3M Open to be played July 23-26 in Blaine without spectators due to COVID-19 concerns

The 3M Open will be played in late July at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, but there won’t be any spectators there to watch it live.

Tournament officials announced Monday that the event, set for July 23-26 in Blaine, will be conducted without fans in the gallery due to Minnesota guidelines in place with the COVID-19 pandemic. The PGA Tour held its first tournament in three months last week, the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas.

The first four tournaments on the modified schedule are being conducted without spectators, in addition to the 3M Open. The tour suspended play for 91 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

3M Open tournament officials say they’re continuing to work with state officials and PGA Tour officials to ensure the safety of players, caddies and essential personnel who will have to be on-site at TPC Twin Cities for the tournament.

“We had parallel plans in place allowing for a limited number of spectators on the grounds, but we understand the need to conduct this event in this fashion as we continue to recover from the pandemic,” said 3M Open Executive Tournament Director Hollis Cavner in a statement. “We’re still very excited about the opportunity to showcase the 3M Open and its community impact to the world through the PGA TOUR’s media partners, including Golf Channel and CBS domestically.”

3M Open officials say ticket purchases made via Ticketmaster will be automatically refunded within the next 30 days.

PGA Tour play resumed last week with Daniel Berger winning in a one-hole playoff over Collin Morikawa to take the Charles Schwab Challenge. Some of the biggest names in golf, Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Rose, Xander Schauffele, Bubba Watson, Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas to name a few, were all within four shots of the lead at the end of the tournament. Schauffele missed a birdie putt on the last hole that would have put him in the playoff, and Morikawa missed a short par putt on the first playoff hole for Berger to win.

Sports fans wondered how it would look, professional golf without a gallery. They did post round interviews from a podium, answering questions from the TV broadcasters. Select players wore microphones during their round. They were socially-distanced on the course, players being careful to make minimal contact with each other. At most, they shared fist bumps after the round on Sunday.

About five weeks from now, the PGA will visit TPC Twin Cities for the second annual 3M Open. Matthew Wolff will have a championship to defend, and he’ll make that attempt without fans watching.

The Charles Schwab Challenge gave us a live event to watch and look forward to, and it felt like a new normal to have a live sport back.