5 things for 3M Open: Sod farm; Mardy Fish; Rickie on the bubble

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The 3M Open returns to TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, Minn.

From the course, to a tennis star on a sponsor exemption, to Rickie Fowler on the bubble, here's what you need to know about this year's 3M Open:

TPC TWIN CITIES

The course that has become the annual host of the 3M Open was built on a former sod farm and more than 500 million cubic yards of soil was moved during construction. The golf course itself consists of a sand base, all of which was mined on site and used to form all features. Arnold Palmer designed the golf course, which opened in June of 2000, with help from Minnesota native Tom Lehman. TPC Twin Cities played host to the 3M Championship, a PGA Tour Champions event, from 2001-2018. Kenny Perry won the final playing of that event before it was replaced by the PGA Tour’s 3M Open. The par 71 course plays just under 7,500 yards and closes with a par 5 requiring players to take their approach shots over one of 27 water features at TPC Twin Cities. Everything from eagle to double bogey will be in play Sunday afternoon when the final group comes down the 18th.

Full-field tee times from 3M Open

MARDY FISH

Mardy Fish is a little better known for his accomplishments with a tennis racquet than a golf club. The former top 10 tennis star, Olympic silver medalist (2004) and current U.S. Davis Cup captain is set to make some sports and tennis history this week on the PGA Tour. He will be making his debut at the highest level of professional golf, joining a short list of athletes who have competed professionally in more than one sport and becoming the only athlete to compete on both the ATP and PGA Tours. Fish was born in Minnesota, and although he grew up in Florida, he always maintained his allegiance to Minnesota and Minnesota sports teams, making the 3M Open the perfect place for his debut. He’ll be playing on a sponsor exemption this week, which begs the question; how good is Mardy Fish? Well, he’s good enough that after playing with Jack Nicklaus last December at a charity event, the 18-time major champion called Fish “the best non-professional golfer that I have ever seen play,“ and said he was “flabbergasted” at how good Fish was.

Former tennis star Fish 'honored' to play 3M Open

RICKIE ON THE BUBBLE

Fan-favorite Rickie Fowler has found himself in a bit of a slump, and he’ll once again need a strong finish to the season if he hopes to qualify for the FedExCup Playoffs. The former Oklahoma State star was once ranked No. 4 in the world, but now finds himself all the way down at 149th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His season is playing out nearly identical to the way it did last year, as he enters the 3M Open 129th in the FedExCup standings, compared to 124th last year headed into this same event. The top 125 players in the standings after the Wyndham Championship qualify for the playoffs, giving Fowler three weeks to move inside that magic number. Fowler got off to a great start at last year’s 3M Open, leading after the first round, but eventually faltered before finishing T-34 and ultimately missing the playoffs.

7,468 YARDS OF SCIENCE

The 3M Open will give fans a chance to experience how science can help contribute to stronger communities, a healthier planet and scientific advancements. There will be more than 50 physical and digital activations that show the many ways 3M Science improves lives. The belle of the ball will be the 3M Science Dome, where fans can experience “What’s Next.” They’ll head into the dome through an entrance tunnel that incorporates 3M Flexile Acoustic Material, which is often found in automotive design to reduce noise and vibration. Once fans are actually inside the dome, they will be treated to a 360-degree video and stations where they can explore the best 3M science has to offer.

3M Open odds: Tony Finau favored over Sungjae Im, Hideki Matsuyama

YOUNG STARS SEEK FIRST WIN

The PGA Tour is brimming with young stars, many of whom are still seeking their first Tour win. Several of those players will have a great chance to hoist their first trophy this week at TPC Twin Cities. The three names to watch out for this week are Sahith Theegala, Maverick McNealy and Davis Riley, all three of whom are inside the top six in betting odds, according to PointsBet. Theegala has already authored five top-10 finishes this season, including near-wins at the WM Phoenix Open (T-3) and Travelers Championship (T-2). McNealy has four top 10s, with his best finish of the season a solo-second at the Fortinet Championship way back in September. He’s enjoyed some success in recent weeks, finishing T-8 at the John Deere Classic, T-16 at the Genesis Scottish Open and T-9 at last week’s Barracuda Championship. Riley made the cut at both the PGA Championship and U.S. Open, finishing T-13 and T-31, respectively. He has four top 10s on the season and nearly won the Valspar Championship, losing to Sam Burns in a playoff.