On the eve of the 2019 3M Open, Matt Wolff checked his wallet and didn’t have any cash to tip the locker-room staff after his practice round.
He was a 20-year-old rookie playing on a sponsor’s exemption, after all, in just his third PGA Tour event after winning the NCAA men’s individual title a month earlier. And who carries cash anymore anyway?
With no ATM’s at TPC Twin Cities, Wolff did the next best thing: he hit up 3M tournament director Hollis Cavner for a loan.
“Since I had known him through college golf and he and my son Carson knew each other, I handed him $60 and said, ‘You’re worse than Carson about not carrying cash,’ ” Cavner recalled.
Four rounds later and Wolff’s checking account was flush with seven figures after he canned an eagle putt on the 72nd hole to edge Bryson DeChambeau and Collin Morikawa by one stroke and win his maiden PGA Tour title.
When Wolff peeled off three $20-dollar bills to pay off his debt, Cavner stopped him in his tracks.
“I told him it was $100 with the interest,” Cavner said.
Wolff, who finished second to Bryson DeChambeau at the Rocket Mortgage Classic three weeks ago in Detroit for his best result since his victory, didn’t go crazy with his new-found riches, saying he lives a pretty simple life.
“I did buy a house, so I guess that’s kind of a splurge, but it’s also an investment and that’s the maturity of me coming out,” he said.
He got his first taste of “Minnesota Nice” when he showed up at the course this week and found his parking spot in the front row.
“Usually it’s far away,” he said, noting that the cars are usually ordered alphabetically.
That’s not all that put a smile on his face when he arrived.
“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,” he said.
Great expectations were heaped on Wolff, who became the first player to win on Tour before his 21st birthday since Jordan Spieth did so at the 2013 John Deere Classic. Wolff struggled to validate his early success and hadn’t recorded a top-10 finish since his 3M victory until his impressive week in Detroit. Yet, he’s still maintained a positive outlook and offered insightful perspective beyond his years.
“Sometimes even if I’m not in the best frame of mind, I just have to look back and be like, dude, you’re one of very few that are out here at such a young age and have a PGA Tour card; life’s pretty good,” he said.
And when asked about DeChambeau and his quest for distance, Wolff said, “I think the most important thing is just to stick to what you do best in your game, not try to change your game based on other people.”
Wolff isn’t lacking in the length department so much so that he said he’s actually trying to throttle back his swing in order to control the ball flight and spin better.
“I have a tendency to swing too hard at the ball and when I swing too hard, I kind of jump at impact,” he explained. “And for me, I need to rotate better. So, you can’t jump and then rotate, you have to stay grounded and use the ground to rotate.”
Wolff enters his title defense coming off a T-22 finish at last week’s Memorial Tournament, his seventh straight start since the Tour resumed its season in June. That’s a lot of weeks on the road tipping hotel staff and locker-room attendants, which means Wolff may need to hit Cavner up for another loan.
“I might have to borrow a few bucks from him,” Wolff said, “but he has more than enough so I don’t feel bad about it.”