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Breezy Point

Local Golf
November 23, 2017

The 3M Championship...Will History Repeat Itself?
In 2014 Gary, Jack and Lee watch their birdie putt go in on #14.
+ click to enlarge
In 2014 Gary, Jack and Lee watch their birdie putt go in on #14.
Record crowds at the 2014 3M Championship.
+ click to enlarge
Record crowds at the 2014 3M Championship.
By Jim McNaney

Over the years, Minnesota has played a historic part in the world of golf. Whether it is Bobby Jones winning the 3rd leg of the Grand Slam in 1930 at Interlachen Country Club, players like Raymond Floyd or Mike Souchack winning the St. Paul Open at Keller Golf Course in the 1950's and 60's, or the upcoming Ryder Cup at Hazeltine in 2016, Minnesota had provided the backdrop to some of golf's greatest moments.
Each year, The 3M Championship offers another chapter in golf's history book that Minnesota, and Minnesotans get to write. The 2014 3M was described as "historic" due in part to the participation of Golf's Big Three including Jack Nicklaus' first appearance. The 2015 3M promises to be every bit as historic.
Golf's Big Three Are Back
Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, once again, are set to headline the Post-It Products Greats of Golf Competition at the 2015 3M Championship at the TPC Twin Cities in Blaine. The "Greats" competition, held on Saturday of the Champions Tour Event, is annually the largest day of attendance. The addition of first-time participants Tom Weiskopf and World Golf Hall of Fame member Hale Irwin to an already star-studded field that includes Annika Sorenstam "will provide golf fans a world-class viewing experience," said Jim Fall, vice president Global Sales for 3M.
In 2014, the Big Three not only brought out the average Minnesota golf fan, but also found TOUR veterans like 18 time PGA TOUR winner Andy Bean following in the gallery. "I would go out on the course after I played to watch these three guys anytime," said Bean. "This is history. When you can see Arnold and Jack and Gary and Lee, Annika, Pat, Don January... when you can see golf's history." "I was fortunate to have played a lot of golf with them and I just really respect what they are doing," Bean continued.
If you are planning on going out to see the legends tee it up, a good idea would be to arrive early. In 2014, crowds were noticeably larger. Some estimates of three to four times the normal crowd meant parking became scarce quickly. But even with those slight inconveniences, the golf is most certainly worth it.
A Championship In Every Sense Of The Word
An average event on the Champions Tour might get overshadowed by the appearance of golf's greatest legends, but not the 3M Championship. Started in 1993, The 3M Championship (contested over three days July 31st to August 2nd) is one of the favorite stops for Champions Tour professionals boasting a star-studded field of its own.
Kenny Perry is set to defend his title against a top flight field including last year's runner up Bernhard Langer, veteran Jay Haas and professionals with Minnesota connections like Tom Lehman and Rocco Mediate.
Also set to make his return to Minnesota is Hall of Fame member and two-time Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson. "We are thrilled with how the field is shaping up for the tournament," said Hollis Cavner, Executive Director for the 3M Championship.
If you are planning on attending Sunday, we highly recommend staying until the VERY end. In over half of the tournament's history, the winning margin has been a mere one stroke. Birdies and eagles are exciting to see and are in abundance on the 7,100 yard layout at TPC Twin Cities and the 18th hole at TPC Twin Cities has rarely disappointed on Sunday when the tournament is on the line.
In 2014, the Championship came down to the wire with Langer needing a birdie on the 18th to put the pressure on Perry. A par for Langer, followed by a birdie for Perry, signaled his second win of the season and 7th overall on the Champions Tour.
Year after year the pivotal 18th at TPC Twin Cities provides drama unlike few tournaments on the senior circuit. A risk/reward par 5, players looking for birdie or eagle need to drive the ball dangerously close to the water and then are asked to carry that same water to a narrow slopping green. Such a shot requires not only skill, but nerves of steel to pull off on the last hole of a championship.
Charity Is The Real Winner
Like all PGA and Champions Tour events, charity is the real winner. Benefitting healthcare programs at Allina Health's Abbott Northwestern Hospital, United Hospital and Mercy & Unity Hospitals, this year's event will donate $1.3 million. In the history of this event, the 3M Championship has donated over $22 million to charity. "With the support of our sponsors and volunteers, we are able to continue to make a difference in the lives of our community," said Cavner.
Another reason the The 3M Championship is one of the best tournaments of the year is the price of admission. In fact, there is no price of admission. Once again, general admission to this world-class event is free for all spectators. In a time when the golf industry is fighting for every dollar it can, The 3M Championship proves this is really how you grow the game.
The 2015 3M Championship has events the entire week of July 27th through August 2nd. More information about the championship, events, parking and amenities can be found at the website at www.3mchampionship.com. Follow the 3M Championship at facebook.com/3mChampionship and on Twitter @3MChampionship.

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