Defending 3M Open champion Matthew Wolff had trouble finding his parking spot when he first arrived back at TPC Twin Cities.
He didn’t think to look for it right in the front row.
“That’s a rarity because I’m a ‘W,’ he said. “I’m Wolff, so usually it’s far away.”
Last July, he took home the winner’s check worth nearly $1.2 million for his first victory, in his rookie season no less. This July, he has no need to borrow $60 from 3M Open Executive Director Hollis Cavner, as he did a year ago.
Cavner spotted him the cash so he’d have it to tip locker-room attendants and other tournament workers as needed. Wolff said he already paid Cavner back as he walked away with his crystal trophy after making a 26-foot eagle putt to beat Bryson DeChambeau and fellow rookie Collin Morikawa.
On Wednesday, he couldn’t remember if he had or not.
“He’s already seen me a couple times this week and he hasn’t brought it up, so I’m guessing I paid it off,” Wolff said in a video teleconference from the course. “But I would be more than happy to pay him right now.”
Wolff, 21, called himself happy to be back in Blaine as well after he won there in his third PGA Tour event after he left Oklahoma State and turned pro.
“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “As soon as I got on property, I had all the memories of last year flowing and I got little chills walking in the clubhouse.
“Everybody has been extremely friendly.”
He bought a house with his winnings but considers that more an investment than a splurge.
“I didn’t get myself a sports car or do anything like that,” Wolff said. “I feel like I live a pretty simple life.”
Angus on Angus
Gophers golfer Angus Flanagan, playing on a sponsor’s exemption, gave this scouting report of himself before he played nine holes Wednesday with former Gophers Tom Lehman and Erik van Rooyen:
“I’m long for my height and weight. I’m probably only 5-9 on a good day and 150 pounds after a decent meal. Pound for pound, I would say I’m reasonably long and normally pretty straight with my driver.”
Bringing it back home
Consider this week a sort of homecoming for world No. 42-ranked van Rooyen, who played for the Gophers from 2009-13, met his future wife in Minneapolis and is staying with his in-laws. He’s firmly aimed at getting his PGA Tour card.
“It’s really special,” he said Wednesday. “I’ve received a ton of text messages from people around this area, fellow golfers, Gopher fans.
“We played this golf course a ton when I went to school here. Played the back nine yesterday and all those memories came flashing back. So it’s really special to be here.”
Post-its as art
Golfers will see a 10-by-20-foot mural entitled “Power of Community” on their walk down the 18th fairway. Made partly with 1,100 Post-it’s by local artist Adam Turman, it celebrates Minnesota front-line health care workers & social justice initiatives. Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph and actor Josh Duhamel helped unveil it Wednesday morning.
3M officials announced the tournament is giving $1.5 million to eight major charity partners, with a focus on supporting individuals impacted by COVID-19 and those fighting for social justice.
• Wolff, Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood and Will Gordon raised $800,000 in a nine-hole “3M Open Compass Challenge” scramble for birdies, eagles and aces Wednesday afternoon. Rudolph and Duhamel helped out. The money raised is part of that $1.5 million being given to charity.
• Flanagan’s pinch-me moment playing with the pros came on the range Sunday evening. “DJ turns up on the range and starts hitting balls next to me and I was just like, wow, I had to say is this real? I thought I was in a dream still.”