Every year Hollis Cavner, executive director of the 3M Championship golf tournament, tries to come up with something new. This time he might have outdone himself.
Cavner has added three former women golf stars to the tournament’s Greats of Golf competition. Annika Sorenstam, Nancy Lopez and Pat Bradley will make up one of the three teams in the competition, which will take place during the Champions Tour event at the TPC Twin Cities in Blaine.
Tournament week is July 29-Aug. 4, with championship play beginning Aug. 2.
“We think it will be special,” Cavner said Monday. “Our goal here is to grow the game.”
The Legends of Golf portion of the week will come on Saturday of that week, when the three teams will tee off following the final group in the tour main event. The trio of women — who won a combined 151 LPGA events, including 19 majors — will go against two other teams. One will be made up of Johnny Miller, Dave Stockton and a third player yet to be named. The final team is made up of Lee Trevino, David Graham and Bill Rogers. Arnold Palmer, Billy Casper and Don January will be team captains.
“We think Saturday will be a special deal,” Cavner said.
The rest of the week?
Cavner said the tournament will draw 28 of the top 30 senior golfers on the Champions Tour, though defending champion Bernhard Langer will miss the tournament because of a previous business commitment in Europe.
But several first-time players are coming to Minnesota, including Rocco Mediate, Steve Elkington and Colin Montgomerie.
Other players expected to play include Nick Price, Fred Funk, Tom Lehman and Fred Couples.
The tournament will again have free admission.
Sorenstam won 72 LPGA events, including 10 majors, before retiring from competitive golf after the 2008 season. The last time she played in a tournament here in Minnesota was in 2008, when she played in the U.S. Women’s Open at Interlachen Country Club in Edina. And while she didn’t win the event — she finished in a tie for 24th — she thrilled the crowd by holing a six-iron from 199 yards for an eagle on the 18th hole on the final day of the tournament.