SILVIS -- John Deere Classic tournament director Clair Peterson said this year's classic "was one of the great weeks in our 44-year history. |
"A contest that was exciting, a leader board that was exciting; it was everything you hoped for," he said.
Mr. Peterson had three main goals coming into the tournament -- raise money for charity, promote volunteerism and improve the quality of life in the Quad-Cities, and he feels they met those goals.
Add in that champion Brian Harman became the 20th golfer to earn his first professional victory here in the Quad-Cities. The Georgia native finished -22 under, one stroke ahead of 2012 winner Zach Johnson.
Tournament chairman Laura "Divot" Ekizian said everything about the tournament seemed to be working great this week.
"There seemed to be a vibe on site that I can't really describe, but everyone is just so proud of the way the week has gone. It's bringing out the best in us, and it has been invigorating."
Ms. Ekizian said the ties that past champions such as Steve Stricker and Zach Johnson have to the area and last year's winner, Jordan Spieth, returning to defend his title, helped draw the crowds.
"Jordan and Zach and Stricker have been simply magical for us," she said. "They've really connected with the Quad-Cities, and I think that our whole town is kind of enamored with them."
It was the 15th year the tournament has been held at TPC Deere Run. And for this year, Ms. Ekizian said they wanted to offer a "first-class"' experience to patrons. That included making the hospitality tents air conditioned and building a new air conditioned entrance pavilion.
"There are things that we have done, both small and large, that have elevated our presentation, and it's made a difference in how I think golf fans and Quad-Cities residents have reacted to wanting to be here," she said.
Mr. Peterson said the weather and condition of the field also contributed to the success of this year's tournament.
"The weather week we had was exciting, and it helped get people out here," he said. "The golf course itself was presented in probably its most pristine form that we've ever had before."
Though this year's tournament was better than Mr. Peterson and Ms. Ekizian could have asked for, they said improvements are being made every year to ensure each tournament is better than the last.
"We can never say there won't be (more improvements)," Ms. Ekizian said. "We're always in the business of making things better, and making the fan experience better."
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