Greenbrier Classic returns after flood
In the late spring of 2016, when floods ripped through Clendenin, inundated Herbert Hoover High School and forced many families from their homes in the White Sulphur Springs area, they also made it a necessity to cancel the Professional Golf Association’s Greenbrier Classic that was to be staged at the Greenbrier Resort.
Nobody in that area of the state has forgotten the destruction and turmoil caused by last year’s flooding.
But the Greenbrier Classic is back on the professional golf circuit … and it has gotten all six of its previous winners to return to this year’s July 6 through July 9 event.
When the last Greenbrier Classic was held in 2015, it was Danny Lee outlasting the 156-player field. The champions before Lee were Angel Cabrera, Jonas Blixt, Ted Potter, Jr., Scott Stallings and Stuart Appleby. Appleby claimed the inaugural Greenbrier Classic in 2010 by shooting a dramatic 59 in his last round.
Jim Justice, now the presiding governor of West Virginia, is the owner and major domo of the 11,000-acre Greenbrier Resort and all its many pleasurable, outdoor, recreational features.
Governor Justice has used his considerable influence to bring back such notable players as Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Kevin Kisner and personable John Daly. Daly has won a tournament on the Senior Tour (over 50) this year and has played in all six of the previous Greenbrier’s.
There will be a number of recognizable sports, television and singing names also entered in the tournament. Country music’s Scotty McCreery, NFL wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, “Duck Dynasty” faces Willie Robertson and Jase Robertson as well as Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni (a native of Mullens) will be at this year’s 72-hole tournament.
The Old White TPC Course had some holes completely covered in swirling, brown flood waters last spring. Several greens were eroded and had to be partially rebuilt for this year’s play.
Scores in the Greenbrier Classic can be very low and it has taken at least a 17-under par score to post a win.
Such luminaries as Tiger Woods (2010 and 2011) and Mickelson have not fared well. Neither Woods nor Mickelson have ever made the cut in their tournament tries.
Justice has always presented family-oriented weekends for any player choosing to join his fun. Since the tournament has yearly dates so close to July 4, he has staged nights with world-renowned entertainers and opened the state fairgrounds in Lewisburg for the children of players.
However, it has often been the case that the wives and children of famed players have had more fun off the course than the luminaries had on it.
This year, Justice, his large staff of volunteers and the year-round staff of course workers might check the weather forecasts and glance skyward to see if any angry clouds are coming their way again.
If not, the Greenbrier Classic will be back amid the fanfare and hospitality Justice has become famous for in his larger-than-life private and public doings and his exquisite resort.