John Deere Classic's formidable competition: return of Olympic golf

Len Ziehm, Special for USA TODAY
4:41 p.m. EDT August 10, 2016

SILVIS, Ill. — Organizers of what is now established as the John Deere Classic have coped with a variety of challenges for 45 years as a small-market tournament on the PGA Tour – but never was the challenge anything like this one.

Golf will be contested at the Olympic Games for the first time since 1904 beginning on Thursday. That’s  the same day the John Deere Classic tees off at TPC Deere Run in this small town on the outskirts of Moline, Ill., and Davenport, Iowa.

Normally the tournament is held the week before the British Open in July. That’s been a good date for the event, especially after tournament director Clair Peterson hired a jet to take any interested golfers directly to The Open as soon as the last putt dropped. That amenity was widely appreciated by the players.

Going head to head with the Olympics is different, although the Games didn’t get the respect anticipated from golf’s top players. Six of the top…

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