Nancy Lopez, Annika Sorenstam and Pat Bradley will join the 3M Championship’s ‘Greats of Golf’ event in this year’s edition of the Champions Tour event at the TPC-Twin Cities July 29-Aug. 4.
Tour rookies Rocco Mediate, Colin Montgomerie and Steve Elkington, along with Nick Price, Fred Funk, Tom Lehman and Fred Couples, should make for an even more star-studded event that will remain free of charge for spectators.
“Every year we ask what we can do differently because we don’t want the event to become stale,” Tournament Director Hollis Cavner said at a media day event June 10. “So for the first time in tournament history we’re having women play in the Greats of Golf.
“[Lopez] said to me, ‘I’m working on my game.’ when I talked to her a couple days ago so she’s really excited.”
This will be Sorenstam’s first event in Minnesota since playing in her final major, the 2008 U.S. Women’s Open at Interlachen.
A junior ladies’ event might also take place during the week with details to be released at a later date.
Cavner said the tournament has three main goals: Raise as much money as possible for charities, put on a great show for the fans and grow the game.
By bringing in a great group of ladies’ players, Cavner hopes more girls will take an interest in the game. The tournament has hosted an executive women’s event during the pro-am sessions.
This will be Montgomerie’s first regular Champions Tour event after competing in the Senior U.S. Open event in July.
The Greats of Golf event will tee off after the final group of the tournament with Lee Trevino, along with newcomers Johnny Miller and Dave Stockton. Arnold Palmer will serve as captain of the ladies’ group.
“This will be the best year in many years with the first-time players,” Cavner said.
Miller, a staple in the broadcast booth for NBC golf broadcasts, approached Cavner about joining the Greats of Golf, he said.
Defending champion Bernhard Langer will not take part this year. He has a scheduling conflict with an event in Europe.
Once again admission will be free for all spectators with plans to donate $1.3 million to Allina Health programs.
Last year, the 3M Championship celebrated reaching the $20 million mark in donations generated since the tournament started in 1993, a first for the Champions Tour.
Cavner said the idea is to keep admission free as long as tournament sponsors continue to support the tournament.
“We still give more than all the other pro sports teams in this town combined,” he said.