With seven events left on the PGA Tour Champions schedule, time is ticking away to finish in the top 72 of the money list and qualify for the playoffs.
Michael Bradley is one player in this week’s 3M Championship field who can put some distance between himself and the playoff cutoff line.
Bradley enters this week’s tournament at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine 70th on the money list, just $10,699 clear of the 73rd spot.
“You shoot 72, 73 in one round out here [on tour] you’re going to get run over,” he said.
Bradley knows all about the thin margin between extending your season into October and packing up until the start of a new schedule. Bradley turned 50 last July, played in nine events on the senior circuit and missed the top 72 by $2,388.
At the 3M Championship last summer, Bradley’s second event, he finished tied for 25th and picked up $14,918. One more made putt would have bumped him into a tie for 17th and an added $5,207 — and a ticket to the playoffs.
“It doesn’t enter my mind,” Bradley said. “I consider being out here over 50 a bonus. I know how close it was [last year], and do I want to make the playoffs this year? Of course.
“But I’m not worried about making the top 72. When I come out here I want to finish as high as I can, but if I don’t it’s not the end of the world.”
Monday ‘pro’ am
Open mike night broke out early Monday afternoon on the TPC Twin Cities driving range. As part of a pro-am event, a handful of local athletes and coaches were invited to participate, and the banter began almost immediately.
Former Twins star Tony Oliva shook hands and took playful ribbing from Champions Tour pros on the range. Another baseball great, Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench, was nearby as well and it didn’t take long for Bench to start offering golf tips. Bench is an avid golfer and played in 11 tour events after turning 50, including the 3M Championship five times.
“Just tell yourself you’re hitting one out to center field, right over the second baseman’s head and don’t try to dump one over third,” Bench said to Oliva after a number of wayward shots.
“Nah,” Oliva said back, gesturing left and right, “Today, I use the whole field.”
Oliva and former Twins reliever Juan Berenguer shared a driving range stall next to Charles Coody, who won the Masters the same summer Oliva won the last of his three American League batting titles in 1971.
“You ballplayers can hit the golf ball a long way,” Coody said.
“Yes. The young ones.”
Three out, three in
Scott Hoch, Craig Stadler and Craig Parry withdrew from the 3M Championship on Monday, opening spots for Rod Spittle, Mark Brooks and Jim Carter.