Detroit Will Breathe protesters make noise at Rocket Mortgage Classic

©Detroit Free Press

Kevin Kisner tees off on No. 9 during the fourth round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic golf tournament on Sunday, July 5, 2020 at the Detroit Golf Club in Detroit. - Junfu Han/Detroit Free Press/TNS

DETROIT — Detroit Golf Club wasn’t quiet on Sunday.

The first three days of the PGA Tour’s Rocket Mortgage Classic, played without spectators, were so silent that third-round leader Matthew Wolff could hear an ice cream truck playing in the distance.

Just before 3 p.m. Sunday, the noise level at the tournament increased as 75 or so protesters from “Detroit Will Breathe” showed up outside the main gates of the clubhouse, which is near the ninth green and 10th tee box.

The demonstrators brought megaphones to protest against an “exclusive event” that shows how Mayor Mike Duggan and his administration “bends over backward for billionaires,” alluding to Dan Gilbert — the owner of Rock Ventures, Quicken Loans and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“Gilbert and his subsidiaries have heavily bankrolled private security and surveillance in downtown Detroit,” the protest organization posted on Instagram. “They also make large donations to DPD though the Detroit Public Safety Foundation.”

Detroit resident Jae Bass, 24, led the group of protesters. He was involved in an altercation with a police vehicle last week in southwest Detroit. The main Detroit Will Breathe organizers, Tristan Taylor and Nakia-Renne Wallace, were in attendance.

“They could hear the crowd on CBS,” Taylor said on Instagram, “so we did the thing we needed to do.”

The protesters met at 2 p.m. at the Palmer Park Community Building, walked to the golf course and cried out against Duggan, Gilbert and Detroit Police Chief James Craig. There were two armored police vehicles near the entrance to the golf club Sunday, similar to the ones during the first three nights of protests downtown.

An appearance from demonstrators doesn’t come as a surprise. It’s a march “Detroit Will Breathe” has been planning for weeks.

None of the protesters entered the Detroit Golf Club; metal barricades block the entrance, but someone hung a sign for golfers inside to see from a distance.

Protesters were gone by 4 p.m.

At last year’s Rocket Mortgage Classic, about 45 protesters gathered outside the course to protest over labor disputes.

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(Free Press photographer Junfu Han contributed to this report.)

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©2020 Detroit Free Press

Detroit Will Breathe protesters chant Black Lives Matter during the fourth round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic golf tournament on Sunday, July 5, 2020 outside of the Detroit Golf Club in Detroit. - Junfu Han/Detroit Free Press/TNS
Scott Harrington aims on the ninth green during the fourth round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic golf tournament on Sunday, July 5, 2020 at the Detroit Golf Club in Detroit. - Junfu Han/Detroit Free Press/TNS
Detroit Will Breathe protesters chant Black Lives Matter during the fourth round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic golf tournament on Sunday, July 5, 2020 outside of the Detroit Golf Club in Detroit. - Junfu Han/Detroit Free Press/TNS