Tony Paul and Matt Charboneau preview the Rocket Mortgage Classic with executive director Jason Langwell The Detroit News
Detroit — The field is set for the inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic.
The PGA Tour is back in the state of Michigan and will be played in the city of the Detroit for the first time next week when some of the top golfers in the world descend on Detroit Golf Club.
Outside of four Monday qualifiers and two players from the Web.com Tour, the field was finalized on Friday with 11 of the top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings set to tee it up next week as well as nine major champions, highlighted by Gary Woodland, who will play for the first time since winning the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.
“We love the field we have,” said Jason Langwell, the tournament’s executive director. “We recruited a great field. … We’re feeling pretty good about things right now. To have (Woodland) in field and play here for the first time as he serves as the reigning U.S. Open champion is special, but we’re really pleased.”
Other major champions include Patrick Reed, the 2018 Masters champion, and world No. 2 Dustin Johnson, winner of the 2016 U.S. Open. Bubba Watson (2012, '14 Masters), Jimmy Walker (2016 PGA Championship) and Jason Dufner (2013 PGA Championship) committed early while 2009 British Open champion Stewart Cink came on board last week, Ernie Els (1994, '97 U.S. Open; 2002, '12 British Open) was added Friday and Mike Weir, winner of the 2003 Masters, was awarded a sponsor’s exemption.
While Rocket Mortgage officials pushed for Tiger Woods to play and hoped for a late commitment from the likes of Jordan Spieth, that doesn’t mean there aren’t notable names in the field.
Other top players in the field include Rocket Mortgage pitchman Rickie Fowler, who is the 14th-ranked player in the world. Kevin Kisner (No. 27), Hideki Matsuyama (28) and Cameron Smith (36) will tee it up, as well as former FedEx Cup champions Billy Horschel, ranked 38th in the world, and Brandt Snedeker, ranked No. 44. Chez Reavie, who finished tied for third at the U.S. Open, is ranked No. 48 in the world and is also in the field.
Former Oakland University standout and Tour winner Brian Stuard leads the players with local ties. He’s joined by Petoskey native Joey Garber and Lee Houtteman, the Michigan PGA section champion.
Players will begin to arrive on Monday for practice rounds with Tuesday being highlighted by the 313 Celebrity Challenge to be played on Nos. 14-16. Kid Rock, Jerome Bettis and Tom Izzo will all be involved in the Celebrity Challenge while former Lion and Pro Football Hall of Famer Barry Sanders will play in Wednesday’s pro-am. Current Detroit Red Wings Dylan Larkin, Jimmy Howard and Justin Abdelkader will also play in the Celebrity Challenge.
“We wanted to create a really cool special event early in the week,” Langwell said. “It gives an opportunity to not just watch three of the best and maybe most renowned players in the field, but also see some local and national celebrities.”
The tournament’s first two rounds will be played Thursday and Friday. After the field is cut to the low 70 scores and ties, play concludes on Saturday and Sunday.
Grounds tickets remain for each day other than Saturday, which sold out last week. Suite and lounge packages are also available at rocketmortgageclassic.com.
“We’ve got a great field assembled and couldn’t be more excited about where we ended up,” Langwell said.
Rocket Mortgage Classic field
+ Sponsor exemption
An, Byeong Hun
Bauchou, Zach +
Hovland, Viktor +
Howell III, Charles
Hurley III, Billy +
Kim, Si Woo
Potter, Jr., Ted
Rodríguez, José de Jesús
Suh, Justin +
Varner III, Harold
Weir, Mike +
Wolff, Matthew +