WQAD News

The army of workers at Deere Run you will most likely never see, but should probably thank

DEERE RUN-- Accuracy is a big part of the game of golf; knowing how hard to swing and in what direction. But the most detail-oriented group out here aren't the players. It's an army that works alone.

"Listen very carefully. We have a few specialized jobs tonight," explains Alex Stuedemann. He's the leader of this army, 50 strong. On Thursday, they're handed down a secret mission.

Once the specific orders are given, they're ready to deploy. It's time to battle the imperfections in the course.

"It may look like confused chaos, but it all serves a purpose," says Abel Zertuche Jr. He's on the front line of the front nine driving his mower.

Everyone has a specific task in this group. And the mission is twofold, presentation for fans and playability for the golf pros.

This army's arsenal of took is as specific as the density measurements they collect.

They use everything from mowers, clippers, chains, sand and even forks to measure density, speed, and moisture. They also fix divots, ball marks and mow the course.

There's strategy too. The army attacks when the civilians have gone, as the day turns to night. But one onlooker gets a rare glimpse, admiring from afar.

"They work their tails off to present a product that people want to come and use," says volunteer Tom Heise.

And they won't leave until they defeat the enemy.

"The goal is always to make the player happy and to allow the patrons to enjoy their experience here," says Zertuche.

They want to show the world the power and prestige of the John Deere Classic.

"In the end, it's a product the community loves."

Mission accomplished.

The Agronomy crew takes to the course every night of the tournament after all play is done. They then go back over their work every morning at 4:30 a.m. to perfect the course for the following day.

Defense argues teen was seeking attention when he brought a loaded gun to North Scott Jr. High School

DAVENPORT, Iowa - Eight witnesses testified in court on Thursday, as 13-year-old Luke Andrews sat beside his lawyers inside of a courtroom at the Scott County Courthouse.

North Scott Junior High School Counselor Holly Leinhauser was emotional as she remembered the moments that she worked with another teacher to grab the gun out of the then-12-year-old's hands.

"Then I asked what was the intent? What were you trying to do? And he said to end it and end anything that got in his way," Leinhauser told the jury when asked about August 31, 2018.

That's the day police say Andrews brought a .22 caliber pistol to school. The gun was loaded.

He is accused of walking into a classroom, telling his peers to get down, pointing the gun at a teacher, and pulling the trigger.

Defense attorneys say Andrews never intended to kill anyone.

"What Luke did was attention seeking behavior," said defense attorney Meenakshi Brandt. "Not intent to commit murder."

In an opening statement, Brandt told the jury, "He did bring a gun to school. He did bring it into a classroom. Luke owns that fact."

The gun was in court Thursday.

The school resource officer held it up and identified it.

Other witnesses on Thursday included two of Andrew's classmates, the school's assistant principal, two police officers who were on the scene on the day in question, and by a criminalist from the state lab were also heard.

Andrews is on trial in adult court and is charged as a youthful offender.

Prosecutors used their opening statement to remind the jury of the job they have to do to give Andrews a fair trial.

"I will ask you to put aside your sympathy, your bias, and I will ask you to follow the law," said Julie Walton, Assistant Attorney in Scott County, Iowa.

Court resumes Friday at 9:00 a.m. at the Scott County Courthouse.

“Tornado Alley” shifting into the Quad Cities

DEKALB, Illinois - On any given day when he's not teaching at Northern Illinois University, you'll find Dr. Victor Gensini analyzing weather computer models and other data. But that's not all he's doing.  "I'm a storm chaser. I drive 20,000 miles a year, everywhere from Texas up into Canada searching for severe storms. And we really haven't seen a lot of tornadoes in the last few years", says Gensini.

Just a two-hour drive east of the Quad Cities, groundbreaking tornado research is taking place. Just recently Gensini has studied tornado patterns across the United States, and the findings are quite surprising. The study focused on tornado data from 1979-2017 looking for trends on where tornadoes touched down and the location of certain ingredients that promote their development.

Results have shown a marked eastward migration of the typical "tornado alley" as we know today. Typically this area covered states like Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska. Now it appears more tornado activity is taking place further east in parts of Iowa, Illinois, Arkansas and a good chunk of the southeast United States.  This isn't the only change though that the study uncovered. The ingredients necessary for tornado development are also shifting east, too.

Tornado environments are appearing more frequently in the Mississippi River Valley, including portions of Northern Illinois where an upward trend has been observed. These trends are measured on an index known as the STP, or Significant Tornado Parameter.  It's a mix of instability, wind fields, and a multitude of other factors that come together to produce the possibility for tornadoes. While states like Texas and Oklahoma are still the top regions for tornado frequency, they are experiencing a downward trend in these favorable environments.
"If you go look at the STP, which is the measure of the environment and how favorable it is for tornadoes, you really now see a pretty large increase over all the Mississippi River. You look out in the places in the Great Plains, the number of significant tornado environments is down. Our counts, really even our annual counts of tornadoes have been down", says Gensini.

What does this mean for the Quad Cities? Gensini says that the increase generally equates to one EF1 tornado per decade increase in each county every ten years. It may not seem like a lot, but when you look at the bigger picture those numbers add up.

What remains a mystery is what has been driving these changes. "We don't actually know what's causing this shift. We think it's tied to the jet stream, which is probably a function of our shifts in climate, but we cannot attribute this to that sort of variability right now. This could be an oscillation that's been going back and forth over the last 30-40 years", says Gensini. Because the only reliable data is limited to the last 40 years or so, more data will be collected to further examine the trend in the coming years to see if it can be linked to any specific activity.

You can read the entire study here

Listen to an expansion of this story via our Head in the Clouds Podcast!

Meteorologist Andrew Stutzke

Download the News 8 Weather App — for iOS, click here and for Android, click here

Download the free News 8 App — for iOS, click here and for Android, click here

Hampton residents asked to conserve water due to tower control issues

HAMPTON, Illinois -- A water tower issue in Hampton prompted village leaders to ask residents to conserve water.

According to Village Clerk Michelle Reyes, the village was experiencing tower control failures on Thursday, July 11.

Public Works was asking for people to conserve water because the pumps were "not working properly," said Reyes in a statement.

This incident was not connected to the water main break in East Moline. 

Watch: Water shoots out of the ground after main breaks in East Moline

EAST MOLINE, Illinois -- Water shooting out of the street after a water main break prompted crews to close a portion of Morton Drive.

Crews arrived to the scene Thursday, July 11 shortly after 7 a.m., according to Dave Lambrecht with Public Works.  Water continued to shoot out of the ground for almost two hours before it was controlled.

Traffic went back to normal during the afternoon, said Lambrecht.  None of the surrounding homes or businesses were impacted.

Knox College students assembling 55-foot fin whale skeleton display

GALESBURG, Illinois -- Biology students at Knox College are spending part of their summer break working on a big project. They've spent months piecing together the skeleton of a whale in a contribution to a major renovation of the Umbeck Science-Mathematics Center.

Assistant professor of biology Nick Gidmark says the 55-foot skeleton will be suspended from the ceiling of the atrium by homecoming 2019, the first weekend of November.

"It's grandiose, it's fun, it's interesting," Gidmark said. "And then on the other side, there's a balcony there that you'll be eye to eye with the whale," he said.

Several of his students could be found Thursday in the lab assembling and repairing the bones, listening to a calming whale sounds playlist. Post-baccalaureate scholar Samantha Arrez said it was sometimes frustrating figuring out how they fit together.

"So what we did was we laid them down on the floor and we essentially looked at the neural canal, which is the circle here," she said, gesturing at the spinal column arranged on a laboratory counter-top.

Little pieces, like the phalanges that make up the fins, can go missing. The good news is they're easily replaced with a 3D printer.

As for the bigger bones, a mix of plaster is spread over chicken wire to repair the broken parts. When the time is right, the backbones are racked on a piece of pipe, eventually to be mounted as conversation piece at the science building.

"I want that wow factor," said Arrez. "I want people to be amazed," she said.

 

Ohio hospital fires 23 workers in case of excessive doses, deaths

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio hospital system where excessive painkiller doses were given to dozens of patients who died fired 23 nurses, pharmacists and managers Thursday and said it is changing leadership, a sign that professional fallout from the scandal has expanded far beyond the intensive care doctor accused of ordering the drugs.

The announcement by the Columbus-area Mount Carmel Health System comes five weeks after that doctor, William Husel, pleaded not guilty to murder charges in 25 of the deaths, marking one of the biggest cases of its kind against an American health care professional.

The newly fired employees include five physician, nursing and pharmacy management team members, President and CEO Ed Lamb said in a statement.

Mount Carmel said the other 18 fired were among the nurses and pharmacists who had been on administrative leave during its internal review.

One employee remains on administrative leave, and 11 are being given the chance to return to work if they complete additional training, Lamb said. Mount Carmel didn't specify whether those employees are nurses and pharmacists who administered or approved the excessive doses.

Authorities have said the nurses and pharmacists involved aren't being prosecuted, though dozens have been reported to their respective professional boards for review and potential disciplinary action.

Lamb also said that he is resigning this month and that Mount Carmel's chief clinical officer is retiring in September, paving the way for new leadership that could "facilitate healing and help restore the trust of the community."

Mount Carmel fired Husel in December and concluded he had ordered potentially fatal doses for 29 patients who died over the past few years, including five who might have received the drugs when there still was a chance of improving their conditions with treatment.

The hospital system said six more patients got doses that were excessive but likely not the cause of their deaths.

His lawyer in the criminal case has said Husel was providing comfort care to dying patients, not trying to kill them.

Husel, 43, was charged with murder only in cases involving 500 to 2000 micrograms of the powerful painkiller fentanyl, amounts far larger than typical doses.

Mount Carmel has tightened its drug policies and access and publicly apologized, noting it should have expedited its investigation. It acknowledged that Husel wasn't removed from patient care until four weeks after a concern about him was raised last fall, and that three patients died during those weeks after getting excessive doses he ordered.

The hospital system has resolved some of the related wrongful death lawsuits, reaching nearly $4.5 million in settlements so far.

"We are deeply sorry for the additional grief and frustration this has caused and are working to provide reasonable settlements with affected families," Lamb said in the statement Thursday.

Twenty-two lawsuits remain pending.

In new filings this week, Husel's lawyer in the civil cases again argued they should be put on hold because of the criminal case.

A court magistrate previously declined to halt the lawsuits but did block the plaintiffs' lawyers from pursuing a sworn statement from Husel. Lawyer Gregory Foliano argues that isn't enough to protect Husel's right to a fair trial, in part because plaintiffs still can seek information from other Mount Carmel employees.

The hospital also wants the lawsuits put on hold and has filed objections to the magistrate's decision.

Video shows dog scaring off black bear in New Jersey backyard

HEWITT, N.J. - A New Jersey man is offering his neighbor's dog a steak dinner after the pup scared off a bear in his backyard.

Mark Stinziano said the incident happened Tuesday night at his Hewitt, New Jersey home.

He shared security camera footage capturing the encounter between a black bear and Riley the dog.

Video shows the bear pulling down Stinziano's bird feeder before Riley races from the neighbor's yard.

Riley then runs full speed at the bear, barreling into it, and chases it away.

"My neighbors dog is getting a steak dinner next time I see him," Stinziano wrote on social media. "He is an awesome pup that comes to check on the kids from time to time. Now he is keeping them safe!"

Stinziano ended the post by keeping score: "Riley-1 Bear-0."

Body cam video shows police officer crawl into burning home to save child

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio - Cleveland Heights police officers were first to arrive at the scene of a fire on Greyton Road early Saturday morning - and learned from the homeowner that her six-year-old son was trapped inside the smoke-filled home.

Without hesitating, Patrolman Josh Robertson crawled under the heavy smoke and began searching for the child. Investigators said Officer Robertson could not see anything, but he heard the boy moaning and felt his way around until he found the unconscious child and pulled him out of the burning house.

Robertson himself suffered from smoke inhalation from the rescue.

To the relief of the child's family and first responders, the boy began breathing on this own. All involved knew it was a close call. "I couldn't see him, but I was just like looking...yeah...and I just grabbed him by the shirt and I started yanking man," Robertson said.

The boy was taken to Hillcrest Hospital. Because of the quick actions of Patrolman Robertson, he is expected to make a full recovery.

Amazon plans to spend $700 million retraining 100,000 employees

Amazon announced it will spend $700 million over the next six years to help retrain a third of its US workforce to adapt to an economy increasingly disrupted by automation and new technology.

The training, which will be voluntary, expands upon Amazon’s existing programs and initiatives. The idea is to help Amazon employees progress into more advanced jobs or even new positions outside of the company. It will be available to 100,000 workers by 2025.

Amazon is calling the plan “Upskilling 2025.” Workers could use the training to transfer between positions that, without the training, they might not have been qualified for.

For example, warehouse workers in fulfillment centers could be trained for technical roles in IT and nontechnical workers could be retrained as software engineers, even if they have limited technical background.

Another training initiative, Amazon Apprenticeship, offers paid intensive classroom training and on-the-job apprenticeships within the company. Amazon is also emphasizing its growing cloud business with a training program that helps employees operate in the booming tech business.

“While many of our employees want to build their careers here, for others it might be a stepping stone to different aspirations,” said Beth Galetti, Amazon’s head of HR, in a prepared statement. “We think it’s important to invest in our employees, and to help them gain new skills and create more professional options for themselves.”

Amazon’s initiative comes as robots and artificial intelligence are advancing and more capable of replacing human jobs.

Machines are expected to displace about 20 million manufacturing jobs across the world over the next decade, according to a recent report from Oxford Economics, a global forecasting and quantitative analysis firm. That amounts to 8.5% of the global manufacturing workforce being displaced by robots.

Amazon is also fighting for employees during one of the tightest labor markets. Upskilling 2025 could help attract more employees because of future opportunities they might not have been previously qualified for. The training also helps Amazon retain workers.

Some of the fastest-growing jobs are in skilled areas Amazon is training for, including software developers, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Through its Upskilling 2025 pledge, Amazon is focused on creating pathways to careers in areas that will continue growing in years to come, including healthcare, machine learning, manufacturing, robotics, computer science, cloud computing, and more,” the company said in a statement.

The company is also dealing growing internal displeasure among from some fulfillment workers.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the news Thursday.

Recently, the company’s plan to spend $800 million to speed up deliveries for Prime members sparked tension between the company and the leader of a major workers’ union. They said the new shipping initiative could be dangers for workers and are struggling to keep up with demand.

Amazon was also criticized last April after it revealed the median pay for its global workforce, including part-timers, was $28,446 in 2017. The company said in October that it would raise its minimum wage to $15 per hour for US employees.

Over 300,000 people take Facebook pledge to storm Area 51 to ‘see them aliens’

Stretch those quads and prep that tinfoil hat!

Over 300,000 people have signed on to a Facebook event pledging to raid Area 51 in Nevada in a quest to “see them aliens.”

The event, titled “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us,” is inviting users from around the world to join a “Naruto run” — a Japanese manga-inspired running style featuring arms outstretched backwards and heads forward — into the area.

“We can move faster than their bullets,” the event page, which is clearly written with tongue in cheek, promises those who RSVP for September 20.

What they’re after

The mysterious Area 51 has been the focus of conspiracy theories for decades, and many people think it’s where the US government stores its secrets about aliens and UFOs.

The area was officially acknowledged as a military site in 2013, but the theories live on.

Though the September event is most certainly a joke, it comes just a few weeks after a group of US senators was briefed about reported encounters between the US Navy and an unidentified aircraft — literally an unidentified flying object.

So what do they know? Where can we sign up to hear about that?

Surveillance video shows moment North Carolina KFC is destroyed by explosion

EDEN, N.C. - Surveillance video from a nearby drugstore shows the moment a KFC restaurant in North Carolina was leveled in an explosion Thursday morning.

At about 12:40 a.m., police responded after the KFC exploded at 125 N.C. 14 in Eden. No one was injured, but the blast left almost all neighboring businesses damaged, according to WGHP.

An employee told police that he was closing the restaurant when he and others smelled gas.

Here is part of, what looks to be, the drive-thru window from KFC. It’s about 50 feet away from the building. ⁦@myfox8pic.twitter.com/IGJN9BnBE4

— Daniel Pierce (@DanielDPierce) July 11, 2019

The manager reportedly tried to turn off the nozzle and called the gas company.

The employee came out to the area to pick up a drink and cigarettes and saw the moment the KFC exploded.

Officers say they do not know for certain what caused the explosion.

A KFC spokesperson released the following statement to WGHP:

“We are devastated by this incident, but most importantly we are grateful that all of our restaurant team members are safe and no one was injured. We would like to thank the Eden police and fire crews, for their response and continued support. We are cooperating directly with the investigating agencies as they work to determine the cause.”

On A Mother Level: Ugly Babies

Would you know if you had an ugly baby? Denise celebrates passing the test.

And Jessica from the Quad City Moms Blog opens up for the first time about a terrifying experience after having her second child.

Hershey sued over ‘misleading’ packaging on White Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

DERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. — A class action lawsuit accuses The Hershey Company of duping its customers with misleading packaging on its White Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, according to Fox News.

The plaintiffs, Curtis Winston and Jane Doe, filed a complaint on behalf of themselves and others June 26 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The suit alleges that the light-colored alternative to the milk chocolate version uses deceptive marketing because it does not contain “white chocolate,” Fox News says, quoting a Legal Newsline report.

The peanut butter cups are instead covered in a “white crème,” which is listed on the company’s website, Fox News says.

However, the complainants insist that as the other flavors – milk and dark chocolate – are actual chocolate, consumers assume the white version is made with white chocolate.

The White Reese’s wrapper does not say “white chocolate.”

“Defendant has taken affirmative steps for consumers to mistakenly believe the products contain white chocolate and has intentionally failed to correct the misimpressions,” the suit states, according to Fox News. “The absence of any modifying term before or after ‘white’ renders the products misleading because consumers are not able to differentiate between white chocolate and cheaper substitutes like compound or confectionary coating made from vegetable oils when the term ‘white’ is applied to a product traditionally associated with chocolate.”

The pair, on behalf of others, are suing over deceptive trade practices, negligent misrepresentation, breach of express and implied warranty, fraud and unjust enrichment, the legal site reported.

In a statement, Hershey’s told Fox News it does not comment on pending litigation.

Trump expected to announce executive action on census

President Donald Trump is expected to announce an executive action on the US census Thursday, multiple White House officials said.

One official said the action is expected to address the citizenship question that’s captured his attention. Trump tweeted Thursday morning he would be holding a press conference in the Rose Garden in the afternoon about “the census and citizenship.”

Attorney General Bill Barr will participate in the event, according to Justice Department spokesperson Kelly Laco.

The Supreme Court late last month blocked a citizenship question from being added to the 2020 census. The bitter controversy centers around whether the administration can ask all recipients a citizenship question on the 2020 census for the first time since 1950 — a move that could impact the balance of power in states and the House of Representatives, which are based on total population.

Adding the question, critics say, could result in minorities being undercounted by scaring off even legal residents or naturalized citizens from completing the decennial questionnaire, which is also used to determine funding for an array of government programs.

Key Republican senators said Thursday they have not been briefed by the White House on the contours of Trump’s action. Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Roger Wicker, a Republican from Mississippi who has oversight of the Census Bureau, said he has not had discussions with the White House.

Democrats are already mobilizing to fight the issue.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House of Representatives will vote next week on criminal contempt for Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross over their refusal to answer questions about internal discussions surrounding the citizenship question.

“Next week the full house will vote on a resolution of criminal contempt for Attorney General Barr and Secretary Ross so we can enforce our subpoenas and get the facts,” Pelosi said. This comes after the House Oversight Committee voted last month to hold Barr and Ross in contempt over the dispute.

Pelosi, when asked if Trump can add the citizenship question by executive action, replied: “I don’t know.”

Some type of direct action by Trump has been one of several avenues explored by the administration to place the question on the decennial population survey following the late June Supreme Court ruling. But any action by the President is likely to be challenged in court.

Following the Supreme Court ruling, the Trump administration initially announced printing would go forward without the citizenship question. Government attorneys had asserted to the courts that the printing process — either with or without the question — needed to begin on July 1 to avoid extra costs.

That approach was thrown into disarray when Trump abruptly changed course last week, ordering officials to find another way to add the question — something the Supreme Court left the door open to in its ruling. White House and Justice Department officials spent the Independence Day holiday considering ways to include the question.

It was not immediately clear how the administration would implement the addition of the question to the census forms and the cost of the move. It could, for example, reprint the forms that have been printed without the question, or print a supplemental page.

Any move to simply order the citizenship question added would be met with swift legal action. There is already a motion asking federal Judge Jesse Furman in New York to totally prohibit the administration changing the census or adding the question in any way.

A Census Bureau official said during a trial last year that the form could be finalized after June, and as late as October, but only if “exceptional resources” were provided. He did not specify a dollar figure.

Meanwhile, legal maneuvering is expected to stretch through the summer in two federal trial courts. The New York court is set to hear arguments from critics of the question that the government should be sanctioned. In Maryland, a judge recently reopened the trial after an ACLU-led group presented what they say is new evidence the question was proposed with discriminatory motives. A hearing on the evidence is scheduled for after the Labor Day weekend.

Bettendorf man dies after being injured on a bike ride

BETTENDORF, Iowa — A Bettendorf man died after coming off his bike while he was riding along the road on the north side of the city.

A group of bicyclists came upon the 66-year-old man down on the south side of Forest Grove Road near the bike lane, according to a statement from Chief Keith Kimball with the Bettendorf Police Department.  Officers were called to the area, just east of Eagle Ridge Road, around 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 10.

The bicyclists told police that the 66-year-old man had passed their group shortly before they found him, said Chief Kimball.  They all had been headed eastbound.

The man was taken to a nearby hospital before being transferred to Iowa City, where he died from his injuries, according to police.

Chief Kimball said there was no indication of any vehicle being involved nor were there signs of any foul play.

 

Couldn’t Tweet for a bit? You weren’t alone

Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Missing Attachment

Tens of thousands of Twitter users reported having issues with the site Thursday afternoon, July 11.

DownDetector.com was showing a peak of nearly 70,000 problem reports around 2 p.m.

On the website itself, the site pops up a message saying “something is technically wrong.”  The site’s message said a fix is underway.

Twitter’s problem reports included website and mobile apps.

The Special Spot for Active and Retired Military at the John Deere Classic

There's a special place at TPC Deere Run, located right behind the 18th tee.

It's the Military Outpost, sponsored by Ray'z Barber Shop and Lowe's and part of the John Deere Classic's Military Appreciation Program.

All military personnel currently holding a Common Access Card (CAC), as well as those who have retired from the Armed Services and Veterans who have a valid ID card are invited to the Military Outpost for VIP golf viewing, complete with air-conditioning, an on-site chef, and non-alcoholic drinks.

"All day long at Ray'z, men are coming in and we know a large portion of them are veterans and this just seemed like the right thing to do, a way to give back," said Chris Ontiveros with Ray'z Barber Shop, who says there are plans in the works to continue this program and make it bigger and bigger.

The Military Appreciation Program also gives free admission to the military personnel who meet the qualifications above, along with one guest each day Thursday through Sunday.

"We work with John Deere and Lowe's to create a totally free environment and we can actually give them shuttle rides up to the front door of the suite," Ontiveros explained.

Last year, Ontiveros said there was one table of eight World War II Veterans who came to the tournament every day, making this event special, affordable, and accessible to all spectators.

Ray'z also donates 50 cents from every haircut towards this program every year, so to visit them - click here.

JDC rookie to watch for: Matthew Wolff

Matthew Wolff made a name for himself by winning the 3M Open in his fourth PGA Tour start after turning pro.

The 20-year-old who starred at Oklahoma State will try to make it two in a row this weekend at the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Illinois.

Wolff was the tour’s youngest winner since Jordan Spieth won at TPC Deere Run at age 19 in 2013. And like Spieth, he’s being hyped as a future star as he arrives in the Quad Cities.

Many of the world’s best players are either taking the week off or playing the Scottish Open in preparation for next week’s British Open. That makes Wolff as good a bet as any to make a run at the title at a venue known for low scores.

“My caddie kind of told me that this course is a little bit like last week, just the driving aspect and kind of the way it sets up,” Wolff said. “I played it for the Monday pro-am, and I kind of realized that it was more of a course that suited my eye pretty well and I like the look of it.”

Wolff’s victory last week at TPC Twin Cities took care of a lot: It earned him instant membership and a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour and invitations to next year’s Masters and PGA Championship. But it didn’t get him a spot in the field at the British Open. That, too, is a possibility this week: The top finisher not already exempt who finishes in the top 5 at TPC Deere Run will qualify to play next week at Royal Portrush — and get a seat on the charter flight that the John Deere Classic provides to players making the trip to Northern Ireland.

If he doesn’t get there this year, there appear to be plenty of major championship starts in the future for Wolff, who has always shown huge potential.

Wolff, who grew up in Southern California, earned freshman All-America honors for the Cowboys in 2017-18 before winning the NCAA individual title in May. After missing the cut at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, Wolff shot 62-65 over the weekend at the 3M Open, securing the win with a 25-foot putt for eagle from the collar of the 18th green.

That made him the seventh player in the past 80 years to win a PGA Tour event before turning 21, and the other six — Spieth, Tiger Woods, Seve Ballesteros, Phil Mickelson, Raymond Floyd and Rory McIlroy — went on to win multiple majors.

Wolff and his assistant Cole Spradlin rented a van and drove straight from Minnesota to the Quad Cities, arriving around 2:30 a.m. Monday.

“It’s a dream come true. I’ll say that over and over again. My life changed as soon as that putt went in,” Wolff said. “But it only lasts so long, and my goal is to become the No. 1 player in the world.”

He’s now 135th, but that figures to change soon, too.

The John Deere Classic has long made up for its lack of star power by using sponsor exemptions to lure some of the game’s brightest prospects to its event.

This year’s newcomers will include Cal’s Collin Morikawa, who finished one shot behind Wolff in Minnesota. Morikawa’s performance earned him special temporary membership on the PGA Tour, meaning he can use unlimited sponsor exemptions in a bid to earn his tour card for next season.

Morikawa, who’ll be making his fifth career start, will be joined by fellow rookies Viktor Hovland and Justin Suh.

“Obviously the goal coming into this summer was to earn a full card for next year,” Morikawa said. “We’re almost there.”

One player who doesn’t come in with much momentum is defending champion Michael Kim. After winning at TPC Deere Run by eight shots, matching the largest margin of victory on tour in 2018, Kim began working on swing changes with coach John Tillery and has missed 17 cuts in a row.

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