By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer
The John Deere Classic has decided to cancel what would have been its 50th anniversary as a PGA Tour event.
Tournament director Clair Peterson says there were too many obstacles to overcome and too many risks from the COVID-19 pandemic that it made sense in the long run to not hold the tournament.
“In Illinois, by the governor’s mandate, we’re not supposed to have gatherings of more than 50 people through the summer,” Peterson said in a telephone interview. “And then you have the rest of its layers on top of that.”
The John Deere Classic in Silvis, Illinois, had been scheduled for July 9-12 at the TPC Deere Run. Dylan Frittelli of South Africa was the defending champion.
It would have been the fifth tournament in the PGA Tour’s revised schedule, which starts June 11-14 at Colonial. The tour has said no fans will be allowed for at least a month, meaning the John Deere Classic potentially would have been the first golf tournament that allowed spectators.
Peterson said among the factors considered was which spectators would be allowed. From the more critical side of hospitality, he said one sponsor said 90% of its clients would not be coming.
The tournament still plans a charitable donation. Peterson said the “Birdies for Charities” campaign is no longer tied only to the tournament but included flat donations. The John Deere Classic raised $13.8 million for more than 500 local charities.