John Deere Classic canceled due to coronavirus

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The John Deere Classic, scheduled to be the fifth tournament as part of the PGA Tour’s revised schedule, will be canceled this year, with hopes of replacing it with another event.

The PGA Tour announced that the long-time tournament, scheduled for July 9-12, will not be played this year due to restrictions in Illinois that by then will still limit gatherings to 50 people.

The tournament was originally scheduled to be the first event to have spectators. The first four events, starting with the Charles Schwab Challenge on June 11, will be played with no spectators with events beyond that to be determined.

The PGA Tour is trying to replace the John Deere for this year only and there is some consideration to having an event at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, which is at tour headquarters.

John Deere Classic tournament director Clair Peterson said said it became clear that they would need to play the event without spectators, which puts the event in a difficult position financially.

“For us, we just couldn’t make it all work,” Peterson said. “Illinois has very serious — and rightly so — restrictions. We respect those. It says no gatherings of more than 50 people through the summer. That’s a tough one.

“We have a small clubhouse, small parking lot. It’s very difficult to get everything established from a social distancing standpoint, including locker rooms and everything else. Our title sponsor (John Deere) has been incredibly supportive, and during this pandemic they have been very cautious with their employees. So when all those things come into play, whatever version of the tournament we put on, we wouldn’t be able to pull off with fans part of it. And that’s a a money losing proposition. How much money can we afford to lose? How does our reserve fund look?”

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