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‘Brutal’ Waiting on Tiger for 3M Open

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June 9, 2019

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Hollis Cavner runs the 3M Open and just like other Minnesota golf fans he’s anxious to know whether Tiger Woods will play in the new PGA Tournament July 1-7 at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine.

“He does not tell anybody until the Friday before,” Cavner said in an interview with Sports Headliners. “He never commits. It’s just the way he is, except for the majors. He commits to the majors.  It’s brutal having to wait.”

Cavner has a home in Jupiter, Florida. That is the area where the 43-year-old Woods, who has earned a spot on “golf’s Mount Rushmore,” also resides. The Woods is the name of Tiger’s restaurant in Jupiter where Cavner is a customer.

“Go to The Woods and you run into Tiger quite a bit,” Cavner said. “He’s…very friendly (and) says ‘hi’ to everybody. It’s kind of cool to go to his restaurant and see him.”

Of course, Cavner’s patronage of the restaurant and friendly relationship with Woods won’t guarantee an appearance at TPC Twin Cities. The 15-time majors champ has long been unpredictable as to the tour events he stops at and with a history of physical issues he can be more selective than ever now while choosing to focus on the biggest of challenges like The Masters which he won in April.

The 3M Open already has commitments from some of golf’s biggest names including Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson. Koepka is the No. 1 player in the world, having won four majors in less than two years and setting scoring records.

“It’s incredible,” Cavner said. “There’s a ton of buzz about Koepka. He’s a phenomenon. You think about it, nobody has done what he has done (of late). The only person who has done anywhere close to that is Tiger.”

Mickelson at almost 49 years old is in the late stages of a brilliant career that includes winning five majors. He will be a favorite to watch along with players such as Bryson DeChambeau, Jason Day and Patrick Reed. Minnesotans Tom Lehman and Tim Herron will also participate.

Hollis Cavner

The 3M Open replaces the 3M Championship, the senior tournament played for years at TPC Twin Cites. Cavner, whose Pro Links Sports company manages PGA Tournaments and corporate golf events, said the course setup at TPC will be much more challenging than in the past when the 3M Championship was planned as “a birdie fest.”

“This is going to be set up a lot more difficult,” Cavner said. “A lot longer.”

3M Open organizers are looking for birdies but also “train wrecks,” Cavner said. There are going to be par fours of over 500 yards and also water challenges.

What about the greens? Cavner predicted they will be solid for putting. “I think we have the best greens around,” he said.

There was no spectator admission charge for the 3M Championship but there is for the new tournament. Yet, Cavner predicts attendance will double the old tournament total, with the final number of fans expected to be in the 180,000 to 200,000 range.  Whether Woods plays, of course, will be a significant factor.

Cavner said some ticket packages are sold out and he estimated the total presale at 25,000 to 30,000. His staff has been working for months in organizing details for the 3M Championship.

The work and scope of the new tournament dwarfs Minnesota’s past pro golf experience. Cavner said his staff is working “daylight to dark” with arrangements for the 3M that will command over 46 hours of live TV coverage on the Golf Channel and the CBS Network, plus international coverage.

“I laughed about it the other day. Last year the media center for the 3M Championship was the size of where we feed the media this year,” Cavner said. “Our media center is four times the size (of last year).”

Cavner has a seven year commitment from the PGA for the 3M Open that can prove again Minneapolis-St. Paul is an exceptional golf town after wowing media and players with support of past events like the Ryder Cup and PGA Championship.  (Up next is the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship that begins June 18 at Hazeltine National.)

For Cavner, who was behind the Minnesota senior stop that started almost 30 years ago, these are exciting times. “I think this will probably be the most excitement of any of our events just because of how long it took to put it together, and it’s 28 years now. We’re very excited.”

Just imagine how excited Cavner will be if he receives good news from Tiger on Friday, June 28—just days before the tournament starts.

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David Shama

David Shama is a former sports editor and columnist with local publications. His writing and reporting experiences include covering the Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Gophers. Shama’s career experiences also include sports marketing. He is the former Marketing Director of the Minnesota North Stars of the NHL. He is also the former Marketing Director of the United States Tennis Association’s Northern Section. A native of Minneapolis, Shama has been part of the community his entire life. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where he majored in journalism. He also has a Master’s degree in education from the University of St. Thomas. He was a member of the Governor’s NBA’s Task Force to help create interest in bringing pro basketball to town in the 1980s.

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