DETROIT — The nine-hole exhibition match between Bubba Watson and Harold Varner III against Jason Day and Wesley Bryan at The Rocket Mortgage Classic helped raise more than $1 million toward the tournament’s charity initiative Wednesday.
Watson and Varner won the match and Watson donated $25,000 to Changing the Course.
Rickie Fowler, who is sponsored by Rocket Mortgage and the tournament ambassador, also donated $100,000. Rocket Mortgage CEO Jay Farner pledged $250,000, matching the donation by Workday CEO Aneel Bhusri. The rest of the money came from fans and players.
“When Bubba heard what we were doing with Changing the Course, he let us know he wanted to support the effort however he could, so he put this match together pretty quickly and we can’t thank him enough for getting behind what we’re doing,” Farner said on Golf Channel. “I was talking to Dan Gilbert about how we could spice things up a bit today, so any money that is raised today will be matched by Rocket Mortgage. And when we match the $250,000 donated by Workday, we’ve already got a half-million dollars raised toward Changing the Course. We encourage everyone else to get involved and start making donations.”
All donations will go toward providing internet access, as well as technology and digital literacy training, to Detroit residents as part of the Changing the Course initiative.
Along with donations from the event Wednesday, if a player scores a 3-1-3 on holes 14, 15 and 16 during the tournament, it will trigger a $313,000 donation in their name from what is called the AREA 313 Challenge.
A new wrinkle to the donations this year: Any 3, 1 or 3 individually carded on 14, 15 and 16 respectively will bring a donation of $5,000, $25,000 and $5,000. The tournament raised $1.2 million for charity last year and tournament director Jason Langwell said earlier in the week that he believes they will match or exceed that number in 2020.