Detroit — This was Dan Gilbert's baby for years and years, the push to bring the PGA Tour to the city of Detroit for the first time. It finally happened in 2019, and returned this past week for Round 2.
But Gilbert hasn't been able to attend either one.
Gilbert, the Quicken Loans founder and Detroit billionaire, missed the inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic while still recovering from a stroke suffered a month earlier, in late May. Gilbert was still in a Chicago rehab center during the first RMC. He's missing this week's tournament at Detroit Golf Club, where only players, caddies, essential staff and media are allowed on-site, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Still, Gilbert has been paying attention, watching the coverage on TV.
"He's been chiming in, giving us feedback, saying how great the course looks, how it's showing up on TV," said Bill Emerson, vice chairman of Quicken Loans. "He's always wanted to have the event here. His philosophy is all about giving back to Detroit.
"He's doing good. He's watching it. He's checking in."
Gilbert, 58, has reportedly returned to work, and last made a public appearance in February at the MGM Grand casino in Detroit, where he accepted a lifetime achievement award during Crain's Newsmakers of the Year gala. Gilbert used a wheelchair but stood to give a nearly 20-minute speech.
He first was spotted back in public in December, during a downtown Detroit menorah lighting.
Gilbert's Quicken Loans and Rocket Mortgage have been major sponsors on the PGA Tour for several years, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars, with Quicken Loans serving as the title sponsor of The National outside Washington, D.C., from 2014-18, before bringing the tournament to Detroit Golf Club.