2020 John Deere Classic cancelled; PGA Tour planning replacement event
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2020 John Deere Classic cancelled; PGA Tour planning replacement event

The PGA Tour will not be playing in the Quad Cities this season.

The Tour announced May 28 that the 2020 John Deere Classic has been cancelled and will return in 2021 to TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill. The event was set to run July 9-12 as the fifth event on the revised 2019-2020 PGA Tour schedule, which is set to kick off at Colonial in Texas on June 8.

The decision was based on Illinois' laws and regulations around COVID-19, which currently bans gatherings of 50 or more people. Those regulations are unlikely to change by July.

"Because of the ongoing health and safety concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic, the difficult decision was made to cancel the 2020 John Deere Classic," tournament director Clair Peterson said in a statement. "While we considered several alternatives to the Classic, this was the choice that made the most sense for our guests, the players and the Quad City community at large."

Golfweek reports the tournament would also have faced a huge shortfall without a pro-am. Corporate sponsors reported to the tournament that they would likely pull out because their clients were mostly unwilling to attend, even if restrictions were lifted. John Deere has also announced hundreds of company layoffs. Add in a tournament site that makes it challenging to enforce social distancing for the players, and the tournament was a difficult sell.

When the PGA Tour released its revised schedule, they announced the first four tournament would be presented without fans. The Deere, then, represented the first possible date the Tour would consider allowing fans to attend, provided the hosting state and local governments would allow that.

While the Deere won't be played this year, the PGA Tour said in a statement that they intend to host a replacement event in the Deere's slot.

A candidate to host is TPC Sawgrass, which is the home of the PGA Tour in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. The 36-hole facility is also hosting a Korn Ferry Tour event the same week as Colonial, conjured up by the Tour to get the developmental series going again. The Dye's Valley Course will host the KFT event, but the Players Stadium Course, which hosts The Players Championship, would be the likely site for this make-up event. The last PGA Tour round played before the pandemic forced the tour to suspend its season was at that site.

The Fried Egg reports the Tour is looking also at running events in consecutive weeks at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. The first tournament would be the traditional Memorial Tournament, expanded to a 144-player field for this year, followed by another tournament with a 156-player field.

The John Deere Classic has been on the PGA Tour schedule since 1972, and the event is looking forward to its 50th playing next year, with Dylan Frittelli as its defending champion.

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Ryan Ballengee

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