EAST MOLINE, Illinois (June 6, 2011) – For the fourth consecutive year, the John Deere Classic will offer eligible contestants a charter flight direct to the British Open from Moline.
This year, the all-first class 100-seat Boeing 767 is scheduled to leave Quad City International Airport on Sunday, July 10, following the conclusion of the John Deere Classic. The flight is set to travel direct to Kent International Airport in Ramsgate, England, where grounds transportation immediately will take the players and their traveling parties approximately eight miles to Royal St. George's Golf Club in Sandwich, site of this year's Open Championship.
"We initiated the John Deere Classic Jet Experience in 2008 with the goal of attracting to our field British Open-eligible players who otherwise might have skipped our tournament because of the unpredictable nature of travel across the Atlantic Ocean," said John Deere Classic tournament director Clair Peterson.
"So far, the charter program has been a major success," Peterson said. "Since the charter flights began, the John Deere Classic's field has improved, with more than 20 British Open-eligible players participating each year since its inception. Meanwhile, our players have enjoyed a hassle-free trip to the world's oldest major championship, with a streamlined customs experience and none of the reports of lost luggage or golf clubs that so often plague trans-Atlantic commercial flights."
Prior to the charter service, only a few players each year played both the John Deere and the British Open.
Players pay the tournament $1,250 per seat (one way), with each player eligible to purchase a minimum of three seats – typically for the player, his caddie, and either his agent, spouse, parent, friend, or etc. All payments are donated to the Birdies for Charity Fund and are distributed to participating charities. Last year, 28 players and their travel parties used the charter service. In the first year, 21 players took advantage of the jet and in 2009 the number was 23.
In addition, the highest top-five finisher at the John Deere Classic not already exempt for the British Open receives an invitation to the championship. Last year, the exemption went to Paul Goydos, who finished second to Steve Stricker, who already was eligible.
Stricker will be attempting to become the first player in history to win the tournament three consecutive times when the PGA TOUR returns to TPC Deere Run, July 4-10. Two players, David Frost (1992-93) and Deane Beman (1971-72), won the tournament two times in a row. This year's purse is $4.5 million with the winner receiving $810,000.
Tickets for the John Deere Classic are available at www.johndeereclassic.com or by calling 309-762-4653.
The PGA Tour began its run in the Quad Cities in 1971. John Deere, whose world headquarters is in Moline, Ill., assumed title sponsorship of the tournament in 1998. The tournament moved to TPC Deere Run in 2000.
Now in its 41st year, the tournament helped raise $4.34 million for 500 charities in 2010, ranking it first on the PGA TOUR overall in per capita contributions at $11.57 for each of the 375,000 residents of the Quad City area and eighth overall on the PGA TOUR.
The John Deere Classic, which includes Birdies for Charity, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization located in the John Deere Classic tournament offices at 15623 Coaltown Road, East Moline, Illinois. Since its founding in 1971, the tournament has helped raise $37.94 million for charity.
Deere & Company (NYSE: DE) is a world leader in providing advanced products and services and is committed to the success of those whose work is linked to the land – those who cultivate, harvest, transform, enrich and build upon the land to meet the world's dramatically increasing need for food, fuel, shelter and infrastructure. Since 1837, John Deere has delivered innovative products of superior quality built on a tradition of integrity. For more information, visit John Deere at its worldwide website at www.JohnDeere.com.