See which three major champs are among the first Rocket Mortgage Classic commitments

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
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The first commitments are in for the third annual Rocket Mortgage Classic.

Rocket Mortgage pitchmen Bryson DeChambeau, the reigning U.S. Open and RMC champion, and Rickie Fowler will tee it up July 1-4 at Detroit Golf Club. No surprise there, of course.

Joining them are major champions Jason Day and Bubba Watson, as well as Harold Varner III, tournament officials announced Thursday in unveiling the first smattering of player commitments.

Bryson DeChambeau holds the Rocket Mortgage Classic golf tournament trophy Sunday, July 5, 2020, at Detroit Golf Club in Detroit.

Come July 4 week, 156 golfers will tee it up in the PGA Tour tournament.

DeChambeau, 27, won the second Rocket Mortgage Classic in 2020, turning the Donald Ross masterpiece into a pitch-and-putt course by firing a final-round 65 to overtake third-round leader Matthew Wolff. Two months later, DeChambeau won the U.S. Open for his first major title.

He's won eight times on the PGA Tour, is ranked No. 6 in the world and signed on for a Rocket Mortgage sponsorship just before this month's Masters tournament.

DeChambeau joins Fowler as a Rocket Mortgage pitchman. Fowler, 32, is a five-time PGA Tour winner, but hasn't won since 2019 and is ranked 108th in the world. He's super-popular among fans, though, and has served as the unofficial host for the first two Rocket Mortgage Classics.

Watson, 42, is back in Detroit. He's made direct donations to Detroit charities the past two years, including last year when he helped organized a charity exhibition match on the Wednesday before the golf tournament to take the place of the canceled pro-am. The event raised more than $1 million for local charities, making up a big chunk of the $2.7 million the tournament raised overall, despite no fans. It's not yet clear if Watson will host another exhibition; that could depend if the pro-am is a go.

Watson, ranked 60th in the world, has won 12 times on the PGA Tour, including the 2012 and 2014 Masters.

Taking part in that exhibition last year were Day, 33, and Varner, 30.

Day also is a 12-time PGA Tour winner, including the 2015 PGA Championship. He's battled injuries, hasn't won since 2018, and is ranked 58th in the world. But he has shown signs of getting right, with two top-10 finishes this season.

Varner, ranked 73rd in the world, still is looking for his first PGA Tour win, but is coming off his best showing, a tie for second at the RBC Heritage in South Carolina last week.

Tickets aren't yet on sale for the Rocket Mortgage Classic, as tournament officials continue working with state and city leaders on capacity restrictions amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The inaugural event in 2019 drew some of the biggest non-major crowds on the PGA Tour, but no fans were allowed in 2020.

Given the Tigers currently are allowed about 8,000 fans a game at open-air Comerica Park, it appears likely the Rocket Mortgage Classic, with easy social-distancing on spread-out Detroit Golf Club, could be allowed 10,000 fans a day or more.

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tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984

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