Rocket Mortgage Classic's charity scramble returns in 2021; see which celebs are playing

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
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Detroit — The fans are back, and so are the celebs.

The Rocket Mortgage Classic's AREA 313 Celebrity Scramble will resume this month after the showcase, voted the PGA Tour's "Best Special Event" in 2019, was canceled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rickie Fowler hits from the 18th tee during the first round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic, Thursday, July 2, 2020, at the Detroit Golf Club.

The event, to be played on the signature stretch of Detroit Golf Club known as AREA 313 — Nos. 14, 15 and 16 — will be Tuesday, June 29. Two tickets are available to fans for a $313 pledge to the "Faces of AREA 313" program at RocketMortgageClassic.com. No general-admission tickets will be sold for Tuesday. Each donation to "Faces of AREA 313," which pays tribute to front-line workers, first responders and those lost to COVID-19, will be matched by Priority Health.

Participating will be Michigan State men's basketball coach Tom Izzo, Detroit Lions legend Barry Sanders, NFL legend Larry Fitzgerald, world long-drive competitor Maurice Allen, and LPGA Tour star Lexi Thompson, who this week became the latest professional golfer to be sponsored by Rocket Mortgage. Additional celebrities are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

Celebrities will be paired with a professional, with pro commitments coming from recent PGA Championship winner Phil Mickelson, last year's Rocket champion and company pitchman Bryson DeChambeau, another Rocket man in Rickie Fowler, 2015 PGA Championship winner Jason Day and Harold Varner III. There will be four-person teams.

The celebrity scramble was a hit in 2019, but wasn't played in 2020 as the Rocket Mortgage Classic was held without fans. Last year, the event was replaced by a made-for-TV, nine-hole exhibition featuring Bubba Watson, Day, Varner and Wesley Bryan, which earned more than $1 million for charity, through a series of private donations.

The AREA 313 at DGC will continue to be a significant fundraiser during the four days of competition, set for July 1-4. Any player who makes a 3 on 14 (eagle), 1 on 15 (ace) and 3 on 16 (birdie) at any point during the four days will trigger a $313,000 donation split between the player and the tournament's chief charitable cause, which is ending Detroit's digital divide by 2025. No player accomplished that feat in 2019 or 2020.

Also, for each eagle on 14 and birdie on 16 during tournament week, Rocket Mortgage will donate $5,000, and for each ace on 15, Rocket Mortgage will donate $10,000. Last year, that earned charity an additional $385,000. The entire 2020 tournament raised more than $2.7 million for local charities, despite no ticket sales.

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tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984

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