2022 Rocket Mortgage Classic moves to late July, which could help field strength

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Detroit — The 2022 Rocket Mortgage Classic is moving to later in the summer as part of next season's PGA Tour schedule, which was announced Tuesday.

The 2022 RMC will take place July 28-31 at Detroit Golf Club, after being held over July 4 weekend the past two years — the first time, moving to accommodate for the COVID-19 schedule shuffle; this year, to accommodate the Olympics on the schedule.

The first RMC was held in late June.

Cam Davis reacts after he hits an eagle out of the sand trap on hole No. 17.

The Rocket Mortgage Classic, entering the fourth year of an initial four-year contract with the PGA Tour, will be the second-to-last regular-season event on the 2021-22 schedule. The summer schedule becomes more crowded next year, as the Canadian Open returns in 2022 after a two-year hiatus because of COVID-19, and the Scottish Open, which followed the RMC in 2021, becomes an officially sanctioned PGA Tour event in '22.

The move for the RMC, theoretically, could help lead to a better field, given many players will be positioning for their spot or ranking in the ensuing $45-million FedEx Cup playoffs. Most top players play all three of the FedEx Cup playoff events, but might not want to play four weeks in a row. That could make the RMC a preferred choice over the regular-season-ending Wyndham Championship. That said, many marquee names choose not to play before the season's final major, the Britiish Open, and the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs.

The previous three years, the RMC was sandwiched by majors, which had pluses and minuses, depending on whether big stars preferred using the RMC as a tuneup, or for a week off to get ready for the next major.

The RMC has featured such big names as Dustin Johnson, 2020 champion Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Jason Day, Hideki Matsuyama and Patrick Reed over the first three years of the tournament. But of the top six players in the current Official World Golf Ranking, only Johnson has played, and that was the inaugural year, and he hasn't returned since. There have been no sign of Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa, Xander Schauffele, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy or Jordan Spieth in Detroit. Schauffele, who just won gold at the Tokyo Games, was to play in 2019, but was a late decommitment.

One big name who might prefer the new date: Mickelson, the six-time major champion who played in Detroit this year, and who, after some back and forth bhis displeasure over a Detroit News report about past gambling exploits, finally committed to returning if the event fits his schedule. His schedule is much more open later in the summer than it is mid-summer, when he's preparing for the majors.

You can check out the full, 48-event 2021-22 PGA Tour schedule HERE.

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Twitter: @tonypaul1984