MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - The next major championship in golf to hit the Twin Cities is a little more than a month away.
Some of the best players in women’s professional golf will be at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska June 18-23 for the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. The course is no stranger to the biggest events in golf. It hosted the 2016 Ryder Cup, the 2009 PGA Championship and the 1991 Ryder Cup.
Two of the biggest names in golf were in the Twin Cities on Monday to promote next month’s event. Phil Mickelson, currently ranked No. 23 in the World Golf Rankings, and Stacy Lewis. She’s No. 36 in the Rolex World Golf Rankings.
The two were at Target Field to talk about the big event in June. Mickelson is thrilled that Hazeltine is hosting another major championship.
“The way this community has supported the game of golf, it has given me some of the most memorable moments in my career. Specifically the 2016 Ryder Cup, I’ll never forget the way that feel was on the golf course,” Mickelson said. "Being part of the most exciting coming together of a crowd that I’ve ever witnessed or been a part of is something I’ll always cherish.”
To say he heard the roars of Hazeltine in 2016 is an understatement. It helps that Team USA led Europe from start to finish, but the Americans fed off the energy from the crowd.
Mickelson expects the fans of women’s golf to show up and give the players an experience they won’t forget.
“I think the biggest thing is the community and the way the people here support the game. We have the largest crowds, we have the most enthusiastic crowds here,” Mickelson said. “This is a great sports town, and they treat golf the same way. The LPGA is in for a great treat, hosting a major championship in this city.”
Lewis, a new mother to a baby girl, has never played Hazeltine. She’s won the LPGA Player of the Year in 2012 and 2014, the same year she was the tour’s money leader.
She’s also won two majors, the Kraft Nabisco Championship in 2011 and the Women’s British Open in 2013. She’s looking forward to the atmosphere that a major championship can bring to Hazeltine.
“You ask most players and they’ll probably tell you this is the best tournament that we have now. When you show up on the grounds, it feels like a major championship,” Lewis said of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. “There’s a lot of things going and I feel like the bigger you make it, the more people are going to show up. That’s what makes it feel like a major is when the fans really show up.”
In addition to promoting next month’s tournament, the two got to have a little fun on home plate at Target Field. They were tested with a shot challenge at three locations, which were three memorable hits in Minnesota Twins history.
The first was the final hit of Joe Mauer’s career, a double to left center. Lewis hit the target, Mickelson did not. The second was the landing spot for Jim Thome’s 500th career home run, deep in right center field. Lewis hit that target, Mickelson did not.
The third and final spot was a Mauer grand slam against the New York Yankees just over the center field fence. Both Lewis and Mickelson hit the target. If you’re scoring at home, Lewis went 3-for-3.
She’s hoping that will translate to success at one of the biggest women’s tournaments in golf.