Sahith Theegala, Tony Finau among early commitments to 2024 3M Open

Some of the top PGA Tour players in the world will be in Blaine in about three weeks for the 3M Open, Minnesota’s annual tour stop in Blaine now in its sixth year.

Pro Links Sports, the company that manages the player field for the 3M Open, has had challenges seemingly every year and still manages to get big names to Minnesota. The first year, it was over the Fourth of July. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the tournament to happen without fans. The Olympics were sandwiched in the schedule and most recently, players defecting to the LIV Tour and not being eligible to play in PGA Tour events.

The 2024 3M Open currently has 31 players in the field, and some of the top names committed were announced at Media Day on Monday:

  • Tony Finau, 2022 champion and six-time PGA Tour winner, No. 18 in the World Golf Rankings
  • Sam Burns, a five-time tour and currently No. 26 in the world rankings
  • Zach Johnson, a Ryder Cup captain, is making his first appearance
  • Sahith Theegala is currently the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 14
  • Billy Horschel, an eight-time winner, committed Sunday night
  • Justin Rose, an 11-time winner, is making his first appearance
  • Daniel Berger and Brandt Snedeker are in the field
  • Recent fan-favorite Neal Shipley will play on a sponsor’s exemption.

The field currently represents 164 tournaments won on the PGA Tour, including 31 in the past two years.

"Our field at this time has never been that strong with past winners," 3M Open Tournament Director Mike Welch said. "They all know that we are the tournament in this part of the schedule that takes care of players, players’ families and caddies to that next level. That sometimes is a differentiator for them to play or not."

It also helps that the 3M Open is the penultimate tournament before the FedEx Cup Playoffs, meaning players outside the points window can only get inside by playing. That was the case last year for Justin Thomas.

Also back this year is defending champion Lee Hodges. He became the tournament’s first wire-to-wire winner, and it was his first PGA Tour win. Hodges was at the course Monday greeting media and corporate sponsors.

"It’s pretty wild, driving in just came back with all those emotions of last year. I didn’t really know how I’d feel but just super happy to be back," Hodges said. "Every hole, something from last year would come back in my mind, it was just awesome."

Hodges took the early lead with an opening round 8-under par 63. He shot a 4-under par 67 on Sunday, and all but cemented his first PGA win with a 3-wood on the par-5 No. 12 to just a few feet for an eagle.

Coming up 18, he didn’t let the thought of that first win get into his head until he was on the green and had a seven-shot lead, the largest in tournament history. He was looking for his family, and spotted his college golf coach, Alabama’s Jay Seawell. After sinking the winning putt, he dropped his putter and got a strawberry milkshake from his college coach.

"Whenever we won a team tournament, we would go to a Dairy Queen or wherever and he would buy us all a milkshake. That was his thing, he still does it to this day," Hodges said.

He flew home to be with his family and celebrate the milestone.

"Brain cut off and I was just ready to see my people. We flew straight from here to Alabama, we drank a lot. It was awesome, I might still be hung over from that," Hodges joked.

The 3M Open strives to bring in the core golf fan, families and kids and the event seekers. They’re also seeking volunteers, with plans for at least 1,500 already in late July. The tournament has also raised more than $7 million for charity the past five years.

This year’s 3M Open winner will pocket nearly $1.5 million, and 500 FedEx Cup points. The tournament is set for July 22-28 at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine.