With wide fairways and receptive greens, TPC Twin Cities is the ideal golf course for long hitters.
One of game’s first true big boppers is on his way.
John Daly said Tuesday he will play in the 3M Championship in August, the Champions Tour’s annual no-cut, guaranteed-money local stop for players 50 and older. Daly, who turned 50 last week, plans to knock the rust off his game and enter as many tournaments as travel in his custom RV allows.
“I’m excited, No. 1 to make it to 50 and No. 2 just to be able to have a home to play again,” Daly said. “It’s been pretty tough the last few years not knowing where I’m going to play and waiting by the phone for sponsor’s exemptions.”
The 3M Championship falls the week after the PGA Championship in New Jersey this summer. Daly, the 1991 PGA Championship winner, will enter that field as a past champion then roll west toward the Twin Cities.
“I’ll be there no doubt,” Daly said. “It’s a great sports town [and] not just in football and hockey and everything else. You’ve got great golf fans as well, so I am excited to come there.”
Known for his grip-it-and-rip-it style off the tee, kaleidoscope golf attire and everyman attitude, Daly always has been a fan favorite. That popularity should continue on the fan-friendly senior circuit, where the buildup to Daly’s debut has been featured in national publications and on the Golf Channel.
“He’s going to love this tour,” two-time 3M winner Bernhard Langer told Golf Digest last week.
And the fans surely will show up in droves to get a look at those 300-something-yard drives.
3M Championship tournament director Hollis Cavner confirmed Tuesday general admission this year once again will be free for spectators. An already popular event will only be bigger with Daly’s presence on the grounds.
Cavner is in Houston this week, the site of Daly’s first Champions Tour start.
“It’s huge,” Cavner said of the buzz surrounding Daly. “Surprising, really, just how much interest there is in him. There are a lot of people really looking forward to seeing John play. He brings a lot to the game, and he’ll bring a big crowd up to Minnesota too.”
Daly burst onto the golf scene in 1991 as a college dropout from Arkansas with a mullet who got into the PGA Championship as the ninth alternate.
After he won in his first-ever look at Crooked Stick in Indiana, Daly developed a cult following that has stuck by him through the ups (Daly won a second major, the British Open, in 1995) and downs (battling alcohol and gambling addictions) of his career.
“It’s a great combination, me to the fans here in the States and all over the world,” Daly said. “They really fire me up. Having them on my side is a pretty cool thing.”
Daly admits he “wasted” some of his best golfing days in the 1990s. He hasn’t had his PGA Tour card since 2007. But the Champions Tour is a new beginning for all who qualify. It’s a chance to be a rookie again, and a truly appreciative Daly is ready for the next chapter.
Once the nerves subside, anyway.
“If you’re not nervous on the first tee, then we don’t need to be out here,” he said. “I just hope it’s positive energy and for me and a confidence builder as the weeks go on.
“These are the legends of the game. It’s an honor to be around them again and play against them.”