The PGA Tour makes its return to the Great Lakes State this week for the second edition of the Rocket Mortgage Classic. Unlike the first three post-shutdown events, however, the field in Detroit will have limited star power, featuring just seven of the top-30 ranked players in the world.

Headlining at Detroit Golf Club this week will be the top-10 ranked trio of Webb Simpson (No. 6), Patrick Reed (No. 7) and Bryson DeChambeau (No. 10) – each of whom enters in good form, particularly Simpson and DeChambeau.

Co-starring in the Motor City event will be Rocket Mortgage spokesman Rickie Fowler, who will be seeking to bust a slump that’s resulted in three missed-cuts in four of his most recent starts. Other familiar names include top-25 ranked stars such as Tony Finau, Tyrrell Hatton, and Hideki Matsuyama.

Hideki Matsuyama
Hideki Matsuyama celebrates a birdie putt on the 18th hole as Rickie Fowler looks on during the final round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale on Feb 7, 2016 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

History Spotlight

horton-smith-bobby-jones
Golf legend Bobby Jones congratulates Horton Smith after Smith won the the inaugural Masters Tournament at Jones’ Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia on March 25, 1934. Credit: Getty Images

The Rocket Mortgage Classic might be lacking history, but the host venue, Detroit Golf Club, most definitely does not.

The Club itself has roots dating all the way back to 1899 and the North Course, where the event will mostly be contested (see Course section), is an original design of the legendary golf course architect Donald Ross, whose resume includes Pinehurst No. 2, East Lake, Oakland Hills, and Aronimink, among many others.

One of the Detroit Golf Club’s former club pros knows a few things about inaugural golf events. Horton Smith held the position from 1946 until 1963; the same Horton Smith who won the first ever Masters Tournament in 1934.

Smith’s 32-win PGA Tour career also included a second Masters triumph in 1936.


The Skinny

Tournament: Rocket Mortgage Classic
Dates: July 2-5, 2020
Where: Detroit, Michigan
Course: Detroit Golf Club
Distance: Par 36-36-72, 7340 yards
Architect: Donald Ross
Format: 154 players, 72 holes, stroke-play, 36-hole cut
Purse: $7,500,000
Winning Share: $1,350,000
Winning Points: 500 FEDEX, 48 OWGR
TV Network: GOLF/CBS
Defending Champion: Nate Lashley



Watch & Follow

Thursday, July 2, Round 1
06:30 – 6:00 pm: PGA TOUR Live (Groups)
12:00 – 6:00 pm: SiriusXM
03:00 – 6:00 pm: Golf Channel

Friday, July 3, Round 2
06:30 – 6:00 pm: PGA TOUR Live (Groups)
12:00 – 6:00 pm: SiriusXM
03:00 – 6:00 pm: Golf Channel

Saturday, July 4, Round 3
08:00 – 3:00 pm: PGA TOUR Live (Groups)
01:00 – 6:00 pm: SiriusXM
01:00 – 3:00 pm: Golf Channel
03:00 – 6:00 pm: PGA TOUR Live (Holes)
03:00 – 6:00 pm: CBS

Sunday, July 5, Round 4
08:00 – 3:00 pm: PGA TOUR Live (Groups)
01:00 – 6:00 pm: SiriusXM
01:00 – 3:00 pm: Golf Channel
03:00 – 6:00 pm: PGA TOUR Live (Holes)
03:00 – 6:00 pm: CBS

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


The Course

A general view of the clubhouse entrance at Detroit Golf Club in Detroit, Michigan on June 24, 2019, ahead of the inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic. Credit: CBS Detroit

Detroit Golf Club is comprised of two historic golf courses – the North and South – both designed by Donald Ross in the early 1900s.

To accommodate a PGA Tour event, however, tournament organizers, and club officials, have blended the championship tracks together in order to create one big PGA Tour venue with extra yardage, new pro-style tee boxes, additional sand hazards, rerouted holes, and ample room for the PGA Tour’s traveling circus (TV towers, stadium seating, galleries, concessions, hospitality tents, equipment/TV trucks, parking, and whatnot).

The newly-reconfigured Detroit Golf Club will play to a par 72 (36-36), while stretching 7,309 yards for the event. It will include the traditional four par-5s, four par-3s, and the 10 par-4s.


Rocket Mortgage Rewind

Nate Lashley Wins Rocket Mortgage Classic
Nate Lashley raises the trophy after winning the Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club on June 30, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. Photo by Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images

Nate Lashley shot a final-round 70 at Detroit Golf Club to finish off the most improbable wire-to-wire victory of the season (and maybe ever) at the inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic.

Lashley finished his final day in the Motor City with two bogeys offset by four birdies to reach 25-under par, six clear of Doc Redman, who shot 67 to secure solo second on 19-under par.

It was the first PGA Tour title for the then 36-year old former real estate salesman, who entered the week as an alternate with a world ranking of nearly 400.

Leaderboard: Final Top 5

Pos-Player-To Par (Final Rd)
1. Nate Lashley -25 (-2)
2. Doc Redman -19 (-5)
3. Rory Sabbatini -18 (-4)
3. Wes Roach -18 (-4)
5. Brandt Snedeker -17 (-5)
5. Joaquin Niemann -17 (-4)
5. Ted Potter Jr. -17 (-4)
5. Brian Stuard -17 (-4)
5. Patrick Reed -17 (-2)
5. Cameron Tringale -17 (-1)


Power Rankings

Bryson DeChambeau
Bryson DeChambeau walks on the 5th hole during the third round of The Northern Trust at Liberty National Golf Club on Aug 10, 2019 in Jersey City, NJ. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

As already mentioned, the field this week at Detroit Golf Club is a fairly weak one with only Webb Simpson, Patrick Reed, Bryson DeChambeau, Jason Day, and Rickie Fowler considered true headliners – two of whom are included in this week’s power rankings.

Top-5 at The Rocket

Players who are accurate, both off the tee and to the greens, should find success this week in Detroit.

1. Bryson DeChambeau
Moved up to No. 10 in world after a sixth consecutive top-10 finish last week. Power off the tee could be key in Detroit.
Greens in Regulation: 72.08% (9th)
SG: Approach the Green: .486 (31st)
SG: Off the Tee: 1.055 (2nd)
World Rank/Odds: 10th/6-1
Last Six Starts: 6, 8, 3, 4, 2, 5

2. Webb Simpson
Owns two wins on the 2020 season. Playing best golf of his career. One of the best attacking greens on Tour.
Greens in Regulation: 71.79% (12th)
SG: Approach the Green: .937 (4th)
SG: Off the Tee: .003 (114th)
World Rank/Odds: 6th/11-1
Last Six Starts: 1, MC, 61, 1, 3, 10

3. Tyrrell Hatton
Owns a T6, T3 and win in his last three PGA Tour starts. A great ball striker who ranks first on Tour in strokes gained: approach the green.
Greens in Regulation: 71.94% (10th)
SG: Approach the Green: 1.194 (1st)
SG: Off the Tee: .400 (33rd)
World Rank/Odds: 15th/12-1
Last Six Starts: 3, 1, 6, 46, 1, 14

4. Hideki Matsuyama
Coming into form. Ranked near the top of the Tour in greens targeted. He seems due for a win.
Greens in Regulation: 71.21% (18th)
SG: Approach the Green: .871 (7th)
SG: Off the Tee: .374 (36th)
World Rank/Odds: 23rd/18-1
Last Six Starts: MC, 56, 6, 5, 16, 45

5. Viktor Hovland
Enters off a T11 at Travelers. Young star is ranked in the top 12 in both strokes gained: off the tee and approach the green.
Greens in Regulation: 69.31% (51st)
SG: Approach the Green: .776 (12th)
SG: Off the Tee: .635 (11th)
World Rank/Odds: 45th/20-1
Last Six Starts: 11, 21, 23, 42, MC, 1


Sleeper Bet: Jason Day

Jason Day
Jason Day on the 16th tee during the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club in Orlando, FL. Photo by Mark Sims/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images

The former world No. 1 is in the midst of another down season, including three missed-cuts in his last four starts. However, Day will enter Detroit off a better-than-it-looks T46 in Hartford. The 32-year old Aussie carded four sub-70 rounds at TPC River Highlands which should bolster his confidence.

The Bet: At 50-1, we’re dropping $50 on Day to record his second top-10 finish of the season.
Potential Payoff: $2,500


Full Field & Odds

Webb Simpson
Webb Simpson on the 18th green during day three of the Dell Technologies Championship at TPC Boston on September 2, 2018 in Norton, MA. Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Featuring just seven players ranked in the world top 30, the field at Detroit Golf Club lacks the star power TV viewers have enjoyed in the previous three weeks, post COVID-19.

The favorite this week is world No. 10 Bryson DeChambeau who is offered at 6-1. The 26-year old star enters the Motor City in red-hot form, having posted six-straight top-10 finishes (T6, T8, T3, 4, T5).

DeChambeau is followed by world No. 6 Webb Simpson who opened at 11-1. The Wake Forest product enters fresh off a victory two weeks ago at the RBC Heritage.

Patrick Reed, ranked No. 7 in the world, is next at 14-1 – just slightly ahead of red-hot Englishman Tyrrell Hatton (No. 15) at 16-1.

Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama (No. 23) rounds out the top-5 betting favorites at 18-1.

Top-5 Betting Favorites

Pos-Player(Odds)
1. Bryson DeChambeau (6-1)
2. Webb Simpson (11-1)
2. Patrick Reed (14-1)
2. Tyrrell Hatton (16-1)
5. Hideki Matsuyama (18-1)

Bet on the Rocket Mortgage Classic at DraftKings


Stat of the Week

Nate Lashley Wins Rocket Mortgage Classic
Nate Lashley tees off on the 18th hole during the final round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club on June 30, 2019 in Detroit, MI. Photo by Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images

4 – This is the number of missed-cuts defending champion Nate Lashley has recorded in his last four starts.

Since securing his maiden PGA Tour title last June, Lashley has produced just two top 10s (both T3s) alongside five missed-cuts and three WDs.

Lashley is currently ranked 84th in the world rankings.


Quotable

Nick Watney
Nick Watney walks on the 11th green during the third round of The Honda Classic at PGA National on February 29, 2020 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Photo by Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images
The Vague Plague

“I will say, it’s not the greatest feeling being the first to get it. Some things are so vague around this thing. The symptoms … some people get this, some get that. I haven’t had a fever or cough the whole time, no shortness of breath. Maybe that’s the reason it’s so scary. I still don’t know how or where I got it.”
Nick Watney commenting about his positive test of COVID-19.


Tee Times

Rickie Fowler Webb Simpson
Rickie Fowler and Webb Simpson wait to hit on the 12th hole during the second round of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin on November 2, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The following four pairings will be featured on PGA TOUR LIVE:

Defending champion Nate Lashley will be joined by Rickie Fowler and Webb Simpson as the headline group during the morning coverage, while Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Hideki Matsuyama will be the afternoon’s marquee trio.

Featured Pairings
7:35a Thu, 12:50p Fri
Tyrrell Hatton, Sungjae Im, Brandt Snedeker

7:45a Thu, 1:00p Fri
Rickie Fowler, Webb Simpson, Nate Lashley

12:50p Thu, 7:35a Fri
Brendon Todd, Bubba Watson, Jason Day

1:00p Thu, 7:45a Fri
Patrick Reed, Bryson DeChambeau, Hideki Matsuyama

Joel Cook and Carey Hoffman contributed to this preview.

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