Well-Known West Virginia Course Set
to Host the Greenbrier Classic
As first-year events go, it's hard to find a better course than The Greenbrier's Old White, located in White Sulphur Springs, WV. The PGA TOUR announced a new event there for 2010, and this week players will be at the venerable course for the first-annual event.
The battle for FedExCup supremacy is as strong as ever as this is the 33rd of 37 official FedExCup Regular Season events. The PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup will ensue following the final Regular Season event of the season, the Wyndham Championship.
The Greenbrier Classic Notes
The Greenbrier is an award-winning resort located in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia. As a National Historic Landmark, The Greenbrier’s original of three courses, Old White, will measure 7,031 yards and play to par 70 this week. Originally designed by Charles Blair MacDonald in 1914 and recently restored to its original design by Lester George, the course has hosted some of the game's greatest players, including Sam Snead, Tom Watson, Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Lee Trevino.
World Golf Hall of Fame member Sam Snead, the winningest player in PGA TOUR history, was the resort’s pro for 29 years and served as Golf Professional Emeritus from 1993 until his death in 2002. Tom Watson, also a World Golf Hall of Fame member, became The Greenbrier's second Golf Professional Emeritus in 2005.
Jim Furyk hasn’t played on the PGA TOUR since missing the cut at the British Open. He is resuming his playing schedule this week and is No. 5 in both the FedExCup and in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Kenny Perry, who was born and raised in Kentucky, is expected to be a crowd favorite in neighbor-state West Virginia this week. With five wins in 2008-09, Perry is still seeking his first win of the season. This week, Perry is dedicating his play to the 29 families affected by the April mining disaster in West Virginia. He has pledged $2,000 for every birdie he records during the tournament. In response, Greenbrier owner James Justice will match Perry’s donation. Funds raised through the Greenbrier Classic will be donated to the families through the West Virginia Council of Churches.
There are numerous players with local ties competing this week. Besides Kentuckian, Kenny Perry, J.B. Holmes was born and raised in Campbellsville, KY, and has won in the last two even-numbered years (the 2006 and 2008 FBR Opens. Brendon de Jonge is a native of Zimbabwe who attended college at Virginia Tech. His best performance this year was a tie for third at the Puerto Rico Open. Johnson Wagner is another Hokie who is looking for his second career win. His first came at the 2008 Shell Houston Open. His top performance this year were ties for 12th at the HP Byron Nelson Championship and the St. Jude Classic presented by Smith & Nephew.
Currently No. 5 on the FedExCup points list, Jim Furyk (Ponte Vedra Beach, FL/U. of Arizona) could take over the top spot held by FedExCup standings leader Ernie Els at The Greenbrier Classic. Furyk, a 15-time PGA TOUR winner, is seeking to become the season’s first three-time winner.
Jonathan Bartlett, who won the 91st Annual West Virginia State Amateur in June to earn a spot in The Greenbrier Classic field, was roommates with Carl Pettersson at Central Alabama Community College, last week’s RBC Canadian Open champion.
Ted Purdy (Phoenix, AZ/U. of Arizona), (280 consecutive holes) has the opportunity at The Greenbrier Classic to surpass Brian Gay (286 consecutive holes) for the longest consecutive stretch without a 3-putt during the 2010 campaign.
Matt Kuchar (Ponte Vedra Beach, FL/Georgia Tech) is quietly putting together perhaps the most consistent season of any player on TOUR. Although winless this year, Kuchar sits seventh in the FedExCup standings (1,243 points) on the strength of a career-best seven top-10s. After collecting just 10 top-10s in his first 149 professional starts, Kuchar has 17 top-10s in his last 64 starts.
RBC Canadian Open champion Carl Pettersson (Raleigh, NC/North Carolina State) joined Rory McIlory as PGA TOUR winners in 2010 that made the cut on the number. Prior to McIlroy’s triumph at the Quail Hollow Championship in April, the last three players to accomplish the feat were Chris Couch (2006 Zurich Classic of New Orleans), Brad Faxon (2005 Buick Championship) and Jose Maria Olazabal (2002 Buick Invitational).
RBC Canadian Open runner-up Dean Wilson (Las Vegas, NV/BYU) was seeking to become the second sponsor exemption to win on TOUR in 2010. Lee Westwood won the St. Jude Classic presented by Smith & Nephew in June after receiving a sponsor exemption. Prior to Westwood the last player to win on TOUR after receiving a sponsor exemption was Jason Gore at the 2005 84 LUMBER Classic.
The Champions Tour has three multiple winners this season. Bernhard Langer (Boca Raton, FL) joined Fred Couples (La Quinta, CA/U. of Houston) as a three-time winner with his Senior British Open victory. Nick Price (Hobe Sound, FL), with two titles in 2010, is the third multiple winner.
With Bernhard Langer’s victory at the Senior British Open, the 16 active World Golf Hall of Fame members on the Champions Tour have combined for 200 Champions Tour wins.
Bernhard Langer becomes the third player to lead the Charles Schwab Cup standings in 2010. Tom Watson (1 week) and Fred Couples (13 weeks) are the other two players.
Bernhard Langer begins this week's U.S. Senior Open seeking to become the first player to win consecutive senior majors since Tom Watson in 2003 (Senior British Open/JELD-WEN Tradition).
Joey Sindelar (Horseheads, NY/Ohio State), the runner-up in 2009, is seeking to join four players who hold the distinction of rebounding from a runner-up finish the previous year to win a U.S. Senior Open title the next year – Gary Player (1987), Jack Nicklaus (1991), Bruce Fleisher (2001) and Fred Funk (2009).
Fred Funk (Ponte Vedra Beach, FL/U. of Maryland) did not have a three-putt during his win at the 2009 U.S. Senior Open Championship.
Jay Don Blake (St. George, UT/Utah State) is the only player to finish among the top 10 in each of the first two major championships this year (T8/Senior PGA Championship, T3/Senior British Open).
The Nationwide Tour has a new No. 1 - Jamie Lovemark (San Diego, CA/USC) took over the top spot on the money list with his second runner-up finish of the year in the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational at Ohio State University's Scarlet Course on Sunday. The 2007 Jack Nicklaus Award and Fred Haskins Award winner (top college golf honors) started the week in 4th position. Tommy Gainey (Bishopville, SC) dropped from No. 1 to No. 2 despite his T12 finish. He is $15,434 behind Lovemark.
Oklahoma State All-American Morgan Hoffmann (Wykcoff, NJ) topped all 12 amateurs who competed last week in Columbus, Ohio. The junior-to-be's top-25 finish (T9) earned him a spot in this week's Cox Classic field in Omaha. Hoffmann finished T8 last year in Columbus. Amateurs who joined him in making the cut at Ohio State last week were Russell Henley (Macon, GA/U. of Georgia) and John Chin (Temecula, CA/U. of California-Irvine). They finished T51 and T67, respectively.
Former University of Florida All-American Billy Horschel (Jacksonville Beach, FL) is ready to return to action and has elected to do so by competing at the Cox Classic. Horschel was forced to the sidelines in February due to left wrist surgery. A PGA TOUR rookie, he played in four events in January and February.
Since the Nationwide Tour's 3-win promotion was instituted in 1997, nine players have won three times to earn the promotion. Three of those have come at this week's venue, Champions Run in Omaha -- Chris Smith/1997, Heath Slocum/2001 and Jason Gore/2005).
Rookie Trevor Murphy (St. Johnsbury, VT/UNC-Charlotte) recorded his best finish of the year at the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational, a T7. Last Tuesday, Murphy scorched OSU's Gray Course in a tournament pro-am, shooting 56 on the par-70, 5,800-yard layout. He is currently 40th on the money list.
The Nationwide Tour is in a stretch of playing five weeks in a row in the Midwest. The Tour is in Omaha, Neb. this week, then Wichita, Kan. and Springfield, Mo.