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John Deere extends sponsorship to 2010

Deere & Co. will sponsor the PGA Tour's annual stop in the Quad Cities through 2010, and hopes to attract more marquee players when the event moves to the weekend before the Open in 2004.

The Moline-based farm-equipment maker on Monday announced a four-year extension for the John Deere Classic, which will be played Sept. 8-14 this year instead of its traditional weekend in July.

In 2004, the four-day tournament will move back to July, and will shift to the weekend before the British Open rather than its usual spot the weekend after.

Organizers hope the switch lures more of the PGA's top players to the tournament, which began as the Quad City Classic in 1971 and has been sponsored by John Deere since 1997.

Last year, the event drew just six of the tour's top 50 money leaders the weekend after the British Open, when players often take time off after completing a major and a trans-Atlantic flight home.

Since 1999, an average of five more players from the top 50 money list have entered tournaments the weekend before the British Open than the weekend after, said PGA spokesman Chris Smith.

The John Deere Classic will move ahead of the British Open by switching weekends with the Milwaukee Open, which has agreed to the change, Smith said.

J.P. Hayes won last year's event at 22-under par, a record since the classic moved to the Tournament Players Club at Deere Run in Silvis, just outside Moline.

Licensing agreements between Deere and the PGA also were announced Monday.

The company's designation as the PGA Tour's official golf course equipment supplier was extended until 2014. John Deere Credit also was named the tour's official golf course equipment leasing company, and John Deere Landscapes was designated as the PGA's official landscape product supplier.


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