As golf fans gear up for the eyes of the sport to focus on Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska for this fall’s Ryder Cup, the 3M Championship is five weeks away at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine.
Construction teams have taken over the grounds. Pallets of wood and metal show the framework for the dozens of bleachers, corporate tents and other temporary structures that go along with hosting a Champions Tour event.
Turns out the grounds could have hosted a PGA Tour event, too.
3M Championship Executive Director Hollis Cavner said Monday there were conversations over the weekend about moving the PGA Tour’s Greenbrier Classic, recently canceled due to severe flooding in West Virginia, to TPC Twin Cities. The idea was to hold the PGA Tour event here beginning the week of Aug. 8, the day immediately following the final day of the 3M. Any money raised, Cavner said, would go to the flood victims.
While the Blaine course and its surroundings would already be set up for professional golf, several things had to happen behind the scenes, including a new management team, volunteers, travel arrangements and other logistics. Plus, the scheduled PGA Tour event for that week, the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill., would have to move to the Greenbrier date July 7-10.
“They’re good people down there; they would have done it if they could have,” said Cavner, who runs several professional golf events around the country. “And we would have been ready.”
In the end it was too much, too soon to happen. But in the future?
“We’re going to get one,” Cavner said of a PGA Tour stop in Minnesota. “I feel pretty comfortable saying it’s going to happen in the future here. And not too distant. It’s really going to come down to getting an open date to make this thing come to fruition.”
Most interesting men on tour
Two-time defending 3M Championship winner Kenny Perry, World Golf Hall of Famers Bernhard Langer and Colin Montgomerie and nine of the current top 10 leaders on the season-wide Charles Schwab Cup points standings highlight the initial field list for the 3M Championship released Monday.
Crowd-pleasers John Daly and Miguel Angel Jimenez are also on the list.
Daly, who turned 50 in April, is one of the biggest names to hit the Champions Tour in some time.
At last weekend’s inaugural American Family Insurance Championship in Madison, Wis., the galleries following Daly were topped only by the throngs hoping to get a look at the exhibition scramble featuring Wisconsin sports royalty Brett Favre and Steve Stricker.
Daly has collected more than $89,000 in the six events since joining the 50-and-up tour. He shot an 8-under-par 64 Sunday, best in the field, vaulting him 44 spots up the leaderboard after two so-so rounds.
“We’re just going to let him do what he’s going to do,” Cavner said. “And he’s going to put on a great show.”
That’s precisely what Jimenez will bring with his contortionist-like warmups on the driving range and boisterous cigar-chomping mannerisms on the course.
Jack’s back, but no Arnie
Jack Nicklaus will return to the 3M Greats of Golf challenge for a third consecutive summer. The 18-time major champion will appear Saturday in an exhibition alongside Ben Crenshaw, Tom Weiskopf and Annika Sorenstam.
However, Greats of Golf mainstay Arnold Palmer will miss the event. He was a late scratch last summer, citing fatigue following overseas travel.
In recent months, Palmer, 86, has missed the ceremonial opening tee shot at the Masters and was unable to attend the U.S. Open even though it was played near his home in Oakmont, Pa.
Tom Lehman, who is expected to make his sixth 3M appearance, said players will miss seeing Palmer around the course. “He’s what made golf what it is today,” Lehman said.