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Golfers sad to see the 3M tournament end

BLAINE, Minn. — There was a common sentiment among players at the 3M Championship. They're sad to see the tournament go.

"It's one of the better events on the Champions Tour," Paul Goydos, the 2017 3M Championship winner, said Sunday, Aug. 5.

That statement might surprise some. You wouldn't figure senior players would look forward to stopping in Blaine each summer, especially coming off the heels of their busiest stretch of the season. But that's exactly what happened. There's a reason the 3M Championship — which will be scrapped to make way for the 3M Open, a PGA Tour event, next summer — sported a top Champions Tour field year after year, even fresh off the Senior British Open.

"You had great galleries, great people, great part of the world, great golf course," said Kenny Perry, who won his third 3M Championship on Sunday. "So when you come to a nice city and you have a great golf course, a great venue to play, everybody enjoys the golf course, everything adds up to become a fun week. We just love coming here."

Lee Trevino noted that people in the Twin Cities "love their golf." The 3M Championship always featured strong galleries, something the Champions Tour players appreciated.

"I think first off, Minnesota fans, they've been so great here," said Hollis Cavner, the tournament's executive director. "People go out in town, we were laughing about ... how they go to restaurants and stuff, they run into people they've seen before, people are very nice to them. They don't come over and say, "Hey I don't mean to bug you and interrupt their dinner.' They'll wait until their dinner is over and then they'll talk to them and stuff. I think that's a huge part of it, knowledgeable golf fans and big crowds."

The course never hurt, either. Minnesota native Tom Lehman noted it's nice to go from the challenging courses that host major championships to a course like TPC Twin Cities, which is designed for birdies.

"It's set up to make birdies, be entertaining. What's not to like?" said Minnesota native John Harris. "It's in great condition, and the people of Minnesota put on a great show."

They get help from 3M. Cavner mentioned events like the pre-tournament dinner for players, which features steak, lobster and Silver Oak wine.

They don't get that everywhere they go on tour," Cavner said. Players were also welcomed to cookouts and have the chance to go fishing or just about anything else they liked.

"We've done everything for everybody for 20-some years, and I think that's one of the reasons it's a great stop for them," Cavner said. "I think the other thing is the golf course has been really, really good. We've always had great winners here, but I still go back to the fans and the corporate support around here are second to none around the country."