Brian Stuard tees off in the Delta Dental Pro-Am at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, Detroit Country Club. June 26, 2019. Photos by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.
By Jeff Steers
While Rickie Fowler is the posterchild for the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit this week, Napoleon High School graduate Brian Stuard may be the hometown crowd favorite.
Fowler is a spokesman for the Michigan company, while Stuard has the blue-collar attitude that keeps him on the tour year after year.
He will be one of 156 players who will hope to hoist the Rocket Mortgage Classic trophy on Sunday. Rounds begin today (Thursday) and the top 70 and ties advance to play on the weekend.
Consider the facts about Stuard.
There are only three golfers playing at the Detroit Golf Club this weekend in the first PGA Tour event in Michigan in a decade.
Stuard is by far the most successful on the Tour of the three.
In eight short seasons, Stuard has earned more than $9 million – including five seasons of more than $1 million.
He has one win on the tour and has made the cut in three of eight majors over the years.
But it is his Michigan grind-it-out work ethic that keeps him in the top 125 each season – earning playing privileges for the next season. He is 80th in the FedEx Cup Series points
“I am pretty secure in the top 125 right now,” Stuard said Wednesday during the Delta Dental pro-am event. “I am trying to move up in order to play in the BMW Championship or the Tour Championship in Atlanta.”
The FedEx Cup Series playoffs begins Aug. 8 at the Northern Trust.
Stuard said he was excited when the PGA announced the 2018-2019 schedule that included a stop in Detroit. It is the first tournament in Michigan since the Buick Open in 2009. Stuard began playing full-time on the PGA Tour a season later.
“You could feel the buzz when the tournament was announced,” Stuard said. “I have received a lot of ticket and media requests this week.”
Stuard played nine holes at Detroit Golf Club on Monday, did some media work later on Monday afternoon, returned to the Country Club of Jackson to play in an Alro Steel outing on Tuesday, did more media interviews on Wednesday morning, and played in the pro-am later in the day.
“Playing in Michigan is going to be a lot of fun … it is going to be great,” Stuard said.
“This is beyond my wildest dreams.”
Tickets for today (Thursday) and Friday are $55 and $60 respectively. Ground tickets for Saturday and Sunday are sold out. Those interested in tickets may go to the Rocket Mortgage Classic on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @RocketClassic.
Stuard by the Numbers
7:05 – Stuard’s tee time today.
12:35 – His afternoon tee time for Friday.
80 – Stuard is currently 80th on the FedEx Cup Series points board. The top 125 at the end of the season earn playing privileges for 2019-2020 season and advance in the playoffs.
156 – Stuard is currently ranked 156th in the latest official World Golf Ranking.
274.7 – He is not the longest hitter in the world – 200th on the PGA Tour – with a 274.7 driving average.
70.93 – But Stuard is one of the straightest drivers, hitting fairways nearly 71 percent of the time – good for seventh place on the PGA Tour.
17 – Stuard has made the cut in 17 of 24 tournaments in the 2018-2019 season.
Jackson Native and PGA Pro Brian Stuard during the Delta Dental Pro Am at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. Photos by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.