Patrick Reed salutes work of superintendent, crew to offset deluge of wet weather at RMC

Tony Paul Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

Detroit — Patrick Reed saw the pictures over the weekend and he wondered whether Detroit Golf Club had been converted into a water park.

After several rounds of thundering storms and relentless downpours, the course looked more like it was hosting a hydroplane race than a golf tournament.

“The pictures were brutal,” Reed said. “When they showed me a picture off of 10 tee, you saw the tee box and it just looked like a lake. You couldn't see the bunkers that you're trying to carry on the left or the ones on the right. And 18, you saw a little bit of grass, but everything was under water. And 15, it was the tee box, and then after the tee box it was basically just nothing but water into the bunker that's just short of the green.”

Jason Day talks on the 15th green during the pro-am at the Rocket Mortgage Classic at the Detroit Golf Club in Detroit on Wednesday.

Needless to say, when Reed arrived on site Monday, he wasn’t optimistic about the conditions.

However, by the time the 2018 Masters champion had finished his pro-am round on Wednesday, he was amazed at what superintendent Jake Mendoza and his team had been able to accomplish.

More: Defending RMC champ Bryson DeChambeau aims to outmuscle strong field, DGC again

“The amount of water that was there was a huge amount,” Reed said. “To come out and play and just find a couple wet spots there in the rough, it was very impressive how they were able to get the water out and the job that they were able to do to allow the place to drain and get the water out of there.

“Got to give all the credit to the superintendents and the people around here to get this place in that good of shape.”

The forecast calls for more chances of rain over the next two days, meaning the first two rounds could be played while dodging storms and adding even more water on the grounds. That sort of rainfall will almost certainly affect scoring this week.

Brian Stuard (Jackson/Oakland University) said the wet conditions are going to make the course play longer, and thus require he hit more drivers, when he hit plenty of 3 woods off tees the past two years. But a tradeoff could be the soft conditions of the greens.

“It's totally different than the last couple years,” he said. “It's playing longer, but you can take it right at it (the pins) everywhere.”

Of course, at a Donald Ross course, the defense is the greens, and the choice could be made to put pins in tougher spots. But golfers will still be firing at the pins, meaning the 25-under Nate Lashley shot two years ago might not be out of reach.

“With (conditions) being soft, you think they'll go a little tougher on pins because it will be more accessible and you're going to be able to attack the golf course,” Reed said.  “The past two years the fairways were firm, so the ball would hit and just take off. They had soft greens the first year so we were able to really attack this place because the drivers were going so far, they were just bounding when they hit fairways.

“But being as soft as it is, there's going to be longer clubs to certain greens, but you're still going to be able to attack.”

Early tee time angers An

Byeong Hun An is the early leader in the clubhouse — for most-interesting social-media post of Rocket Mortgage Classic week.

An, 29, has a very interactive Twitter account (@ByeongHunAn), and he took to social media on Tuesday with some choice and naughty words for the PGA Tour. He was none too happy to see his 6:45 a.m. Thursday tee time, which apparently was his fourth time being first out in his last eight tournaments.

"Never asked for it and I (bleeping) hate it," An tweeted. He later deleted the tweet with the F-word, but his point remained.

"I may look like (I'm) bitching but no one can criticize me unless they like waking up at 3:45," An wrote.

An followed up on Twitter on Wednesday, saying the PGA Tour admitted it was an oversight.

"Sometimes you need (to) make a point," An tweeted.

An's social-media stock skyrocketed earlier this year at The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass, where he made an 11 at the island par-3 17th. Golf Channel later posted a tweet that read, "Tag a buddy who would card an 11 on No. 17," and An hilariously tagged himself.

Debut for Mack

Willie Mack said at least 100 people have told him they’ll be following him this week as the Flint native makes his debut at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

In the tournament on a sponsor’s exemption, Mack is hoping to make the most of his third PGA Tour event this season in what amounts to a home game.

“A lot of friends and family are coming,” said Mack, who also will play next week in the John Deere Classic on an exemption. “I probably won't see them all, but I know they'll be rooting for me. … hopefully it will be a good crowd.”

More: Q&A with CBS golf's Dottie Pepper: Why she loves Detroit, but not Norm Cash

Mack, 32, made his PGA Tour debut in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in late January and played in the Genesis Invitational at Riviera in Los Angeles in February. He’s missed the cut each time, but hopes that changes this week.

“I played well two weeks ago and hopefully I can keep that rolling,” said Mack, who made the cut at Korn Ferry Tour’s BMW Charity Pro-Am. “It's been nothing but great support the last couple days I've been out here.

"Hopefully I can put on a show this week.”

Chips & divots

Patrick Rodgers made the first ace of Rocket week, with a hole-in-one at the 207-yard ninth hole in Wednesday’s pro-am. The ace came on Rodgers’ 29th birthday.

There have been two aces in actual competition at the Rocket, Ryan Armour in 2020 and Ollie Schniederjans in 2019, both at the short fifth hole.

… Fun stat on the PGA Tour: En route to the championship at the 2020 RMC, Bryson DeChambeau's last three drives totaled 1,055 yards, or 352 yards each.

And he said Wednesday he's hitting it farther this year.

 The weather forecast for the rest of the week shows the chances of rain decreasing each of the next four days.

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Twitter: @mattcharboneau

Twitter: @tonypaul1984