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Horse For The Course: PGA DFS Course History - 2021 Rocket Mortgage Classic

Hello PGA DFS family! The Travelers consistently delivers an all-around great event and this year's edition was no exception, as we had plenty of drama in Connecticut on Sunday evening. After a complete Bubba Watson ejection down the stretch, Harris English outlasted upstart, Kramer Hickok, in a marathon playoff that extended to EIGHT extra holes! Though Hickok hung tough, English played textbook golf to grab his second victory of 2021.

After a great week at one of the PGA Tour's mainstay events, we now head to Detroit for one of the Tour's newer, fledgling tournaments, the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

Horse For The Course is an article that highlights players in this week's field with elite course history and is part of our free PGA DFS content here at RotoBaller. For my favorite DFS plays of the week check out my Core Four article here at RotoBaller every Wednesday. It's part of our amazing PGA Premium package that includes an all-new PGA Research Station, Lineup Builder & Optimizer, and some of the best articles in the PGA DFS industry! You can sign up now using Promo Code: NICE for an extra discount at checkout!

Featured Promo: Golf is back! Come join the fun and win big with RotoBaller. Get our full-season PGA and DFS Premium Pass for 50% off! Our exclusive DFS Lineup Optimizer, Research Station, DFS Projections and weekly DFS/betting articles! Sign Up Now!


2021 Rocket Mortgage Classic Overview

Can a tournament that's set to play just its third edition really be deemed a "Classic"? That is just one of many questions we have to ask ourselves as we head to Detroit for the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

As we ponder on that one, let's also ask ourselves: How many PGA Tour events are too many PGA Tour events? As you formulate an answer, keep in mind that I'm a guy that L-O-V-E-S, I repeat, loves both the game of golf as a whole and PGA DFS specifically...so when I get to a point where I'm wondering aloud if we really need this tournament - one that has yet to make any sort of memorable impression as we half-heartedly stumble into the third year of it -  we've already wandered pretty deep into the woods. There's something I like to call "The Harrison Frazar Rule". Frazar - who I'm sure is a nice enough person - is a player that topped out with a career-high rank of 82nd in the world in 2012 and has a Wikipedia page that starts out: "...is a former American professional golfer...". Basically, what I'm getting at is: if Harrison Frazar is in the field - as he is this week - do we really need the tournament?

Listen, I don't have a problem with the Detroit area hosting a tournament - the old Buick Open was a long-running event in the state of Michigan - and I also don't doubt that this week's Donald Ross layout is a fine golf course, but I just can't shake the feeling that this event feels shoehorned into the schedule because it checks some geographical, financial, corporate partnership, and broadcast boxes for the Tour. It's not Detroit Golf Club's fault. It's not Harrison Frazar's fault. Put simply "it is what it is". Ok...rant over. Let's dig into some PGA DFS, because let's be honest, if there's a golf tournament - needed or not - we'll be throwing in some DraftKings lineups!

You can also find out who the smart money is on by checking out Spencer Aguiar's PGA DFS: Vegas Report every week. And be sure to read all of our other top-notch weekly PGA DFS articles to help you win big!


The Course: Detroit Golf Club (North)

Par 72 - 7,370 Yards, Greens: Bentgrass w/ Poa Annua , Designed By: Donald Ross

Before its PGA Tour debut a couple of years ago, we were all basically guessing as to how this layout by legendary architect Donald Ross would play. The answer is...pretty darn easy, as the pros basically have no trouble at all with Detroit Golf Club, with each edition of the Rocket Mortgage producing winners at 23-under par or better.

It might not be fair to call this layout "cookie-cutter", but that's the impression that I've walked away with after each edition of the Rocket Mortgage Classic, as the event is the definition of a straightforward birdie fest. There are no secrets at DGC (other than a couple of sneaky OB areas)...score on the four Par-5s, strike your irons well, and make putts. As a result, I'll be targeting players this week that have strong approach games, great Par-5 scoring ability, and can rack up birdies in bunches. I never give much weight to putting stats, but I will at least glance at some Poa numbers this week, as players will need to make some putts to go low.

For an in-depth breakdown of this week's course, check out RotoBaller's PGA Premium Course Breakdown by Josh Bennett!


Recent Rocket Mortgage Champions

  • 2020: Bryson DeChambeau (-23)
  • 2019: Nate Lashley (-25)
  • 2018: N/A
  • 2017: N/A
  • 2016: N/A


The Horse

Bryson DeChambeau

Notable Course History: Win (2020)
DraftKings Price: $11,400 FanDuel Price: $12,200

With just two editions of the Rocket Mortgage Classic in the books, no player is going to own extensive course history this week. So even though Bryson DeChambeau has just one start at Detroit Golf Club under his belt, he gets the nod in this week's HFTC.

Obviously, DeChambeau's lone start in the RMC went well, as he outlasted Matthew Wolff for the victory with a score of 23-under par last year. His winning formula was pretty simple...bomb it off the tee and get hot with the putter. He basically pummeled Detroit Golf Club into submission last year, gaining a massive 6.7 strokes Off The Tee and (shocker) leading the field in Driving Distance.

Recreating that success off the tee should be no problem for DeChambeau this week, but he will have a tough time matching his outstanding putting performance from last year. He led the Rocket Mortgage field on the greens in 2020, gaining a ridiculous 7.8 strokes putting en route to victory.

If you play much PGA DFS then you know that putting is the toughest facet of the game to predict from week to week, so we don't know if DeChambeau will have another good outing on the greens. But what we can predict with a high degree of certainty is that if he does once again get hot with the putter, he'll have a great chance of going back-to-back in this event due to his huge advantage off the tee.



The Ponies

Hideki Matsuyama

Notable Course History: T21 ('20), T13 ('19)
DraftKings Price: $10,400 FanDuel Price: $11,900

While Hideki Matusyama’s Rocket Mortgage record is solid - a T13 in 2019 and a T21 last year - it’s probably fair to label it a bit underwhelming when considering the quality of competition he’s faced at Detroit Golf Club. That’s the case once again this year, as the 2021 Masters champion sticks out as one of just a handful of elite options in this week’s watered down field.

Matsuyama hasn’t logged any truly notable finishes since his breakthrough win at Augusta in April, but his game log doesn’t really reflect just how well he’s struck the ball. The Japanese star hasn’t posted a top-10 in four post-Masters starts, but he still leads this week’s Rocket field in SG: T2G over the last 12 rounds with the catalyst being his unsurprisingly-sharp iron play. He’s gained over six strokes on Approach in two of his last four outings and grades out fifth in Birdie Opportunities Gained. As usual, it has been the putter that’s failed Hideki. He ranks just 141st in this week’s field in SG: Putting. It’s not groundbreaking to say that Matsuyama is just a decent putting week away from a win.

Doc Redman

Notable Course History: T21 ('20), 2nd ('19)
DraftKings Price: $7,900 FanDuel Price: $10,100

This is the event where it all started for Doc Redman. Two years ago he Monday qualified for this event and went on to post a runner-up finish to Nate Lashley. The performance kickstarted the former U.S. Amateur champion’s pro career and Doc has been something of a PGA DFS favorite ever since.

Redman followed up with a T21 at Detroit Golf Club last year and looked sharp throughout the fall. He appeared to be on the verge of a breakthrough victory during the Swing Season, posting three top-five finishes between August and November. However, the Clemson product failed to carry that momentum into the new year and has struggled for the most part in 2021. Redman has picked things up as of late though, recording a top-10 at the AT&T Byron Nelson and a runner-up finish at the Palmetto Championship just in the past six weeks. He’s gained strokes on Approach in each of his last five starts and appears to be heading to Detroit with his arrow pointing up.


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Sepp Straka

Notable Course History: T8 ('20), T11 ('19)
DraftKings Price: $7,700 FanDuel Price: $8,900

A pure course history play here, as Straka is a PGA Tour pro that is an overall inconsistent performer, but has been consistently good at the Rocket Mortgage. The 28-year-old has taken a liking to this Donald Ross design, posting a T11 in 2019 and a T8 in 2020 at Detroit Golf Club.

Straka had been in a pretty noticeable funk until last week’s Travelers, missing three consecutive cuts before posting an eye-opening T10 at TPC River Highlands on the strength of a sharp ball-striking performance. He gained a massive 5.4 strokes on Approach last week and now brings that positive momentum to a layout on which he’s thrived in each of the last two years. In addition to his trending T2G form, Straka is historically very good on Poa Annua greens such as he'll face this week at DGC (a Bentgrass/Poa mix). He grades out 19th in this field in SG: Putting - Poa over the last 24 rounds.

Brian Stuard

Notable Course History: T30 ('20), T5 ('19)
DraftKings Price: $7,000 FanDuel Price: $8,100

If you are still reading this article: A.) Thank you, I know it's a tough week! & B.) Let's close out HFTC with some hometown-Motown flavor!

Brian Stuard is a player that we will rarely have in DFS consideration, but there are some reasons to have him on your radar this week. Stuard is a Jackson, Michigan native and Oakland University alum that's very familiar with this Detroit Golf Club layout. After posting "only" a T30 with no fans at last year's Rocket Mortgage, the hometown favorite will once again have a huge cheering section this week and those supporters helped buoy him to a T5 result in the 2019 version of this event.

Outside of the "hometown boy" narrative, we can give him a look due to his solid performance last week at the Travelers. Stuard logged a respectable T30 at River Highlands and has now gained strokes T2G in five of his last six starts. Is this play a little thin? Yes...but so is this entire salary scale and at least it ain't Harrison Frazar.


Win Big With RotoBaller

Golf is back, and it's time for you to win big with RotoBaller! Our PGA DFS Premium Package features several savvy analysts and proven DFS winners.

Our very own Joe Nicely recently took down a big DraftKings DFS tournament for the Travelers Championship. And as an encore, RotoBaller subscriber @tenndolly2 won $100K on FanDuel with the help of Joe and the rest of our Premium PGA team: Between all the incredible Premium PGA DFS content and tools we put out each week, and our Premium Slack Community where we chat with our subscribers before lineups lock, RotoBaller PGA subscribers are armed with the tools, analysis, and advice to win big.

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