Dustin Johnson of the United States lines up a putt on the 18th green during the second round of the 148th Open Championship held on the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club.

After recent struggle, Johnson, Koepka seek spark at 3M Open

The presence of Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka in Minnesota this week has given the fledgling 3M Open two heavy-hitting stars of the PGA Tour to headline the second version of the event.

Perhaps their participation shall be mutually helpful. Johnson and Koepka might use a pick-me-up on the TPC Twin Cities on this Arnold Palmer-designed course, searching for a lift for the FedEx Cup standings on this unusual, virus-interrupted season.

After successful the Travelers Championship in Connecticut 4 weekends in the past, Johnson didn’t make the reduce on the Memorial in Ohio final week with the very best 36-hole rating (160) of his PGA Tour profession. The 36-year-old, who’s at present ranked fourth on the earth and 25th within the FedEx Cup standings, didn’t play within the inaugural 3M Open in 2019.

“I actually felt like the game was in good form going into the Memorial last week. I just struggled. It’s one of those weeks,” Johnson stated. “I’ve still got a lot of confidence in what I’m doing.”

Johnson will tee off with Tommy Fleetwood and Tony Finau on Thursday morning in Blaine, a commuter suburb with a couple of cornfields among the many sports activities fields and curved-street developments about 20 miles north of Minneapolis. Koepka (No. 6), Fleetwood (No. 12) and Finau (No. 17) are the one entrants at present ranked within the prime 25.

The reshuffled PGA Tour schedule didn’t assist the 3M Open, with many of the prime gamers choosing relaxation this weekend after the high-profile Memorial. The World Golf Championship in Memphis is subsequent, adopted by the PGA Championship in San Francisco. Johnson made the uncommon determination to play 4 consecutive weeks.

Koepka made the reduce on the Memorial however closed with an 80 on the ultimate spherical, dropping him to 154th on the FedEx Cup standings. Last 12 months on the 3M Open, he completed 65th. So there are many irritating emotions for him to brush apart in Blaine, on a water-lined format that advantages large drivers just like the 30-year-old reigning winner of the PGA Championship.

“I’ve played so bad lately. Yeah, just trying to find things. Every week I feel like the results aren’t there, but it’s getting better and better. My good shots are good, but I’ve just got to bring that bottom level up. I’ve hit some real costly shots,” stated Koepka, who had knee surgical procedure after final season. He’s certainly one of 9 main champions on this discipline. Bubba Watson is the one different one who has received multiple main title.

The 3M Open would be the seventh cease on the restarted tour, all with out followers to this point. Players have now grown accustomed to the virus testing, possibly extra so than the absence of the energetic galleries. The crowds in Minnesota, whether or not on the 3M Open final 12 months or on the Ryder Cup in 2016 at Hazeltine, have lengthy been praised by the regulars within the sport for his or her friendliness and fervor.

“It is weird when you make a birdie and there’s no applause, no cheer, no anything. It’s kind of an eerie feeling, but at the same time, I’m just happy to be back playing,” Koepka stated.

There are loads of homes abutting the course, which is able to at the very least enable for some positive affirmation from dwell human beings who aren’t caddies for the gamers as they stroll the fairways, however that’s hardly a alternative for the ambiance Matthew Wolff reveled in final 12 months after his eagle on the ultimate gap gave him a one-stroke victory over Collin Morikawa and Bryson DeChambeau. That simply occurred to be Wolff’s first PGA Tour occasion.

“As soon as I got on property, I kind of had all the memories of last year flowing in, and I got a little chills walking in the clubhouse,” stated Wolff, who was pleasantly shocked to discover a front-row parking spot reserved for the event’s most up-to-date winner.