Inside the Champions Tour: 3M ChampionshipJuly 11, 2008
PGA TOUR staff
This year's 3M Championship will mark the 16th consecutive year for an official Champions Tour event in the Twin Cities. The 3M Championship is also the 18th of 29 official events on the 2008 Champions Tour schedule. This year's 3M Championship will be held in July, the earliest it has been on the Champions Tour schedule since 1997.
The TPC Twin Cities, located in Blaine, Minn., is the 19th course in the TPC Network. The 550 acres on which the course sits was originally a sod farm possessing a total elevation change of only six inches. In addition to the mundane topography, the underlying soil composed of peat, was hardly ideal. Fortunately, sand lay beneath it, and construction crews scraped away the peat and brought up the sand. The peat was then used for mounding and was also utilized as a base for the bottoms of several ponds, as part of a layout that has 27 bodies of water, covering 61 acres. Vast waste bunkers, stretching up to 60 yards and decorated with islands of native grasses and wildflowers, further add to the strategic makeup. More than 400 trees, 20- to 35-feet high, were added to fill in mature existing tree lines. The course was nominated by Golf Digest for "Best New Private Course" in 2000 and has also been ranked as the seventh-hardest course in Minnesota by the Twin Cities Business Journal. TOP FIVE FACTS TO KNOW:
CAN WEIBRING CONTINUE MIDWEST SUCCESS?: D.A. Weibring continued his success in the Midwest with a victory in Minnesota last year. Can he keep it going? Two of his four Champions Tour titles (2004 Allianz Championship in Iowa) have come in this portion of the country as did four of his five career victories on the PGA TOUR (1979 Ed McMahon-Jaycees Quad Cities Open/Illinois, 1987 Beatrice Western Open/Illinois, 1991 Hardee's Golf Classic/Illinois, 1995 Quad City Classic/Illinois). Weibring will try to become the first player to successfully defend a 3M Championship title. Hale Irwin, the only three-time winner of this event, came the closest to winning in back-to-back years. When Irwin was the defending champion at the 2000 event, he finished T2 along with Gil Morgan, two strokes back of Ed Dougherty. On the Champions Tour, the closest Weibring has come to defending a title in three attempts was after he won the 2004 Allianz Championship at Glen Oaks Country Club in Des Moines. The following year at the Tournament Club of Iowa, he lost in a playoff to Tom Jenkins.
FORSMAN TO DEBUT: Dan Forsman will make his first appearance on the Champions Tour at this year's 3M Championship and has a chance to become the first player since Mark Wiebe (2007 SAS Championship), and 13th overall in Champions Tour history, to win in his first start. Forsman becomes eligible for the circuit on Tuesday of tournament week (July 15). Forsman's last of five career wins on the PGA TOUR came at the 2002 SEI Pennsylvania Classic. A native of Rhinelander, Wisconsin, Forsman's best effort on the 2008 PGA TOUR was T18 at the Stanford St. Jude Classic. At last year's 3M Championship, Australian Wayne Grady made his first Champions Tour start in America and finished T53 at TPC Twin Cities.
U.S. BANK CHAMPIONSHIP WINNERS IN 3M FIELD: This week's stop on the PGA TOUR is the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee. A number of former winners of that event are in this year's 3M Championship field. Dave Eichelberger (1971, 1977), Jeff Sluman (1998, 2002) and Dave Stockton (1968, 1973) all won that event twice while Jim Colbert (1972), Jay Haas (1981), Gary Hallberg (1987), Morris Hatalsky (1983) and Jim Thorpe (1985) all won titles in Milwaukee during their PGA TOUR careers.
JACOBSEN OFF THE DL: Peter Jacobsen will make his second start of the Champions Tour since undergoing left knee replacement surgery in March. Jacobsen returned to the Champions Tour at the Commerce Bank Championship two weeks ago.
GREATS OF GOLF CHALLENGE: For the fifth straight year, the Greats of Golf Challenge will be part of the 3M Championship schedule. This year's two-man team, 36-hole, and better-ball exhibition will take place on Saturday and Sunday of tournament week. Players invited to participate include World Golf Hall of Famers Arnold Palmer, Chi Chi Rodriguez, Lee Trevino, Billy Casper, Gene Littler and Tony Jacklin, as well as 1971 Masters champion Charles Coody, Miller Barber and Don January, both major championship winners on the Champions Tour. Team Chi Chi has won the competition each of the last three years. THREE KEYS TO WINNING:
STAY IN THE 60S: In the first 10 years of the 3M Championship, the tournament winner posted at least one round in the 70s. However, the last five winners at the TPC Twin Cities have all had three consecutive scores in the 60s. D.A. Weibring's final-round 67 last year matched David Edwards' score the year prior as the lowest on Sunday by a winner since the event has been held in Blaine.
Winner stats at TPC Twin Cities Year Winner Score Front 9 Back 9 Fairways Greens Putts Distance 2007 Weibring -18 -4 -14 37/42 (.88) 42/54 (.78) 78 282.5 2006 Edwards -12 -5 -7 41/42 (.98) 44/54 (.81) 84 275.6 2005 Purtzer -15 -11 -4 30/42 (.71) 49/54 (.91) 90 312.2 2004 Kite -13 -6 -7 35/42 (.83) 45/54 (.83) 91 306.5 2003 Levi -11 -2 -9 38/42 (.91) 39/54 (.72) 83 289.8 2002 Irwin -12 -5 -7 34/42 (.81) 40/54 (.74) 83 274.3 2001 Lietzke -9 -6 -3 36/42 (.86) 42/54 (.78) 91 276.6
KEY STATS: Take a look at how past champions at TPC Twin Cities have earned their trophies.
Fast facts Purse $1,750,000 ($262,500 to the winner) Defending champion D.A. Weibring Original architect Arnold Palmer Golf, Tom Lehman-player consultant (1999) Course Superintendents Michael Powers Number of Tour events as host venue 8 (including 2008) Course ranking Ranked 26th (out of 30 courses) in difficulty on the Champions Tour in 2007 Yardage history 7,100 yards (2001-present) Grass Bentgrass (tees, fairways, greens); Kentucky bluegrass (rough) Tournament Stimpmeter 11.5 feet Sand bunkers 77 Water hazards 14 holes Course tour Click here First-timers There have been six first-time winners in 3M Championship history, one short of the mark established by the AT&T Champions Classic in 2005 for most first-timers by a tournament in Champions Tour history. First-time winner Year Starts made before winning Vicente Fernandez 1996 9th start Leonard Thompson 1998 9th start Ed Dougherty 2000 69th start Bruce Lietzke 2001 3rd start Wayne Levi 2003 46th start David Edwards 2006 11th start Hole-by-hole Hole Par Yards Avg. Score 2007 Rank 1 4 426 3.914 10 2 4 388 3.974 9 3 5 546 4.681 17 4 3 177 3.017 5 5 4 418 3.991 7 6 5 571 4.819 14 7 4 318 3.767 16 8 3 204 3.043 4 9 4 456 4.172 2 10 4 379 3.901 12 11 4 402 3.841 13 12 5 593 4.81 15 13 3 209 3.198 1 14 4 423 4.082 3 15 4 437 3.905 11 16 4 387 3.996 6 17 3 184 2.987 8 18 5 582 4.599 18 Course record Player
Holes-in-one There have been aces in five of the last 10 years at the 3M Championship. Year Player Hole Round 1998 Bruce Lehnhard* 17 1 1999 Bruce Fleisher* 13 3 2000 Harold Henning* 17 2 2001 Bruce Lietzke* 4 2 2001 Graham Marsh 4 3 2005 Tom Purtzer 8 1
SECOND-ROUND LEAD IS KEY: Over the last 15 years, players leading or co-leading after Saturday have gone on to win the 3M Championship nine times, including seven of the last 11 years. Only three first-round leaders/co-leaders have gone on to win this event.