The field of 156 players teeing it up on this 1916 Donald Ross design will feature 13 of the top 50 in the OWGR.
Playing to par 72 and tipping out at 7,370 yards for the third consecutive edition, four par-5 holes will be in play on TOUR for the first time since the Memorial.
Top of the Board
Tony Finau (14/1) will try to become the first player in five editions to defend the title. Last year he arrived after winning at the 3M Open in the Twin Cities and his red-hot form continued. Smoking the field by five shots, he only squared one bogey for the week. The ball-striking clinic he put on was immense as he painted 66 of 72 GIR and 46 of 56 Fairways. This time around he's looking for his first top 10 since late April.
Rickie Fowler (14/1) hasn't won since February 2019, in case you hadn't heard. Barreling into town after 62, the U.S. Open record, at LACC (North) and missing chipping in for 59 last week at TPC River Highlands, something is cooking for the Rocket Mortgage ambassador. Playing from the final group at the U.S. Open should have knocked off all the rust. Giddy up.
Many, myself included, thought Collin Morikawa (14/1) was ready to go after closing with a trio of 69s at the U.S. Open for T14. After 74 in Round 1 last week, doubt crept back in. Posting a bogey-free 7-under would have been a story, except he missed the cut by a shot. Making his first appearance, he should be chomping at the bit to rack up Fairways and GIR and go low again.
Justin Thomas (18/1) has added Detroit Golf Club to his schedule for the first time. Considered one of the premiere wedge players on TOUR, he will look to add to his rounds of 62 and 64, and 25 birdies, last week at TPC River Highlands. Finished the week in Connecticut ninth in proximity and T9 on the scoreboard.
Playing for the fourth time in five seasons, Max Homa (18/1) will look to keep his improving trend rolling along. First, he'll need to see the weekend after MC in the last two weeks. Like Morikawa, he dialled in last Friday, posting 65, but it wasn't enough to erase the 72 from Thursday. The best from three visits is T24, but each result has been better than the previous.
Hideki Matsuyama (18/1) also has never posted a top-10 result from three prior trips. When healthy, the Japanese star should devour these Par-5 chances and pound plenty of GIR. We have to stretch back to THE PLAYERS in March to find his last top 10. Playing three weeks in a row and six of eight suggests he's as healthy as he's been recently.
The precocious and talented Tom Kim (18/1) just turned 21. Last year as a 20-year old he posted 63 on Sunday, tying the course record, while cashing solo seventh money on his debut. Later that summer, he went on to win at another Donald Ross course, Sedgefield CC in Greensboro, posting 61 on Sunday. With rounds of 64 and 65 last week, I wouldn't be surprised to see an encore in Detroit.
The composite course at Detroit Golf Club annually ranks as one of the easiest tracks on TOUR. Scoring is the first order of business this week and that should free the mind and the swing. The cut the last two editions has been 3-under. The first two editions it was 5-under. Each of the four editions, 10-under par has produced anywhere from T37 to T52. The top five last year were 20-under or better.
The winner takes home $1.545 million of the $8.8 million purse, plus 500 FedExCup points.
Others to Consider:
Sungjae Im (20/1) registers in the major stat categories this week and deserves a deeper inspection. While T29 is the best from his last five starts, this event should serve as an opportunity to break out and make a ton of birdies.
Keegan Bradley (28/1) played fantastic golf winning his "home game" last weekend. I'm not sure if the celebrations have ended yet! I'm going to let Bradley enjoy the spoils.
Austin Eckroat (45/1) has cashed in seven straight highlighted by T2 at TPC Craig Ranch in another event that demands birdies and low scoring. His next four outings were all T30 or better, including T10 at the U.S. Open.
Tony Finau extended the streak of winners ranking first or T2 in this category to three consecutive seasons. Nate Lashley, who won by six shots in the inaugural event in 2019, is the only player to finish outside the top two. He was hardly a slouch at T5! Three of the four five-shot holes don't exceed 580 yards and will be target practice again this year. Last season 18 players posted 10-under or better on this quartet.
Putting: Birdie-or-Better Percentage
Time to pay off GIR with circles on the card! Three of the four winners have posted 23-under or better, including Tony Finau setting the tournament scoring record last year on 26-under. The top 42 players were 10-under or better. The Bent/Poa greens will run at 11.5 feet, perfect for running putts into the back of the hole. Last year, 75 players made the cut. Last year, 75 players posted 1-under par or better. Score.
Doug Ghim (80/1) has posted T27 or better in his last four, including T15 and T12 in his last two outings on Bent/Poa.
Matt Wallace (125/1) hasn't fired on many cylinders recently, but he perks up when he arrives in Michigan. T10 last year followed his 2020 debut of T12. Guys are going to get healthy this week and next.
Henrik Norlander (400/1) has never MC in three visits if you need a longer shot.
Former TOUR pro Brett Stegmaier (600/1) has been a Monday Qualifier the last two weeks. He posted three rounds in the 60s last week and cashed T56.