DETROIT (AP) — The Rocket Mortgage Classic, nestled between the British Open and FedEx Cup qualifiers, could have been a tournament to skip for all the best players in the world.
Patrick Cantlay, however, and four other top-20 players are in Detroit this week.
Twenty-eight of the top 100, doubling last week’s total at the 3M Open, will start the first round Thursday at Detroit Golf Club.
Playing to improve FedEx Cup ladder positioning, perhaps for a spot in the Presidents Cup for top performers, or simply hitting the season minimum for events has also led some to Motor City.
“This is the deepest course we’ve had,” Jason Langwell, executive director of the Rocket Mortgage Classic which debuted in 2019. “No other golf event this weekend in the world will be able to say that .”
Was it a thinly veiled stunt on the Saudi-funded LIV Golf tour?
“We only compare ourselves to being bigger and better than we were the year before,” Langwell insisted.
Last year, Cam Davis landed a 50-foot sand shot on the regulation 71st hole and won a five-hole playoff over Troy Merritt and Joaquin Niemann to win the Rocket Mortgage Classic for his first PGA Tour victory.
The tournament was a relative success despite being stuck with a spot on the PGA Tour schedule which included the July 4 holiday, and defending champion and Rocket Mortgage ambassador Bryson DeChambeau missed the cut with a lackluster performance after parting ways with caddy Tim Tucker the night before. of the tournament.
DeChambeau joined Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and others for the riches of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund and Greg Norman’s arguments that LIV Golf is the future. PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said players who sign up for a Saudi golf league will lose their PGA Tour membership and should not expect to get it back.
Golf LIV is hosting its third event of the season and its second in the United States this week at Trump National in New Jersey with 10 of the top 50 players and none of the top 15.
World No. 20 Max Homa said LIV golf has given PGA Tour players something to talk about talking about their families.
“Now can you believe that so-and-so is no longer on tour?” Homa said.
Cantlay said he would not be part of the next wave of players leaving the PGA Tour.
“I have no plans to leave after the FedEx Cup at this time,” Cantlay said.
Homa said no one on the PGA Tour felt the need to validate anything about LIV golf, which seemed to pick spots on the schedule to compete with the best golf tour in the world when it had more fields. weak.
“The last LIV event was against the John Deere — which usually doesn’t have the best, top guys — and this one usually has an OK field,” Homa said. “It’s interesting that this is my first time playing at a LIV event. I’m usually at home reading the domain contracts and comparisons and it’s a bit exhausting.
13-ranked Will Zalatoris said he was playing in Detroit simply because he should be on a competitive course at the age of 25.
“If you ever hear me talk about fatigue, I think I probably need to get my head checked,” he said. “It’s a crazy time for the PGA Tour and I guess golf as a whole.”
Cantlay is clearly not tired either, playing for the sixth time since early June. Next month he will shoot to be the first to win the FedEx Cup in consecutive years since it was first awarded in 2007 to Tiger Woods.
“That’s the goal now that the majors are over for the year,” he said. “It’s the biggest prize left on the schedule.”
Finishing in the top 125 of the FedEx Cup standings and securing a playoff spot and a full card for next season is also a reward some will be chasing this week in Detroit and next week when the regular season wraps up. at the Wyndham Championship. in North Carolina.
Follow Larry Lage at https://twitter.com/larrylage
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