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By Alex Lauzon from the “Course of Life” podcast
After the birdie fest fireworks we’re very accustomed to at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut, the summer swing between the U.S. Open and The Open Championship is sandwiched by an event in Detroit Michigan with a sneaky gorgeous track as the host. The Rocket Mortgage Classic is contested at Detroit Golf Club for the 5th time since its 2019 debut, and it’s had a host of bombers from Finau to Bryson lift the trophy.
Last week’s card got off to a bang of a start with Keegan Bradley’s 62, and from there we were riding the hometown kid from New England WIRE TO WIRE. Nothing like an easy outright win going away for the hometown kid getting it done, our seventh of 2023. Now we flip the plane northward and head to the Motor City to see if we can rev up another winning week.
GET TO KNOW DETROIT GC
Though much of the Tour and golf could deem this a skippable week for passive attention and viewing, golf nuts know that Detroit GC is one of the idyllic country club layouts of yesteryear that is soothing to the eye. The 7400-ish-yard course is “right in front of you”, a frill-free test of driving and ball striking, and it doesn’t hurt to be long off the tee here either. There are no runouts like at LACC or speed slots at the travelers that give you wedges in – this course plays ALL CARRY.
The top of the betting board for this week’s event includes defending champion Tony Finau, Max Homa, Collin Morikawa, and the red-hot Rickie Fowler who came off a Saturday 60 in Connecticut. Travelers Champion is scheduled in the field as of publishing time…we’ll see how bad the hangover is. Despite it not being a designated event, 14 of the top 50 in the world ranking are in the field and it’s clear that the word has gotten out on Detroit GC around the tour – all good things on the host and track.
FORECASTING THE ROCKET
Annually, this tournament is highlighted by a dominant performance. Every winner here in its short history has done amazing things with the driver, and not missed on the wrong side of these tricky Donald Ross greens. The overall theme of the week is that the bombers will feast here, and it’s about finding the right one that knows the putting surfaces and subtle slopes on the course well enough to avoid disaster on Sunday.
1. Who’s hot and trending – recent high finishes, top-10 streaks, and consistent play are never a bad thing.
2. Horses for courses – players love certain courses and course familiarity and experience are invaluable in a field of the world’s best.
3. What the numbers tell you this week – while I’m far from analytical, there’s always a tournament darling or two scattered across the golf talk stratosphere that stuns on paper.
4. Intangibles – while this allows for theater of the mind, there’s a mysterious optimism surrounding that feels “due” or if the price looks just right for buying.
The Travelers in my former home state of Connecticut brought the heat as usual, and in classic form, we were all in on the New Englander getting it done. Keegan Bradley jumped out of the starting gate Thursday and never looked back for our seventh outright winner of the 2023 golf calendar. It’s good to notch a winner and even better to do it without a sweat. It’s an A for the picks in CT.
(Wanna start a Pick-X pool with your friends? Learn more here! Or, if you’re looking to start your own PGA One-and-Done pool, check those out here) (Hint: the main difference between the two is how many players you’ll pick each week)
1: Rickie Fowler – Seems almost TOO fitting that the Rocket Mortgage endorser would break his winless streak here, but he’s too hot to keep out of my picks this week.
2: Sungjae Im – Coming off of a decent week in CT, he’s the type of player that matches well to the demands of Detroit GC and should thrive.
3: Tom Kim – The youngster is re-finding his 2022 winning form, especially with his putter. Kim finished in the top 10 here last year.
4: Alex Smalley – After flashes on the leaderboard last week, this course matches his driving stats nicely and he’s sneaky long off the tee.
5: Nate Lashley – I’m a sucker for an undervalued past champion, and the 2019 champ is going off at a low price this week and due for something big,
6: Justin Suh – A leaderboard magnet type of player that is a streaky putter. If he likes these greens he’ll be in contention this weekend.
RYP One and Done Pick: Rickie Fowler
Where to watch: We’re rolling with the CBS crew into the summer heat wave of golf, and the focus (as it should be) will be on the beauty of Detroit GC.
Why to watch: This event has an interesting list of champions and presents a new opportunity for a breakthrough or surprise winner on Tour. Bombs away on a long flat track.
What to eat: Detroit Style pizza (sauce on top) – it’s like the cheesiest, greasiest focaccia bread you’ve ever had, but better.
Purse: $8.8 million
Winner’s Share: $1.58 million
How do PGA Golf Majors Pools work?
In PGA Golf Majors Pools, member select six golfers to compete on a roster over the course of an event. The member with the best combined score from the six golfers wins.
Can you include all four majors into one pool?
Yes, but your commissioner can also customize these setting with RunYourPool. Pools can include up to all four majors, repicking golfers each time or adding bonus points for finishing positions
How do I assemble a roster?
Golfers are broken up in to six tiers, as members select one golfer per tier to be on their Major roster.
What happens to golfers who miss the cut?
Any PGA Player who does not make the cut will be given the highest score of Round 3 and Round 4, respectively.
What are the four golf majors?
The Masters is the first major of the season, in April. The PGA Championship and the U.S. Open follow, with the British Open ending as the final major.
How do PGA One and Dones work?
Members in a pool select one golfer to win a tournament, but can't pick that golfer again for the rest of the season. The member with the best score at the end of the season wins.
What is a PGA One and Done pool?
A PGA One-and-Done Pool is a contest similar to Survivor Pools, in which members can only select a golfer one time per season for events.
Which tournaments are played for PGA One and Dones?
Pool commissioners can set up the season for as many or as few tournaments as desired. Go crazy and do all of them! Or dial it back for the major events. As commissioner of a RunYourPool contest, you decide which events to play in!
How to run a weekly golf pool?
In order to run a golf pool, you must first crown yourself as Pool Commissioner. Begin by picking a game type like One and Done or Pick-X Pools. You'll want to establish rules before inviting friends, family, and colleagues to join. As commissioner, you make the rules and also need to enforce them equally and fairly.
How do golf Pick-X Pools work?
Members select a certain number of golfers per tournament, set by the pool commissioner. The member earns the total winnings that their selected golfer won for the tournament. Whichever member earns the most winnings over the duration of the season wins.
What is a golf Pick-X Pool?
A Pick-X Golf Pool calculates tournament winnings rather than strokes gained when deciding a winner. This amplifies the big name events that feature a higher prize purse.
How to run a golf pool?
How you decide to run a golf pool varies greatly depending on the game type. In each case, however, you'll want to determine the rules and settings before you begin inviting members to join you. You'll want to clearly establish how score will be kept, how tiebreakers work, and how winners are decided before anything else.
What is a prop bet?
Prop bets are any sort of pick or wager on a game that has nothing to do with the score or the final score outcome. Props can range from game types, to team types and even player types - such as who will score the game's first and last touchdowns? Other props, such as novelty or exotic, feature bets on things such as the coin flip or the Super Bowl Halftime Show.
How do Masters Prop Bets Pools work?
Pool members simply fill out a wide range of prop questions, each question worth a different value. Commissioners decide on the point value for each question, along with the amount of questions. Whichever member earns the most points based on corret answers wins the pool.
When is the Masters?
The Masters is typically in April and the first major of the golf season. The 2023 Masters is set for Thursday, April 6 and will run until Sunday, April 9.
Where is the Masters played?
The Masters is annually held at the Augusta National Golf Club located in Augusta, Georgia, USA.