Local Knowledge: 2010 John Deere Classic and TPC Deere Run

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Zach Johnson is the local favorite each year in the Quad Cities.
By
T.J. Auclair, Interactive Producer
PGA.com

Series: Local Knowledge

Before everyone heads overseas for next week’s Open Championship at St. Andrews, there’s still a big order of business to take care of – the John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill. As PGA Head Professional Andy Stoterau notes, Zach Johnson from nearby Cedar Rapids, Iowa, will be the main attraction at the event that seems to keep growing steam and prestige. PGA.com: Thanks so much for joining us, Andy. OK, so, this is one week before the year’s third major. One, we should note, that is a long, long way from Silvis, Ill. However, that has done nothing to diminish the quality of your field – even for the guys who already have a spot in the British Open. What does that say about the John Deere Classic? Stoterau: It speaks volumes to the community and the people here in the Quad Cities. This tournament has been a staple of the QCA for 40 years and as we celebrate our 40th Anniversary the John Deere Classic continues to grow in strength. The players have a great respect for the way they are treated here and the manner in which this tournament is run. Tournament Director Clair Peterson and his staff are tremendous in what they do and the support of John Deere and all the wonderful people there who make this a family affair have allowed this tournament to succeed. The icing on the cake is the two jets this year that will transport players and family to the British Open at St. Andrews. This has allowed our field a sense of ease and comfort knowing that they will arrive quickly and without hassle overseas. PGA.com: D.A. Weibring has done a phenomenal job at TPC Deere Run with the design and it’s a course many of the players rave about. Having been there a number of times myself, I can honestly say it’s one of the greenest courses I’ve ever been to. Can you give us a taste of some of the feedback you’ve received from players about the course over the years? Stoterau: The course continues to improve year after year and the PGA Tour players have taken notice. It's another reason why this field is as good as it is, the players love the golf course. There just isn't a bad hole out there. It's in front of you the entire golf course. The players appreciate that they are rewarded for shot-making and penalized for loose shots. It's a very fair golf course. Course Superintendent Paul Grogan and his staff have worked tirelessly in preparation of this year’s event and I have to say the course is better than I've ever seen it, and that's saying something. The greens are fast and smooth, the fairways are in perfect condition and I think the players are going to rave about the quality of the grounds this season. PGA.com: Another compelling aspect of your tournament is that there’s one last spot available for the highest finisher not otherwise qualified for the British Open. That makes for an extremely exciting finish and almost provides a tournament within a tournament, doesn’t it? Stoterau: It will been fun to watch what happens as Sunday progresses this year with the 150th British Open being played at St. Andrews the drama will hit another level late in the round. Another reason the field is so strong is those who aren't already exempt to play next week have a lot at stake. We hope to see another fantastic finish at this year’s John Deere Classic for the tournament winner and the final spot in the British Open. PGA.com: The John Deere Classic is as close as Cedar Rapids, Iowa, product and former Masters champ Zach Johnson gets to a home game. In fact, he’s gone so far as to call it his fifth major. We obviously know how much the tournament means to Zach, but how much does Zach mean to the tournament? Stoterau: Zach is by far the most popular attraction this week at TPC Deere Run and everyone knows it. He has a tremendous following here and the electricity in the crowd can be felt throughout the course when Zach hits his shots. But Zach is also a tremendous asset to the tournament and is one of many reasons why we are able to raise so much money for charities. The John Deere Classic and Birdies for Charity generated $4.6 million for participating non-profit organizations last year. Zach Johnson is a very big reason why we finished first in per capita charity dollars on the PGA Tour! Thank you to all who support. PGA.com: Final question for you, Andy. What aspect of tournament week do you most look forward to year in and year out? Stoterau: It's the people that I most enjoy. The Tournament Volunteers are absolutely the most gracious, kindest, hard working, dedicated people I've had the pleasure of being around and the weeks leading up to the tournament is an absolute blast. During the event it's being able to talk golf and share information about this wonderful golf course and be around golfing fans of all ages. It's a rewarding week and seeing old friends and making new ones is what I look most forward to.