Two weeks before the PGA Tour is set to resume its schedule, John Deere Classic officials decided Thursday to cancel what would have been the fifth tournament back.
Tournament director Clair Peterson said there were too many obstacles to overcome involving too many risks from the COVID-19 pandemic, and that it made financial sense in the long run to not hold the tournament.
The John Deere would have been July 9-12 in Silvis, Illinois, the fifth PGA Tour stop under the revised schedule. The tour is not allowing spectators for at least a month, meaning the Deere could have been the first tournament that allowed fans.
However, Peterson noted an Illinois mandate that restricts gatherings to 50 people through the summer, and other issues at TPC Deere Run such as the size of the clubhouse and getting people from parking lots through the gates.
“Any version — an event with fans, without fans, something in between — we're going to lose money,” he said. “Or do we want to take the long view of this and ensure long-term security.”
The PGA Tour now has had 11 tournaments on its schedule with total prize money of just under $92 million canceled.
This would have been the 50th anniversary of John Deere Classic.
The tournament began in 1971 — won by Deane Beman, who later became PGA Tour commissioner — and got a huge boost in the community when Tiger Woods played as a 20-year-old who had just turned pro. John Deere stepped in as title sponsor in 1999, and it has thrived in recent years as the final stop before the British Open.