DETROIT – The PGA Tour is set to return to Detroit in just over a month for the Rocket Mortgage Classic, but there will be massive changes and strict rules for players due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Detroit Golf Club is set to host the second Rocket Mortgage Classic from July 2-5 without fans. It’s set to be the fifth event on the PGA Tour this year.
UPDATE -- May 28, 2020: Michigan coronavirus cases up to 56,014; Death toll now at 5,372
Last year, the Rocket Mortgage Classic was the most awarded event on the tour, so many major players wanted to keep it on the limited schedule for 2020.
The minute the tournament got the go-ahead, organizers changed course in terms of their charitable focus.
“It’s our new giving initiative,” said Jason Langwell, the executive director of the event. “Detroit by 2025 -- every resident has access to technology, the internet and literacy -- three fundamental things you need to create opportunity for yourself.”
Moving forward, the Rocket Giving Fund will invest in organizations and infrastructure that seeks to ensure 5G internet technology is available across the city by 2025.
As for the tournament itself, there will be massive changes in its second year due to the pandemic.
Instead of sold out crowds, there won’t be fans on the course when the players tee off. Instead, only essential staff members will be in attendance.
“Everyone who comes on site will have a daily risk screening and thermal scanning before reporting to work,” Langwell said. “We’ll set it up like we did last year for tickets.”
Players and caddies will be tested and stay in three host hotels.
“Shinola, Westin, Courtyard," Langwell said. “Half of the field will have been tested (while traveling) before our event. The other half will be tested immediately on arrival.”
Players will only be allowed at their hotel and the golf course.
Carry-out food will be provided.
Players such as Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed have already signed on to play.
“We’re having great conversations with guys like (Dustin Johnson) and Marc Leishman and Keegan Bradley and top 15 players in the world,” Langwell said.
Langwell said the Rocket Mortgage Classic will learn from the four earlier tournaments on the schedule about best practices.
In terms of fan experience, organizers are looking into connecting them with their favorite players virtually in some way.