STANFORD, Calif. – The John Deere Classic’s tradition of offering valuable playing opportunities to deserving up-and-coming young players continued Thursday when the tournament announced it has awarded sponsor exemptions to three of the nation’s top college players, all of whom have roots in the Midwest.
Stanford’s Patrick Rodgers, a native of Avon, Ind., earned an exemption along with Oklahoma State’s Jordan Niebrugge and Iowa’s Steve Ihm.
“The John Deere Classic is thrilled to announce that Patrick Rodgers, Jordan Niebrugge and Steven Ihm have received and accepted sponsor exemptions to compete in the 2014 championship,” said John Deere Classic tournament director Clair Peterson. “The John Deere Classic has a proud history of giving elite young players an opportunity to test their games against the highest level of competition. By doing so, the tournament gives its loyal fans a glimpse of the PGA Tour’s future stars.”
The John Deere Classic will be played July 7-13 at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill.
The world’s No. 1-ranked amateur, Rodgers received his third consecutive sponsor exemption to the John Deere Classic. Rodgers most recently won the prestigious Ben Hogan Award given to the “outstanding male amateur and collegiate golfer and of the year.”
Last year, Rodgers finished tied for 15th at TPC Deere Run, and has announced he will turn pro at the conclusion of this college season.
A first team All-American and a member of the 2011 and 2013 Walker Cup teams, Rodgers has won an NCAA-best six tournaments this season, including the individual Pac-12 Conference title. His 11 college victories tied a record set by Tiger Woods.
Past sponsor exemptions include Jason Day (2006), Zach Johnson (2002-03), Matt Kuchar (2001), Justin Leonard (1994), Patrick Reed (2013), Webb Simpson (2008) and Tiger Woods (1996).