Rocket notes: Max Homa opts to play over rest; Patrick Cantlay denies LIV rumors

Richard Silva
The Detroit News

Detroit — Max Homa wasn't originally going to play in the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

In fact, he considered taking off from the 3M Open in Minnesota last week and the Wyndham Championship in North Carolina next week. But after seeing his placement in the FedExCup standings, he decided to make a run for some last-chance points.

Max Homa

"(I'm playing in these tournaments) to make a little push and hopefully sneak inside that top 10 for the Comcast to get a bit of a boost going into the playoffs," Homa said Wednesday "To kind of chase down Scottie (Scheffler) and Cam (Smith).

"I felt like it would be a really good fit to come back to the course I know and like, to maybe grab a little momentum a week off before Memphis (for the FedEx St. Jude Championship). I felt like three weeks off at home, it's a billion degrees in Arizona, (I thought) it'll be better to practice on a great golf course and get ready to try to peak at the right time of the season."

Homa is currently in 11th place in the FedExCup standings, four points behind Matt Fitzpatrick for 10th place and eight points behind Will Zalatoris for ninth.

Zalatoris also is competing at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

Cantlay addresses rumors

Patrick Cantlay said outside noise doesn't bother him, but when asked to discuss rumors he might leave the PGA Tour, he swiftly put the discussion to bed.

At least for the near future.

"I don't have any plans at the moment to leave after the FedExCup," he said Wednesday.

With the LIV golf tour drama unfolding over the past few weeks, the PGA Tour has suspended more than 20 golfers who left to play in the new, controversial league. Those suspended include Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka, among others.

LIV is hosting its own event this week in Bedminster, New Jersey, competing for attention with the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

Cam Davis repeat?

Winning his first PGA Tour event last year at the Rocket Mortgage Classic changed Cam Davis' career, and he's hoping to become the tournament's first repeat winner.

"It's all a dream, up until it actually happens," Davis said, reminiscing about his victory more than a year ago. "... I felt like it launched me into a different stage of my career, and I feel like I'm doing my best to hit the ground running with that and keep that going. ... (I'm) really looking forward to trying to make it happen again."

Davis won last year after a playoff with Troy Merritt. The duo was tied after regulation, but Davis made par in the fifth playoff hole, on the 15th, to win it all.

"It was a super fun, exciting, exhilarating sort of hour or two," Davis said. "I was actually enjoying it rather than being nervous."

Lingmerth and Murray in, Armour and Lee out

Ryan Armour, who has participated in all three years of the Rocket Mortgage Classic, withdrew from the field Wednesday. Joining him in doing so was Danny Lee, who made appearances in the event in 2019 and 2021.

Armour tied for 46th in the inaugural year of the classic, but shot 16-under par in 2020, tied for fourth. He followed that up by missing the cut the following year. Lee tied for 21st in 2019.

Replacing Armour and Lee in the field will be David Lingmerth and Grayson Murray.

It'll be Lingmerth's first appearance at Detroit's PGA Tour event. The 35-year-old has two professional wins, with his lone PGA victory coming in 2015 at the Memorial Tournament in Muirfield Village, Ohio.

As for Murray, he's played in the Rocket Mortgage Classic twice, missing the cut in both 2020 and 2021. He too has one PGA Tour victory, coming in the 2017 Barbasol Championship. 

Webber talks UM basketball, Ivey

Former Michigan basketball star and member of the Fab Five, Chris Webber, took part in the Rocket Mortgage Classic Pro-Am on Wednesday. It was an up and down day for the 15-year NBA vet, but in the end, he was just happy to be there.

"Being a sports fan, just to me, the experience is cool," Webber said.

And after playing 18 holes, Webber made time to talk about the sport he knows most about — basketball, particularly pertaining to Juwan Howard and the Michigan men's basketball team.

Howard, in a season with no shortage of mishaps, figured out how to lead the Wolverines to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

“Juwan is one of my closest friends in the world," Webber said. "So, I look forward to being around the program as much as I can. ... It was exciting last year, going there, being able to be there. The Sweet 16 (last season) is one of the most special moments I’ve ever had.

"It’s not just because of the Sweet 16, it’s not just because of Juwan and Michigan, it’s the culmination of all that. So, that excitement is going to be there every game — Sweet 16 or the first game of the season. So, I’m excited.”

Returning from that team for another season in Ann Arbor is Hunter Dickinson, the star center who led the team in both points and rebounds. Terrance Williams II, Jace Howard and Kobe Bufkin are among some key returnees as well.

“I’m very happy, not only about Dickinson coming back, all the players coming back is great," Webber said. "But you have to have a system to come back to. I’m really happy that Juwan Howard, (assistant coach Howard) Eisley and others have that system ready for those kids to play the best that they can.

"We saw what they can do when they play hard and stick to the details and focus. I’m definitely excited to see how we pan out this season.”

As for his thoughts on the Pistons heading into next season, he's excited about the addition of fourth-overall pick Jaden Ivey, who he's known for years.

“I’ve known him since he’s been wearing diapers. His mother, his father and his whole special family," he said. "(I’m) proud that the Pistons chose him. I’m proud of Jaden Ivey because I’ve seen what he’s come through.

"He’s a dog. He’s a beast. He’s a Piston."

Twitter: @Rich_Silva18