JDC hits goal from all levels

Posted Online: July 13, 2014, 9:18 pm
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By Grayson Schmidt, gschmidt@qconline.com
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."


Local events heading

  Today is Wednesday, Aug. 20, the 232nd day of 2014. There are 133 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: Quite a number of Negroes have lately been brought here by abolition offers returning from the army in violation of the laws of the state.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Miss Tillie Denkmann, of Rock Island, was making plans to accompany a Davenport family on a tour of Europe.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The German advance into Belgium was going apparently without serious check. The American ambassador at Berlin published a denial of the charge that Americans had been ill-treated in Germany.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Seventy-two members of Rock Island High School's 1939 graduating class are preparing to enter college — 34 of them at Augustana.
1964 -- 50 years ago: One of the oldest buildings in Milan, which for a number of years has housed the Milan Hotel, will be razed to make way for a modern, two-story office structure.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Some are blaming it on the sudden influx of insects and the extreme humidity. Still others say the invasion was inspired by a recent movie. But whatever the reason, the Quad-Cities is swarming with bats.

(More History)