As Clair Peterson, one of the best tournament directors on the PGA TOUR prepares to retire, we welcome the energy and talent of incoming Tournament Director Andrew Lehman. Clair spent many years mentoring a young staff that is now ready to lead this world-class event into the next 50 years. Rest assured, this staff of seven extremely talented individuals are more than capable of taking this event to the next level.
The board, with a strategic agenda, is completely focused on continuous improvement of the spectator experience, the player experience, and the over 13 million broadcast viewers who see our tournament from around the world in more than 200 countries. Many of you probably noticed the subtle changes made throughout the event. The buildout continues to evolve and improve, ticket sales have gone completely digital, and our board uniforms have a fresh new look.
With another John Deere Classic in the books, I look back and think about the many people there are to thank and the success we have enjoyed.
First and foremost, we must thank this amazing community, which steps up year after year to support this event. On numerous occasions, the PGA TOUR has recognized the Quad Cities as the Most Engaged Community. Each year, the community supports our almost 500 charities, donates to our matching Bonus Fund, volunteers during tournament week, and attends the world-class golf event. I cannot emphasize enough that this tournament doesn’t succeed without broad support from the community as a whole.
We continue to have the support of both large and small businesses who partner with the tournament filling the chalets, promoting their brands, and showcasing what this community is all about. This is what truly makes us great!
We are fortunate to have a title sponsor whose brand is recognized worldwide for quality, excellence, customer service and sustainability. With John Deere’s unwavering commitment to make every community they touch better, we are inspired and proud to represent the brand.
In the coming weeks we will be unveiling the Birdies for Charity contribution. History has shown that the John Deere Classic consistently ranks in the Top 5 of all PGA events for charitable giving and No. 1 per capita. Be watching for our announcement at the end of October, it will be a number I hope surprises us all.
It has been my honor and pleasure to serve as the 2022 John Deere Classic volunteer board chair. I sincerely thank our professional staff, the board of directors (past and present), tournament week volunteers, and this amazing community for making this year a success. I look forward to another 50 years.
Pat Eikenberry is the outgoing volunteer chairman of the John Deere Classic. He also is executive vice president — civil engineering and principal at IMEG.