The Confidence Factor: Horses for Courses Rocket Mortgage Classic 2019

Detroit will open its doors for the first time to a PGA TOUR event as the Detroit Golf Club is the host of this brand-new event.

Sometimes in the fantasy world, like Detroit, KISS is all you need.

Keep It Simple, Stupid

Detroit Rock(et) City returns to the TOUR lineup this summer for the first time since 2009 as Detroit Golf Club hosts this brand-new event. A full field of 156 will tee it up for the first time on a composite track made up of the North and South courses for their chance at $1.314 million (500 FedExCup points) of the $7.3 million prize pool.

Donald Ross designed the North and South Courses back in 1916, but they have evolved over the years, especially in the last decade, to meet today’s TOUR standards. The composite course this week will use 17 holes from the North and one from the South that will stretch out to 7,340 yards and play to Par-72. This will be the first test with four Par-5 holes since the Memorial four events ago. The tree-lined fairways will offer more room to move the ball off the tee than the last two stops on TOUR. Strategic bunkers, 87 of them, will provide a nuisance in landing areas off the tee and protecting greens, which will run at normal TOUR speed.

While not many, if any, have played this “new’ setup, I’ll point out this is the seventh week in a row playing on Bentgrass/Poa greens of average to below-average size. If I sound like a broken record, apologies, but the pros should be accustomed to smaller targets from the fairway, navigating the surrounding rough, which again this week is 3.5 inches around the greens, and the nuance of putting on this familiar grass.

As with any new venue, I’ll lean on the guys who hit the most greens, as they will have the most chances to make birdies. Plus, this week I’m looking for players who can also take advantage of Par-5 scoring chances. A level playing field, from a course familiarity standpoint or lack thereof, will favor those in form and reward those with class.

Need more Course Info? Check Rob Bolton’s Power RankingsThe First Look and Course Preview.

Recent Winners on TOUR – last three weeks

Travelers Championship – Chez Reavie (-17): Backed up his T14 at Bethpage and T3 at Pebble Beach with his first win in almost 11 years. His four-shot victory was buoyed by holding a six shot lead after 54 holes.

U.S. Open – Gary Woodland (-13): It still looks weird to type “-13” after the winner of the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Woodland (Topeka) returns to action this week after his life-changing major championship victory and joins Reavie (Topeka) as back-to-back Kansans to win on TOUR. Now, is there anyone else born in Topeka in the field this week?

RBC Canadian Open – Rory McIlroy (-22): Right, got it, not here. The “B Flight” at Hamilton Golf and Country Club housed a few in the top 20 who are participating this week, so I wouldn’t hesitate to look there either for guys who are warm.

Key stat leaders

Golfers around the top 40-ish in each statistic on the 2018-19 PGA TOUR are listed only if they are scheduled to compete this week. This is the 35th event of the season.

Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green:

2  Dustin Johnson
3  Hideki Matsuyama
9  Gary Woodland
11 Byeong Hun An
14 Corey Conners
26 Kevin Streelman
29 Bubba Watson
31 Rickie Fowler
33 Keith Mitchell
34 Sungjae Im
36 Chez Reavie
37 Joaquin Niemann
38 Luke List
39 Jason Day
41 Hank Lebioda
44 Rory Sabbatini
45 Ryan Moore
47 Troy Merritt
48 Charles Howell III
49 Adam Svensson

Greens in Regulation:

2  Corey Conners
7  Charles Howell III
8  Gary Woodland
12 Cameron Champ
18 Alex Prugh
18 Dustin Johnson
20 Jason Dufner
23 Troy Merritt
24 Hideki Matsuyama
29 Aaron Wise
30 Nick Watney
33 Hank Lebioda
34 Brendan Steele
35 Jason Kokrak
37 Kevin Streelman
39 JJ Spaun
40 Brice Garnett

Par-5 Scoring:

3 Gary Woodland
6 Troy Merritt
8 Bubba Watson
12 Wyndham Clark
12 Sungjae Im
16 Luke List
18 Dustin Johnson
18 Sung Kang
20 Trey Mullinax
20 Denny McCarthy
20 Bud Cauley
20 Matt Jones
20 Nick Watney
20 Si Woo Kim
20 Seth Reeves
29 Hank Lebioda
29 Dylan Frittelli
38 Cameron Champ
38 Wes Roach
38 Cody Gribble
38 Sam Burns
38 Hideki Matsuyama


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