Minnesota PGA section Player of the Year in 2019 for the 17th time in his long career, Edinburgh USA pro Don Berry earned an exemption into this week’s 3M Open because of that.
He also had hoped to play in the Senior PGA Championship, the U.S. Senior Open and the PGA Professional Championship that qualifies its best for the PGA Championship in August in San Francisco.
Then the coronavirus pandemic hit and the Senior PGA and Senior Open were canceled as was the PGA Professional Championship not once but twice.
The PGA Tour also significantly rescheduled its season and adjusted its qualifying rules. It limited the number of Monday qualifiers from four to two and rescinded an exemption for the local PGA section’s best player so players with limited tour-card status had a better chance to qualify each week.
Berry understands, but …
“It’s still a bummer,” said Berry 58, who has 24 state major title and 250-some tournaments overall. “It was going to be a fun summer, but it hasn’t turned out that way.”
Berry played in the 1992 U.S. Open, the 1998 Hawaiian Open and four PGA Championships, including 2002 at Hazeltine National Golf Club when he made the cut and played with Tom Watson on Sunday in the final round. He also played the 3M Championship on the Champions Tour four times.
He could have attempted to still qualify for the 3M Open but declined. He said he’ll try to qualify for the PGA Champions’ Sanford International in Sioux Falls, S.D., in September if that is played.
Hunting birdies and eagles
Tommy Fleetwood, Paul Casey, Will Gordon and defending 3M Open champion Matthew Wolff will play in a nine-hole scramble for charity on TPC Twin Cities’ back nine streamed live from 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesday.
They’ll be seeking birdies, eagles and aces to benefit Twin Cities organizations — including the Lake Street Council, Urban Ventures and YWCAs of Minneapolis and St. Paul — working in areas impacted by the pandemic and unrest that followed the killing of George Floyd. Birdies are worth $50,000, eagles $100,000 and hole-in-ones $150,000.
There’s also five team challenges worth $50,000 each. Actor Josh Duhamel and Viking Kyle Rudolph will play their parts in an event carried on PGA Tour Live and simulcast on social-media channels for Golf Channel, GolfTV and PGA Tour.
• Featured pairings for the first two rounds of the 3M Open include threesomes of Fleetwood, Dustin Johnson and Tony Finau; Wolff, Max Homa and Branden Grace; Bubba Watson, Pat Perez and Casey; and Brooks Koepka, Keith Mitchell and Charles Howell III. Tee times will be announced Tuesday.
• Jake Kneen from White Lake, Mich., and Calgary’s Aaron Crawford each shot 8-under-par 63s on Monday at Victory Links to qualify for this week’s event. Both are on the Canadian Mackenzie Tour. Ted Purdy also was added to the field.