This week’s 3M Open field is a really nice pre-pre-Open Championship lead-in as attention starts to turn to Europe for the Irish Open, Scottish Open and big boy Open over the next few weeks. Brooks Koepka, Jason Day and Phil Mickelson will all help reintroduce Minnesotans to PGA Tour golf as they haven’t hosted in 50 years.
Let’s take a look at this week’s contest.
What: 3M Open | When: July 4-7
Where: TPC Twin Cities — Blaine, Minnesota
Ranking the field (odds)
- Brooks Koepka (8-1): Not sure how to reconcile him being (by far) the best player in the field with the reality that he only has one top-49 finish in his last six non-majors.
- Hideki Matsuyama (10-1): Having a top-three quietest great season.
- Jason Day (10-1): Only Matsuyama has a better strokes gained number so far this season.
- Rory Sabbatini (30-1): Top fives in three of his last five — coming for the Rory throne!
- Patrick Reed (25-1): Feels like he’s about to find a groove following that T5 at the Rocket Mortgage Classic (might also be me wanting him to find a groove).
- Joaquin Niemann (30-1): We have a 20-year-old Chilean coming around turn three. Please be aware of what’s in your rearview mirrors.
- Bryson DeChambeau (30-1): After three missed cuts in a row, DeChambeau had his first top 10 since January at the Travelers Championship.
- Viktor Hovland (30-1): It’s not just me! Vegas has him all the way at 30-1 to win this week.
- Sungjae Im (40-1): I will holler from the rooftops about Im until you guys start listening. Also, he’s making his 30th start this season!
- Tony Finau (30-1): Three missed cuts in a row, but talent has a way of bouncing back.
Field strength — B+: I’d like to see one more superstar paired up with Koepka. This is certainly a much deeper field than last week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic or next week’s John Deere Classic, but it’s probably second to the Travelers in terms of events between the U.S. Open and Open Championship.
Three things to know
1. Koepka’s conundrum: It could come to define his 2018-19 season. Winning and contending in majors but playing poorly in all the other events. Maybe it doesn’t matter — he’s still the favorite to win PGA Tour Player of the Year — but I’m fascinated to see if a week off following the Travelers Championship helps him regain some mojo heading into the final major of 2019.
2. New-look track: This course was previously used for the PGA Tour Champions for the last 18 years. Tom Lehman helped redesign it last fall to get it ready for Koepka and Co.
It adds needed distance to a short front nine and brings that bunker into play without blowing a renovation budget believed to be $5 million, shared by 3M and the PGA Tour. A new tee costs $5,000 to build. Recontouring the fairway’s lake edge and bunkering to challenge golfers in the tee shot’s landing area costs about $30,000. Phase 2 construction will address issues revealed after the first 3M Open is played.
3. Playing for 2020: There are no Open qualifying spots available, and none of these guys are likely to earn a full card for 2019-20, but they’re all playing for a shot at PGA Tour status by going through the Korn Ferry Tour. That’s a big deal with just a handful of non-playoff events left in 2018-19.
N/A — Inaugural event
3M Open picks
Winner: Hideki Matsuyama (10-1) — He’s ranked sixth in strokes gained overall and is one of just two guys in the top nine who hasn’t won a tournament this season. It should break for him at some point.
Top 10: Patrick Reed (25-1) — I’m going to will this into existence. Let’s not forget what he did the last time he played a big-time event in the state of Minnesota.
Sleeper: Cameron Tringale (100-1) — Three top 20s in his last five events, including a T5 last week at Detroit Golf Club.