When: Practice rounds and pro-ams Monday-Thursday; 54-hole tournament Friday-Sunday
Where: TPC Twin Cities in Blaine (11444 Tournament Players Parkway)
Tickets: Weeklong general admission to the TPC grounds is free for the second year in a row. Parking and shuttle service to the course is also free, as is admittance to the expo tent (Thursday-Sunday) behind the 18th green.
Purse: $1.75 million; $262,500 to the winner
TV: The Golf Channel (Friday-Sunday)
Tournament record: 193 (23 under par) by R.W. Eaks in 2008
Tournament course record: 62 (10 under) by Dana Quigley in 2008
Last year: Bernhard Langer chipped in for eagle from about 20 feet on the 54th hole to cap a final-round 65 and 200 (16 under par) for the tournament, nipping Andy Bean by a stroke. Scott Hoch closed with a 66 on Sunday and finished two shots back. Tom Kite (203) and Nick Price and Steve Thomas (204) rounded out the top five.
The Greats: Arnold Palmer again leads the tournament within the tournament on Saturday and Sunday, the Greats of Golf Challenge. Chi Chi Rodriguez and Lee Trevino are among the other Greats scheduled to play.
LEHMAN'S 3M PROMISE
Keeping true to a promise he made to tournament director Hollis Cavner last year, local favorite Tom Lehman will make his 3M Championship debut this week. Lehman, 51, skipped last year's event to instead play in the PGA Tour's John Deere Classic, where he missed the cut. He continues to play on both tours this season.
"I think it keeps guys' games sharp," Lehman said. "The quality of play out here is outstanding. There are so many players who are capable of being successful on both tours. I think it makes for a high level of playing, and I think it has benefitted this tour a great deal."
Lehman won the Senior PGA Championship in May and has five other top-10 finishes on the Champions Tour to go along with four cuts made on the PGA Tour this season.
Fred Couples, Corey Pavin, Tom Pernice Jr., and Tommy Armour III are among other 50-and-over players who tour-hop.
"People look at [the Champions Tour] and they know the players, they recognize the players and a lot of times they've grown up watching the players," Lehman said. "And they realize these guys can still really play."
The 3M comes on the heels of back-to-back majors on the Champions Tour schedule: last week's Senior British Open in Scotland and the U.S. Senior Open that concludes Sunday in Seattle. For those competing in all three events -- and there are many -- it's a fish hook-like travel map spanning a mind-boggling number of time zones.
"It's a terrible schedule, it really is," Langer said. "It took me 20 hours ... to travel from Scotland to [Seattle]. That alone takes it out of you."
John Cook, Dan Forsman, Mark Wiebe and Mike Goodes have entered all 15 events on the Champions Tour this season, meaning they've traveled to such destinations as Hawaii, the Dominican Republic and Montreal in addition to the current swing. All have committed to playing in the 3M Championship.
DEFENDING CHAMP ON THE RISE
Langer, 52, is on another hot streak. After leading the Champions Tour money list in 2008 and 2009, he has already won three events this season, including the Senior British Open for his first major, and he stood tied for the U.S. Senior Open lead after the third round Saturday. He is looking to become only the second multiple winner of this event. Hale Irwin won in 1997, 1999 and 2002.
Langer, who has suffered from a bad back since he was 19 and in the German Air Force, credits his success on the Champions Tour partially to his improved physical condition.
"I've always enjoyed working out, staying fit," Langer said. "It's not something I just do because I feel better; I just enjoy doing it. I'm not working out like Gary Player has or whatever, but I still stretch every morning, every evening. And I have workouts in between as well."
Couples, who was tied with Langer for the U.S. Senior Open lead, had yet to commit to the 3M as of this weekend, but plenty of big names will be on hand. Besides Lehman, Langer, Pernice and Armour, Mark Calcavecchia will make his 3M debut. Fred Funk will be back, as will fan favorites Tom Kite, Jay Haas, Hale Irwin, Mark O'Meara and Fuzzy Zoeller.
This is the 18th playing of the tournament, which was known as the Burnet Senior Classic (1993-97) and the Coldwell Banker Burnet Classic (1998-2000) before 3M took over as the title sponsor in 2001. That was also when TPC Twin Cities became host course, after Bunker Hills was host.
One of 19 courses on the TPC network, TPC Twin Cities is a 7,100-yard par-72 design that sits atop a former sod farm. It features various waste bunkers that stretch up to 60 yards in length and has 27 water hazards. None is more daunting than the pond that guards the 18th green some 200 yards out. Many players choose to go for the green in two here. Some fail to make it.