After spending a week in the northeast, the PGA Tour heads to Detroit this week for the Rocket Mortgage Classic. This tournament was originally scheduled for Memorial Day weekend but moved to this week due to COVID-19.
After three consecutive weeks with the world’s best in attendance, many of the top players in the world will be taking a week off. Three of the top ten will tee it up this week compared to seven out of ten at the Traveler’s. Overall, the 156-player field will feature five of the top 20 players in the world, opening the door for an up and comer to make their presence known on tour.
Nick Lashley destroyed the field last year – winning with ease. Fed Ex Cup leader Webb Simpson returns after taking last week off due to COVID precautions after a member of his family tested positive. While many of the top pros are taking the week off, we still get the likes of Bryson DeChambeau and Rickie Fowler.
Here’s what to pay attention to this week in Michigan:
Anything could happen
The low-key event has the potential for the emergence of an unknown player to have their life-changing moment. Last year, Nick Lashley was an alternate that made his way into the tournament and took full advantage of that opportunity while lapping the field. Doc Redman, who Monday qualified, finished T-2 and earned himself a temporary membership on tour. Weeks like this can change a player’s life and will be on full display in Detroit.
Rickie has often been heralded as the best player on tour to never win a major. However, he now sits outside of the top-30 and will be eager to have a good week as the tournament’s host. He’s missed four of his last six cuts which is typically a red flag for any professional golfer. Rickie is an absolute fan favorite and a guy that no one wants to see play poorly. Everyone will be hoping that he can put it together in Detroit this week.
This Donald Ross design finishes at 7,334 yards and par 72. Established in 1899, this course has been around. Back then the annual dues were a measly $10 for the then six hole course. The front nine at Detroit Golf Club is lined with trees and much more difficult than the back. In fact, the back has more than a few scoring opportunities. It will provide some real fireworks as players will certainly go low this week. Nick Lashley carded back-to-back 63’s on his way to a 25-under victory last year. The real trick to this course is the poa annua greens that reward a close approach shot and punish those who miss their spots.
Hole #1, 397-yards, Par 4
This hole is the same as it was in 1916. It offers the potential for hot start as players can hammer driver and have an easy wedge in. Two fairway bunkers guard the left side but outside of that this hole should be a more than manageable birdie for everyone on tour.
Fun fact – the oak tree on the right side once served as a trail marker for Native Americans.
Hole #14, 555-yards, Par 5
This straight forward par-5 will surely have everyone trying to hit bombs. A well-placed drive will sit along the right side and leave a testy mid to long iron in. With water on the left and bunkers on the right, those looking to make eagle here will have to pure one in. Attackable, yet, risky.
Hole #18, 455-yard, Par 4
Detroit Golf Club has a pretty finishing hole. Finding the fairway here is ideal as it leaves a short iron in to an attackable green. There’s a shallow ditch that runs the length of the green which only really matters if players miss the fairway. This green is perhaps the toughest one on the course. Player’s will be fine with making par and heading to the clubhouse.
The door is open for a new winner on tour to make their way into the spotlight.
Here are some featured groups:
Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed, Hideki Matsuyama
Bubba Watson, Jason Day, Brendon Todd
Rickie Fowler, Nate Lashley, Webb Simpson
Brandt Snedeker, Tyrrell Hatton, Sungjae Im
Honestly, anything could happen this week. My heart tells me to pick Bryson as he’s been lighting up the leaderboards since the return from the break. However, I like Viktor Hovland this week. He’s due.
Here are the odds:
Bubba Watson 50-1
Erik Van Rooyen 60-1
Matthew Wolfe 100-1
Where to watch
Thursday, July 2: 3-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)
Friday, July 3: 3-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)
Saturday, July 4: 1-3 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); 3-6 p.m. ET (CBS)
Sunday, July 5: 1-3 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); 3-6 p.m. ET (CBS)
Earlier viewing is on PGA Tour Live.
Not a ton of notables this week but that leaves the door open for a guy you’ve never heard of.
Enjoy it and Happy 4th!
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