Annual fundraiser will benefit local charities

April  16, 2014

      A yearly fundraiser for hundreds of area charities is officially under way. The John Deere Classic launched its annual Birdies for Charity this morning. Proceeds from pledges and the golf tournament will benefit nearly 500 organizations.  Participants can pledge a minimum of 1 penny or more for each birdie scored by the pros during the annual PGA tournament in Silvis.

      Tournament director Clair Peterson says Birdies raised over $6 million last year. Some people make a pledge for their charity of choice, while others give to the program.

      "They just want to make a flat donation. 'Never mind guessing the number of birdies in the car. We just know that all this money is getting to the charity, and it will also trigger a bonus on top of it.' So we have donors that give us as much as $10,000 at a time." 

      Peterson says Birdies for Charity has been successful every year, even ranking in the top 10 of all 46 PGA tournaments.

      "People support the event. It's because they buy the tickets. They come out. They become whole sponsors if they're a company. They, for 43 years now, have always supported us, and that translates to bigger and bigger charity success."

      The tournament has raised over 55 million dollars for charities since 1971. And this year, it'll be held July 7th through the 13th at TPC at Deere Run in Silvis. 

(Photo: Jordan Spieth, defending champion, PGA Tour 2013 Rookie of the Year and Masters runner-up).