SILVIS, Ill. – Players who haven’t qualified for next week’s British Open have learned to bring their passports to the John Deere Classic.
A rookie last year, Kyle Stanley brought his passport to TPC Deere Run and it paid off. Though he didn't win here, he gained a nice consolation prize gaining a spot in the year's third major championship.
The British Open offers a late invitation to one player at the John Deere Classic. It’s awarded to the highest finisher who hasn’t already qualified, provided the player finishes among the John Deere’s top five.
“It’s huge,” Stanley said. “It’s a last chance to get into a major, and for a lot of us, it’s a goal to be in the majors, contend in them, and it’s nice to have that chance this week.”
Stanley is already qualified for this year’s British Open. He played it for the first time last year, making the cut and tying for 44th.
Since 2008, the John Deere Classic has arranged for a private charter to fly players from the Quad Cities to the British Open, which will be played at Royal Lytham & St. Anne’s this year. The entire Boeing 767 charter, which seats 100 passengers, is considered first-class ticketing.
Twenty-four players are currently scheduled to make the flight Sunday night, including Ben Crane, who is currently the first alternate.
The British Open has made the special invitation for the John Deere Classic since 2004, but not every “qualifier” has accepted. In 2004, Mark Hensby won a spot but said he didn’t have his passport and didn’t really know links golf. His decision outraged some British reporters. In ’08, Brett Quigley also won a spot but said he didn’t have his passport and declined the invitation. In ’05, Sean O’Hair qualified but didn’t even have a passport and scrambled. He did make the trip.