The AREA 313 Celebrity Challenge kicks off events at the Rocket Mortgage Classic on Tuesday.
The Detroit News
Detroit – Bubba, Rickie and D.J. The PGA Tour is one of the most popular stars on the PGA Tour, but on Tuesday at the Detroit Golf Club, three of the game's biggest stars were just guys out of some fun on the course.
Mortgage Classic, and the highlight of the day was the Area 313 Celebrity Challenge that benefited the Children's Foundation, which honors children who have overcome major obstacles in their young lives.
Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson, three of the best golfers in the world, led three four-player teams in a unique scramble event on Nos. 14-16, a three-hole stretch that has been described as the epicenter of the tournament, with stage seating and vantage points to see parts of all three holes at once.
The pros, however, were far from the only stars . Kid Rock was joined by Detroit Red Wing Justin Abdlekader and pro golfer and Golf Channel host Blair O’neal on Fowler's team. Watson led a team that included Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo, Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard and female Troy Mullins World Long Drive champion. Johnson's team included Detroit native and Super Bowl champion Jerome Bettis, Red Wing Dylan Larkin and pro golfer Paige Spiranac.
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo played in the Area 313 Celebrity Challenge at Detroit Golf Club and said the pressure is almost like the Final Four.
The Detroit News
"It was fun out there with those guys," Izzo said. "I'm glad I didn't have anybody or top the ball and I wasn't playing my own ball, so I could go up and foot wedge it and be up with the rest of them."
From Kid Rock stroking Fowler's long hair on the first tee to Bettis talking smack after a huge drive down the middle of no.
MSU basketball coach Tom Izzo tries a little body English on his putt on the 15th green. (Photo: Daniel Mears, The Detroit News)
After Mullins hooked her first drive into the trees, Izzo duty here that wasn't a good sign for Team Watson.
"She was my hero because of this "I was playing with her today," Izzo said. "Then she hit that first one bath and I said, 'Man, we have to play my ball about yours, that's not good.' But she was great and the people I played with were great."
It was all part of the event that was unofficially kicked off the tournament week, something that could not stop talking about.
"It's huge," Howard said. “To have this event here, especially at my home course – DGC where I belong – is special. To be able to be inside the city limits of Detroit, it's huge. It's great for city. Detroit get this event, we deserve it. ”
It has been a long time coming. PGA Tour has been absent from the state since the Buick Open ended at Warwick Hills in Grand Blanc in 2009. And the PGA Tour has never played in Detroit.
But thanks to the determination of Dan Gilbert and the folks at Quicken Loans, the vision they had years ago has come to life at one of the most storied golf courses in the state. More: Detroit Golf Club's layout bucks trend favoring big hitters
More: Arnold Palmer's grandson to kick off Rocket Mortgage Classic; here are complete tee times
"It's unbelievable to talk to the guys and how excited they are to be here," Abdelkader said. “It's spreading the game of golf and getting an event back here in Michigan I think is important. But having it here in Detroit is something special and part of the whole comeback of the city and the area. ”
Ticket sales have proven that fans are ready for the game to be back.
"Yeah, it's unbelievable," Watson said. "The early feedback from the players has been positive as well as all the corporate suites." "Gosh, what the team has done, what they've done to the city, what they've tried to create here at a golf tournament to Detroit, what a special event. I'm honored to be here and be part of this at a golf course – I played the back nine today. The golf course is in good shape. Looking forward to it.
"But yeah, the event itself, the city, what sports means to this city and what it's done for this city, it's unbelievable. It's just one thing under their belt of sports. ”