The return of the fans. The roar of the crowd giving golf hits. The familiar hum of Bob Carmack’s planes circling overhead.
On Thursday, the first round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic at the Detroit Golf Club was surprisingly normal.
Fans returned in droves for the PGA Tour event, which was closed to spectators last summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands of people roamed the field in northwestern Detroit, often following fan favorites, with virtually no masks to be seen.
“We came here from Grand Rapids,” said Chris Werry as he helped his wife Christine cover her children with sunscreen under the tree at Hole 2. “We are very happy to be back without a mask. We were here for the first time. one in 2019 “.
Ticket sales figures have not been released, but officials said they expect sales to be similar to the opening year. Star field, including returning champion Bryson DeShambeau as well as PGA Championship Winner Phil Mickelsonhelped sell goose tickets.
Tournament Director Jason Langwell said Crane The corporate chalets and reception areas around the field were nearly sold out last month. As in previous years, title sponsor Rocket Mortgage has placed their signage around the T-shirts and greens at each hole. JP Morgan Chase and Cadillac are sponsors with private lounges overlooking Hole 18.
But the newest and already the largest category of sponsors is sports betting. FanDuel, WynnBET, Golden Nugget, DraftKings and PointsBet are activated at the event.
The day started off sunny and cooler than it had at the start of the week, when electricity was cut for several hours at the Detroit golf club on Wednesday morning due to a severe thunderstorm. The rain, which rose again around noon Thursday, made the earths damp and green, ready to give up the birds. Brandon Hagee entered the club at 7 below par – so far the low round of the day, although many others have a better chance of finishing.
As in 2019, drama awaited the audience on the ground and in the sky. Several planes, allegedly funded by local businessman Carmack, carried banners insulting Mayor Mike Duggan and his recently announced engagement Sone Hassan.