Rodgers, Niebrugge, Ihm get Deere exemptions
A year after Jordan Spieth won the John Deere Classic in a playoff, the tournament is handing three top-tier amateurs sponsor exemptions into the 2014 tournament.
Stanford's Patrick Rodgers, the world's top-ranked amateur, will play the tournament for the third consecutive year. He finished T-15 in 2013 and recently tied Tiger Woods' school record with 11 collegiate victories. Rodgers intends to turn pro at the conclusion of next week's NCAA Championship.
Joining Rodgers in the PGA Tour event in Silvis, Ill., will be Oklahoma State's Jordan Niebrugge and Iowa's Steven Ihm. Niebrugge played on the 2013 U.S. Walker Cup squad. Ihm is headed to the John Deere Classic for the second consecutive year. He missed the cut last year.
The tournament has made it commonplace to invite some of the brightest young stars, with past exemptions given to Jason Day, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Justin Leonard, Patrick Reed, Webb Simpson and Woods.