Local sports legends headline Rocket's celebrity scramble, free for all fans

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Detroit — They're some of the legends of their time.

But give them a golf club and surround them with hundreds or thousands of fans, even they feel pressure.

"Little embarrassing, little humiliating," Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo said last year, with a smile, after playing a few holes with Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau. "But then again, my sport is not golf. I'm not sure either one of those guys could make a free throw."

Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo tries a little body English on his putt on the 15th green during Tuesday's Area 313 Celebrity Challenge at the Detroit Golf Club in Detroit in 2019.

Izzo will take his hacks again this year as one of the headliners participating in the Rocket Mortgage Classic's AREA 313 Celebrity Scramble at Detroit Golf Club.

Izzo will be joined in the celebrity category by Detroit Lions legends Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson, Red Wings star Dylan Larkin, World Long Drive competitor Maurice Allen and musician Kelley James.

The scramble, which in 2019 was named the PGA Tour's "Best Special Event," will tee off at 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 26, and the teams will play the course's signature stretch — the par-5 14th, par-3 15th and par-4 16th. Fans can see the action for free, as Tuesday and Wednesday are complimentary ticket days at the Rocket Mortgage Classic this year.

There will be six teams, each captained by a PGA Tour player. Those players are Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose, Tony Finau, Will Zalatoris, Jason Day and Matt Kuchar, though that list is subject to change.

Each team also will have a competitor from The John Shippen National Golf Invitational, among them Flint's Willie Mack III, Wayne State alum Joe Hooks, Mariah Stackhouse, Sadena Parks and Chrystn Carr, as well as the champion of this year's men's tournament, set to take place the weekend before the Rocket.

Additional players will be announced at a later date.

“The AREA 313 Celebrity Scramble is something that our fans have come to look forward to as an event that helps tee off Rocket Mortgage Classic week, and we’re excited to have such a terrific group of athletes and entertainers again this year,” Jason Langwell, executive director of the Rocket, said in a statement.

Izzo has participated in the previous celebrity scrambles in 2019 and 2021. There was no scramble in 2020, as no fans were allowed because of the pandemic. It was replaced by a made-for-TV exhibition spearheaded by Bubba Watson that raised more than $1 million. In three years, the Rocket Mortgage Classic has raised more than $5 million for Metro Detroit charities, including its prime cause these days, ending the city's digital divide by the year 2025.

Tuesday, July 26, also will feature the Youth Golf Clinic, while Wednesday, July 27, will be the pro-am.

The fourth annual tournament runs from Thursday, July 28, through Sunday, July 31, with tickets starting at $60 for the first round, $70 for the second round and $80 for the third and fourth round.

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tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984