The 3M Open in Minnesota tees off Thursday and can be seen on the Golf Channel
Like many of the top name players in the field last week, we didn’t do so well with our picks. It happens. But since we had given you a winner in each of the two tournaments before that, not to mention an exacta the one time in which our 100-1 choice got second, we’ll plow ahead still feeling pretty good about our recent efforts.
Then again, this is a what have you done for anyone lately kind of thing, so there is that.
Now it’s on to the 3M Open in Minnesota, which is actually being held on the dates it was originally scheduled. Imagine that.
Dustin Johnson is the fave, at 11-1. He missed the cut last week, after winning the week before. Tony Finau, who is so overdue for a win it must hurt him, is next at 12-1. He was in contention last week but like a bunch of folks struggled on the weekend. Brooks Koepka, who hasn’t been doing much and says his knee is still bothering him after last year’s surgery, is also 12-1. Paul Casey, who also missed the cut at the Memorial but had been having a decent year, is 16-1 along with Tommy Fleetwood, who is making his first PGA Tour appearance since March because of the virus. He was playing very well, but he’s never won a PGA Tour event.
Lucas Glover is 20-1. He’s quietly having a good season and tied for seventh here last year, when he closed with a 62. Bubba Watson is 25-1. And yes, the field this week is not nearly as strong as it was for Jack Nicklaus’s event, which is understandable. That was almost like a major. Defending champion Matthew Wolff, who had that second place that I mentioned as part of my exacta, is 25-1 as well.
Russell Henley, Harris English, Luke List and Erick van Rooyen are all 33-1. Van Rooyen has missed the cut four times but also has three top 20s, including last week. Sam Burns is 40-1. Doc Redman is 45-1. Dylan Frittelli, Brian Hartman, Ryan Moore, Henrik Norlander, Patrick Rodgers and Jhonattan Vegas are each 50-1.
Not exactly a who’s who to choose from. But if it pays off who cares?
Max Homa is 55-1. Branden Grace, Charles Howell III and Charley Hoffman are three of the seven at 66-1. I have to be honest — I didn’t even recognize a couple of the others. Hey, I’m honest. So, I’m going to stop there, which probably means somebody I didn’t list will go home with the trophy.
I was tempted to go right back to Johnson, on the theory that he’s the best player here and he’s won three times in his career when he was coming off a missed cut. But you know that’s not my style, which I will probably regret. The smart play, though, might be just putting something fairly heavy on him to finish in the top five at plus $275 and be done with it.
I’m not sure about Fleetwood yet, but he’s certainly capable. This could be a good spot for Finau, but it seems like we say that almost every week. And I’m just not ready to get back on the Koepka wagon.
So, among the top guys I would lean toward Casey. Not sure exactly why, other than he’s been mostly consistent. Wolff is interesting, but how many guys repeat? As for the longer odds I’ll take a shot with Vegas, who can hit it long and can putt. Sometimes, at least. Throw a little on him at 11-1 to get a top five too. And I’ll also take one of those guys I didn’t bother to list, Henrik Norlander, who’s had a couple of top 10s lately that includes a sixth last week in a much stronger field. He’s 50-1. And 11-1 to get a top five. And 5.5-1 for a top 10. Love those backup insurance bets.
OK, that’ll do it. See you next week at the WGC-Fed Ex St. Jude, which will be held a month late. And that means we’re only two weeks away from the PGA Championship at Harding Park in San Francisco, which will be the first major of the year and the first in over a year. Who knew? Yo, they used to play it in August every year.
Faves: Paul Casey (16-1)
Longer shots: Jhonattan Vegas & Henrik Norlander (both 50-1)
Site: Blaine, Minn.
Course: TPC Twin Cities. Yardage: 7,114. Par: 72.
Purse: $6.6 million. Winner's share: $1,188,000.
Television: Thursday-Friday, 2:30-6:30 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday-Sunday, 1-3 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3-6 p.m. (CBS).
Defending champion: Matthew Wolff.