3M Championship notes: 'Mr. 59' has unique spot in golf history

  • Article by: BRIAN STENSAAS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 28, 2014 - 9:27 PM

In 1977, Al Geiberger became the first person to shoot a 59 in a PGA-sanctioned event. Chip Beck matched that feat in 1991. Both will be in the 3M Championship.

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in 1966, Al Geiberger showed off his third-round score on his way to winning the PGA Championship. Eleven years later, he became the first person to shoot a 59 in a PGA-sanctioned event.

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It’s a who’s-who of golfing names set to take on TPC Twin Cities in Blaine for the 3M Championship this week. Most had yet to arrive Monday, but one spot on the left side of the driving range housed plenty of history.

Al Geiberger and Chip Beck warmed up for Monday’s pro-am event from the same stall, about 30 minutes apart. The two forever will be linked.

Fourteen years after Geiberger became the first player to shoot a 59 in a PGA-sanctioned event, Beck matched the number in 1991. Only five others have hit the magic mark.

“It’s a number not many have touched,” said Geiberger, who has “Mr. 59” embroidered on his golf bag and hands out business cards with a copy of his scorecard from June 10, 1977. “All my friends say mine is the best, of course.”

Beck might have something to say about that, and later this week two others who shot 59s — Paul Goydos and LPGA star Annika Sorenstam — will be around to throw in their opinions.

Beck and Goydos are in the 3M Championship field while Geiberger and Sorenstam are in Saturday’s Greats of Golf event.

The four, along with Stuart Appleby, recently sat down for a Golf Channel roundtable discussion about breaking 60.

So is a 58 out there?

“Once somebody does something others begin to think they can do it,” Geiberger said. “I think it is, yes. But the problem now is once somebody gets going all the cameras are out there and it becomes a 59 watch. It gets in your head a little. I had no 59 watch. There was nothing.”

Geiberger had never even seen footage of his feat until a retired news photographer found old reels in his attic last year. A surprise viewing was set up with Geiberger and his family.

“This guy walks in and says, ‘I have tape of it for you,’ and here I thought he was ruining the interview,” he said. “But it was a set up deal and it turned out pretty neat.”

Fashion trends

Dressed in green plaid plus-four knickers, James Mason looked the part of an old-time golfer on the driving range Monday. But his fashion choice quickly became secondary once Dana Quigley strolled in.

Quigley donned Smurf-blue pants with a matching golf glove and cap while his caddie’s shirt, shoes and cap looked like they took a dip in yellow highlighter ink.

Field updates

Fan favorite Fuzzy Zoeller will take part in pro-ams and the Greats of Golf events this week but will not play in the tournament. He was replaced in the field Monday by Willie Wood.

Thirty golfers will play for the final five 3M spots Tuesday at Victory Links in Blaine.

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