US PGA John Deere Classic will not be played: reports

Washington (AFP) –


The John Deere Classic, in position to be the first US PGA Tour event to be played with spectators since the coronavirus pandemic shutdown, will not be played in July, according to multiple reports Thursday.

Tournament director Clair Peterson told Golf Digest, Golfweek and the Golf Channel that the Classic would not be staged July 9-12 as planned under the revamped tour schedule.

The Classic, won last year by South Africa's Dylan Frittelli, is a staple at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois, and was scheduled to be the fifth tournament of the US PGA's return.

Ongoing coronavirus restrictions in the state of Illinois ban gatherings of more than 50 people and those were expected to still be in place during the week of the John Deere event, prompting the decision to call it off.

Golfweek reported that sponsors were concerned that having spectators at the tournament could lead to a surge of COVID-19 cases, but that having no fans would diminish the event's impact.

World number one Rory McIlroy plans to be among the golfers in the first return event, the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial on June 11-14 without spectators at Fort Worth, Texas.

Three other events are set to be played without fans -- the Heritage in South Carolina, the Travelers Championship in Connecticut and the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit -- through July 5.

With the John Deere Classic gone, the first possible event on the US PGA schedule to allow spectators would be the Jack Nicklaus-hosted Memorial Tournament July 16-19 at Dublin, Ohio.

Multiple reports said the PGA was exploring options to stage an event in the week the Silvis tournament would have been played.

Golfweek and ESPN said the tour was considering a one-time event for the week at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida -- where the first round of The Players Championship was staged on March 12 before the season was halted.

Golfweek reported that the canceled Barbasol Championship, which had been scheduled the following week, could jump into the John Deere spot.