John Deere Classic for Sponsoring the Iowa PGA & Iowa PGA Foundation
Riverside, Iowa - On behalf of the Iowa PGA and Iowa PGA Foundation, we would like to thank John Deere Classic as a Sponsor for the 2021 Iowa PGA Junior Tour Season.
The John Deere Classic started in 1971 as the Quad Cities Open. It will be celebrating its 50th year on the PGA TOUR in 2021. The tournament was known by many different names over the years, reflecting the title sponsors that helped support the event. John Deere stepped in as title sponsor in 1998 and is now the third longest running sponsor on the PGA TOUR behind Honda and AT&T. Along with agreeing to be title sponsor in the late 90’s, Deere also purchased 385 acres of land from children of the William Hewitt family to build the beautiful TPC Deere Run golf course. The course sits on property that has 5000 year archaeological history as well as former home of Friendship Farm, a world renowned Arabian horse farm run by John Deere decedent Patricia Hewitt and her husband William who was also Chair and CEO of Deere & Company in the 70’s and 80’s. Knowing the rich history of the property, the Hewitt family requested that the golf course always be public access and that it would never be subdivided to accommodate a housing development. With that, the architect, three-time JDC winner D.A. Weibring, was able to use all the natural beauty of the property while routing the 18 holes in a way that protected the sacred Native American burial grounds. In addition to providing an annual economic impact of over $50 million per year, the tournament has given over $133 million back to regional charities over its 50 years.
Clair Peterson started with John Deere in 1975 in their Advertising department after graduating from Iowa State University with a Journalism degree. “After a number of product assignments in their construction and forestry divisions,” Peterson recalls, “I was fortunate to be named as Advertising Manager for their new line of golf and turf maintenance equipment in 1987. It was very special to me since I had grown up as a caddie at Davenport Country Club, played golf in high school, and had always loved the game.”
When Deere and the TOUR inked their agreement in 1997, I became involved with the tournament since the agreement called for all TPC courses to use John Deere equipment. I sat on the John Deere Classic board from 1997 until 2002 when the tournament director at that time, Kym Hougham, got recruited to the new event in Charlotte, North Carolina—now known at the Wells Fargo Championship. At that point, after a far-reaching search by the tournament, I became a loaned Executive from Deere to the tournament and became full-time Tournament Director. In 2020, I officially retired from Deere after 45 years and am now an employee of the tournament, joining the other six people on its full-time staff.
For more information on John Deere Classic, click here.
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