Dane Mizutani: 3M Open deserves support of PGA Tour stars who stuck around
Tony Finau, Hideki Matsuyama, and Sungjae Im were the biggest names committed to the 3M Open as of Friday afternoon
If a bunch of washed-up golfers play a tournament in the Pacific Northwest, and nobody cares enough to follow along, did it really even happen?
In the latest installment of the LIV Golf money grab, PGA Tour defectors teed it up this week for a 54-hole exhibition in Portland, Ore. You couldn’t even watch it on television.
Meanwhile, a field without any PGA Tour stars is going low at the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill. Webb Simpson was the headliner of the event. Adam Hadwin and Sahith Theegala had the next best odds to win. Jason Day, the other notable name, withdrew before the 72-hole tournament even got started.
This is an issue.
Though the existence of LIV Golf isn’t a threat to the bottom line, and it likely never will be, the PGA Tour still needs some of its bigger names to step up and support some of its smaller tournaments.
Simply put, the John Deere Classic deserved better. As does the 3M Open at the TPC Twin Cities in Blaine later this month.
Talking to reporters this week, 3M Open director Hollis Cavner teased the participation of some Top 20 players. He said the plan is to announce “a big name per week” in the leadup to the tournament, which runs July 21-24, one week after The Open Championship at St. Andrews in Scotland.
Tony Finau, Hideki Matsuyama and Sungjae Im were the biggest names committed to the 3M Open as of Friday afternoon. It’s a good start.
Now it’s time for other PGA Tour stars to step up, even if it’s a tough ask just a week after the Open Championship.
Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa and Justin Thomas, among a handful of others, have been very vocal about their disdain for LIV Golf. They have all stuck with the PGA Tour despite massive offers to defect like Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed before them.
The morality is admirable. They aren’t willing to take the Saudi money to be a part of LIV Golf. They want to continue to compete against the best of the best on the PGA Tour.
As much as that commitment from some of the biggest names in golf is important, there’s more they can do to actually help grow the game. It starts with making sure some of these lesser-known events are worth watching.
It has been pretty easy to tune out of the John Deere Classic this weekend because of the lackluster leader board. No disrespect to guys like J.T. Poston, who was dialed in, shooting an impressive 9-under 62 in the opening round.
It would be a shame if the same thing happened to the 3M Open in a few weeks.
As the only PGA Tour event in Minnesota, fans come out in droves to show their support, and they deserve to have that fandom rewarded. Plus, there’s a legitimate argument to be made that No. 18 at TPC Twin Cities is among the best finishing holes on the planet. The massive lake guarding the green has already always makes for an incredible finish.
Like when recent PGA Tour defector Matthew Wolff won the inaugural 3M Open in 2019 by draining a 26-foot eagle putt on No. 18. He leapfrogged DeChambeau in the process, and held off Morikawa, who missed a putt with a chance to tie Wolff.
Nowadays, Morikawa is the only person from that big moment still playing on the PGA Tour. He has won a couple of majors since then — the PGA Championship in 2020, then The Open Championship in 2021 — and it would be pretty cool if he was back in Blaine this month.
In an effort recruit some top talent, Cavner has been tirelessly making the rounds over the past couple of months. He even has chartered a private plane back from the UK to get people back to Minnesota in time after The Open.
Here’s to hoping some of the PGA Tour stars are onboard.
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