It’s been months since a major sporting event was held in Michigan, making this week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic golf tournament a welcome sight.
The PGA Tour event is back at the Detroit Golf Club for its second iteration, with no fans allowed on the course because of COVID-19 safety measures.
Detroit missed out on Tiger Woods once again, but maybe it’s better for Woods to save his Michigan return for when fans are back.
Partly because of his Buick sponsorship tie, Woods was a mainstay at the Buick Open, a former PGA Tour event in Grand Blanc.
Woods won that event three times, including the Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club swan song in 2009.
Originally scheduled for May 28-31 but pushed back because of the pandemic, the Rocket Mortgage Classic tees off on Thursday.
Rocket Mortgage Classic a hit in year one
Nate Lashley was the surprise winner last year in the event’s debut as the field went low.
Pros went low on the Detroit Golf Club’s north course last year, as Lashley scored 25 under par to win.
According to TheLines, 16 players shot 15 under par or better, and 45 players were double digits under par.
Lashley, who lost his girlfriend and parents in a plane crash in 2004, won by six shots last year for the $1.3 million prize.
Detroit also came off as a winner, with packed galleries throughout the weekend last year.
No fans will provide interesting wrinkle
Unlike the rowdy gallery last year, golfers will play in near silence this weekend. They’ll also experience hot Michigan summer temperatures around 90 degrees all weekend.
Detroit’s sportsbooks closed on March 16 because of the pandemic, five days after Michigan sports betting debuted. Greektown Casino-Hotel, MGM Grand Detroit and MotorCity Casino all are ready to reopen when Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gives the word.
In addition, FireKeepers Casino in Battle Creek opened the state’s first tribal casino sportsbook last week.
Bulked up Bryson DeChambeau a favorite
A look at the odds suggests Bryson DeChambeau might have a great week in Detroit.
DeChambeau ranked No. 11 in the world, is a +650 favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook and +600 at FanDuel Sportsbook.
PointsBet Sportsbook Michigan and William Hill Sportsbook both have DeChambeau at +650.
DeChambeau has added 25 pounds of muscle and finished four shots off the pace of champion Dustin Johnson over the weekend at the Travelers Championship.
Other big names teeing off on Thursday at Detroit Golf Club include world No. 5 Webb Simpson and No. 7 Patrick Reed, along with fan favorites Jason Day, Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson.
Reed tied for fifth place in Detroit last year.