Willie Mack III likely to cut in Rocket Mortgage Classic



The son of a social worker, Mack grew up in nearby Flint, a town that has become synonymous with the loss of manufacturing jobs in America. He was looking for equipment, and when his school team terminated their golf team in the middle of his four years of age, his father moved them to Grand Blanc.

Together with Mac, his new school won the 2004 state championship. Mack won Flint City amateurs three times, and in 2011 became the first black player to win a Michigan amateur tournament. He played for the only school that awarded him a full scholarship, HBCU Bethune-Cookman. He won 11 times.

However, being a professional was not a picnic. For a year and a half he lived in the car, slept in the spare bedrooms of his friends. Insiders knew how good he was, but his entire spectrum of talents remained largely hidden from the wider world of golf. Ryan Lavner of Golf Channel noted that when Mack first worked with renowned instructor Todd Anderson at TPC Sawgrass, as part of PGA TOUR’s commitment to APGA’s minority-focused tour, Anderson asked, “How are you not participating in TOUR yet?”

Mack could only shrug and say he didn’t know, but lack of funds didn’t help. When he qualified for the 2018 PGA TOUR Latinoamerica, Mac – with over 60 minitour titles – didn’t play on the track because the price was prohibitive. However, his career took a quantum leap last year when Farmers Insurance signed him and his APGA colleague Kamai Johnson to two-year contracts as player ambassadors.

Since then, Mac’s fortune has grown rapidly. 2019 APGA Player of the Year and Florida Pro Golf Tour, he replaced Johnson in the 11th hour at the Farmers Insurance Open earlier this year. Although he missed the trial position (74-75), he beat several TOUR winners.

Mac also made it to The Genesis Invitational in Los Angeles as the recipient of Charlie Sifford’s release. He missed the cut again (70-76), but among others finished ahead of Rory McIlroy. Looks like it belonged. Better yet, he had a leisurely lunch with tournament host Tiger Woods, his childhood idol.

He estimates that he has played the Detroit golf club hundreds of times, though not always with such wet fairways and strong winds. Even though he got 6 fewer and only three passes through the six holes of his second round, three scarecrows on holes 7, 11 and 16 resulted in some white knuckle moments.

Mack, whose highest salary to date is $ 37,000, came in 62nd at the recent BMW Charity Pro-Am event on the Korn Ferry Tour. Whether he makes it to this list or not, next week he will play John Deere Classic, which will be another chance to gain a foothold on TOUR.

Birch and Mack were part of a group to watch the Detroit Tigers on Friday night, and Birch felt increasingly optimistic that they would have something to celebrate. “Eight guys are still on the track at 3 years old,” he said, looking at the results. “All eight would have to get to 4 less to knock him out.”

Mack said of a possible cut: “It would be nice. It would be great to have that experience and confidence next week to play on the weekend in my hometown. “


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