Olympics pushes 2020 Rocket Mortgage Classic to earlier spot on PGA Tour calendar

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

Detroit – Golf remains a part of the Summer Olympic Games, and for the PGA Tour that means some juggling of its schedule.

The Tour announced its lineup for 2019-20 on Monday, and the requisite shuffling resulted in a move for the Rocket Mortgage Classic. Played this summer from June 27-30 at Detroit Golf Club, next season’s event jumps up a month and will be played May 28-31.

“The PGA Tour determines the schedule each season,” Rocket Mortgage Classic executive director Jason Langwell told The Detroit News. “With 2020 being an Olympic year, it was necessary to shuffle the schedule and move things around a little bit. It creates a one-year domino effect.”

Tournament winner Nate Lashley hits out of bunker on the 11th hole at the Rocket Mortgage Classic at the Detroit Golf Club in Detroit on June 30, 2019.

Rocket Mortgage Classic officials didn’t really have much say in where their tournament would be placed but coming two weeks after the PGA Championship and three weeks before the U.S. Open is almost exactly where they hoped to be.

It’s similar to this season when the tournament was played two weeks after the U.S. Open and three weeks before the British Open.

“We’re happy we’re in the last week of May,” Langwell said. “We always wanted, from day one, to be from a couple weeks after a major to a couple weeks before a major. We’re in the same position that way.”

Langwell said the expectation is the Rocket Mortgage will return to its original spot on the PGA Tour schedule in late June for the 2020-21 season when the Olympic break won’t be necessary.

More:PGA Tour, Detroit Grand Prix go head-to-head next May

While it means some adjusting for tournament officials and those at Detroit Golf Club, the move could end up helping the tournament that will be entering its second season. In 2019, 11 of the top 50 players came to Detroit Golf Club, including Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Gary Woodland and Bubba Watson. Most who played in the tournament raved about their experiences, something that could carry over to more of the game’s best players.

“We have a good recruiting process that has already started,” Langwell said. “So many of the players told us they had a real strong experience and talked a lot about the amount of people they were seeing, even on Tuesday and Wednesday.”

The tournament’s spot between majors is what officials hoped for and they also think playing a week before the Memorial Tournament will help. The event hosted by Jack Nicklaus and played in Dublin, Ohio, features an invitation-only field, one of the strongest of the non-majors. It’s a regular stop for Tiger Woods, which might not help the chances of him playing in Detroit, but it might sway some others.

A large crowd in the Area 313 grandstand reacts as golfer Jimmy Walker sinks a putt for bIrdie during the Rocket Mortgage Classic on Saturday.

“We are confident that the Rocket Mortgage Classic will be an attractive option for many of the world’s top players, and allow us to recruit another exceptional field, just as we did for our inaugural tournament,” Langwell said. “Being in front of an invitation-only event brings better players to the area, which is a good thing.”

The field is one thing. The fans are another. The PGA Tour doesn’t release attendance numbers, but tournament officials were ecstatic with this year’s turnout as grounds passes for the weekend were sold out.

The move to the last week of May means the Rocket Mortgage Classic will be played the same week the Detroit Grand Prix is run on Belle Isle. It will likely create even more buzz around town, something that could spike attendance for both events.

“The people of Detroit go to everything,” Langwell said. “With it leading into the (North American) auto show, I think it sets up well for people.”

While the race will remain on its usual dates, Grand Prix officials say they are feeling good about the Rocket Mortgage Classic moving up on the schedule.

“What a great way to start an exciting 2020 summer season in Detroit — with two world-class sporting events in one awesome weekend,” Bud Denker, Detroit Grand Prix chairman, said in a statement. “We're excited to share the May 29-31 weekend in 2020 with the Rocket Mortgage Classic, which began building its own tradition in Detroit this year. Both of these events bring a tremendous benefit to our city and to southeast Michigan, from the annual economic boost to our region to showing the world all that Detroit has to offer through the highest levels of both motorsports and golf competition.

“Rocket Mortgage has been a great partner with the Grand Prix over the years and we look forward to working together with the Rocket Mortgage Classic in the coming months to make this one of the biggest weekends in Detroit sports history.”


Twitter: @mattcharboneau

2019-20 PGA Tour schedule

Sept. 9-15: Military Tribute at the Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

Sept. 16-22: Sanderson Farms Championship, Jackson, Mississippi

Sept. 23-29: Safeway Open, Napa, California

Sept. 30-Oct. 6: Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, Las Vegas

Oct. 7-13: Houston Open, Humble, Texas

Oct. 14-20: The CJ Cup at Nine Bridges, Jeju Island, Korea

Oct. 21-27: Zozo Championship, Chiba Prefecture, Japan

Oct. 28-Nov. 3: WGC-HSBC Champions, Shanghai, China

Oct. 28-Nov. 3: Bermuda Championship, Southampton, Bermuda

Nov. 11-17: Mayakoba Golf Classic, Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Nov. 18-24: RSM Classic, St. Simons Island, Georgia

Dec. 9-15: Presidents Cup, Victoria, Australia

Dec. 30-Jan. 5: Sentry Tournament of Champions, Kapalua, Hawaii

Jan. 6-12: Sony Open, Honolulu

Jan. 13-19: Desert Classic, La Quinta, California

Jan. 20-26 Farmers Insurance Open, San Diego

Jan. 27-Feb. 2: Waste Management Phoenix Open, Scottsdale, Arizona

Feb. 3-9: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Pebble Beach, California

Feb. 10-16: Genesis Invitational, Pacific Palisades, California

Feb. 17-23: WGC-Mexico Championship, Mexico City

Feb. 17-23: Puerto Rico Open, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico

Feb. 24-March 1: Honda Classic, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

March 2-8: Arnold Palmer Invitational, Orlando, Florida

March 9-15: Players Championship, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

March 16-22: Valspar Championship, Palm Harbor, Florida

March 23-29: WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Austin, Texas

March 23-29: Corales Puntacana Championship, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

March 30-April 5: Valero Texas Open, San Antonio

April 6-12: Masters, Augusta, Georgia

April 13-19: RBC Heritage, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

April 20-26: Zurich Classic, New Orleans

April 27-May 3: Wells Fargo Championship, Charlotte, North Carolina

May 4-10: AT&T Byron Nelson, Dallas

May 11-17: PGA Championship, Harding Park, San Francisco

May 18-24: Charles Schwab Challenge, Fort Worth, Texas

May 25-31: Rocket Mortgage Classic, Detroit

June 1-7: Memorial Tournament, Dublin, Ohio

June 8-14: RBC Canadian Open, Ontario

June 15-21: U.S. Open, Winged Foot, Mamaroneck, New York

June 22-28: Travelers Championship, Cromwell, Connecticut

June 29-July 5: WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, Memphis, Tennessee

June 29-July 5: Barracuda Championship, Reno, Nevada

July 6-12: John Deere Classic, Silvis, Illinois

July 13-19: British Open, Royal St. George's, Sandwich, England

July 13-19: Barbasol Championship, Nicholasville, Kentucky

July 20-26: 3M Open, Blaine, Minnesota

July 27-Aug. 2: Summer Olympics, Tokyo  

Aug. 3-9: Wyndham Championship, Greensboro, North Carolina


Aug. 10-16: Northern Trust, Norton, Massachusetts

Aug. 17-23: BMW Championship, Olympia Fields, Illinois

Aug. 24-30: Tour Championship, Atlanta