When the Quad Cities Open was first held back in 1971 its official status on the PGA Tour was as a satellite event. Just one year later and it was promoted to a full PGA Tour event and has remained so ever since. Over the years the tournament has been held at several different venues and gone by many different names before John Deere, best known for their tractors, stepped in to provide a long term partnership with the PGA Tour, the event and TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois.
The John Deere Classic has been won by some world-class players including Jordan Spieth and Bryson DeChambeau who both got off the mark on the PGA Tour at TPC Deere Run. As the tournament takes place in July the week before the Open Championship, the PGA Tour charter a plane from Illinois on the Sunday night of the tournament to Britain to fly players over including the player to have earned the final spot in the Open.
|2019||TPC Deere Run||Dylan Frittelli|
|2018||TPC Deere Run||Michael Kim|
|2017||TPC Deere Run||Bryson DeChambeau|
The 2020 tournament was cancelled.
2019: Dylan Frittelli
Winning on the PGA Tour was always part of the plan for Dylan Frittelli. The former Junior World Golf Champion knew that he had the ability to be competitive at the top level if he worked hard and after a long, hard route that took in wins at college on the Challenge Tour, Sunshine Tour, Asian Tour and European the South African earned his PGA Tour breakthrough at the 2019 John Deere Classic.
A winning score of -21 is a superb way for anybody to break their duck on the PGA Tour. Such was the quality of the scoring at the 2019 John Deere Classic that that score was good for only a two-shot win. That is despite the runner up, Russell Henley, having earned his score thanks to a closing round of 61, the lowest round of the week by anybody.
Fritelli’s own closing round of 64 was his best of the week and allowed him to come from fifth place to win the tournament. He had time to reflect on his journey to this point, summing it up by saying, “this just proves that the work I’m doing is the correct work.”
2018: Michael Kim
In Formula 1 it is possible for drivers to earn a bonus point for completing the fastest lap of the race. In rugby teams are regularly award bonus point for scoring a certain number of tries. There are no such bonus points in golf even for players who rout the competition as comprehensively as Michael Kim did in the 2018 John Deere Classic.
Kim won the tournament by an incredible eight shots, his total of -27 under being enough to break the tournament record. The American’s closing round of 66 was actually his worst of the week, following rounds of 63, 64 and 64. It mattered not though as his lead was far too big for him to be caught so Kim was able to really take the win in and enjoy himself walking the back nine on Sunday. Even so, he found it hard to articulate exactly what the win meant to him. “To be sitting here with a trophy, I’m at a loss for words,” Kim said during his post-tournament media duties.
Although challenging Kim on Sunday felt like a fool’s errand, there was a lot of money and important ranking points to play for in behind him. The fight for all of that was intense even if the winner was home and hosed a long way out with Bronson Burgoon, Joel Dahmen, Francesco Molinari and Sam Ryder all finishing in a tie for second place.
2017: Bryson DeChambeau
Golf fans knew of Bryson DeChambeau as the ‘golfing scientist’ when he burst onto the professional ranks after a hugely successful amateur career. With his single length irons, one-plane swing and his unique way of tackling golf courses he has always been an outlier on the PGA Tour. Behind all the number crunching there is a big heart though and it was that which ultimately allowed DeChambeau to fight back from a four-shot deficit and claim his maiden PGA Tour title at the 2017 John Deere Classic.
DeChambeau is the poster boy for trusting the process but even he must have felt that this win went a long way towards justifying his approach. He certainly proved that he knows how to make a lot of birdies when the pressure is on. After a frustrating front nine which passed by in even par, DeChambeau made six birdies on the back nine to make an almighty surge through up the leaderboard. Every putt that fell added to his momentum and when he holed out from 14 feet for a birdie on the 18th hole there was a feeling that this was his time.
It wasn’t quite done at that point though as Patrick Rodgers still had the tournament in his hands if he just made no mistakes coming home. Unfortunately for him, his par putt on 17 lipped out and he made a mess of the final hole which handed the tournament to an absolutely delighted DeChambeau who also earned a place in the Open as a result.