The question wasn't if Matthew Wolff would become a star on the PGA Tour, it was when. The answer: a lot sooner than we ever could have imagined.
The 20-year-old with the deliciously unique swing and buckets upon buckets of talent eagled the 18th hole to win the inaugural 3M Classic by a single stroke over Bryson DeChambeau and Collin Morikawa. Wolff, who left Oklahoma State after winning the NCAA individual title in May, was making just his third start as a professional.
"I was shaking, to be honest," Wolff said of the putt on 18. "A lot of my putts weren't going in today, and I was just kind of telling myself one's bound to drop in. It happened at the right time. Just gave it a chance and it went over the right spot that I pointed out. And as soon as it dropped, the tears started coming. It's a really special feeling."
With the victory, Wolff is now fully exempt on the PGA Tour through the 2020–21 season. He's also now eligible for the FedEx Cup playoffs and will receive an invitation to next year's Masters.
That means he won't have to use the Korn Ferry Tour as a means to getting to the big Tour, as the vast majority of up-and-coming professionals do. To earn full PGA Tour status by playing well enough in limited sponsor's exemptions in exceedingly rare. Tiger Woods did it. So did Jordan Spieth. Add Matthew Wolff to that list.
Not bad for a player who still isn't old enough to celebrate it all with a glass of champagne.
"It’s something that changed my life forever," Wolff said after the victory. "It’s something I’ll always remember. To do that with all the nerves and trying to get my Tour card, it’s pretty special to me. It still hasn’t settled in. It’s a dream come true."
The scene on the finishing hole slapped an exclamation point on what was one of the most entertaining final rounds in recent memory. Birdies flowed throughout the week at TPC Twin Cities, and the Wolff-Morikawa dynamic in the final pairing was something to behold all afternoon. Wolff grew up in Agoura Hills, Calif. Morikwawa, 22, grew up about a half hour away—without traffic, of course—in Los Angeles. Both players had fantastic college careers. Both turned professional at the beginning of this summer. And both refused to blink as they went shot-for-shot while in contention for the first time on Tour.
Morikawa fell behind with two bogeys in the first three holes, but he played the final 15 in seven under and just barely missed his own eagle attempt on 18, which would have forced a playoff. DeChambeau started the day tied with Wolff and Morikawa, and the 25-year-old—who is also from California—was a factor all afternoon. He stepped to the 18th tee trailing by one, then hit three perfect shots to eagle 18, then headed to the practice area to prepare for a playoff when he was told Wolff had surpassed him.
Wolff has been on the golf world's collective radar since last summer, when he sunk a putt to clinch the team NCAA title for Oklahoma State. He followed that up with a sophomore season for the ages, winning six times and leading the Cowboys to the NCAA semis, where they were defeated by Stanford. Also on that team with Wolff was Viktor Hovland, the former world No. 1 amateur who turned pro after finishing T12 at the U.S. Open. Hovland, a 22-year-old from Norway, fired a six-under 65 on Sunday at the 3M to finish T13.
Despite a field that featured just two of the world's top 10 players—DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka, who finished 65th—it was a ravishing debut for the 3M Classic, which marked the first time the PGA Tour had visited Minnesota in 50 years.