An overhead look at 2019 Detroit Golf Club’s Area 313, Holes 14, 15 and 16, for the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
Detroit Free Press
Here is an introduction to the PGA Tour’s fourth tournament since the restart, after play was shut down March 13 due to the coronavirus pandemic:
When: July 2-5, 2020; originally scheduled for May 28-31.
Where: Detroit Golf Club in Detroit, Michigan.
Field: TBD; deadline for golfers to enter is 5 p.m. June 26.
Fans allowed? No.
Defending champion: Nate Lashley, who shot 25-under 263.
Will Tiger Woods play? After sitting out last year’s inaugural tournament, Woods has yet to play in the restart.
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Last year’s quick recap
Lashley was a great story: The last man in the field to qualify, he was the leader all four days and won by six shots over Doc Redman to earn $1.314 million of the $7.3 million purse. It was the 36-year-old’s first PGA Tour win.
Lashley had endured so much trauma to reach this pivotal moment: The tragic loss of his parents and girlfriend in a deadly plane crash; his struggles on the PGA Tour’s feeder tours; his decision to quit golf because he was burned out, and to start selling real estate.
Jackson native Brian Stuard finished tied for fifth at 17-under.
Storylines this year
• What will the field look like? Dustin Johnson was the only top-10 player who showed up for the inaugural event. Sure, there were some other big names, including Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Patrick Reed and Gary Woodland, but there were many more notable omissions: Woods, Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson. The top-7 players in the world are playing at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut this week.
• Last year’s setup was way too easy. There were 1,895 birdies and 40 eagles, and RMC’s 5-under-par cut line was the lowest mark on Tour since 2016. Detroit Golf Club is expected to grow longer rough for July’s tournament, and current conditions show that seems to be the case.
Aerial views before the Rocket Mortgage Classic at the Detroit Golf Club in Detroit Friday, May 24, 2019. (Photo: Mandi Wright, special to the Detroit Free Press)
• Will the coronavirus pandemic affect the tournament? Nick Watney on Friday became the first PGA Tour player to test positive for COVID-19 after shooting 74 in the opening round of the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
There were 369 tests of players, caddies, and essential personnel prior to the start of the tournament, with no positive results. Michigan last week was one of three states “on track to contain” COVID-19.
• Having no fans is a huge bummer for all involved, particularly Michiganders, with this being the second PGA Tour event ever in Detroit. But this still will be great theater on television during July 4th weekend.
• Here’s what the Rocket Mortgage Classic got right — and what it got wrong in debut
• How Detroit Golf Club landed the PGA Tour’s Rocket Mortgage Classic
• Hole-by-hole breakdown at Detroit Golf Club
• Why one caddie holds secret key to success on the PGA Tour
• Visual shots from the clubhouse and course of the historic Detroit Golf Club
Follow Marlowe Alter on Twitter: @Marlowe Alter.