In addition to continuing to rebound from COVID-19 and a volatile economy, PGA Tour officials recently put in place another potential variable for drawing customers to TPC Twin Cities for the fourth annual tournament. The tour recently suspended any golfer who decides to play for the LIV Golf tour, an organization funded by the Saudi Arabian government and promoted by former major winner Greg Norman. Big-name golfers like Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson, who have played in Blaine in years past, signed on to play.
“Does it make it a little more painful because some of these casual fans would have come out this year to see them? Yep. But, again, that’s on us,” said Mike Welch, tournament director. “It’s on us to market and have people remember this is the best golf league in the world. The 156 players that are going to be playing here are among the 156 best golfers in the world.”
Welch acknowledged that changing faces in the field of play are challenges every major sport faces.
“Our goal is to try to field-proof our tournament,” he said. “Regardless of who shows up, you come to the 3M Open to have an incredible time.”
The tournament will again feature a pro-am tournament on Wednesday, July 29, called the Compass Challenge. Last year the event drew NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley and Transformers actor and North Dakota native Josh Duhamel.
New this year will be an event on Tuesday, July 19, called Golf For All Day, where Welch said hundreds of kids from the Twin Cities will be invited to learn more about golf.
“We’re going to have music, fashion, food, athletes, and ambassadors to introduce the game of golf to these folks,” he said. “It’s always a constant thought for us: how are we introducing the game of golf and the 3M Open to the new generation of fans?”