Trio has combined for 377 wins, including 51 majors on regular and senior tours
As he was about to land in Blaine, Minnesota—the burgeoning, sports-loving city just outside of Minneapolis—something dawned on Jack Nicklaus: “Hey, I’m the kid in the group!”
Yep, at the impressionable age of 77, the Golden Bear will be the youngen of his team, when the Greats of Golf tee it up Saturday afternoon at TPC Twin Cities in the 3M Championship on the PGA TOUR Champions. Teaming with Nicklaus will be long-time friends Gary Player and Lee Trevino. Player is the ageless wonder at 81, and Trevino is 77—but a whopping 51 days older than the Golden Bear.
But no one watching Saturday outside the ropes or on Golf Channel will care about their combined 235 years, but instead will be talking about their combined 377 professional victories, 33 major-championship titles, and another 18 senior majors. Tournament officials have fittingly dubbed the trio “Team Greatness.”
Crowd favorite Chi Chi Rodriguez, 81 and the inaugural winner of the 3M Championship in 1993, was invited this year to be an Ambassador, as well as an Honorary Captain. Jerry Pate will also Captain “Team Greatness.”
This week is the banner 25th playing of the 3M Championship, and the Greats of Golf exhibition has become a popular weekend tradition. Play begins after the 3M leaders tee off (Mike Goodes and Kenny Perry each fired a 7-under-par 65 Friday to share the first-round lead), although it is expected that the four groups of Greats will tee off between 1:50 and 2:20 p.m. ET. Golf Channel will have live coverage from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, as well as the 3M Championship’s final round Sunday.
Leading the way for the Greats of Golf will be Team Ryder Cup: Captain Tony Jacklin, Hale Irwin, Dave Stockton and Tom Weiskopf. Next is Team Major Fun: Captain Andy North, Fuzzy Zoeller, David Graham and Ben Crenshaw. Following is Team LPGA: Captain Bill Rogers, Nancy Lopez, Pat Bradley, and Nicklaus’ North Palm Beach neighbor and Greats of Golf rookie Michelle McGann.
The marquee group, however, is Nicklaus, Player and Trevino. The last time the three were paired together in the event was in 2015. Batting cleanup for his teammates, Nicklaus made no fewer than five team-saving birdie putts to help spark the group to a thrilling 17-under-par performance to secure a tie for first in the competition.
The tournament will donate $1.3 million in support of healthcare programs at Allina Health. The 3M Championship has donated over $25 million to charity since 1993.
“Spectators will get to see world-class golf played by true entertainers and legends of the game–and all for a good cause. This is a great event,” said Jon Lindekugel, Senior Vice President of 3M Business Development and Marketing-Sales.
Noticeably missing from the field is Greats of Golf staple Arnold Palmer. Tournament organizers have planned a tribute to the golf legend, who passed away Sept. 25, 2016. His likeness is hard to miss at TPC Twin Cities, where a large sign shows Palmer giving his signature thumbs-up to welcome fans near the club’s entrance. A trio of Palmer’s famed umbrella logos adorns a ticketed pavilion area just off the 18th green.
Admission to the event is free all week. For more information, visit 3mchampionship.com.