Dustin Johnson, world's No. 1-ranked player, among 13 early commitments for Detroit's PGA Tour stop

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Dustin Johnson, at the Masters earlier this month, will tee it up in Detroit in June.

Detroit — It's taken a little bit time for Detroit's inaugural PGA Tour tournament to reel in some player commitments.

Well, the Rocket Mortgage Classic sure has made up for lost time.

Dustin Johnson, the world's No. 1-ranked player, headlines the first batch of commitments of 13 players, including four major winners, announced Thursday by tournament officials.

Johnson and Rickie Fowler, a Rocket Mortgage pitchman and the 10th-ranked player in the world, were two of the 13 commitments unveiled in the first batch of players set to fill out a 156-player field for the tournament, set for June 27-30 at Detroit Golf Club.

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"I can't wait to get to Detroit for the Rocket Mortgage Classic," Fowler, who is helping recruit players to the tournament, said in a statement Thursday. "The city is known for being one of the country's best sports towns with some of the most passionate fans around.

"The fans can expect to see some really good golf. I know there will be a huge turnout, which will be an incredible opportunity to showcase the great revitalization that is taking place in Detroit to thousands of fans."

Johnson, 34, is a 20-time winner on the PGA Tour, most recently in February at the World Golf Championship-Mexico. He's a former U.S. Open champion who finished tied for second, to Tiger Woods, at the Masters earlier this month. Fowler, 30, is a five-time winner on the PGA Tour, including the Phoenix Open in February, and finished tied for ninth at this year's Masters. Both are among the most-popular golfers on the planet.

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Also committing Thursday was Bubba Watson, the long-hitting left-hander known for his pink drive and yellow golf balls. Watson, 40, ranked No. 17, has won two Masters among his 12 PGA Tour victories.

Joining them in Detroit in June will be: 

►Jimmy Walker, the 2016 PGA Championship winner and six-time winner on the PGA Tour.

►Jason Dufner, the 2013 PGA Championship winner and five-time winner on the PGA Tour.

►Kevin Kisner, a three-time PGA Tour winner whose most-recent victory was the World Golf Championship Match Play in March.

►Cameron Champ, a PGA Tour rookie who won the Sanderson Farms Championship in October.

►Aaron Wise, last year's PGA Tour rookie of the year won the won the 2018 Byron Nelson.

►Billy Horschel, the 2014 FedEx Cup champion and five-time winner on the PGA Tour.

►Lucas Glover, the 2009 U,.S. Open champion who has won three times on the PGA Tour.

►Charles Howell III, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour, including the RSM Classic in November.

►Si Woo Kim, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour including the 2017 Players Championship.

►Corey Conners, a PGA Tour rookie who won the Texas Open this month as a Monday qualifier. He's a native o Listowel, Ontario.

"Our player field is beginning to take shape, and it is another exciting sign that the Rocket Mortgage Classic is right around the corner," said tournament executive director Jason Langwell, who has visited several PGA Tour tournaments this season to make the pitch for players to come to Detroit. "The Rocket Mortgage Classic is going to be one of the summer's most competitive events."

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Tournament officials continue to recruit more big names, including Woods, who figures to play at least once between the U.S. Open in June and the British Open in July. He has yet to say no to the Rocket Mortgage Classic. Most think he will play either in Minneapolis the week before, or Detroit. Woods has an extended history with Dan Gilbert, the Quicken Loans' founder and Detroit mega-booster who sponsored Woods' PGA Tour tournament in suburban Washington, D.C., the last five years. The Rocket Mortgage Classic took The National's place on the PGA Tour schedule.

Phil Mickelson, meanwhile, is a long shot, having committed to the 3M Championship in Minneapolis, site of another first-year tournament.

Players in Detroit will compete at the historic Donald Ross course west of Woodward and south of Seven Mile. They will play for a purse of $7.3 million.

Tickets for the tournament are on sale, and reportedly selling well, and available at RocketMortgageClassic.com. The tournament also is seeking volunteers.

This will be Michigan's first regular PGA Tour stop since the Buick Open held its last tournament in Grand Blanc in 2009.


Twitter: @tonypaul1984