Dressed from hat-to-cleat in his Little League uniform, Blaine McCallister first swung a golf club on a course adjacent to a ball diamond while he was supposed to be warming up for a game.

"I grabbed the club like a baseball bat and hit it about 200 yards with a slight fade," McCallister recalled. "I thought, 'Man, that's pretty neat.'‚ÄČ"

The next day he tried again with much different results. The ball never got airborne.

"Swinging for the fences," McCallister said. "Just falling backwards all over the place."

But McCallister was intrigued by the game of golf.

"The aspect of the ball sitting perfectly still and I couldn't hit it? That made me want to get better and better at it," McCallister said. "I just got hooked."

McCallister went on to win five times on the PGA Tour and comes to the 3M Championship this week in Blaine in search of his first Champions Tour victory.

In preparation, he spent time on the driving range using camera analysis. But when a few other players showed up, it didn't take long for a conversation to start up about the Astros, and the big AL West series with the Angels in Houston.

McCallister has never strayed from his baseball roots. He proudly wears Astros gear on the golf course and has the logo stitched on his golf bag.

He counts several players and management among his close friends and coaches his grandsons on a team aptly named the Astros.

Marquee groups

Friday's first-round tee times for the 3M Championship feature some marquee groups.

The area around No. 1 tee will be a popular gathering spot late morning for Tom Watson's 11:50 a.m. tee time with Paul Goydos and Corey Pavin. The group after that features a trio of big-draw names: Tom Lehman, Bernhard Langer and defending champion Kenny Perry, scheduled to tee off at noon.

Former Masters champion Ian Woosnam makes his 3M Championship debut with Jay Haas and Fred Funk off No. 1 at 11:20 a.m.

Brooklyn Park's Don Berry tees off on No. 1 in the day's last group at 12:20 p.m. while John Harris of Minneapolis is in the day's first group off No. 10 at 10:10 a.m.