Last Updated: 2019-06-25
Well, good luck with this week’s golf handicap, sports fans. The Rocket Mortgage Classic has replaced the Quicken Loans National. It will now be played at Detroit Golf Club in Detroit, Michigan instead of the Quicken Loans National at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm. So, we’ve got a new event and a new course.
Odds for this week’s event are on the right-hand side for desktop viewers and down below the comment box for mobile viewers as we see what we can figure out for this week.
(For our good friend Brian Blessing’s thoughts, watch the above YouTube video)
Detroit Golf Club
Sharing a border with 7 Mile Road to the north and 6 Mile Road to the South, this course is very much in the city of Detroit. It hosted the 1992 U.S. Mid-Amateur Tournament, which was won by Danny Yates over David Lind. This is a Donald Ross design and it has a lot of hallmarks of courses in the Great Lakes. The holes are mostly open, so errant tee shots won’t be punished a whole lot, but there is very little space behind the greens.
The North course will be in play this week and comes in at about 7,330 yards and is a par 72. This course will certainly be set up tougher than it is for the members, but still. There are a few traps and hazards, but this will mostly be about pin placements. This week could very well become a putting contest on some unfamiliar greens.
A Rush for Portrush
Royal Portrush, to be exact. This event is part of the Open Qualifying Series. With The Open Championship in Northern Ireland rapidly approaching, this is one of the last chances for players that aren’t in the field for that event to secure a spot. So there’s more on the line than 500 FedEx Cup points and a share of the $7.3 million purse. Players will be vying for the opportunity to play in the fourth and final major of the golf season.
Most of this field is already in there, including guys like Abraham Ancer, Sungjae Im, Keith Mitchell, Graeme McDowell, Adam Hadwin, and Jazz Janewattananond, who weren’t in prior to the Open Qualifying Series. So, it would take somebody well down the board to get an invite to The Open Championship, but it is still out there. Only the John Deere Classic remains on the PGA Tour side after this weekend.
What Are We Supposed To Do Now?
When Harry and Lloyd get to Aspen and Mary “Samsonite” is not listed, Harry says, “Great, what are we supposed to do now?” They then proceed to freeze outside in a public park. Well, it’s not cold in Detroit, but bettors are wondering what they are supposed to do with this event. We have no course form data. This is the first annual Rocket Mortgage Classic. The players, unless they are locals, hadn’t even played this course before practice rounds to start the week. So, we really don’t have a lot to go on.
Name recognition is a start. Dustin Johnson is going off at +560 on a long course that doesn’t require a ton of accuracy. He’s the clear favorite ahead of Rickie Fowler at +1100 and US Open champ Gary Woodland at +1300. Hideki Matsuyama, who has had the ball striking, but not the putting, is the fourth favorite at +1400. Nobody else is priced below +2200 and that is last week’s winner Chez Reavie, who took advantage of a small course in Connecticut.
That leaves us with a tough handicap. There are pretty of noteworthy names, obviously, but this is one of the weaker fields that we’ve had in a while. We’re left to look at recent form and the stats, since everybody is walking into this course somewhat blind.
If you want to look at really recent form, Reavie won last week. Zack Sucher was second for the second time in four weeks. Kevin Tway, Vaughn Taylor, Joaquin Niemann, Brian Harman, and Roberto Diaz are the other guys in this field that finished in the top 10 last week at the Travelers. In the US Open two weeks ago, only 46 players were in that field. Woodland won. Reavie was third. Chesson Hadley was the only other top-five finisher. Only Im and Brandt Snedeker finished in the top-10 three weeks ago at the Canadian Open.
So, it’s been a real mixed bag of late for this field. The two most recent winners are there, but that’s really about it and both of those guys are at low prices.
Stats, Stats, and More Stats
Without course form and with limited recent form, to the numbers we go. It’s hard to even know what stats you want to prioritize here. It is a long course, but it is a forgiving one off the tee. Approach shots seem important with the layout, the greenside bunkers, and the lack of room behind most greens. With that in mind, I’ll look at the combo of driving ability and approach and that brings us to Byeong Hun An at +5000.
Even though this could become a putting event and An ranks outside the top 200 in SG: Putting, he’s 11th in SG: Tee to Green, 36th in SG: Off the Tee, 49th in SG: Approach, and first in SG: Around the Green. If he can make any putts this weekend, he’ll be in fine shape.
If you want a super long shot, how about Wyndham Clark? Clark, who just seems made to be a golfer with the name Wyndham, is seventh in driving distance, 50th in SG: Around the Green, and 10th in SG: Putting. He’s 19th in Birdie or Better scoring. At a ridiculous price like 160/1, you could do substantially worse.
This could very well be the week for a guy like Brandt Snedeker. Sneds is third in SG: Around the Green and 11th in SG: Putting. He’s only at 30/1, though. Vaughn Taylor is an exceptional putter and had a strong run last week at the Travelers. His price is 80/1.
Hideki Matsuyama has done everything except make putts this season. He’ll get a win in all likelihood, but you can wait for a better price in a stronger field. Jason Kokrak was beyond awful on the greens last week in Connecticut, but most of the rest of his game has been solid. A bounce back on the dance floor makes him an interesting guy at 60/1.
Throw some darts here. A favorite could very well win at an unknown course, but this really feels like a good opportunity to play Benny An and Wyndham Clark. Even long prices like a Cameron Smith, who is a far better player than his 125/1 price would indicate. Zack Sucher is still 125/1 with two seconds in his last four events.
Take some shots here at this event.
<< Previous PostNext Post >>