birdies Partners
With a new chalet build behind the 17th green, the Trophy Suite Club has a new home this year. That air-conditioned suite that caters to donors of the Birdies Partner Program can enjoy a spot next to The Military Outpost on the ridge overlooking the 18th tee.
For $250, patrons receive unlimited food and beverage in the two-story suite that includes both indoor and outdoor viewing options in the 48-foot hospitality area.
Callaway outfitting wounded warriors
Once again this year, Callaway is partnering with the Wounded Warrior Project to set up two wounded warriors with a custom set of Callaway clubs. Through a process conducted through the Rock Island Arsenal, two wounded warriors will be selected to receive a customized fitting for clubs that will be made at the Callaway manufacturer's trailer on site early in tournament week.