Daily Fantasy Course Primer: Rocket Mortgage Classic
The PGA Tour heads to Detroit for the first time this week at a new event, the Rocket Mortgage Classic. After changing courses under a variety of names -- Buick Open, AT&T National, Quicken Loans National -- this event has been uprooted to accommodate the new sponsor's home turf. Rocket Mortgage (an arm of Quicken) has the naming rights, and the Detroit-based mortgage giant now has a Tour event of its own hosted at the Detroit Golf Club.
Detroit GC has two courses. The tournament will be held primarily at the North Course with one hole borrowed from its sister, the South Course's par 4 13th. The tournament course will play at 7,309 yards to its par 72, making it just a bit shorter than average. Trees line the fairways at this Donald Ross-designed track, and the length primarily comes on the par 3s and par 5s, with all but one of the par 4s less than 450 yards.
The rough is being grown out to challenge the Tour pros, possibly starting at about three and a half inches and growing out from there according to the course superintendent. At the same time, greens will be mowed down as tight as possible to try to speed them up.
Storms are in the forecast for the early-middle part of the week, which could slow the greens a bit but also make the rough even more penal.
Let's dig into the course and see what stats we can use to build our daily fantasy lineups this week.
Course and Tournament Info
Course: Detroit Golf Club
Distance: 7,334 yards
Tees/Fairways/Rough: Ryegrass, poa annua, plus bent creeping in
Greens: Poa annua with some bentgrass
So how should Detroit Golf Club be expected to play in its debut? The most recent example of a new course in the Tour rotation is Trinity Forest in Texas, new home of the AT&T Byron Nelson as of last year. While the courses couldn't be more different to the eye (despite the name, Trinity Forest has no trees whatsoever), their common ground lies in the relative inexperience of the staff and what it takes to make a course challenging for the best in the world. Trinity Forest played as one of the seven easiest courses in its debut year and is in the bottom 10 so far this season.
This course has had less than a year to get up to championship caliber, and while the intentions are pure, it would be a surprise to see Detroit Golf Club put up much of a fight. The winner will once again push past 20-under par, and the cut line could be as low as -4 or even -5.
The only geographical course comparison is Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomington Hills, Michigan that last hosted the 2016 U.S. Amateur Open and the 2008 PGA Championship. Not a lot there.
There are some recent corollaries, however, as each of the last two non-major events -- the RBC Canadian Open and the Travelers Championship -- are played up north and feature a bent/poa mixture. Hamilton Golf & Country Club and TPC River Highlands play on the short side at under 7,000 yards, but they are also par 70s with two fewer par 5s. TPC Boston, erstwhile home of the Dell Technologies Championship leg of the playoff event (and future host of the Northern Trust leg), also overlaps in grass types and climate while more closely correlating in distance at 7,342 yards.
All three course have tree-lined views off the tee and off a risk-reward proposition with penal rough dissuading golfers from bombing driver every hole. Detroit will likely pose a similar challenge.
These stats will be key to success in the Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club.
|Key Stats for the Rocket Mortgage Classic|
|Strokes Gained: Tee to Green|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Strokes Gained: Par 5s|
|Birdies or Better Gained|
The above stats are an evergreen blend of DFS goodness. Tee to green bakes in every aspect of a golfer's game except putting, focusing on the consistent, sustainable parts of a golfer's game while ignoring the most variant aspect. As noted this past week, putting is fickle enough that Keegan Bradley can gain 9.484 strokes putting in a single event and Jason Kokrak can lose 7.547 strokes putting in just two rounds.
Focusing on birdie makers who gain strokes with their irons is the blueprint at just about every course, so why not here? You can highlight golfers who succeed on easier courses or overlap in the above events, but the samples are so small for Hamilton that the data is hardly foolproof.
Par 5s will be the key here. With four surefire birdie opportunities to boost scoring, failing to take advantage on Thursday and Friday will be a quick path to the couch for the weekend.
Course History Studs
None! Stick with the stats this week and play the best guys.
Mike Rodden is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Rodden also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mike_rodden. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.