Minneapolis-St. Paul may have a new PGA Tour event in the Twin Cities in 2019, and it seems momentum is growing to convert the existing 3M Championship on PGA Tour Champions into a full-fledged main circuit stop.
Pro Line Sports, the company behind the 50-plus event currently played at TPC Twin Cities, has made no bones in sharing their desire to get an upgrade in tours. There appears now to be room for that to happen in the 2018-19 schedule, according to the Pioneer Press, with a pair of potential dates on the table: June 6-9, the week prior to the US Open at Pebble Beach, or July 11-14, leading into the British Open at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland. The PGA Tour hasn’t been in Minnesota since 1969, but with a new event arriving next year in Detroit, having a little Midwest swing in the early summer would not be a bad pairing.
There’s nothing official yet about this event and the potential pre-US Open slot, which had reportedly been saved for the Houston Open, which lost its pre-Masters slot to the Valero Texas Open and their long-term commitment contrasting the up-in-the-air sponsorship status in Houston. The PGA Tour gave the Houston Golf Association, which has put on the Houston Open since 1946, a June 1 deadline to submit a plan to keep the tournament on the schedule. It reportedly failed to do so, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Instead, Houston Astros owner and business magnate Jim Crane, who also owns Floridian National in Florida, submitted his own plan to keep the event alive. He would cobble together a string of area businesses to pony up the $12 million required for purse and requisite TV ad buys on Golf Channel and NBC. However, Crane submitted the plan to the PGA Tour without the support of the Houston Golf Association, furthering a rift between the two parties. Crane proposed moving the Houston Open, or whatever name it would take under his guidance, to October. The tournament would be played at Golf Club of Houston for a couple of years while Memorial Park in Houston proper is renovated to PGA Tour standards, and Crane would help fundraise to expedite that work as well.
These are the primary issues keeping the PGA Tour from releasing its 2018-19 schedule. The Players is moving back to March so the PGA Championship can move to May. Detroit will get a new event, and the National will end this year. Greenbrier appears set to move to fall, evacuating the July date. With Houston potentially in October, that leaves a pair of PGA Tour dates in flux.