There's been a lot of talk about who won't be at the 3M Open this weekend. But the field does include last year's Masters champion, a member of the most recent U.S. Ryder Cip team and a former No. 1 golfer in the world rankings.
Here's a list of five players to watch at the tournament in Blaine, which starts Thursday, as well as details about the three-hole celebrity exhibition that will tee off on Wednesday evening.
Rickie Fowler: The fan favorite returns to Blaine for a second consecutive summer in search of a resurgence. He shot a blistering first-round 64 here last summer before fading to tie for 34th. Fowler has won five PGA Tour events, including the 2015 Players Championship, and enters the week hovering on the FedEx Cup Playoff qualification line. The top 125 make it; he's at 124.
Hideki Matsuyama: A two-time winner this season who was fourth at the U.S. Open, the 2021 Masters champion returns for the first time since a tie for seventh in the inaugural 3M Open. He is the highest-ranked FedEx Cup playoffs player in this week's field (eighth).
Tony Finau: The only member of the victorious 2021 U.S. Ryder Cup team to be here this week, Finau enters with a pair of top-five finishes in the past five events. He finished the British Open tied for 28th at 8 under.
Sahith Theegala: The 24-year-old with serious game has enjoyed a breakout season. He shot 62 in the second round of the American Express in January and has five top-10 finishes in 27 events played. He comes to the 3M off a tie for 34th in the British Open, his first made cut in a major.
Jason Day: The former No. 1 player in the world returns to the course after a four-week summer break. Day last played in the Travelers Championship, missing the cut. Before that, Day recorded back-to-back top 15 finishes at the Zurich Classic and Wells Fargo Championship.
Local connections: Fargo's Tom Hoge, a former two-time Minnesota State Amateur champion, finally got his first PGA Tour win at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February and tied for ninth at the PGA Championship a few months later. But it's been a struggle since. He comes to this week's 3M Open with six consecutive missed cuts. Spring Lake Park graduate Troy Merritt is back on U.S. soil after a 30th-place finish at the Scottish Open two weeks ago. Former Gophers golfer Erik van Rooyen withdrew; he is battling injuries and has made just three cuts since March.
Pro-am names to know: The Compass Challenge, a three-hole celebrity exhibition, returns for a third year. It's scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. This year's participants include Larry Fitzgerald Jr., Kyle Rudolph, Adam Thielen, Justin Morneau, Ronde Barber, Mardy Fish, Jake Owen and Roger Steele.
Ticket information: Find it here.