Two greens at an upcoming PGA Tour stop were vandalized, police are investigating a chemical spill

According to Darren Nichols, a columnist for the Detroit Free Press (one of Golfweek‘s USA Today Network partners), a pair of greens at Detroit Golf Club were recently vandalized with the PGA Tour scheduled to come to town in less than two months.

The Donald Ross design’s North and South courses combine to form 18 holes for the Rocket Mortgage Classic, which is scheduled to be held on June 29 through July 2.

According to Nichols’ column:

Vandalism at the Detroit Golf Club in mid-April has temporarily shut down two holes on the North Course, where the Rocket Mortgage Classic will be played next month.

Detroit police are investigating an apparent chemical spill on the course’s 11th and 12th greens that occurred between April 16 and 17. Police officials did not offer any details, other than they are aware of the incident, and are actively investigating it.

When I called Wednesday, the Detroit Golf Club declined comment.

But a social media post shows that an enormous area of grass on the greens is brown, the damage in a figure-eight pattern.

According to Nichols’ reporting, Stephen “Sam” Moynihan, head golf superintendent, told members in an email that a lab examination of the grass found “the active ingredient of Round-Up, glyphosate” on both greens. Glyphosate, in simple terms, is a weed killer.

Moynihan wrote in the email that his assessment is that the greens have suffered “very severe tip damage,” not enough to kill the roots of the grass.

But the incident will cause both holes to remain closed indefinitely.

“The greens will need to remain closed to allow the fastest possible recovery time and to keep any undue stress off the plants,” Moynihan wrote in the email, obtained by the Detroit Free Press. “The length of time the greens will take to recover will continue to be weather dependent, the colder the weather, the slower the recovery. I will be working in conjunction with the PGA Tour Agronomy Department to develop an appropriate plan for optimal recovery.”

The vandalism at the course likely won’t disrupt the high-profile Rocket Mortgage Classic, to be held June 27 through July 2.

The tournament layout starts on No. 8 of the North Course, then plays No. 9 of the North. Players then tackle what is normally No. 1 of the South Course before teeing off on what is normally No. 2 of the North and playing the next five holes in order.

Tony Finau celebrates with his caddie Mark Urbanek after winning the 2022 Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit. (Photo: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports)

The back nine is the same as usual for the North, playing in order from No. 10 through 18. The composite course has played to a par of 72 at 7,334 yards for the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

Both the North and the South were designed by legendary architect Donald Ross and opened in 1916.

Last summer, Tony Finau shot a final-round 5-under 67 at Detroit Golf Club to clinch the title by five strokes over Patrick Cantlay, Taylor Pendrith and Cameron Young.

“They say a winner is just a loser that just kept on trying, and that’s me to a T,” Finau said. “How many times do I lose? But one thing I won’t do is give up, and I’m only here as a winner because I chose not to give up and just keep going.”

Finau, 32, became the first player to win consecutive tournaments since Patrick Cantlay did so a year ago at the BMW Championship and Tour Championship. It was Cantlay who produced the biggest threat to spoil Finau’s day. Cantlay birdied five of the first eight holes in his final round, but a bogey at No. 12 was costly. The reigning FedEx Cup champion shot 6-under 66, recording his Tour-best 10th top-10 finish of the season.