Rocket Mortgage Classic field finalized: One more major champ in, one out

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Detroit — The Rocket is almost ready for liftoff.

The 156-player field for the PGA Tour's fourth annual Rocket Mortgage Classic was finalized Friday night, with the exception of five additional qualifiers to be settled Sunday and Monday.

Among the notable withdrawals from the tournament was Justin Rose, the 2013 U.S. Open champion who is ranked No. 50 in the world, though that wasn't a huge surprise to Rocket officials. Rose withdrew from the British Open two weeks ago with a balky back. More of a surprise was the pullout of world No. 38 Seamus Power and No. 97 Anirban Lahiri. Also decommitting from the Rocket were Lanto Griffin, Brandt Snedeker, Chez Reavie and Adam Long.

Patrick Cantlay heads the Rocket Mortgage Classic field.

Notable additions to the field Friday included 2006 U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy, world No. 58 Russell Henley, world No. 60 Chris Kirk and Sean O'Hair.

The Rocket Mortgage Classic also extended sponsor's exemptions to Morgan Hoffmann and Brandon Matthews. Hoffmann is trying for a comeback on the PGA Tour after being diagnosed with muscular dystrophy; his final start on a medical exemption was last month. Matthews is a Korn Ferry Tour player who already has clinched his PGA Tour card for next season.

The tournament starts Thursday and runs through Sunday, July 31, at Detroit Golf Club.

"I love the field we've got," Jason Langwell, executive director of the Rocket Mortgage Classic, told The News in an interview this week. "I'd take this field every day, every year.

"It's definitely the deepest we've had."

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The Rocket Mortgage Classic's headliner this year is Patrick Cantlay, the No. 4-ranked player in the world and the reigning FedEx Cup champion and PGA Tour player of the year.

The most intriguing players in the field, arguably, are No. 13 Will Zalatoris and No. 19 Cameron Young, two guys who have yet to win on the PGA Tour — but between them have five top-10 finishes in majors this season alone. Young was second at the British Open and tied for third at the PGA Championship, and Zalatoris was second at the PGA, tied for second at the U.S. Open and tied for sixth at the Masters.

Perhaps it's a good omen for them that two of the three winners at the Rocket have made Detroit their first PGA Tour win — Nate Lashley in 2019 and Cam Davis last year. (Both Lashley and Davis are returning).

Young, one of the longest hitters on the PGA Tour, has a chance to turn DGC into a drive-and-chip course, not unlike what Bryson DeChambeau did when he won in 2020.

"Cameron Young is gonna be rookie of the year," Langwell said. "I just think it's gonna be exciting to see what kind of lines he takes (at DGC)."

Also teeing it up at DGC next week are No. 17 Tony Finau, No. 21 Max Homa, No. 27 Kevin Kisner, No. 34 Harris English, No. 39 Adam Scott, No. 44 K.H. Lee and No. 45 Keegan Bradley.

Major winners include Scott, Bradley, Ogilvy, Stewart Cink, Jason Day, Lucas Glover, Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson, Presidents Cup captain Davis Love III, Webb Simpson, Danny Willett and Gary Woodland.


Rickie Fowler, longtime Rocket Mortgage Classic ambassador, is in the field — and needing a good showing to make the FedEx Cup playoffs, as does Day, and locals Ryan Brehm and Brian Stuard — as is Matt Kuchar, playing in Detroit for the first time.

The Rocket Mortgage Classic is the final tournament before the start of the PGA Tour playoffs.

Missing from the field are Rocket regulars DeChambeau and Patrick Reed, who have departed the PGA Tour for LIV. Same with Phil Mickelson, who played Detroit last year for the first and last time. Bubba Watson, who has become a Detroit booster in his three years playing here, helping raise more than $1 million for charity, remains sidelined with an ACL injury. He hasn't played since the PGA in May.

Hideki Matsuyama, who's played the previous three Rockets, and Joaquin Niemann, who lost in a playoff at least year's tournament, also are not in this year's field. Matsuyama pulled out of this week's tournament in Minnesota with a wrist injury.

The final five spots in the field will be awarded to Sunday's winner of the John Shippen National Golf Invitational and the four top players from Monday's qualifier at The Orchards in Washington Township.

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Twitter: @tonypaul1984