Tiger Woods might not be anxious to return to Minnesota, where he's now finished a mere mortal No. 2 in consecutive PGA Championships. But for organizers of major events looking in from around the country and world, the magical past week at Hazeltine National in Chaska is more proof that this is an unusually strong host market.
It's impossible to say how much the Twin Cities and state benefit from the exposure generated by events like the PGA. We've learned never to trust the bloated economic impact figures that get tossed around too loosely by promoters and local officials. Still, there's no doubting that a region often overlooked by media on the two coasts gets a certain boost when the New York Times is using a Chaska, Minn., dateline and Jim Nantz is raving about the area and its residents on national TV.
Unless you're only happy when Woods gets the trophy, the 91st PGA Championship at Hazeltine was a stunning success. Beginning with unprecedented attendance at Monday's practice round, the galleries were large and enthusiastic. There was some grumbling about pricing and long lines for food, but you had the sense at Hazeltine that Minnesotans are seasoned pros when it comes to organizing and attending major events.
If Chicago is selected to host the 2016 Olympics, the new TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota would be one of several U.S. stadiums to host soccer. There's an even better chance that the Twins will host an All-Star game in 2014 at Target Field. After a significant renovation, Hazeltine will be back in the international spotlight in 2016, when it hosts the Ryder Cup.
A couple of years ago a New York-based brand development firm Future Brand studied Minneapolis and St. Paul. Their conclusion: Local quality of life is underrated nationally in part because it is downplayed by those of us who live here. The report was cited when civic leaders launched the "Minneapolis Saint Paul: More to Life'' campaign in 2008.
Marketing campaigns have their place, but nothing beats staging a world-class event in front of a worldwide audience. And that's exactly what the PGA, Hazeltine National and the people of Minnesota just produced in Chaska, with a big assist from an amazing underdog named Y.E. Yang.
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