Spieth, Thomas, Rodgers earn spots at John Deere


Rising stars Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Patrick Rodgers have accepted sponsor exemptions into the John Deere Classic.

It is the second consecutive year that Spieth, 19, will play in the July 11-14 event (tied for 58th last year). After turning pro in December and having no status on any major tour, the former Texas star has earned more than $900,000, essentially locking up a Tour card for 2014. 

Thomas, 20, was part of Alabama’s NCAA Championship team in 2012-13. The rising junior was the 2012 National Player of the Year in college golf. 

Rodgers, 20, a native of Avon, Ind., also earned a spot in last year’s field, shooting 67-74 to miss the cut. He is a rising junior at Stanford and the No. 8-ranked amateur in the world. 

“We like our fans to have the opportunity to see tomorrow’s PGA Tour stars and major champions today,” said tournament director Clair Peterson. 

In recent years, the tournament has awarded exemptions to such up-and-coming players as Jason Day, Kyle Stanley, Luke Guthrie, Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar and Bill Haas.