The John Deere Classic is this week’s stop on the 2018 PGA Tour schedule. The tournament, played from July 12 to July 15 at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois, has a purse of $5.8 million. The winner will take home a share of $1.044 million.
The John Deere Classic purse is one of the smaller prize money pools on the PGA Tour, according to TheGolfNews.net. Only five tournaments reward less money to the winner. The field was led this year by Zach Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Steve Stricker, Chris Kirk and Ryan Moore, but it is a 25-year-old who has run away with the lead while looking for his first career victory.
Michael Kim, a Korean-American from Texas who has been a pro since 2013, led by five shots entering Sunday’s final round of the John Deere Classic. Kim has pulled away to an eight-shot lead through 11 holes at 26-under par. His score would tie Stricker for the lowest in tournament history of it holds at -26. Stricker, a three-time winner, set that record in 2010.
Kim celebrated his 25th birthday on Saturday. “Coming into the day I told myself, `It’s your birthday. Try and have as stress-free a day as possible.’ I’m very satisfied with the score I shot,” Kim told PGATour.com.
There is more on the line for Kim than just a big payday and his first victory in 84 PGA Tour starts. If he can hold on for the victory, Kim will qualify for next week’s British Open. He has never played in The Open Championship.
The John Deere Classic was previously known as the Quad City Classic, the Hardee’s Golf Classic and the Quad Cities Open. The tournament began in 1971. The tournament has been held right before the British Open for several years, making it a tough draw for the world’s top players. But it is a final opportunity for a player like Kim to make a career-changing move with a win and a spot in The Open.
“For PGA Tour players who choose to compete at the John Deere Classic, they are six time zones away from the northwest coast of England, site of next week’s Open. And they are playing a venue at the TPC Deere Run that is in no way, shape or fashion anything like the links golf they will encounter beginning on July 19,” Bob Harig wrote for ESPN. “That makes the John Deere’s date on the schedule a challenge, although the tournament nonetheless always seems to attract a nice field, no doubt aided by a charter the tournament sets up to whisk players across the Atlantic on Sunday night following the tournament, so they can arrive in England on Monday morning. Still, they are missing acclimation time. And practice time on a unique golf course, a style that few play regularly.”
To help attract players, the tournament started “Air Deere,” a charter flight that takes players from Illinois to the UK at the end of each year’s John Deere Classic, according to the Golf Channel. It costs the tournament about $320,000.
“They want to be fresh and ready for the British Open,” John Deere Classic tournament director Clair Peterson told the Golf Channel “It has done everything that we wanted it to do and preserve the strength of our field. Find anything else we could do for $320,000 that would have that big of an impact on our field.”
Here is what the top 50 will be paid this year:
John Deere Classic Purse 2018