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Embrace visitors during ‘biggest little tournament’

Quad-Cities hosts John Deere Classic

Published: Thursday, July 11, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

Monday marked the start of one of the Quad-Cities’ favorite weeks. Those who work so hard at the game we love to watch are beginning to trickle into the Q-C to get ready for the start of the PGA’s biggest little tournament: the John Deere Classic.

The annual event at Silvis’ beautiful TPC at Deere Run is what past winner and adopted hometown boy, Zach Johnson, calls his “fifth major.” The former Cedar Rapids resident and JDC board member spends a great deal of his time selling the local product of which he is clearly proud.

Indeed, this year’s defending JDC champ told our golf writer Tom Johnston, “I don’t think my role’s changed. I’m still getting on my peers to try to play this tournament and probably some to a nuisance, which is fine. If they don’t play, they are a foolish, right?” He’s right and his support has been a godsend.

But the little tournament that could also hasn’t done a bad job of selling itself.

For example, among its many perks is a tournament-provided charter flight ready to whisk players away to a British Open that falls hard on the heels of the JDC. That almost certainly has boosted the field and offered home towners a chance to see some of the game’s best tee off here.

Anyone who has played golf at any level recognizes how very difficult it is to play it very well. As golfing great Jack Nicklaus once said, “Professional golf is the only sport where, if you win 20 percent of the time, you’re the best.”

One of the top reasons for the tournament’s consistent success is, of course, JDC. Deere & Co. Clair Peterson, JDC tournament director, recently summed it up succinctly: “Without the support of Deere, we don’t have a PGA Tournament.”

Once again, our challenge this week is to do everything we can to make our visitors happy and eager to return. That can be as easy to accomplish as offering a smile, some helpful directions or hints on things to do, places to go or where to eat.

It’s the least we can do to say thanks for the many blessings this wonderful week has to offer.

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