It didn't take much to convince 22nd-ranked Gary Woodland to come tee it up in Detroit
There happens to be a jewel of a golf course nestled within the City of Detroit, and that was good enough for at least one of the top golfers in the world.
The inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic will be held June 27-30 at Detroit Golf Club and Gary Woodland — ranked the No. 22 player in the world and a three-time winner on the PGA Tour — is eager to test his game on the Donald Ross-designed North Course.
“I’ve had some buddies that have played Detroit (Golf Club) and said it’s awesome,” Woodland said. “I’m looking forward to getting up there. I’ve actually never spent much time there, so scheduling had a little bit to do with it. I’m taking a week off after the U.S. Open and so it kind of came down to between there and 3M in Minneapolis, and I decided to come check out Detroit.”
Woodland, 35, who is playing this week at The Memorial in Dublin, Ohio, was one of a handful of commitments the Rocket Mortgage Classic received early this week along with ninth-ranked Xander Schauffele, five-time PGA Tour winner Hideki Matsuyama and Harold Varner III, who played in the final pairing of the PGA Championship this month.
It’s already been a good year for Woodland, who tied for eighth at the PGA Championship. The winner of last year’s Phoenix Open has nine top-10 finishes this season and is looking forward to the final two majors of the season — the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in two weeks, then the British Open in late July.
In between those two events, Woodland knew he wanted to play at least once and was deciding between two first-time events — the Rocket Mortgage Classic and the 3M Open the following week in Minnesota.
“It’s kind of the timing for me,” Woodland said. “It came down to those two and I decided to check out Detroit.”
In Detroit, Woodland will play on a course the PGA Tour doesn’t often see, and that was one of the big draws.
Detroit Golf Club, founded over 100 years ago, is the oldest course currently hosting a PGA Tour tournament.
“I heard it’s just a great traditional golf course,” Woodland said. “I know they’ve made some changes to it, so I haven’t talked to anybody since the changes have happened. Everybody that has been up there say it’s a great golf course, so I’m looking forward to getting up there and checking it out.”
The Rocket Mortgage Classic field added another player Friday when the tournament announced five-time winner J.B. Holmes committed to play. Holmes, who won this year’s Genesis Open, has been a member of two United States Ryder Cup teams.
In addition to this week’s commitments, the tournament already had landed Rickie Fowler, a Rocket Mortgage pitchman, as well as multiple-major winners Dustin Johnson — the No. 2-ranked player in the world — and Bubba Watson.
The big name still out there is Tiger Woods, who is expected to announce on way or another two weeks out from the start of the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
Rocket Mortgage Classic
When: June 27-30
Where: Detroit Golf Club
TV: Golf Channel, CBS
Purse: $7.3 million