3M Championship tournament essentials
What: The 16th of 25 events on the PGA Champions Tour 2015 schedule.
When: Practice rounds and pro-ams Monday-Thursday; 54-hole tournament Friday-Sunday.
Where: TPC Twin Cities in Blaine (par 72).
Tickets: Free all week. The expo tent behind the No. 18 green and a family fun zone (Friday-Sunday) are also free.
Parking: Free (including shuttle service) at the Anoka County Blaine Airport.
Purse: $1.75 million ($262,500 to the winner).
TV: Golf Channel (11 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday; 2-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday).
Defending champion: Kenny Perry (23-under 193).
Tournament 54-hole record: 191 (25 under) by David Frost in 2010.
Tournament 18-hole record: 61 (by Frost in the final round of 2010).
Perry drained a 15-foot putt on the final hole to hold off Bernhard Langer by a stroke. Tied with Langer, who was a group ahead, Perry purposely hit his approach shot over the water on No. 18 into the grandstand, thus receiving a free drop to set up his winning up-and-down. “It’s one of my favorite golf courses with the great 17 and 18 finish, water all over and the go-for-broke par 5 at the end,” Perry said. “[Last year] was exciting, being able to beat Bernhard, the second time I’ve done that to him. I’ve been a little bit of a thorn in his side, but he’s gotten the best of all of us out here on the Champions Tour. He’s been a tough one to beat.” Langer ran a string of five birdies in the first six holes on the back nine to get in contention for a third Twin Cities title (he won in 2009 and 2012).
Heading into this weekend’s Senior British Open there were 13 different winners in 14 Champions Tour events. The list includes six first-time winners. Jeff Maggert is the lone multiple winner, taking a pair of majors in the Regions Tradition and the U.S. Senior Open. Maggert started Sunday’s rain-delayed Senior British Open in England five strokes behind the leaders. This is the sixth consecutive year the 3M Championship falls the week immediately following a Champions Tour major.
Strong field but ...
Five members of the World Golf Hall of Fame — Langer, Tom Watson, Hale Irwin, Tom Kite and Larry Nelson — highlight an 81-player field that also includes 16 players who won majors on the PGA Tour. But Maggert and Colin Montgomerie, the two players atop the season-long Charles Schwab Cup points race, are noticeably absent from the field. That means Langer, who has seven top-10s in 11 events played this season, can close the gap at the top with another strong performance. There has never been a repeat winner in the event’s 22-year history, but Perry figures to have an edge on the field. He skipped the Senior British Open to spend more time with family. Three of his grandchildren were born in the past four months. “I think it gives me a huge advantage coming in fresh,” Perry said. Ian Woosnam, Lee Janzen and Scott McCarron, who turned 50 on July 10, are among the players set to make their tournament debuts.
‘Big Three’ are back
Rain prematurely ended last year’s on-course appearance by golf’s “Big Three” of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. So the trio agreed to come back for another loop around TPC Twin Cities as part of Saturday’s Greats of Golf Challenge. Nicklaus, Player and Lee Trevino will play together in a group as part of the exhibition, which will begin after the 3M Championship leaders tee off. Palmer will act as captain for the team with former LPGA players Annika Sorenstam, Nancy Lopez and Pat Bradley. Sixteen-time PGA Tour winner Tom Weiskopf is scheduled to make his Greats of Golf debut.