The PGA Tour is in West Virginia this week for the fourth running of The Greenbrier Classic at The Old White TPC. Ted Potter Jr. is the defending champion.

As the USA’s top players complete their final preparations for the Open Championship in two weeks time, many star names are on the start sheet for this event. Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson and Bill Haas will be amongst the favourites in White Sulphur Springs.

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.

After Stuart Appleby won the inaugural Greenbrier Classic in 2010 with a final round of 59, and a four-round total of 22-under-par, the course was toughened up for the 2011 edition. The alterations made had the desired effect and Scott Stallings‘ winning total the following year was 12 shots higher.

Last year, Ted Potter Jr. was something of a surprise winner in this tournament. He beat Troy Kelly at the third hole of a sudden-death playoff. Potter, a rookie in 2012, had made just six cuts in the 13 tournaments he’d played on the circuit up to last year’s Greenbrier. But he fired four rounds in the 60s, including two 64s to close, to finish on 16-under-par. He then saw off Kelly with a birdie two on the 18th hole – the third extra hole required to separate the pair.

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 4-7
Course stats: par 70, 7,287 yards
Purse: $6,300,000 Winner: $1,098,000
Defending Champion: Ted Potter Jr. (-16)

TV Coverage:
Thursday 4 – Sky Sports 1 from 8pm
Friday 5 – Sky Sports 3 from 8pm
Saturday 6 – Sky Sports 3 from 6pm
Sunday 7 – Sky Sports 1 from 6pm

Player Watch:

Graham DeLaet – The Canadian has five top-10 finishes this season, including one last week at Congressional. A victory looks just round the corner. He was tied 12th in this event last year.

Scott Stallings – The 2011 champion is a far more complete player than when he won here two years ago. He’s not been on such red-hot form in the last few weeks but he should feed off good memories here to produce a solid performance.

Roberto Castro – Finished second last week at Congressional and capable of super-low scoring. He posted a 63 in the final round of this event last year to end the week tied 7th.

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.

Where next?
European Tour
Alstom Open de France preview