Kid Rock, Jack Nicklaus, Dierks Bentley to tee it up for second Ally Challenge

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Kid Rock watches a tee shot during Rocket Mortgage Classic week last month.

The Ally Challenge is spicing things up for the Year 2 Champions Tour stop at Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club in Grand Blanc.

Tournament officials announced Friday that Jack Nicklaus and Metro Detroit musician Kid Rock will participate in a celebrity match.

Also in the match will be country-music star Dierks Bentley, who also will perform a concert for tournament ticket-holders.

The Ally Challenge is Sept. 13-15.

The celebrity match and concert will be Saturday, Sept. 14. Tickets for Saturday are $50 and available at theallychallenge; kids 17 and younger get in free with a ticketed adult.

"This will be a mega day," said Chris Coffman, tournament director. "We think we're gonna blow the roof off this place."

The celebrity foursome will play a nine-hole scramble Saturday, starting after the final groups tee off for the second round. The scramble will be played on the back nine. Teams haven't been announced, though don't be surprised if Nicklaus and Rock are partners. They are good friends and have played golf before in Florida, with Nicklaus, the 18-time major champion, even witnessing Rock's first hole-in-one this spring.

Rock also played in a celebrity shootout at the pro-am at the PGA Tour's inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit last month.

The fourth celebrity of the group will be announced in August.

Dierks Bentley

"As a Buckeye from Ohio State, we kid often about our friends in Michigan, but in reality, people know I have tremendous respect and affection for the state of Michigan," said Nicklaus, whose golf-course holdings including several in this state.

"I can promise you that we will have a lot of fun competing in the celebrity foursome while at the same time raising money for charity."

This will be Nicklaus' second public visit to Michigan this year, after he headlined a gala celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Golf Association of Michigan last month.

The celebrity matches have become a mini-staple on the Champions Tour. Nicklaus played in one last month in Madison, Wis., his partner being Green Bay Packers legend Brett Favre, against fellow golfer Andy North and country music star Toby Keith. The matches add some buzz to the 50-and-older tour, which isn't the draw it was in its heyday, when Nicklaus and the late Arnold Palmer were regular competitors.

Getting Nicklaus is key; nearing 80, he only does between three and five of these exhibitions per year.

"It's kind of a treat to be able to see that front and center," Coffman said.

Bentley, known for such songs as "What Was I Thinkin" and "I Hold On" among many other Billboard 100 hits, will perform his set on the driving range at Warwick Hills, following the completion of the second round.

Paul Broadhurst was the winner of the inaugural Ally Challenge in 2018, finishing at 15 under par. The tournament marked a return to the course that for decades hosted the popular Buick Open on the PGA Tour.

The Ally Challenge raised $800,000 for local charities in its first year, the second-best showing on the Champions Tour for an inaugural event. The goal is even higher this year. The tournament also expects to make an announcement during tournament week regarding next year's placement on the schedule. The Ally Challenge is expected to move to July in 2020, a boon for the tournament, getting it off of a football weekend.

"We are looking at an earlier date," Coffman said.

Twitter: @tonypaul1984