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Breezy Point

Local Golf
September 24, 2017

Rubbing Elbows With The Greats At The 3M Championship
Joe Durant 2016 3M Championship Winner
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Joe Durant 2016 3M Championship Winner
3M Championship Greats of Golf Winners
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3M Championship Greats of Golf Winners
By Tim Cotroneo

Imagine a job that involves rubbing elbows and sharing stories with the greatest names in golf. Since 1996, Jennifer Hines has done exactly that as part of her duties serving as the Tournament Director of the 3M Championship. For over two decades Hines has wooed players like Nicklaus, Trevino, and Player to the TPC Twin Cities in Blaine. Her goal is to treat 3M Championship fans to a field that is second to none.

Hines will tell you that not a year goes by when she isn't awed by the special relationship shared between the PGA TOUR Champions players, volunteers, and fans. "The players get it. They realize and appreciate the behind-the-scenes commitment by sponsors, hundreds of volunteers, and the fans. This mutual admiration allows our golfers to continue doing what they love," Hines said

Executive Director Hollis Cavner, Hines, and the 3M Championship staff work on the details year-round to provide fans with one of the most innovative golf tournaments on the planet. Hines joked that not everyone realizes what goes into running this event that dates back to 1993, and has generated $25 million in donations to Twin Cities charities. "After the tournament is over in August, people regularly ask me what I do for the rest of the year," Hines said.

Headliners Abound In 2017
Hines is excited about this year's strong tournament field. Headliners include defending champion Joe Durant competing against the likes of Bernhard Langer, Tom Lehman, and Vijay Singh. This year's playing roster also includes PGA TOUR Champions newcomers David Toms and Steve Flesch.

One of the 3M Championship's signature attractions is the lineup of players competing in Saturday's Greats of Golf sponsored by Post-It Products. This year's big board features Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and Lee Trevino, as well as Ben Crenshaw, Nancy Lopez, Tom Weiskopf, Fuzzy Zoeller, and 3M multi-winner Hale Irwin.

One of the trademarks of the 3M Championship is that admission to the tourney is absolutely free. The tournament mission is to warmly welcome families, the diehard golfing fan, and nurture those who are new to the game.

Watch The Best Perform The Key Aspects Of The Game
Which part of the game of golf do you enjoy best? Which part do you need work on? Which part do you enjoying discussing with friends? At the 3M Championship you can get up close and personal watching golfers who excel at each aspect of the game.

Driving Distance And Accuracy Leaders
Most golfers will tell you that there is nothing more satisfying than crushing a drive down the middle of the fairway. This year's 3M Championship features several golfers who average nearly 300 yards per drive.

Kenny Perry is ranked second on the PGA TOUR Champions with an average of 298-yards per drive. Tommy Armour III, Brandt Jobe, and Scott Parel are three others who can bomb it.

Anyone who has followed golf for the past decade can probably guess who is the most accurate driver. Fred Funk leads the way while splitting 84 percent of the fairways. Close on Funk's heels are Colin Montgomerie, Olin Browne, Rod Spittle, and Rocco Mediate.

Putt For Dough
The old saying goes, "Drive for show, putt for dough." So who are the best putters on the PGA TOUR Champions?

Scott Verplank averages just 27 putts per 18 holes. Within a whisker of Verplank are Jose Maria Olazabal, Scott Hoch, Mark Brooks, and Stephen Ames.

Stick It Close
Who are best iron players on the Tour? This expertise is determined by looking at the category titled, "Greens in Regulation."

Bernhard Langer is near the top of the leader board in so many PGA TOUR Champions categories. Greens in Regulation finds Langer at number one. Right behind Langer are Tom Lehman, Kevin Sutherland, Scott Dunlap, and Brandt Jobe.

Go Low With Birdies
Making putts could mean the difference between first and second place. If you guessed that Langer is the birdie leader, you'd be right.

After Langer's five and a half birdies per round, you'll find Scott McCarron, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Scott Parel, and Champions newcomer David Toms.

Up And Down
Chipping and a feather touch around the green often separate the good and great player. If you're looking for tips on fine-tuning your short game, the 3M Championship is fortunate to have some of the best in the world on display.

Kevin Sutherland, Rocco Mediate, Jerry Kelly, Stephen Ames, and Loren Roberts are the best of the best in chipping this year.

The Sand Man
Playing from the sand strikes fear in the hearts of many amateur golfers. The professionals see a sand shot as one in which they expect to get it close to the pin.

Marco Dawson gets up and down from the sand 70 percent of the time. Langer, Tom Pernice, Kirk Triplett, and Lee Janzen are four others to watch for sand mastery.

Show Me The Money
If you're wondering who is taking the PGA TOUR Champions to the bank this year, a gentleman by the name of Bernhard Langer is far and away the leader at $1,769,651.

The 3M Championship is also happy to showcase Scott McCarron, Kevin Sutherland, Stephen Ames, and Brandt Jobe in the flush bank account category.

Arnold Watching From Above
The 3M Championship's Hollis Cavner was fortunate to call Arnold Palmer a good friend. Palmer was a frequent player and ambassador at our Twin Cities-based PGA TOUR Champions event.

The 3M Championship crew feels The King will be watching their tournament from the clouds. One of the ways the tourney is honoring their departed friend is by renaming the Pro-Am tent the Palmer Pavilion. During the Greats of Golf Competition, Arnie's Army buttons will be distributed.

A Special Place For Golf Camaraderie
Hines was asked why the 3M Championship has been so well attended by the greats of the game. "I think for them, this place is about renewing friendships and camaraderie. They don't get together very often. It's a reunion. 3M is so supportive, and it's low key. The legends get a chance to yuck it up and enjoy each other's company," Hines said.

The 3M Championship is an opportunity to witness the PGA TOUR Champions' finest players, as well as the Greats of the Game catching lighting in a bottle, joking with each other, and engaging with fans. Whether you're a diehard golfer, new to golf, or wondering what Jen Hines does for the rest of the year, catch the 3M Championship during the week of July 31- August 6 at the TPC Twin Cities in Blaine.


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