This week, July 1-7, the PGA Tour returns to the area. Blaine is the location of the Twin Cities Tournament Players Club (TPC), a private, PGA Tour-operated golf club. Its course is where the 72-hole Championship will take place.
Over the last 20-plus years, the Champions Tour, better known as the Senior Tour, has had a stop each summer in the Twin Cities. 3-M Corporation is the title sponsor for the tournament, which also raises several hundred thousand dollars for area charities.
It all started at Bunker Hills Golf Course in Coon Rapids for years and later moved to the TPC. Tom Lehman has done much of the redesign of the TPC this past year to strengthen and add length to the course that will better challenge these great players.
He has done a good job as well tightening the wide fairways and adding bunkers. The Tour players hit the ball so far and straight that unless you have knee-high rough off the fairways and around the greens, these gifted, motivated players will find a way to make birdies.
Tiger Woods moves the meter on the PGA, but the Masters champion is not here this week. That was a big loss for the 3-M Open, because when he plays he virtually guarantees a sellout.
Transitioning from the Champions Tour to the PGA locally, golf fans got in free at the 3-M Championship. However, this is a different deal this week. Tickets at the 3-M Open are $45 each to be on the grounds. This will include lots of concerts and a Wednesday Pro-AM tournament.
Many of the Tour’s best are here, including PGA champion and the world’s number-one ranked player Brooks Koepka. So is five-time Major winner Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Jason Day, long-hitting Tony Finau, ex-Masters champ Patrick Reed, and Kevin Na. The great Tom Lehman is also in the field, as is last week’s surprise winner in Detroit Nate Lashley.
The 72-hole championship starts on Thursday, July 4 and runs through Sunday. Over the years Minnesotans have shown their passion for supporting the PGA. The record attendance numbers in 2016 for the Ryder Cup still have many talking.