After a major and a designated event, the PGA Tour heads back to its regular-season roots with a modest field at Detroit Golf Club for the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
Just one of the top-10 golfers by the Official World Golf Rankings (Max Homa, who is 9th) is in the field, though we do have seven top-25 golfers in action.
We've seen Detroit Golf Club four times now, so we have a pretty good feel for what matters at this easy setup.
How does all of this impact our lineups this week? Let's dig in.
You can jump ahead to any specific section of the piece you would like.
Detroit Golf Club Course Info & Key Stats
Distance: 7,370 (average for a par 72)
Fairway Width: 35.8 yards (60th of 84 courses)
Average Green Size: 5,150 square feet (small: 86% of PGA average)
Green Type: Bentgrass/Poa
Recent Winning Scores: -26, -18, -23, -25
Recent Cut Lines: -3, -3, -5, -5
Key Stats (in Order of Importance): Strokes Gained: Approach, Strokes Gained: Putting, Birdie or Better Rate, Total Strokes Gained
Throw in the runners-up -- Patrick Cantlay, Taylor Pendrith, and Cameron Young (2022); Troy Merritt and Joaquin Niemann (2021); Matthew Wolff (2020) -- and it seems like a foregone conclusion that distance is key.
But it really doesn't bear out in the stats that way. The par 3s and par 4s are really easy, and the par 5s are gettable, too.
You need to score by hitting greens in regulation and putting well (or gaining a lot of strokes around the green to help separate).
Put another way, it's a volatile week, and this weekend, it'll be anybody's game. (Unless, we're talking Money in the Bank. We already know whose game it is.)
Golfers With Great Course/Event History
These golfers have the best strokes gained averages (minimum two starts) in recent years at this course.
Win Simulations for the Rocket Mortgage Classic
Here are the most likely winners this week, according to my win simulation model, as well as their golf betting odds at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Win Simulation Analysis and Best Bets for the Rocket Mortgage Classic
The odds this week are pretty tight and efficient. This is about as long a list as I ever get for golfers with at least a 0.5% win probability, so it's a lot of options chipping away the win equity without anyone in particular going out and grabbing some of their own.
At the top of the board, I'd keep an eye on Collin Morikawa and Rickie Fowler to see if they get to 16/1 or longer. With the Tuesday morning odds, the best value among the favorites is the straight-hitting Sungjae Im at +2200.
The model doesn't mind Keegan Bradley (+3000), but he'd have to go back-to-back, and I don't love banking on that.
Daily Fantasy Golfer Picks for the Rocket Mortgage Classic
All stats cited below originate at datagolf and reference ranks relative to the field over the past 50 rounds. References to my combo model refer to a combination of long-term, field-adjusted form, key stat performance, and hole-by-hole-level strokes gained data.
Best of the Best
Tony Finau (FanDuel Salary: $11,900 | Golf betting odds: +1200) - This is a rare situation where the betting favorite is not the highest-salaried golfer of the week, though it's not like there's a huge gap in salary between Finau and Rickie Fowler ($12,000). It's noteworthy, though. Finau, the defending champion, is second in the field in overall ball-striking and is more accurate (64th) than you probably realize for his distance off the tee (which might be worse than you realize: 43rd). The dominant tee-to-green game is backed up with neutral putting and gives him a high-floor once again.
Sungjae Im ($10,800 | +2200) - It's been a minute since Sungjae really popped, but this is a great setup for him at a course that doesn't demand pounding driver. Im ranks 97th in this field in distance but is 18th in fairways gained while ultimately ranking top-20 in three of the four strokes gained stats. The problem is that the one he's weak in is approach, and that's vital. However, Im is due for positive putting regression even with his great baseline, and the neutral irons overall are mostly just bogged down by a handful of bad events.
Others to Consider:
Rickie Fowler ($12,000 | +1400) - Field-best SG:total average past 50 rounds.
Hideki Matsuyama ($11,100 | +1600) - 5th in ball-striking with average underlying putting splits.
Chris Kirk ($10,200 | +6000) - Good all-around game for the salary.
Aaron Rai ($9,800 | +7500) - This one is a bit scary for one reason: putting. Aaron Rai's tee-to-green game isn't under the microscope. In fact, he's 6th in the field in strokes gained: tee to green while ranking 27th or better in all three individual tee-to-green stats. But he's 116th in putting and is doing so with very underwhelming (24th-percentile) splits from within 15 feet. He's actually due for some regression based on how few long putts he's holed, but that still leaves room to be desired. In spite of all of this, Rai sets up to dominate the mid-range options with his ball-striking.
J.J. Spaun ($9,100 | +7000) - Without much in the way of course history, not many guys have a lot of experience at Detroit Golf Club on the PGA Tour rotation. Spaun does. He has started all four events and has made all four cuts, most recently finishing T8 in 2022 and finishing 32nd or better in the other three starts. Spaun's current game -- 26th in ball striking and 28th around the green -- should have him set up well again here.
Others to Consider:
Ludvig Aberg ($10,000 | +5000) - Mega potential -- but safer plays exist.
Austin Eckroat ($9,700 | +5500) - Early returns show a strong all-around game relative to this field.
Christiaan Bezuidenhout ($9,300 | +9000) - Gets a bump without needed distance; 16th in approach-through-putting SG.
Mark Hubbard ($8,800 | +8000) - Hubbard is just the type of golfer with a particular profile that suits certain courses. He's short off the tee (123rd) but has top-50 accuracy and top-5 iron play over the past 50 rounds. Hubbard has gained strokes via approach play in nine consecutive measured events, and he's a positive putter with good supporting underlying data.
Dylan Wu ($8,200 | +17000) - Wu has a great upside profile: top-20 irons and top-35 putting, which are the two stats that can lead to the biggest strokes gained jumps in a particular week. He's more accurate than he is long off the tee, which doesn't hurt this week. Wu's game has been up and down, but this is the right type of week for him to flash top-25 upside. He's been top-32 or better in four of his past seven starts and missed the cut in the others.
Others to Consider:
Adam Schenk ($9,000 | +9000) - Top-10 putter and solid ball striker.
Lee Hodges ($8,500 | +12000) - Balanced profile and accurate driver.
Ben Griffin ($8,300 | +12000) - Some of the best short game in the field.