It’s not how tournament organizers want it, but postponing the Tokyo Olympics and cancelling or postponing 11 PGA Tour events probably will strengthen this summer’s 3M Open field in Blaine.
That is, IF the coronavirus pandemic that has suspended pro sports leagues is gone, and sports played for spectators return when the tour stop at TPC Twin Cities is due July 23-26.
“While I hate that this has happened, this is great for 3M Open and Minnesota golf fans,” 3M Open executive director Hollis Cavner said by text Tuesday.
The Masters tournament in April has been postponed and PGA Tour events through the PGA Championship in mid-May won’t be played as scheduled. Included in those 11 are the Valspar and Wells Fargo tournaments and a Houston PGA Tour Champions event that Cavner’s company operates.
Cavner expects star players will play as many remaining events as they can to earn lucrative FedEx Cup points and achieve bonuses from their sponsors. There’s also money to be won — the 3M Open’s purse is $6.6 million — now that tournaments with $75 million in prize money have been affected.
“Players are going to have to play every event they can,” Cavner said. “Big names have to play as much as they can.”
The inaugural 3M Open was played over July 4 weekend last summer. Its new date for the foreseeable future comes in late July immediately after the British Open. That would have conflicted with the Tokyo Olympics’ golf competitions. The United States sent four men to the 2016 Olympics while no other nation sent more than two.
Cavner intends to charter a flight to bring players from England to Minnesota immediately after the final round to entice them to play in Blaine.
There’s no knowing if spectator sports will have returned by late July or not.
“We’re planning on it,” Cavner said. “We will be ready.”