The PGA Tour is in West Virginia this week for the third running of The Greenbrier Classic. Scott Stallings is the defending champion and last week’s winner Tiger Woods is in the field.
In last year’s event Scott Stallings was something of a surprise champion. The 2011 Tour rookie came through a playoff against Bob Estes and Bill Haas. After watching his opponents miss birdie putts on the par-3 18th, Stallings holed a, curling, eight-foot putt for the victory.
This tournament has been moved slightly in the schedule this season. Last year it was played at the end of July, just prior to the WGC Bridgestone Invitational and USPGA Championship. With just two weeks to go to the Open championship, the event has attracted a strong field as players complete their preparations for the year’s third Major.
Tiger Woods will start as favourite after picking up his 74th PGA Tour victory last week at Congressional. The only man with more PGA Tour titles to his name is Sam Snead. It’s a nice co-incidence that Tiger makes his first start at the Greenbrier Classic this week, as it was the club where Snead became head professional in 1944.
The course for last year’s tournament was very different from the one the players faced in 2010. Two years ago, the layout was taken apart with a scoring average of 68.536. Stuart Appleby carded a closing 59 to win with a total of 22-under-par. But the layout was lengthened and a number of the holes altered. Last year’s winning total was just 10-under.
The Old White course at The Greenbrier originally dates from 1914 and was the work of Charles Blair Macdonald and Seth Raynor. In 2006 Lester George completed a redesign that aimed to restore the layout to play as it had in its early years.
Sam Snead, a former “Golf Professional Emeritus” at the Greenbrier, scored his final hole-in-one on the Old White course’s 18th hole back in 1995.
The Greenbrier is no stranger to professional competition. The club’s Greenbrier Course was used for the Ryder Cup matches in 1979 and the 1994 Solheim Cup. It was also host to a Champions Tour event from 1985-87.
Venue: The Old White TPC, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
Date: Jul 5-8
Course stats: par 70, 7,274 yards
Purse: $6,100,000 Winner: $1,098,000
Defending Champion: Scott Stallings (-10)
Thursday 5 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 8pm
Friday 6 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 8pm
Saturday 7 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 8pm
Sunday 8 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 8pm
Tiger Woods – He’s the only man to win three times on the 2012 PGA Tour and he looks to be back to something approaching his best. If he can find his “best,” he’ll win this tournament.
Jim Furyk – Another man returning to the top of his game. He narrowly missed out on a second US Open title in San Francisco and he was ninth in his last start in this event, back in 2010.
Brian Davis – It’s time for the Englishman to finally get his first PGA Tour win. This could be his week.
Key hole: 18th. Unusually, The Old White Course finishes with a short par 3. At just 162 yards, it’s a birdie chance. The tee shot must be fired over the river to a green surrounded by bunkers.
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