HomeCar CultureCommentaryThis golf tournament includes an unexpected car show

This golf tournament includes an unexpected car show

Vintage Ford truck, current Indy racer spice a day with the PGA


Don’t you love it when you go to an event only to discover there’s a car show taking place?

My latest such experience took place this past weekend. Knowing I’d be back in Michigan for a few days, Nick called me a couple of weeks ago and asked if I wanted to go to the final round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic golf tournament with him.

Though I’ve played golf for many more years, Nick is a terrific golfer. A few years ago, we did a road trip to Wisconsin so he could watch a practice round of the U.S. Open tournament. 

So when he called about the Rocket event in Detroit, I said, “Sure!” and then I asked him about the cost of the tickets.

“Don’t worry Grandpa,”was the response. “I’ve got this.”

Wonderful words for a grandfather to hear!

Nick is a college student, but worked in health care throughout 2020 and its coronavirus pandemic, and he continues to work at a Michigan hospital while going to school, so now he can pay his own green’s fees and splurge on tickets to see the pros.

But back to the car show: As we were wandering around the Detroit Golf Club where the tournament was being played, we saw the vintage Ford flatbed truck near the 15th green. It’s a promotional vehicle for Valentine Distilling, a small-batch producer of handcrafted spirits founded in 2007 by Rifino Valentine. Its products include Mayor Pingree Bourbon and Valentine Vodka.  

For those not familiar with Michigan history, Hazen S. Pingree was a Civil War veteran, escaped from a Confederate prison and rejoined his regiment, and became a businessman and 4-term mayor of Detroit. He fought monopolies and corruption. His campaign included visits to a number of saloons, and he furthered his reputation as a champion of the people during the depression of 1893 when he sold his prize horse to provide farm tools and seeds so people in Detroit could grow their own food. He also was the 24th governor of the State of Michigan, serving from 1897-1901.

At some point during tournament day, we were hungry and crossed a few fairways, obtained lunch, and saw another car, this one an Indy racer, the No. 16 Paretta Autosport Chevrolet. 

Beth Paretta’s is a racing team staffed 70 percent by women, among them driver Simona De Silvestro, who qualified for the recent Indy 500 but was sidelined by a crash after 169 laps.

The golf was great — it took 5 playoff holes before Cam Davis, a 26-year-old Australian, defeated Troy Merritt and Chilean pro Joaquin Niemann to claim his first victory on the PGA Tour. 

The classic and racing vehicles were nice bonuses. But the real treat was the day with my grandson — and that he bought the tickets!

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


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