The 2016 John Deere Classic helped raise a record US$10.5 million for 491 local and regional Quad Cities charities, ranking it among the top three in charitable giving on the PGA Tour.
The total is nearly US$1.8 million more than the previous record of US$8.73 million set in 2015, tournament officials said at a news conference at John Deere World Headquarters. In addition to being the highest John Deere Classic charity total ever, it represents the fifth consecutive year in which the tournament has helped raise more than US$6 million for local charities.
Tournament officials also announced that all 491 charities participating in the Birdies for Charity programme will receive a 10 per cent bonus over and above the funds they raised, double the promised five per cent. This means a charity that raised US$10,000 via the Birdies pledge programme would receive an additional US$1,000.
“Everyone associated with the John Deere Classic is extremely proud and appreciative that individual donors, companies and family foundations stepped up in a big way to make this year’s charitable contribution by far the largest in tournament history,” said John Deere Classic tournament director Clair Peterson.
This year’s charity number brings to more than US$81.3 million the total amount of charitable contributions provided to the Quad Cities community since the PGA Tour first began its annual run in the Quad Cities in 1971.
The US$10.5 million total works out to US$28.10 for each of the Quad Cities’ 375,000 residents, making the John Deere Classic number one in per capita giving on the PGA Tour, a distinction it has held for many years. The tournament moved to among the top three in charitable giving from among the top 10.
A combination of increased tournament revenues, direct donations to the Birdies for Charity Bonus Fund, and a John Deere Foundation matching grant of US$325,000 to the Bonus Fund enabled the tournament to provide the 10 per cent match for the fourth consecutive year, officials said.
Moreover, Deere & Company underwrites the administrative costs of the Birdies for Charity programme, including staff, thereby guaranteeing that 100 per cent of every dollar donated goes directly to the donor’s designated charity.
Peterson pointed to the 10 per cent bonus in explaining how charitable giving spiked US$1.8 million just one year after increasing by more than US$2 million. He praised the generosity of Quad City residents as well as tournament sponsor John Deere for the success of both the tournament and its charitable efforts.
“John Deere takes very seriously its historic commitment to being a good corporate citizen and that commitment really helps energise the Birdies programme,” Peterson said. “And, of course, the 375,000 residents of the Quad Cities are extremely generous in terms of both their financial support and their volunteer activities. The combination makes the tournament and its charitable arm uniquely successful on the PGA Tour and in the golf industry generally.”
In 2016, John Deere Classic contestants recorded 1,982 birdies during the tournament and the Wednesday Pro-Am. Although the minimum Birdies for Charity pledge is one cent per birdie – amounting to a contribution of US$19.82 based on this year’s birdie total – many donors pledge more or give lump sum donations. Others ‘round up’ to, say, US$20.
Following the news conference, officials distributed cheques to charity representatives who attended the event. New this year, three lucky charities in attendance also received an extra US$1,000 each in a blind drawing. The balance of the cheques will be mailed.
In 2016, Ryan Moore won the John Deere Classic by two shots, finishing at 22-under par on rounds of 65-65-65-67. It was the fifth career victory for the Washington native, who went on to earn a spot on the US Ryder Cup team. Moore went 2-1 in Ryder Cup play and won his singles match to clinch the winning point for the US team.
John Deere is an Executive Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.