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3M Open Preview, Picks & Analysis

By: | Mon 01 Jul 2019 | Comments

THE PGA Tour breaks new ground by return to Minnesota for the first time since 2009 with the 3M Open. It will build on the success of the 3M Championship, the current PGA Tour Champions event at TPC Twin Cities. The 3M Championship, which dates back to 1993, was contested for the final time last August.

In 2019, the playing of the 3M Open will mark the first official PGA TOUR event in Minnesota since the 2009 US PGA Championship, which was won in such thrilling fashion by Y.E. Yang over Tiger Woods at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska. It was the first time in his career that Woods took a lead into the final round of a major and failed to win and it signalled the start of a drought that lasted until his memorable victory at The Masters in April.

“3M is honored to welcome the top players on the PGA TOUR to the Twin Cities, and we look forward to the many opportunities this tournament will bring to support our community,” said Paul Keel, 3M senior vice president of Business Development and Marketing-Sales. “We’ve formed a great relationship with PGA TOUR Champions over the last 25 years and are excited to build on that partnership with the 3M Open.”

“We are delighted to partner with 3M for this new PGA TOUR event in the Twin Cities, a community that has shown tremendous support for professional golf over the years with PGA TOUR Champions, the PGA Championship, Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup, and has deservedly played host to the biggest events in sports – Super Bowls, Final Fours, among them,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. “The 3M Open will also continue 3M’s commitment to charity and positively impacting lives.”

3M’s long-time PGA TOUR Champions partner Pro Links Sports will manage the 3M Open. Together, over the past 25 years, the 3M Championship has raised more than $26 million for Minnesotans and their families to lead healthier, fuller lives. Dollars raised from the event have built new operating rooms, funded cancer and heart research and improved emergency rooms in the Twin Cities. As the tournament transitions to the 3M Open, the 3M Open Fund will donate all the proceeds from the tournament to local organizations.

“I would like to thank 3M for their tremendous support of PGA TOUR Champions golf, and with their continued commitment we now have the opportunity to bring PGA TOUR golf to the fans of Minnesota every year,” said Pro Links Sports Executive Director Hollis Cavner. “We’ve been able to donate millions of dollars to charity and we expect to do even more with the 3M Open. This is a true win for Minnesota.”

TPC Twin Cities, originally designed by the legendary Arnold Palmer, has been given a serious upgrade at the hands of Minnesota native Tom Lehman, who oversaw what was called “a competitive enhancement project” in which the par-72 layout was increased from 7,164 yards to more than 7,500 yards with par reset at 71. And tournament director Peter Mele believes the players will like what they see. “I think they did work on almost every hole except for the par 3s,” Mele said. “Either the length of the holes with some new tees, or they reshaped the fairways to make them narrower and a little more challenging for the TOUR players.”

The work began last August after Kenny Perry won the final 3M Championship. “As soon as Monday came along, they brought the work crews out here, and I think they had three crews working simultaneously,” Mele said. “… They did an amazing amount of work, both in scope and in quality in such a short amount of time, to get it all in before the winter set in.”

With The Open Championship looming, the tournament has attracted a decent field, and one of the men to watch is Keegan Bradley. Yes, he is probably the most frustrating golfer to watch on the PGA Tour as he fidgets and fumbles and seems to take an age before finally hitting the ball. Yes, he frequently changes his mind over club selection and seems to get himself involved in interminable conversations with his caddie. But when he finally decides that the time has come to pull the trigger, there is still a world-class golfer in there.

He has missed four cuts this season, including at the US Open at Pebble Beach, but there have been a lot of terrific performances this season. He finished second at the Travelers Championship with four rounds in the sixties, and has five top-25 finishes to his credit. This may sound like a left-field choice, but your correspondent believes Bradley could be a man to watch at Royal Portrush in a couple of weeks. Patience is going to be required and he has that in spades. He is also one of the few players in the modern game with a low ball flight, so if the wind blows in Northern Ireland it will not bother him in the slightest.

Tony Finau is also looking for a big week. In 2018 he seemed to contend every time he teed it up. Such was his consistency that he secured a place in the US Ryder Cup team without winning a single tournament. This year there have been five missed cuts, including three in a row. However, the big-hitting American does have two runners-up finishes and eight top-25 finishes to his name. But if ever there was a golfer who should be winning tournaments it is Finau.

Brooks Koepka, who came so close to winning the US Open for a third successive time, is also in the field, tuning his game for the challenge at Royal Portrush. He is joined by Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Jason Day, Lucas Glover and Patrick Reed.

To Win:

Keegan Bradley. Ready to win again

Each Way:

Brooks Koepka. Simply formidable

Each Way:

Jason Day.  Beautiful golf swing

Fantasy Picks:

Keegan Bradley. Has been playing some great golf

Brooks Koepka. Always a contender

Jason Day. Not having the best year, but that can all change

Tony Finau. Consistency has been missing this season

Patrick Reed. Looking to rediscover his best form

Phil Mickelson. The old boy still has what it takes

Bryson DeChambeau. Has been struggling

Lucas Glover. Gutsy competitor

Cameron Champ. Fighting fit again

Martin Laird. In need of a good week

Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography

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Tags: PGA Tour FedEx Cup

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