PGA Tour: Rocket Mortgage Classic preview
It has been an exciting month back on the PGA Tour. Daniel Berger earned his third professional win, Webb Simpson jumped to first in the FedEx Cup standings, and Dustin Johnson regained his form in last week’s Travelers Championship.
This week, the PGA Tour will offer a different set of stakes, as it stops in Michigan for the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
Held for the first time in 2019, the Rocket Mortgage Classic will take place at Detroit Golf Club, a par-72, 7,340-yard course designed by Donald Ross. Last year’s champion, Nate Lashley, finished 25-under to beat runner-up Doc Redman by six strokes.
Both Lashley and Redman will compete in this year’s field of 156, which is a bit more open compared to the past three Tour matches.
The top four golfers in the world — Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Johnson, and Justin Thomas — will sit out this competition, while arguably the hottest player on Tour, Bryson DeChambeau (+600), is favored to come in first.
DeChambeau has posted third-, eighth-, and sixth-place finishes since the Tour resumed play and has six straight top-10 finishes this season.
Detroit Golf Club should be suited to his game, as longer hitters tend to do well there. The course is filled with wide, tree-lined fairways, particularly on the front nine, and a mix of bentgrass and poa annua greens.
Last year, the course ranked the seventh easiest on Tour, so expect another low-scoring tournament this weekend.
RBC Heritage winner Simpson (+1100) is another top contender in Detroit. He sat out last weekend’s tournament. Brooks Koepka and his brother Chase both withdrew from the Travelers, as well, after Brooks’ caddie tested positive for COVID-19. Cameron Champ became the second player to test positive for COVID-19 and also forfeited his spot in the match.
Ahead of Thursday’s tournament, Dylan Frittelli and Harris English have dropped out because of positive COVID-19 tests. So far, five players have tested positive (Nick Watney and Denny McCarthy the others).
However, the PGA Tour has been able to isolate cases and proceed with tournament play because of detailed protocols in place. This week’s tournament will also be held without fans, once again.
While the sample size is small, the lack of distraction from in-person spectators has seemingly benefited players.
Simpson finished 22-under at the RBC Heritage, the best mark in course history. Johnson also posted an aggregate score of 261 at the Travelers. The record there is 258, set in 2009 by Kenny Perry.
Look for plenty of birdies this week and a new course record at the young event. You can also expect some surprises, as 88 players are making their first appearance at Detroit Golf Club, and 33 of the returning players missed the cut last year.
You can catch all the action from the Rocket Mortgage Classic from Thursday through Sunday on the Golf Channel, CBS, and PGA Tour Live.