The John Deere Classic near the Quad Cities has long been known as a place where young players get an early shot at the PGA Tour and this year is no exception. The tournament is providing four sponsor exemptions to young players, including NCAA individual champion Cameron Wilson of Stanford.
Tournament chair Clair Peterson says they first began discussions with Wilson two months ago. “At that point we were a little concerned that perhaps having two Stanford players in our field might be over the top, but told him we’d keep an open mind.” Peterson says. “Then watched him win the NCAA individual titles and some match play titles and he just seemed like our kind of guy, and we’re just really excited that he is going to launch his professional career at our event after he first plays in the Travelers.”
Peterson says defending champion Jordan Spieth is an example of a young player who burst onto the scene at the Deere Classic. He says they have along history of trying to recognize the next generation of great players and start a relationship with them early. “Jordan of course was here twice and won our event last year and really became the story in golf,” Peterson says.
Peterson says they get many more inquires about sponsor exemptions than they have spots for. They get letters from veteran and young players and they try to fill out spots with each, according to Peterson.
This year’s John Deere Classic is July 10th through the 13th.