|John Deere Classic - July 07, 2008
JOHN DEERE CLASSIC
TPC Deere Run
Par: 36-35—71Yards: 7,268
FedExCup Points: 25,000Winner: 4,500
Purse: $4,200,000Winner: $756,000
2007 Champion: Jonathan Byrd (266, -18)
John Deere Classic Notes
With his 2007 John Deere Classic win, Jonathan Byrd earned a spot in the following week’s British Open via his position as low top-10 finisher who was not already exempt. Byrd took advantage of the opportunity to play in his first British Open and tied for 23rd.
Tim Clark’s runner-up finish last year was his best PGA TOUR finish since he was the runner-up at the 2006 Masters. Clark was not eligible for the next week’s British Open, consequently ending his streak of consecutive major championships played at 15. Clark's best 2008 performance is a tie for second at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
With a fifth-place finish in 2007, Carl Pettersson posted the best performance by a player already exempt for last year’s British Open. Of the eight players who were already exempt into the British Open at the start of the week, only Pettersson and Duffy Waldorf (tied for 50th) made it to the weekend.
Jonathan Byrd’s 2007 win at the John Deere Classic ended a three-year streak of players collecting their first PGA TOUR win at the John Deere Classic.
Heath Slocum’s final-round 65 was his lowest Sunday score on the PGA TOUR since the 2005 Valero Texas Open, where he also shot 65. It was the 11th of 12 previous rounds that Slocum has shot a sub-70 round at the John Deere Classic.
Jonathan Byrd’s first-place check of $738,000 moved him into first place on the all-time John Deere Classic money list ($1,096,772). J.P. Hayes, the 2002 John Deere Classic champion, dropped from first to second, with $1,091,199.
A John Deere Classic winner has failed to reach double-digits under par only three times in the event’s 37-year history. Deane Beman (7-under in 1971 and 5-under in 1972) was the first to do it, followed by Roger Maltbie in 1975 (5-under).
E NOTES FROM THE PGA TOUR
- Look for a lot of birdies to be made this week at the John Deere Classic. The TPC Deere Run surrendered 1676 birdies last year. Only two courses on TOUR gave up more—Forest Oaks (Wyndham Championship, 2,056 birdies) and Warwick Hills (Buick Open, 1,786).
- He might be closing in on a spot on the Champions Tour, but 48-year old Tommy Armour III is one of the hottest players on the PGA TOUR. The veteran has finished T10, T24, T2 and T3 in his last four starts and has posted eight consecutive rounds in the 60s. He’s had five Top-10s this year, tying his career high that he first set in 1999.
- More on Armour: Before the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, Armour was in 110th place in the FedExCup standings. Four starts later, he’s moved all the way up to 33rd.
- Kenny Perry (47 years old) will be at the John Deere Classic this week looking for his third win of the season. The last player age 45 or older to win three in one year was Gene Littler in 1975.
- Jonathan Byrd is seeking to defend his John Deere Classic crown this week. If he does, he’ll be just the second to ever successfully defend at that tournament. David Frost won back-to-back titles in 1992 and 1993. One asterisk, former PGA TOUR Commissioner Deane Beman won this event back in 1971 when it was an unofficial tournament and then won the following year when it made its official debut on the PGA TOUR.
- You might want to look at someone who’s poised to win for the first time this week at the John Deere Classic. Six of the last nine JDCs have been claimed by first-time winners—J.L. Lewis (1999), Michael Clark II (2000), David Gossett (2001), Mark Hensby (2004), Sean O’Hair (2005) and John Senden (2006).
- With his T27 finish last week, Fred Couples collected $39,100 and became the 19th player in TOUR history to reach the $20 million mark in career earnings.
- This week’s Nationwide Tour Players Club will offer the first $1-million purse in Tour history. The winner will take home a record $180,000. How big is that? It wasn’t until 1994 that the average purse on the Nationwide Tour exceeded $180,000.
- As you might expect with that size purse, all of the top Nationwide Tour players have turned up in West Virginia. The field includes every winner from the 2008 season with the lone exception of Gavin Coles. Coles is a PGA TOUR member and is playing this week at the John Deere Classic.
- If defending champ Jimmy Walker is within shouting distance heading into Sunday’s final round, look out. Walker began last year’s event in West Virginia seven strokes behind before rallying to win. That seven-stroke comeback isn’t even his career best—he came from eight back starting the final day at the 2004 Chitimacha Louisiana Open.
- Nicholas Thompson currently leads the Class of 2007 in the FedExCup standings. Thompson is 60th with Matt Jones (83rd) and Michael Letzig (85th) his nearest competitors.
- Joey Sindelar loves the En-Joie GC near his hometown of Horseheads, NY. During his PGA TOUR career, Sindelar had seven Top-10 finishes (including two victories) at the old B.C. Open. In his first Champions Tour start on the course, Sindelar finished T4 last week at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open.
- In his Champions Tour career, Bruce Vaughan has two career Top-10 finishes—both at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open. Vaughan finished T5 last week after finishing 2nd in 2007 in the event.
- The Champions Tour is taking a week off, but will return next week outide Minneapolis for the 3M Championship where D.A. Weibring will be looking to add to his success in the Midwest. Weibring, the defending champ, has nine combined PGA TOUR/Champions Tour victories to his credit—six of them in the Midwest. Weibring is a native of Quincy, IL.
- This one is hard to figure. Nick Price is still looking for his first Champions Tour win despite being seventh on the Tour in Greens in Regulation and first in Putting. He’s also third in Scoring Average, fifth in Birdies and seventh in Total Driving.