TPC Twin Cities may land PGA event
BLAINE, Minn. — On one of his final trips to Minnesota, Arnold Palmer walked the TPC Twin Cities with a notebook in hand, drawing out plans for how he would update the Blaine golf course to make it suitable for a PGA Tour event.
Now Hollis Cavner, organizer of the annual 3M Championship held there, and the course are trying to make the late Palmer's vision a reality.
Partnered again with 3M, the group has made a bid to the PGA Tour to host a tournament in 2019, and it is optimistic it will be granted an event that could be held annually at TPC Twin Cities.
"We feel very comfortable that the Tour is working on our behalf," Cavner said. "I've talked to the commissioner about that, and he's definitely working in our favor. We're just waiting. We can't push them because they're waiting for other people to make decisions. But they've stated that they want Minneapolis on the Tour."
The course is committed to hosting its annual PGA Tour Champions event, which consists of golfers 50 and older, through 2018.
If the PGA Tour approves TPC Twin Cities for an event, it would take the place of the Champions Tour event but would still have 3M has the primary sponsor.
"We've got a great event already," Cavner said. "But this town and 3M both deserve bigger and better, and that's the next step."
The only thing standing in the way of TPC Twin Cities and a PGA Tour event, Cavner said, is a date. The Tour already has a condensed summer schedule and would only want to conduct a tournament in Minnesota in June, July or August.
"They're looking at moving some events out of the summer rotations and finding a spot for us," Cavner said. "If we could play in October, they'd have us one tomorrow. There's no doubt about it. But we can't play then. So we've got a three-month window and that's it. So it really puts a lot of pressure on the Tour to find the right date."
Cavner said it may not be until the end of this year before he learns whether TPC Twin Cities will get a PGA Tour event.
If approved, he said, the course immediately will get to work lengthening holes, increasing the rough, adding bunkers and narrowing the fairways.
Cavner met with Palmer after the late golf star studied the course last summer. He estimated they would add around 600 yards to the course, which plays around 7,100 yards for the Champions Tour.
"If you take the rough in, it's a brute," Cavner said. "We like to tone it down for the Champions Tour because we want them to score low and have fun and make lots of birdies. We'd want the same thing in a PGA tournament, but we would definitely toughen the course up. ... Some holes don't change and we'd leave just as they are. But 12 holes change pretty dramatically."
Palmer designed TPC Twin Cities with Minnesota native Tom Lehman as a player consultant.
If the course lands a PGA Tour event, Cavner said local officials would rely heavily on Lehman to help make modifications to the course.
"We'd want Tom to be a big part of the event if it were here," Cavner said. "We'd love him to be a host. He's a co-designer here. You could make this into one hell of a hard track if you wanted."
While Wisconsin hosted the U.S. Open last weekend, Ohio is the only Midwest state with a regular PGA Tour event.
But after the success of the U.S. Open at Erin Hills in Wisconsin last weekend and the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine in Chaska last fall, Cavner said the Midwest deserves a PGA Tour stop.
"It's definitely time," Cavner said. "I think a PGA Tour event would be tremendously successful here on a yearly basis, without a doubt. We've had nothing but great conversations with the PGA Tour. They'd love to have us on tour. It's down now to getting a date, and they're working on it."
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