The new 3M Open added 2015 PGA champion Jason Day’s commitment Monday to a growing field that also includes inquisitive young star Bryson DeChambeau and current Masters champ Patrick Reed.
All three rank among the world’s top 15 players and will compete at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine July 1-7. At least three more “big, big names” are expected to commit in the next three weeks for what 3M Open boss Hollis Cavner calls Minnesota’s biggest outdoor party over July 4th weekend.
“Each week is a bigger name,” Cavner said, “and Jason Day is pretty big.”
A 12-time PGA Tour winner who’s currently ranked 11th, Day won that PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in neighboring Wisconsin and won twice last season. In his past two times out this season, the 31-year-old Australian and 2016 Players champion finished tied for fifth at the Farmers Insurance Open and tied for fourth at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Perhaps most importantly, Day won last season’s Wells Fargo Championship, which is one of four PGA Tour events now run by Cavner’s Pro Links Sports company. It’s a connection Cavner said helped get Day’s early commitment.
“It helps a lot because they know they’re going to be treated great,” he said.
One of the four PGA Tour events Cavner organizes is this week’s World Golf Championship in Mexico City.
Its defending champ?
Phil Mickelson, who won his 44th PGA Tour event at Pebble Beach two weeks ago.
Mickelson and Tiger Woods remain the tour’s biggest draws. Cavner declined to discuss Woods, other than to say he usually doesn’t commit until much closer to an event, and history indicates he prefers to play two weeks before a major, but not the week before.
The 3M Open’s date comes three weeks after the U.S. Open and two weeks before the British Open, which now is the season’s final major.
Cavner and his tournament directors recruit tour stars nearly weekly during a reconfigured season schedule that moved the PGA Championship from August to May, pushed the Players Championship back to its former March date, and will finish its FedExCup playoffs before the NFL season starts in early September.
That condensed season has Woods, Mickelson and many others reconsidering their schedules.
Cavner has rented out an oyster bar one night near his Florida home when the PGA Tour starts its Florida swing next week with the nearby Honda Classic, part of a courtship process with both players and their caddies. His recruiting list includes Mickelson and Woods as well as top 10 players and/or major champions such as Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott.
“We’re talking people who move the needle and sell tickets,” Cavner said about the three commitments he expects in the next three weeks. “Everybody wants to see them.”
2017 Players champion Si Woo Kim, veteran tour player K.J. Choi and now Day are among the international players who have committed as well.
Cavner is selling a Minnesota summer’s holiday week that will include barbecue, food trucks, Friday night fireworks and music that includes a Zac Brown Band concert that same night.
“We’re throwing a huge outdoor party that has golf along with it,” Cavner said. “It’s going to be the biggest party in Minnesota — the biggest outdoor party — you can have.”
The 3M Open also has this going: Players can earn important FedExCup points.
Players must officially enter the 3M Open by June 28 and can withdraw at any time.