Deere & Co. is teaming with Ryder Cup champion Daniel Berger for a multi-year charitable ambassador partnership that will bring $100,000 in donations to various charities.
The Moline-based agricultural equipment giant also announced Tuesday, April 5, that the 21st ranked golfer in the world will carry a distinctive white, yellow and green John Deere-branded golf bag at The Masters from April 7-10 at Augusta, Georgia, and throughout his Deere ambassadorship.
Mr. Berger, who was a member of the 2021 U.S. Ryder Cup winning team, is a four-time tour winner. He will join Quad Cities fan favorite and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native Zach Johnson as the only PGA TOUR players to carry the Deere brand. Mr. Johnson, who was recently named 2023 Ryder Cup captain, has won 12 times on TOUR including major victories. He won the JDC in 2012 and has been runner-up three times.
Under their partnership, Deere and Mr. Berger agreed to prioritize giving back to the game of golf and charitable organizations via committing that $100,000 in donations in lieu of a traditional win bonus within the terms of their agreement. Ambassador deals typically pay a bonus for PGA TOUR wins. In this case, Deere will partner instead to make an impact to charity with the cash bonus, according to Dustin Lemmon, manager of news and editorial for Deere & Co.
Mr. Berger will work with Deere to donate the allotted win bonus to charities both partners support, the company news release said. Causes Mr. Berger currently supports include: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.
“Daniel’s presence on and off the golf course exemplifies Deere’s commitment to community and the game of golf,” said Mara Downing, Deere vice president of global brand and communications. “We look forward to welcoming him to the John Deere Classic (JDC) this summer and to celebrating this world-class partnership.”
Mr. Berger said, “John Deere is the gold standard in what they do, and they’ve been an integral part of the golf community for as long as I’ve been playing the game. Their commitment to growing the game from the ground up and giving back to charity has me really excited about this partnership, and I’m honored to be part of the John Deere family.”
Tuesday’s announcement also comes on the heels of the official kickoff on Monday, April 4, of the annual JDC Birdies for Charity drive, which helps raise funds for more than 450 charities across the Quad Cities region. “The big news is that charity sign-ups have reopened after having been paused the last two years because of COVID-19 pandemic-related concerns,” the JDC said in a separate news release.
The JDC tournament – which will take place one week earlier on the PGA Tour schedule from Wednesday, June 29, to Sunday, July 3 – also will welcome back unlimited spectators to witness the best players in the world compete for $7.1 million in prize money at TPC Deere Run.
“We are excited to kick off our annual Birdies for Charity fundraising drive today as we prepare to welcome back a full house of individual ticket holders, businesses and corporate partners,” said Clair Peterson, executive director of the JDC. “We also are pleased to invite the participation of new charities that have not been able to participate in our Birdies for Charity program for the last two years because of COVID-19 restrictions.”
“Moreover, we are promising that each participating organization will receive a minimum 5% bonus on all monies collected on their behalf,” Mr. Peterson said. “Tournament revenue is a key component in the Birdies for Charity model, and we are optimistic that having unlimited fans back will help us do even better than we did in 2021.”
Last year, the JDC delivered $12.56 million to 470 organizations through its Birdies for Charity program and provided an 8% match.
Birdies is open to 501(c)3 organizations in Iowa or Illinois located within 125 miles of TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois are eligible to apply. Applications will be accepted through May 14.