SILVIS — The news was not what Clair Peterson — or Quad-City golf fans — wanted to hear on Friday.
Neither three-time John Deere Classic champion Steve Stricker nor two-time JDC winner Jordan Spieth joined the field for the 2019 event at TPC Deere Run in the 12th hour.
For that matter, neither did any other marquee name as the 156-man field reached its official deadline Friday afternoon.
Stricker had to choose between coming to a place he loves or playing in the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio.
After winning the Regions Tradition in May and last month's U.S. Senior Open, Stricker has a chance to become the first on the PGA Champions Tour to win three majors in a year. He also is in second place in the Charles Schwab Cup race, less than $500,000 behind leader Scott McCarron.
While disappointed that neither past champ will be in town next week, the method of delivery at least tempered the message as the JDC tournament director heard directly from both, each player reaching out on Friday to offer their regrets for not coming to the Quad-Cities next week for the $6 million event.
“It almost never happens, but both of them either called or texted,” Peterson said.
“Stricker personally texted and said that it's 'been a hard decision, but I really want to try to win the Senior Players and get to play in the Players Championship next year and win a third Senior major.' That was very nice.
“My response to him was, 'Steve, don't ever apologize to us. You have meant so much to us, we'll be rooting for you.'
“Jordan called, which was surprising to me because we've gone through this a couple times since 2015; usually it's his agents that contact us. He explained that (coming here) was something he really wanted to do and planned to do, which he told me at the Memorial. He has an injury that he didn't want to talk about in too much detail, but that he's nursing it and knows the end of the year is going to be a grind and wants to protect himself.
“He still said that he will be back at some time, which not everybody says.”
You have free articles remaining.
Depending on how the season plays out, Spieth could potentially be playing in six straight events starting with the British Open and running through the Tour Championship.
“They both clearly were conflicted about whether or not they were going to come here,” Peterson said of the two who have so much Q-C and JDC history. “It's part of the business and we move on.”
Finally making his commitment for what will be the 20th event at Deere Run was 2016 JDC champ Moore.
With his wife expecting a child at the end of the month, Moore's schedule has been fluid from week-to-week the last month. He is playing at the 3M Championship in Minnesota this week.
Also joining the field Friday were 2006 JDC champ John Senden, Daniel Chopra, Tim Herron, Parker McLachlin and Andres Romero. Earning sponsor exemptions into the field were 2017 US Amateur champ Doc Redman and veteran Dicky Pride.
Dropping out of the field were Aaron Baddeley, Max Homa, Sung Kang, Si Woo Kim, Rory Sabbatini, and Hudson Swafford,
With the field set, there will be 27 players who have won on the PGA Tour in the last two years teeing it up at Deere Run on Thursday. Another 34 have Tour titles, including four with majors — 2012 JDC champ Zach Johnson (2007 Masters and 2015 The Open Championship), Jason Dufner (2013 PGA Championship), Lucas Glover (2009 U.S. Open) and Stewart Cink (2009 The Open Championship).
Luke Donald was a former World No. 1 ranked golfer, and Bill Haas won the 2011 FedExCup title.
Defending champion Michael Kim will be joined in the field by other past champs Moore, Johnson, Senden, Brian Harman (2014) and Jonathan Byrd (2007).
“Now we focus on the 156 who are going to be here,” Peterson said.
The field will be finalized Monday with the addition of the four players who survive the Monday qualifier at Pinnacle Country Club.