Speculation of a PGA Tour stop in Twin Cities heightens with scheduled announcement
A news conference will be held Monday at the TPC Twin Cities course in Blaine, heightening speculation that the course will be home to a new PGA Tour event beginning in 2019.
PGA Tour officials announced Tuesday that the Houston Open, whose fate had been in question, will remain on the Tour schedule through 2023 and will be played in the fall in 2019. That leaves an opening in next year’s schedule. Hollis Cavner, who has been trying to bring a PGA Tour event to Minnesota, said last month that a new Twin Cities tournament could fill that void.
When contacted for an update after Tuesday’s news from Houston, Cavner said, “I would come to media day on Monday is all I can say.”
Talk of a Twin Cities stop on the PGA Tour ramped up in May, when the Houston Open—already without a sponsor—learned the Golf Club of Houston would not host it in 2019. Cavner said 3M would sponsor a new tournament at TPC Twin Cities if the Houston Open fell off the schedule. The Houston event had been tentatively booked for June 6-9 next year, one week before the U.S. Open.
The executive director of the 3M Championship, a Champions Tour event held at TPC Twin Cities, Cavner added that the June dates also would work if the Houston Open moved to the fall. He said in May that “we’re ready” to host a tournament in 2019 and suggested that if Houston stayed on the schedule, having that tournament in October and a Twin Cities event in June would be ideal. The June date, though, is not certain.
“Houston in June is not good,” Cavner said. “June here is great weather.”
Cavner said last month that any deal to bring a PGA Tour event to the Twin Cities would run for at least five years. If TPC Twin Cities does land a PGA tournament, the Champions Tour event would be discontinued. This year’s 3M Championship is scheduled for July 30-Aug. 5.
The PGA Tour announced Tuesday that it reached a five-year partnership with the Astros Foundation to continue the Houston Open. The Astros Foundation, whose board of directors is led by Houston Astros owner Jim Crane, will be the tournament’s host organization and operator. The event will remain at the Golf Club of Houston in 2019, and the announcement said the Astros Foundation had assembled a consortium of local sponsors.
Crane jumped into the breach last month, after the Houston Golf Association—which previously oversaw the event—failed to secure a new sponsor by a June 1 deadline. Shell Oil Co. dropped out as the Houston Open’s primary sponsor in 2017. The new agreement preserves a tournament that was first held in 1946.
The Houston Open will offer a purse of $7.5 million in 2019.
Cavner said last month that a PGA Tour event would be “a game-changer” for Minnesota.
“A PGA Tour event is roughly two to three times the size of what we do with a Champions Tour event,” he said. “The economic impact for the state, the hospitality, everything goes up dramatically.”
Should the Twin Cities get a tournament in 2019, it would be the first regular PGA Tour event in Minnesota since 1969. The St. Paul Open was held at Keller Golf Course from 1930-65; its successor, the Minnesota Golf Classic, was hosted by Keller in 1966 and ’68, Hazeltine National in 1967 and Braemar Golf Course in 1969.