The third Rocket Mortgage Classic takes place at Detroit Golf Club this week, where Bryson DeChambeau took the honours last year. Here is all you need to know about the event, including course details, players to watch, the six Aussies in the field and how to watch.
DEFENDING CHAMPION: Bryson DeChambeau was on a tear when the PGA Tour headed to Detroit last year having only recently returned to action post its COVID-19 hiatus. DeChambeau finished with three straight birdies in 2020 to reach 23-under and take a three-shot victory over Matthew Wolff.
COURSE: Founded in 1899, Detroit Golf Club began its existence as a six-hole layout, before the current 36-holes were routed by one the most famous names in American golf architecture. The club has an enviable history of Head Professionals, too.
Donald Ross created the North and South courses – the 7,370-yard North will host the PGA Tour this week – on land that is the flattest site to host the world’s biggest circuit each year. Ross’ brother Alec (winner of the 1907 US Open) was the pro here for 31 years, with the first Masters winner Horton Smith taking the same role years later and succeeded by 1953 US PGA Championship winner Walter Burkemo upon his passing.
Playing to a par-72, the North Course’s front nine is heavily tree-lined and has yielded less scoring opportunities than the more open back nine in the two previous stagings of the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
PLAYERS TO WATCH …
If there was anyone still unsure whether Jason Day was genuine in his comments throughout the year that he wants to return to the top of the game, last week should have removed any doubt.
Battling with his regularly injured back and an allergy flare up, Day held the lead on his own at TPC River Highlands after 36-holes courtesy of a sparkling second round 62. Signing for matching 70s over the weekend to finish in a share of 10th, Day’s short game showed some vintage signs in Connecticut which will give him plenty of confidence around the small greens of Detroit Golf Club.
The Queenslander failed to make the weekend here last year in his only appearance, and despite three consecutive missed cuts earlier in 2021, Day’s game and approach seem to have tightened up, hopefully allowing for an eventual end to his now three-year win drought.
RIGHT: Bryson DeChambeau, the winner in 2020, poses with the trophy at Detroit Golf Club. PHOTO: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images.
Since a torrid early run, 2021 hasn’t seen many top-10s for defending champion Bryson DeChambeau but it would be reasonable to expect that to end at Detroit Golf Club this week.
This event last year was the confirmation that his commitment to changing his body and golf game could bring increased success and the American has played some very steady golf of late that suggests another win is around the corner.
The World No.6 shared 19th at the Travelers Championship last week after his disastrous final nine holes at Torrey Pines saw him throw away a chance at back-to-back US Open titles and finish T26.
DeChambeau will finally have the benefit of a Brooks Koepka-free field this week as their rivalry continues to burn, which may allow him some insular focus and a likely run at a ninth PGA Tour win on the back of his Tour-leading driving distance and rock-solid putting.
Of the slightly lesser known names for the casual golf fan, Doc Redman is worth keeping an eye on this week.
The two previous Rocket Mortgage Classics have yielded a runner-up and share of 21st in 2019 and 2020 respectively and the 23-year-old was the joint runner-up at the Palmetto Championship a few weeks ago.
There is no area of Redman’s game that particularly points to success here, but the American clearly enjoys Donald Ross’ layout and it will be interesting to see if his status as a horses for courses-type players continues this week.
72-HOLE RECORD: American Nate Lashley set the tournament scoring record at the inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic in 2019. Lashley needed just 263 strokes (25-under) around Detroit Golf Club on his way to a six-shot victory in front of compatriot Doc Redman.
PAST AUSSIE WINNERS: No previous Australian winners.
AUSTRALIANS IN THE FIELD: Aaron Baddeley, Cam Davis, Jason Day, Rhein Gibson, Matt Jones and Cameron Percy.
Round 1: Friday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 5am – 8am)
Round 2: Saturday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 5am – 8am)
Round 3: Sunday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 3am – 8am)
Round 4: Monday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 3am – 8am)
*AEST, check local guides