The Greenbrier Classic plays out on The Old Course at the famed Greenbrier Resort – the pride of White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. It is a place of not only historical importance in American society but within the history of golf itself. Sam Snead was the resort’s golf pro for some 29 years and served as Golf Professional Emeritus from 1993 until his death in 2002. Tom Watson became The Greenbrier's second Golf Professional Emeritus in 2005.
The resort is a National Historic Landmark that has been welcoming guests since 1778 and golf has been a rich part of its legacy. There are three layouts on the property and the most famous of them, the 7031-yard, par 70 Old White will serve up the test for the PGA tour this week as the players clamor to win the $1,080,000 up for grabs for the winner.
Originally crafted almost a century ago by Charles Blair MacDonald, the Old White received a renovation at the hands of Jack Nicklaus in 1977 prior to the hosting of the Ryder Cup in 1979. It was recently given a restoration back to the original design by Lester George.
In addition to the Ryder Cup the Resort has hosted the Solheim Cup (1994), and a Champions Tour events from 1985-1987.
The field is plenty strong this week, even though with a World Championships event set right on its heels. There are least 10 players who have 7 or more wins on the PGA Tour and six of this year’s winners. That includes Jim Furyk and last week’s winner of the RBC Canadian Open, Carl Pettersson.
The latter name is important as players will face a similar test this week as they did in Canada during Pettersson’s win. The classic, old style design with tremendous bunkering and tight lines of play should favor players who were also contenders at the Canadian Open.
I’ll put enough weight into that to put the trio of Pettersson, Matt Kuchar and Trevor Immelman as my picks of the week. All three accorded themselves nicely amongst the thick rough and thin fairways at St. George’s and that type of play will go a long way on Old White.
Although Kenny Perry is not on my fave list for The Greenbrier Classic, I am hoping he plays well for other reasons. Perry has dedicated this week to the 29 families involved in the mining disaster that took place in West Virginia in April. He has pledged $2,000 for every birdie he makes during the tournament. Greenbrier owner James Justice will match Perry’s donation during the week. Funds raised through The Greenbrier Classic will be donated to the families through the West Virginia Council of Churches.
Let’s hope Perry can play all four rounds and go real low.
As usual The Golf Channel will have early coverage this week and CBS is set to take up where they left off in Canada by providing great visual shots of a classic golf course and hopefully conveying the rich history of The Greenbrier during their broadcast.
With this being a new PGA Tour event it should be one worth watching.
This report was provided to GolfWRX.com by Flagstick Golf Magazine (www.flagstick.com)
PGA Tour Wrapups and Previews by Flagstick will be on a break for the next week and will return with the preview of the PGA Championship.