To the casual sports fan, the 2013 John Deere Classic marked the emphatic introduction of Jordan Spieth to the world of professional golf.
One of the most memorable shots in recent memory, a Sunday bunker hole-out on No. 18 from Spieth forced a playoff against Zach Johnson and David Hearn. Five playoff holes later, the 19-year-old Spieth was in the record books, becoming the first teenager to win a PGA Tour event since 1931.
Spieth, who was not yet the worldwide brand we know today, made a return in 2014 as the defending champion, with the John Deere still his only Tour win.
In 2015, now as the reigning Masters and U.S. Open champion, and a legit superstar, Spieth showed his appreciation to the tournament by returning despite it being scheduled the week prior to the British Open.
At the time, Spieth remarked that the Deere was not considered a conflict.
“It doesn’t matter where it is. When I get over there, whether I play well or I don’t play well, it has nothing to do with what I did the week before. I will certainly have enough energy. I will certainly have enough rest, and I will be as prepared as I can be,” Spieth said in the lead-up to the 2015 John Deere Classic.
Spieth, of course, went on to win his second John Deere title, and then finished one-shot from a playoff the next week at St Andrews.
In 2016, now as a full-fledged superstar, the tournament’s defending champ skipped the event, despite no scheduling conflict. Spieth gave the impression that he “would be back soon.”
“Soon” ended up not being 2017, as Spieth announced on Monday that he will not be at TPC Deere Run this year either.
- Quad Cities Starts: In addition to his wins at Deere Run in 2013 and 2015, he finished T7 in 2014.
- Ungrateful?: 23-year-old PGA superstar Jordan Spieth will not be playing this year’s John Deere Classic, the lead-up to the Open Championship. It is the second straight year that he will be absent from the tournament where he notched his first professional victory in 2013 on a sponsor’s exemption.
- Scheduling Conflict?: Spieth cited a scheduling conflict, although he’s not scheduled to play anywhere.
- Flashback Quote: In 2015, Spieth said that playing the John Deere was a great tuneup for the Open Championship: “If I thought I wasn’t going to play well next week because I played here, it would be a different story. I probably wouldn’t be here. This is good preparation for me to get good feels, to get in contention and to find out what’s on and what’s off.”
- Spieth Strong: Spieth has two wins in 2017, including in his last start at the Travelers Championship, which like the 2013 John Deere, featured a hole-out from a greenside bunker.
John Deere Classy
Prior to Spieth’s decision, the tournament was using Spieth’s shoes as part of its promotions.
— John Deere Classic (@JDCLASSIC) July 1, 2017
A few days later, after the decision, the JDC wished Spieth well.
— John Deere Classic (@JDCLASSIC) July 3, 2017
The golf fans, however, weren’t as understanding, or as politically correct.
The Golden Child
“The Golden Child is now too golden to play the Quad Cities Open, now the tractor thing. He is now going for the gold as in major championships. What is is!”
Damages the Deere
“Tournaments may grant a few special exemptions to allow players into the field who would not otherwise be eligible to play. Spieth played and was fortunate enough to win. While the Quad Cities is a really good venue, great course and facilities with terrific fans; it is not considered to be a tier 1 tournament. Consequently, the Quad Cities is always struggling for a very competitive spot on the schedule. The tournament uses promotions including having past champions and top ten players in the field to attract sponsors and fans. For Spieth not to play is damaging to their future. They extended a favor and it has not been returned. The greats of the past ( Jack, Arnie, Player, Trevino etc) respected the tournaments and sponsors and worked to support the tournaments.”
–Via Golf Channel
Don’t Let the Door Hit You…
"Jordan Spieth is probably not coming to the john deere classic."
You can just leave, but take your bad attitude with you.
— Jillian Stone (@JStone811) July 1, 2017
“I love the tournament, I love the golf course and, more importantly, I love the people. While my schedule doesn’t permit me returning to the Quad Cities this year, I plan to be back in the future.”