Scheduled right after Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial Tournament and just before a World Golf Championship in Memphis and the PGA Championship, next week’s 3M Open on Friday finalized a field that includes three players ranked in the world’s top 12 and six in the top 30.
It also includes five of the PGA Tour’s longest hitters, and 3M Open Executive Director Hollis Cavner hopes they will draw a sizable television audience during a strange summer when spectators aren’t allowed at tour events because of the coronavirus pandemic.
No. 4 Dustin Johnson and No. 12 Tommy Fleetwood will make their Minnesota debuts at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine. Meanwhile, No. 6 Brooks Koepka returns after a 65th-place finish last July and No. 19 Tony Finau comes back after tying for 23rd.
Defending champ Matthew Wolff is coming back as well.
Finau is Friday’s Memorial Tournament co-leader with Ryan Palmer at 9 under par. He followed long-hitting sensation Bryson DeChambeau’s lead and “decided to crank some up a little after being inspired by Bryson, seeing how straight he was hitting it and how hard.”
The 2016 U.S. Open champion, Johnson missed Friday’s cut after shooting consecutive 80s in his first start since winning last month’s Travelers Championship.
Fleetwood will play in his first PGA Tour event since last March’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, which was the last tournament completed before the tour and major league sports shut down suddenly because of the pandemic.
“Can’t wait to see these guys on TV like Dustin and Brooks and Tony Finau and Bubba hitting bombs at the 3M Open!” Cavner texted after the 156-man field was set. “It’s going to be a great week in Minnesota and great for charity!”
That biggest hitter of them all — 2019 3M Open runner-up DeChambeau — won’t play in Blaine. Neither will Phil Mickelson, another hitter of “bombs” who didn’t make the cut in last year’s 3M Open. Young star Collin Morikawa won’t return, either. He has won twice on tour, including a week ago, since he tied DeChambeau as co-runner-up.
The 3M Open will be televised its first two days on the Golf Channel and its last two on CBS. Shortly after next week’s field was finalized, a Golf Channel ad promoted Koepka, Johnson and Fleetwood’s “fight for FedExCup points in Minneapolis” during coverage of the Memorial Tournament.
Koepka’s brother Chase, too, is in a field that includes six players who are Minnesotans or have state connections: Tom Lehman, Tim Herron, Troy Merritt, Tom Hoge, former Gopher and world No. 42 Erik van Rooyen and current Gopher Angus Flanagan, who recently won the State Open.
Among other world-ranked players in the field are No. 25 Paul Casey, No. 29 Bernd Wiesberger and No. 50 Rafa Cabrera Bello. Wiesberger, along with van Rooyen, received two of the six sponsor’s exemptions Cavner extended to players.
Others entered are major champions Stewart Cink, Jason Dufner, Lucas Glover and Charl Schwartzel; Lehman also won a major, the 1996 British Open.
Then there are notable names Ryan Moore, a 2016 Ryder Cup member, and Luke Donald, Brendon Todd, Corey Conners and Dylan Frittelli.
Six other players who finished in the top 10 in Blaine last year also will return: Glover, Merritt, Carlos Ortiz, Wyndham Clark, Sam Burns and Brian Harman.