By Brian Wacker
The PGA Tour is set to resume its season in two weeks, but announced on Thursday that it will do so without the John Deere Classic on the schedule.
Originally slated for July 9-12 at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill., the tournament, on the Tour calendar since 1972, has been cancelled and is expected to be replaced by a new event. Sources told Golf Digest that Tour officials are considering a handful of venues, including in Ponte Vedra Beach, Detroit (where the Rocket Mortgage Classic is scheduled to be played the week prior to the Deere dates) and Columbus, Ohio (where the Memorial will be held the week after, July 16-19). Lexington, Ky., where the PGA Tour’s Barbasol Championship is held (an event previously cancelled for 2020) is another possible alternative, along with Akron, Ohio, where the Senior Players Championship is currently played.
In a press release issued Thursday, the Tour said it will provide details on venue and location in the “near future.”
“Every event and sponsor and community is in a different situation,” tournament director Clair Peterson told Golf Digest. “Just because one area and one event can put on a tournament on doesn’t mean it’s easy for us to do that.
“With the event in Illinois there are some serious restrictions and we couldn’t really put on a tournament until we get to Phase 5 [of the state re-opening] and Illinois is only in Phase 3.”
Specifically, state restrictions come tournament week would still limit gatherings to 50 people.
“We understand and respect that the Quad Cities market has dynamics and challenges that prevent the playing of the John Deere Classic in 2020,” Andy Pazder, the PGA Tour’s chief tournaments and competitions officer, said in a statement. “As we’ve seen through the years, the community support for the John Deere Classic is unwavering and I have no doubt the event will return stronger than ever in its 50th playing in 2021.”
The John Deere was scheduled to be the fifth tournament on the revamped PGA Tour calendar, but the first one that might have potentially allowed fans to attend. Without them, the tournament would have lost money, according to Peterson, with the elimination of pro-am income and the likelihood of a poor hospitality turnout based on what sponsors had told the tournament.
There are also physical elements that would have made it nearly impossible to adhere to the Tour’s health and safety guidelines.
“We have a small clubhouse and small parking lots,” Peterson said. “We’ve had a lot of ups and downs over the years, but we’ll get through it and pick it up in 2021.”
Last month, John Deere announced it was laying off more than 260 employees from its Dubuque facility with 159 employees being placed on indefinite layoff beginning June 1.