The first Rocket Mortgage Classic was staged in 2019 at Detroit Golf Club in Detroit, Michigan. The tournament replaced the Quicken Loan National on the PGA TOUR schedule. It is the first PGA TOUR event in history to be held completely within the Detroit city limits. The club opened in 1899, with Donald Ross designing two 18-hole courses in 1913. Detroit Golf Club is one of less than 20 clubs across the continent which showcases two 18-hole Donald Ross courses, restored to their original glory.
The Rocket Mortgage Classic utilizes 17 holes from the North Course (which is 870 yards longer than the South Course) and one hole from the South Course. The combination of the two courses resulted in a par 72, 7,370 yards course with Bentgrass/Poa annua fairways, Bluegrass roughs, and Poa annua, Bentgrass greens with subtle undulations. The North Course at Detroit Golf Club featured the standard breakdown of four par-3s, 10-par-4s, and four par-5s.
There is little doubt that this year’s Rocket Mortgage Classic had one of the weakest fields of the year, coupled with playing on a course considered one of the easiest on the PGA Tour rotation. It was another high scoring birdie-fest, which is exactly what the PGA Tour, with all its other problems, didn’t need again after last week’s TPC River Highland’s course, host of the Travelers Championship, being called “obsolete” by Rory McIlroy. It’s beginning to look like a growing number of courses, used by the PGA TOUR and are no longer a challenge for the caliber of golfers competing on them.
Unlike last week’s Travelers Championship, the Rocket Mortgage Classic was not a designated event but saw a full 156-player field compete for the $8.8 million prize purse along with 5 of the top 20 World Golf Ranked players. The winner picked up a $1.58 million paycheck along with 500 FedEx Cup points and a trophy. The 2nd place finisher $959,200 and 300 pts, while 3rd place finisher received $607,200 and 190 pts. With eight events left in the FedExCup regular season, the race is on for players to secure spots in the top 70 to qualify for the three-event FedExCup Playoffs.
Due to inclement weather, tee times were moved up to the morning and groups of three were sent off both tees. The Leaderboard looked like this early on in the final round- 1st Rickie Fowler -20, 2nd Adam Hadwin -19, 3rd Collin Morikawa -18, Taylor Moore -18, Peter Kuest -18. Fowler -21 picked up a birdie on the 3rd hole. Hadwin -20 birdied the 4th. As the final threesomes reach their 5thholes, the rain started to become a factor for both players and spectators. Fowler -22 birdied the 5th hole to regain his 2 shot lead. After half of the first round was completed, it became apparent that weather was playing a major role in keeping scores lower than the past 3 rounds.
The leaderboard remained relatively the same heading into the final 9 holes. 1st Fowler -23, 2nd Hadwin -22, 3rd Morikawa -21, 4th Moore -20, Adam Schenk -19, Kuest -19. A steady rainfall found its way to the Detroit Golf Club making it just a little more difficult to negotiate the challenges of a wet course and the slow pace of play. Morikawa -22 birdied the 12th hole to move into a tie for 2nd. As the final group reached the 14th tee the leaderboard had Fowler 23, Morikawa -22, Hadwin -22, Schenk -20, and Kuest -20. The rain had subsided as the final threesome reached the 16th hole.
There was a 3-way tie for 1st place with Morikawa -23 on the par 5, 17th hole and Fowler -23 and Hadwin -23 on the par 4, 16th hole. Morikawa -24 birdied the 17th hole to take sole possession of 1st place heading to the 18th par 4, 474 yards hole. Fowler hit his drive on the 17th into the right rough and his 2nd shot into the left rough. Leaving himself a difficult at best 3rd shot to a difficult hole location. Meanwhile, Morikawa -24 is the leader in the clubhouse finishing up with a par on the 18th hole. Fowler -23 pars the 17th hole. Hadwin -24 birdied the 17th hole to tie Morikawa -24 with one to play. Hadwin -24 pars the 18thhole. Fowler -24 birdies the 18th hole. It’s a three-way tie for 1st place and headed to a playoff.
Rickie Fowler is the winner of the 2023 Rocket Mortgage Classic over Collin Morikawa and Adam Hadwin with a birdie on the first playoff hole. He picks up a check for $1.58 million and 500 FedEx Cup Points. Morikawa and Hadwin will split the 2nd and 3rd place money and points.
After making birdie on the first playoff hole to seal his first victory in over 4 years and 4 months the happy and popular PGA Tour veteran delivered. He had been winless for four years with his last win came at the 2019 WM Phoenix Open.
“It’s hard to really put it all into words,” Fowler said afterward while holding his daughter Maya. “Obviously a lot of good stuff this year and been playing some really good golf, so I knew it was just a matter of time with how I’ve been playing. I’ve had a couple tough weekends where I had a chance. Winning is great but there is a lot more to life than that.”
Rickie Fowler has played in 315 PGA TOUR events. He now has six PGA TOUR wins. He also has three international wins. He joined the PGA in 2010 and has career earnings of $46,945,942 before today’s winnings. He now has a 6th win to go along with his five previous PGA Tour wins (1) 2012 Wells Fargo Championship. 2014-2015 (2) Deutsche Bank Championship, (3) The Players Championship. 2016-2017 (4) The Honda Classic. 2018-2019 (5) The Waste Management ,Phoenix Open. 2022-2023 (6) Rocket Mortgage Classic.
Detroit is ranked as the worst city in the world for air quality due to the Canadian fires… Dylan Wu albatross on the 262-yard, par 5 14th hole was the first on the PGA TOUR this season…(14) Justin Thomas and (17) Tony Finau led the list of names to miss the cut… 1,347 Birdies were made in the first 2 rounds of the Rocket Mortgage Classic while 1,245 Birdies were made in the first 2 rounds of the Travelers Championship… Max Homa made a Hole in One on the Par 3, 140 yards 15th hole during the final round.