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Culp's Corner

Rocket Mortgage Classic Preview

by Josh Culp
Updated On: June 24, 2019, 1:50 pm ET

The PGA TOUR heads back to Michigan this week, for the first time since the 2009 Buick Open which was hosted by Warwick Hills in Grand Blanc, Michigan. 

This week it's the Detroit Golf Club that plays host to a field of 156 golfers. After 36 holes the field will be trimmed to the Top 70 and Ties, as usual. 

Let's dive into the course and then highlight some golfers to watch for this week in The Great Lakes State.

The Course

Detroit Golf Club is the host course this week. It's a Donald Ross design. There are two courses on property, the North and the South. For the PGA TOUR event they will be using 17 holes from the North while grabbing one from the South which helps to add a bit of length for the pros. 

For the tournament week, the course will be lengthened to play up to 7,340 yards as a par of 72. Pretty average in terms of length when looking at things hole-by-hole. There are two shorter par 3s (under 170 yards) but also two longer par 3s (over 205 yards). There are four short par 4s (under 400 yards) but also four longer par 4s (over 450 yards). There are two shorter par 5s (under 555 yards) but also two longer par 5s (over 575 yards). Like I said, very average and a good balance of short and long holes. 

The course is tree-lined with a lot of bunkers littered throughout the property (at least 4 bunkers on 15 of the 18 holes). The holes are mostly straight without a lot of heavy doglegs. The rough is prepped at 3.5 inches or longer which is definitely on the longer side. Long rough does not always equal tough scoring. Just look at TPC Deere Run which preps their rough around 4 inches but they host a birdie-fest each year.

On top of the long rough and tricky bunkering, another key defense of the course is heavily-undulation greens. Depending on how tricky they get with the pin placements, I would expect there to be a fair amount of three-putts this week. 

For grasses the golfers will see bent/poa/rye from tee-to-green and then primarily poa annua on the greens although they do have roughly 15-20% of bentgrass in the mix, as well. 


Correlated Courses

Looking at grass types, geography, course attributes, and past performance, here are a few courses/events that I think could prove to be a good pointer this week: 

Firestone CC (previously the WGC-Bridgestone)
TPC Boston (Playoff Event)
Muirfield Village (Memorial Tournament)
TPC Deere Run (John Deere Classic)
TPC River Highlands (Travelers Championship)

We don't have history to dive into the correlated numbers but we can look for similar course setups. For the courses above I searched for poa/bent greens with rough lengths similar to what they'll see this week in Detroit (long). Firestone has left the PGA TOUR rota but it does seem like a perfect correlation to me because it's tree-lined with a lot of straight holes and poa/bent putting surfaces. 

If you want to take the course architect angle then add Sedgefield and/or East Lake to the mix since they are the only regular TOUR stops at Donald Ross designs. 


The Weather

Thursday: Mostly sunny with a high of 87 degrees. Calm winds at 3 to 8 MPH. 

Friday: Overcast with a high of 90 degrees. Calm winds at 5 to 10 MPH. 

Weekend: Temps remain in the mid-80s with no real threat of rain in the mix. 

After (mostly) dodging the ugly forecast last week, it looks much calmer this week in Detroit. Temps are warm and winds are calm. Should be a recipe for low scores and not much of an expected tee-time advantage to either side.

Josh Culp

Josh Culp joined NBC Sports Edge in 2014. The DFS enthusiast from Iowa State can be found on Twitter @futureoffantasy.