3M Open officials confident about future despite not being designated event
MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - The 3M Open is entering its fifth year at TPC Twin Cities, and the now annual PGA Tour stop in Blaine has consistently had competitive fields despite challenges every year.
The 2023 3M Open is set for July 27-30, a week after the British Open. In its inaugural year in 2019, they made the bold choice to put it the same week as the Fourth of July holiday, a popular cabin and lake week in Minnesota. In 2020, they lost players to the Summer Olympics, and had no fans on-site due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last year, fans returned in waves to TPC Twin Cities despite the LIV Tour emerging and grabbing some of golf’s top names. The 3M Open past champions include Matthew Wolff, Michael Thompson, Cameron Champ and Tony Finau last year.
The 3M Open’s newest challenge? The PGA Tour putting designated events on the schedule to keep the top players in the world on the tour. The 3M Open currently is not a designated event for 2023 or 2024. They consist of eight events featuring 70-80 players with no 36-hole cuts and bigger prize purses for top finishers, a direct response to the LIV Tour.
Fox 9 caught up with Tournament Director Mike Welch to talk about how the changes impact the 3M Open, and what’s to come going forward.
HOW WILL NOT BEING A DESIGNATED EVENT IMPACT THE PLAYER FIELD?
We’re the second to last event before the FedEx Cup Playoffs. If the playoffs were to start next week and the 3M Open was happening, there would be some really interesting names that would not be in the playoffs. Justin Thomas, Hideki Matsuyama, Tommy Fleetwood, Cameron Young, Will Zalatoris, all those folks would need to play in the 3M Open to get in the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Will that stay that way? Don’t know. But we know that just in the names from the top 60-125, there are some great golfers there. We just know that our field organically is going to be stronger this year than it has been in past years. We’re really excited about what the field is going to look like for 2023.
CAN YOU STILL ATTRACT TOP PLAYERS DESPITE LIV AND DESIGNATED EVENTS?
We’re amongst the best on tour with taking care of the players, their families, their caddies, their support staff. It’s Minnesota in July, right? It’s amazing weather, and it’s a beautiful place to come play a great golf course. So we think that our field, for as great as it’s been, will only be enhanced by what has happened here. Will we become a designated event? Don’t know. But if we’re not, we feel really strongly about how our field is going to be leading up to that.
HOW CAN TONY FINAU WINNING LAST YEAR IMPACT THE 3M OPEN?
It’s extra special having Tony win it. Of course we love it when a top 15 player in the world wins our tournament. It gives a little bit of extra credibility for our tournament, our golf course. Tony has been great for us, and he wants to make sure that the fans of Minnesota know this is an awesome time for them to come out and see this tournament. The core golf fans will always be here for the tournament, but the golf curious fans, we want them to come see what the 3M Open is all about. We’re just really hopeful that a guy like Tony’s stature will help elevate our tournament across the board.
WHAT KEEPS PLAYERS COMING BACK?
I feel like this is our first normal second year, if that makes sense. We now feel like there’s a little bit of momentum behind the 3M Open. Part of it is we feel like we’re a destination for PGA Tour players when it comes to our field. It’s summer in July here in Minnesota, it is a great place. It’s not like we’re May 1 and we’re going to be challenged to do something outside. We’re biased, we think we put on a really great golf tournament. It’s a course you can make a ton of birdies on if you’re playing well and if you’re not, you’re going to contribute to one of the 301 balls that went in the water last year, which was the most on tour. We’re going to do some really fun things around hole 18 this year, which is one of the best finishing holes on tour.
The 3M Open is guaranteed for three more years in Blaine, but discussions are ongoing to keep it in Minnesota long-term.