The First Look: Rocket Mortgage Classic
June 21, 2019
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM
- June 21, 2019
- Dustin Johnson will tee it up in Detroit for the Rocket Mortgage Classic. (Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Newly-crowned U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland returns to action for the first time since his triumph at Pebble Beach, highlighting the PGA TOUR’s first visit to Michigan after a decade of absence.
Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler also headline the roster coming to Detroit Golf Club, along with former Masters winners Bubba Watson and Patrick Reed. It’ll also be a showcase for fresh talent, as U.S. Amateur titleholder Viktor Hovland and NCAA champion Matthew Wolff tee it up.
FIELD NOTES: Xander Schauffele, who tied for third behind Woodland at Pebble Beach, helps give the lineup no fewer than 11 of the top 30 in the current FedExCup standings. … Woodland, Schauffele and Fowler help give the event 12 of this season’s PGA TOUR winners. … Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama also is among those giving the new event a test run. Detroit isn’t all that far from Akron, where Matsuyama recorded his last win at the 2017 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. … Smylie Kaufman is set for just his third PGA TOUR start of 2019, playing on a medical extension for elbow issues that ended last season prematurely. … In addition to Hovland and Wolff, former USC standout Justin Suh has accepted a sponsor invitation.
FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 points.
STORYLINES: The PGA TOUR is back in Michigan for the first time since 2009, when the former Buick Open ended a 33-year run at Warwick Hills G&CC outside Flint. Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh each were three-time winners of that event. … Woodland will step on the tee for the first time as a major champion, two weeks after his gritty performance at Pebble Beach brought him the U.S. Open trophy. He has four other top-10 finishes since the turn of the calendar in January. … A victory could vault Schauffele to the top of the FedExCup standings with a third win of the season. He tied for third at Pebble Beach. … Two British Open berths are available for players among the top eight not already booked for Royal Portrush. After Sunday, just one slot remains for the John Deere Classic’s top non-qualified finisher among the top 5.
COURSE: Detroit Golf Club (North), 7,334 yards, par 72. One of two Donald Ross designs on the property, the North course opened in 1916 and recently underwent an upgrade to get ready for the TOUR’s arrival. The club itself dates back to 1899, when William Ferrand and a handful of close friends acquired property on the city’s north side. Originally, the club was limited to just 100 memberships. Horton Smith, winner of the inaugural Masters among 32 PGA TOUR wins, served nearly two decades as DGC’s head professional until his death in 1963. The Horton Smith Invitational was established a year later in his honor. The U.S. Mid-Amateur came to DGC in 1992, as Danny Yates claimed a 1-up victory in the final over David Lind.
72-HOLE RECORD: Debut event.
18-HOLE RECORD: Debut event.
HOW TO FOLLOW
TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 3-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 1-2:45 p.m. (GC), 3-6 p.m. (CBS).
PGA TOUR LIVE: Thursday-Friday, 7 a.m.-6 p.m. (featured groups). Saturday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. (featured groups), 3-6 p.m. (featured holes). International subscribers (via GOLF.tv): Thursday-Friday, 11:030 to 22:00 GMT. Saturday-Sunday, 13:00 to 22:00.