JDC COUNTDOWN: 3 Weeks, Field Starts To Form

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Nothing says summer like golf and nothing says golf like summer - the two go hand-in-hand.

June 20th, 2012 is not only the first day of summer, it's also three weeks from the 42nd John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois.

On Wednesday morning, Tournament Director Clair Peterson and Birdies for Charity Director Kristy Ketcham-Jackson updated the Quad City Chamber of Commerce on what's happening in the 19 days leading up to the golf tournament.

Yesterday, it was released that 40 players who competed in last week's U.S. Open have committed to playing the week of July 9th. Also, more than 20 golfers in the field already have entered into the upcoming British Open, which takes place right after the John Deere Classic.

Clair says you'll see a great variety... from three-time winner Steve Stricker and area favorite Zach Johnson to players who are not very well known... yet.

"I think Kyle Stanley is a perfect example," says Clair. "We gave him an exemption a couple years ago. He's very appreciative. Last year, he almost won it. It took that Stricker putt at the last hold to knock him out. He starts this year by winning an event on his own so he's already taken that next step. Webb Simpson, who won the U.S. Open on Sunday, started his career here. His first PGA Tour event was here as a sponsor exemption so watching these young players is something that I think golf fans in the community have come to understand that these guys are going to be really good someday."

Clair says they're still looking for volunteers, especially marshals, though some of the committees are filling up. You can find more information on http://www.johndeereclassic.com/.

New to the tournament this year is the Family/Kids Zone. It's a large pavilion air-conditioned tent that will be located right inside the property where kids can play mini-golf, Wii, and adults can hit golf balls into inflatable nets and get a 10-minute golf lesson from a PGA of America professional. There will also be historical memorabilia on site to celebrate Deere & Company's 175th anniversary.

Birdies for Charity is also off to a great start, according to Kristy.

"The biggest thing people need to be thinking about is the fact that 100% of every pledge dollar we collect goes back to designated charities," says Kristy. "We've got about 500 participating organizations. They benefit from everything we collect, plus tournament revenues are turned over into a bonus for all these participating charities as well."

For more information on Birdies for Charity, http://www.birdiesforcharity.com/.

Kristy estimates that JDC brings about a $25 million economic impact to the QCA.