The PGA Tour moves east to Detroit for the final scheduled week of behind-closed-doors events in the form of the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
But unlike the previous three-weeks, big names such as; the likes of Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson and last week’s winner Dustin Johnson will all be sitting this one out, meaning picking a winner might be a little more tricky than normal.
Travelers Championship recap
With his last win 16-months ago at last year’s WGC Mexico, some started to wonder if we were seeing the beginning of the end of prime Dustin Johnson, but that speculation can at least for the time being be shelved.
With the win last weekend, he extended his record of wins in continuous seasons to 13, by far the longest active one and only behind Woods (14), Nicklaus (17) and Palmer (17) historically.
Course: Detroit Golf Club
Length: 7340 yards (Par 72)
Greens: Poa with bentgrass mixed in
Architect: Donald Ross
The field is the weakest by far since the restart but still features three of the top 10 in the world in Bryson Dechambeau, Webb Simpson and Patrick Reed show up to the second edition of the Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club (DGC).
Since this is just the second year that the DGC has hosting a tour event, we do not have much to go on, but we got some data to try and analyse from last year’s inaugural event.
Like most Donald Ross designs, DGC has treelined severely undulated but pretty straight fairways who last year was much easier to hit than the tour average despite the driving distance being 13 yards longer than average.
The greens are a little smaller than tour average poa/bent blend, protected by bunkers and like the fairways seriously undulated and played a very fast 12-12.5 on the stimp last year.
It’s a Par-72 with four par 5s where three of them should be reachable by most in the field. The par 4s are a good mix of shorter (4x<400 yards) and longer (4x>450 yards) holes.
The par 3s are also varied with two of the holes measuring around 160 yards while the other two are well over 200 yards.
Once again, we do not have a lot of data but last year’s tournament seem to suggest that approach and putting far outweigh off the tee and around the green in importance.
Nate Lashley won last year at -25 so you better be able to go low if you are going to contend in the Motor City this week.
Here are some of the things I will be looking at/for:
- Strokes gained approach
- Proximity 125-150 yards
- Par-5 scoring
- Par-4 scoring
- Birdies or better gained
- Opportunities gained
2019/20 Season overview:
Wagered: 118.6 units
Won: 184.46 units
Result: + 65.86 units
Outright winners: Hero World Challenge: Henrik Stensson 25-1, Farmers Insurance Open: Marc Leishman 50-1, RBC Heritage: Webb Simpson 29-1
Kevin began the restart with a missed cut but gaining strokes everywhere except on the greens, last week he continued being solid tee to green but his putter also showed up and the 5+ strokes gained on the green was enough for a T5.
If my analysis of the data from last year rings true, then Na should set up perfect with his largest weakness (off the tee) being mitigated by the easy to hit fairways here.
Since the restart (small sample!!) he ranks 4th in par 4 scoring, 18th in approach and 17th in birdies or better gained in this field. He his also one of the best putters on tour on both poa and bent.
Uihlein seems to have spent the break well because before the pause he had missed 4 of 5 cuts but at the Charles Schwab he not only secured his best finish of the season with a T14 he gained strokes in all four major categories.
If he can keep his tee-to-green game at the same level this week, we know he is a good putter, and this is the type of field where he could get his first PGA tour victory.
The winner of the 2017 Heritage, who was once ranked in the top 50 in the world before first losing his game and then being side-lined with injuries for almost two years made his PGA come back at the place, he won 3 years earlier with a respectable T68 two weeks ago.
Playing ok at a place he loves is one thing but what is making me tip him up this week is that he led the field in approach last week gaining almost ten (!) strokes.
It’s worth noting that one of his biggest strengths before the injury was his putting and after an abysmal negative 5.1 strokes at Heritage he was just around field average last week so if he can get it rolling on the greens this week he can contend for the first time in a couple of years.
Leave a comment
Follow GolfKristiansen on Twitter