Jordan Spieth, the first-year professional who's earned more than $900,000 on the PGA TOUR in 2013, has been given a sponsor exemption to the upcoming John Deere Classic. Spieth is allowed to accept unlimited sponsor exemptions after earning special temporary membership with his play this year.
Spieth, 19, also was invited to last year's John Deere; he finished 58th while playing as an amateur. He turned pro in December and has four top-10 finishes in 13 PGA TOUR starts.
Spieth was one of four players under the age of 21 who were invited to the Deere, which will be held July 11-14 at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill. Amateurs Justin Thomas and Patrick Rodgers also were given invitations. Thomas, college golf's player of the year in 2012, also is playing this week's Travelers Championship on a sponsor exemtpion.
Rodgers, a teammate of Spieth's on the 2011 Walker Cup team, shot a first-round 67 at last year's John Deere Classic, but missed the cut after a second-round 74.
Steven Ihm, the University of Iowa's top player this past season, previously received a sponsor exemption to this year's John Deere Classic. He won the Sunnehanna Amateur, one of the nation's top amateur events, last week.
"We like our fans to have the opportunity to see tomorrow's PGA TOUR stars and major champions today," John Deere Classic tournament director Clair Peterson said. Major champions Zach Johnson, Lucas Glover and Tiger Woods are previous recipients of sponsor exemptions to this event, as are Jason Day, Bill Haas, Luke Guthrie, Matt Kuchar, Spencer Levin, D.A. Points, Webb SImpson, Kyle Stanley, Camilo Villegas and Nick Watney.