3M Open Predictions & Golf Picks This Weekend

The annual golf program has a rhythm and tempo. There’s the California cool of some courses and great views on the West Coast swing, leading to the sunny blow of the tough Florida swing, which in turn leads to a familiar sign to party around and across the major leagues.

Of course, this calendar is constantly changing slightly from year to year, but our collective knowledge of these dates supersedes any modern calendar of those in the game. You know you’re immersed in golf when you answer the question, “What week is it really? Not, for example, “It’s the week of May 9,” but, “It’s Byron Nelson’s week.”

Again, there are times when the schedule deviates from the familiar path. Although this week’s 3M Open is set up right after the Open Championship, even though we’re not making the physical journey from St Andrews to the TPC Twin Cities, the idea alone is enough for a little culture shock.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen Matthew Wolfe and Cameron Champ win this event, while Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau and Jonathan Vegas have come close. Those names alone are enough to fuel a huge success story for this one, but the truth is that there are plenty of men who aren’t nerds who fought here too.

Statistics confirm this. According to Data Golf, in 2019, the first year of this tournament, the driving distance was 290.7 meters, five more than the event average, while driving accuracy was 71.5%, an increase of 4.7%. In 2020, the distance was 0.5m larger, while the accuracy was 2.1% better. And last year, the distance increased by 2.9 meters, and the accuracy increased by 2.3%.

All this tells us that driving the ball is important here, but not just long or straight – a combination of the two is optimal.

Of course, we can say that about all the courses in the world, because long and straight is usually a solid equation from the start, but it is more relevant in this place than in others.

Let’s go straight to the choices, because we should have plenty of options to get ready and be ready to go when we need them.

Calum Tarin
Getty Images

Absolute winner

Callum Tarin (100/1, points bet): This is a bullpen, folks. You baseball fans know what I mean. Without an ace — or even a fourth player — rested and ready to go, managers often start the game by sending a relief pitcher up the hill, then carry on a series of other relief bowlers, hoping that they can collectively do enough to help the team win the game. This is what I’m looking for here.

Last week I sent an ace and wished he could go the distance. (To complete the analogy, Rory McIlroy lost the close and then lost the match, all at the bottom of the ninth inning.) This week, I’m putting together a group of little-known players with decent prizes and I hope one of them can. Do enough to help the team win.

It all starts with Taryn. He competed at the US Open last month for a few days and seems to have regained confidence since then, with a T-6 at the John Deere Classic and a T-22 at Barracuda last week when he finished 10th. Driving distance and on the greens in regulation.

From there I will send a mix of Emiliano Grillo (50/1 at BetMGM), Wyndham Clark (50/1), Beau Hossler (80/1), Kramer Hickok (125/1), Austin Cook (150/1), and Brandon Hagee ( 200/1) on the hill in the hope that one of them will have the electrical equipment needed to do the job.

Top 10

Brendan Steele (+300, BetMGM): You should ride it well in the TPC Twin Cities, and Steele remains one of the best ball pilots in the game, currently trailing Jon Ram, Cameron Young and McIlroy in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee. With a Top 10 in his last three starts, this looks like a great place to get another solid result, especially against a lower field.

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