Rocket Mortgage Classic: Kid Rock talks golf, Trump, hole-in-one as he hits Detroit Golf Club

Mandi Wright/Detroit Free Press

Rocket Mortgage Classic: Kid Rock talks golf, Trump, hole-in-one as he hits Detroit Golf Club

Golf

Rocket Mortgage Classic: Kid Rock talks golf, Trump, hole-in-one as he hits Detroit Golf Club

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Kid Rock has golfed shirtless in overalls, swigged beers on the links with John Daly, and gone red-white-and-blue for a round with the president.

But he played it low-key on Tuesday at Detroit Golf Club, where he was part of the 313 Area Celebrity Challenge, a three-team scramble, ahead of the Rocket Mortgage Classic PGA tour event.

There were no crazy outfits, no wild shenanigans, not even a drink in hand, as the cigar-chomping Michigan rocker joined a team with pro golfer Rickie Fowler, the Red Wings’ Justin Abdelkader and Golf Channel host Blair O’Neal.

“There’s always tomorrow!” he told the Free Press ahead of the afternoon outing. He’ll be back Wednesday at Detroit Golf Club, where he’s a member, for an 18-hole pro-am competition.

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Shouts of “Let’s go, Bobby!” and “American bad ass!” rang out from the gallery Tuesday as Rock teed off on the competition’s fourth hole. An hour later, it was Rock hollering to onlookers down the fairway as he sliced his drive left.

A team led by Dustin Johnson ultimately prevailed on the day, beating Rock and Fowler’s team through a tiebreaker.

Kid Rock looks on at his drive to the 15th green during the Area 313 Celebrity Challenge during the Rocket Mortgage Classic Tuesday. (Mandi Wright/Detroit Free Press)

As with wild rock ‘n’ rollers like Alice Cooper before him, golf has come to loom large in the leisure life of Kid Rock. He’s uncharacteristically modest about his abilities (“I stay in my lane”), but said he feels less pressure now than when he started playing in public events a decade ago.

He was turned on to the game by his lead guitarist, Marlon Young, with encouragement from drinking buddy John Daly.

“These guys were doing it so much on the road,” he said of his touring band. “And I’m sitting there in the hotel room bored. I had visited every antique shop and strip club when we were younger. So it’s something productive to do.”

Moreover, Rock said, “Where else am I going to spend five hours uninterrupted with the f—— president? Who gets to do that?”

Kid Rock was alluding to his “awesome” March round of golf with President Donald Trump, where they talked politics among “everything else.” Trump, he said, was “down-to-earth and cool.”

“I always thought Obama was cool as s—. I didn’t like his politics, but I’m like: That’s one cool-ass m———–. You kind of have to be for president,” Rock said. “Trump was just off the map, I have to say. And that’s politics aside.”

The May golf outing was Kid Rock’s second encounter with President Trump, following a 2017 White House dinner with Sarah Palin and Ted Nugent.

March also included an outing where Kid Rock nailed his first hole-in-one — with golf giant Jack Nicklaus looking on.

“How do you top that? That’s just my stupid luck,” Rock said, laughing. “After that, golf seems pretty much (pointless) — like, how do you top that?”

Blair O’Neal high fives Kid Rock on the 16th green during The Area 313 Celebrity Challenge at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. (Mandi Wright/Detroit Free Press)

Rock, who splits his time now among Nashville, Florida and his multiple Michigan homes, will be back in front of hometown audiences in September, when he plays four shows at DTE Energy Music Theatre.

Don’t expect the politically charged “stump speech” that marked Rock’s shows here in 2017, when he opened Little Caesars Arena amid a mock run for U.S. Senate that much of the media and punditry took seriously.

“I’m just going to play the jams and entertain,” he said of the upcoming DTE dates.

Rock is a member of the Bears Club in Jupiter, Fla., founded by Nicklaus, and the two have become buddies.

When Rock showed up in camouflage shorts at a pro-am event with Nicklaus, he said he offered an explanation to the 79-year-old legend:

“Make no mistake, Bob Ritchie is a member this club, and he dresses appropriately. But m———–, you’re golfing with Kid Rock today.”

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