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PGA Tour event appears to be lining up for TPC Twin Cities in 2019

Gold legend Jack Nicklaus tees off in the second round of the 2015 3M Championship at TPC Twins Cities in Blaine, Minn., on Saturday, August 1, 2015. St. Paul Pioneer Press / John Autey

BLAINE, Minn. — Things seems to be falling into place for a PGA Tour event in the Twin Cities next summer.

The PGA Tour gave Houston organizers until June 1 to produce a sponsor and host course to keep the Houston Open on the 2019 schedule. That deadline passed with no progress from the host organization, the Houston Golf Association.

Hollis Cavner of Pro Link Sports has vigorously pursued a PGA Tour date for the TPC Twin Cities course in Blaine that currently plays host to the Champions Tour’s 3M Championship. Cavner wants to play a PGA Tour event there as soon as next summer. One possibility is June 6-9, the week before the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

Cavner was tight-lipped Monday, June 4.

“We will not comment on this until there is a formal agreement” with the PGA Tour, he said.

The PGA Tour is expected to make an announcement “in weeks,” another source said.

Meanwhile, in Houston, Astros owner Jim Crane, a Houston billionaire, is putting together a group that hopes to host an event on the PGA Tour’s 2019 fall schedule — in mid-October, according to the Houston Chronicle.

“You can’t get anybody to come watch golf in (Houston in) June,” Crane told the Chronicle. “The average (high) temperature is 95 degrees.”

That won’t be a problem in the Twin Cities, where the average temperature in June is 78 degrees.

The Twin Cities was an annual stop on the PGA Tour five decades ago. Keller Golf Club in Maplewood played host to the St. Paul Open from 1930-56 (along with two PGA Championships and one Western Open), the St. Paul Open Invitational from 1957-65 and the Minnesota Golf Classic in 1966 and 1968. The weekly tour stop also was played at Hazeltine National in Chaska in 1967 and Braemar Golf Course in Edina in 1969.

Since then, Minnesota has hosted a number of major championships, mostly at Hazeltine. The biggest events were U.S. Opens in 1970 and 1991, PGA Championships in 2002 and 2009, and one of the most successful Ryder Cups of all time in 2016. The Ryder Cup is returning to Hazeltine in 2028.

TPC Twin Cities has hosted the senior tour’s 3M Championship since 2001, and the tournament is known for near-perfect playing conditions and low scores. David Frost won the 2010 tournament with a 54-hole score of 25 under par.

The course plays at about 7,100 yards for the Champions Tour. Cavner says it would play more like 7,600 for the PGA Tour.

Cavner, who runs multiple events on both the PGA and Champions tours, including the 3M Championship, insists he will do whatever necessary to toughen up the course for the world’s best players.

“We would get the rough up, make the fairways narrower, add more bunkers and trees, add more length, make the greens faster,” he said on May 18.

The 3M Company would be the sponsor for a PGA Tour event here, and sign a five-year deal to start. If that happens, the 26th 3M Championship, scheduled for the TPC Twin Cities on Aug. 3-5, would be the last one in the Twin Cities.

Cavner already has added a Champions Tour event in Sioux Falls, S.D., to take its place. The 2018 event there, the Sanford International, will be played Sept. 21-23 and be run by Cavner’s company, Pro Link Sports.