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The Greenbrier Classic
Golf: PGA Tour 2010/2011
Friday, 25th to 31th July 2011 to 03th Aug - Kickoff 21:00

imageThe Greenbrier Classic will be played for the first time July 29 - August 1, 2010 at the Old White Course at The Greenbrier in White Sulfur Springs, West Virginia. It replaces Flint, Michigan’s Buick Open, which had been a tour stop since 1958.

The Greenbrier is one of America’s oldest resort properties. As far back as 1778, the area’s hot sulfur springs attracted travelers seeking health benefits. Indeed, for the first 125 years of its existence, the resort spot was known simply as White Sulfur Springs. A hotel was built in 1858, which stood until 1922.

The property was purchased and expanded by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway starting in 1910. It was at that time that the resort became known as The Greenbrier, while the nearby town was White Sulfur Springs. The Greenbrier became a premier destination, attracting twenty six Presidents, foreign dignitaries such as the Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Ghandi, Prince Ranier and Princess Grace as well as innumerable stars such as the always-ready-for-golf Bing Crosby.

In 1913, three years after purchasing the property, the C & O Railroad built the first golf course, the Old White Course. The Old White Course was designed by Charles Blair Macdonald and features several holes modeled after well‑known Scottish holes. Over the years, Sam Snead, the resort’s golf professional emeritus, as well as Arnold Palmer, Jimmy Demaret, Dwight Eisenhower, the Prince of Wales, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and the Rev. Billy Graham have enjoyed golf at The Greenbrier. Jack Nicklaus redesigned the Greenbrier Course in 1977 for the 1979 International Ryder Cup Matches. The third championship course on the property is the Meadows Course, redesigned in 1998 by noted golf architect Robert Cupp. In 1999, the Sam Snead Golf Academy opened offering half‑day and multi‑day classes for golfers of all abilities.

Curiously, The Greenbrier also was the site of a secret underground bunker complex that the US government built to house the Congress in case of national emergency (it figures that Congress would relocate itself to a luxury resort while the rest of us suffer). Now decommissioned and declassified, the bunker apparently houses data facilities and can be toured. The Washington Post article which exposed the secret bunkercan be read here.

PGA Tour legend Sam Snead held the position as the resort’s emeritus pro for many years until his death. Tom Watson now holds that title. The resort also hosted the Ryder Cup in 1979 and the Solheim Cup in 1994. Muirfield Village is the only other location to have hosted both the Ryder and Solheim Cups.

In 2009, the resort filed for bankruptcy, and apparently was slated to be bought by the Marriott Corporation. But that purchase was contested by James Justice, whose family holdings included mines, milling and farms in West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. In the end, the legal argument was settled in favor of the Justice family and they are the current owners of the property. Casino gambling was introduced at the Greenbrier in 2010.

There are of course, no past winners of this tournament as of this moment. That’ll change on Sunday.

Before the start of Greenbrier Classic, rumours were circulating around that Tiger Woods, who has been absent since early May this year, will make his comeback appearance at the Greenbrier Classic. But like any other rumour, this has been to a contrary; Woods will not be in the field for the PGA Tour’s second year of Greenbrier Classic. Woods has away from any tournament since his withdrawal at the nine holes of the Players Championship.

He has also missed the British Open Championship two weeks ago in Sandwich Kent. Once again, the 35-year-old Tiger will be missing in action this week, nonetheless, The Old White TPC will be graced by some of the big guns in golf. Both former Masters Tournaments winners Phil Mickelson and Tom Watson – who are both first timers -will be paring with the defending champion Stuart Appleby in hope to take a bid of the of the $1.080m winning prize from the total prize purse of $6M.

The Greenbrier Classic Defending Champion
At the inaugural of the latest edition of PGA Tour last year, Stuart Appleby made an astonishing display when he finished 59 at the final round of the tournament by carding 22-under par 258. A record setting that made him first Australian and the fifth player to have achieved the feat after Al Geiberger, Chip Beck, David Duval and Paul Goydos.

Having not won for four years, it was an intensified game for the Aussie at the final round going against Jeff Overton in the leaderboard, but somehow he manage to pull it of with his birdies on each of his final three holes and an eagle. By these, he succeeded to held off Jeff Overton by one stroke. His victory was then followed up by winning the JBWere Masters 2010 but since then, his form has plummeted. With his 20 events played this season, he has only managed to have one top 10 finish and the rest are marred by missing the cut.

Not to mention his disqualification at the AT&T National’s second round for signing an incorrect scorecard. With this, Stuart Appleby is in desperate need of a win but prospect of defending his title is slim that he is listed by Ladbrokes at 101.00 compare to Jeff Overton at 21.00 to win the Greenbriers Classic.

The First Timer at Greenbrier Classic 2011
Phil Mickelson will be playing for the first time at the Old White Course. He is the only player inside the top 10 to tee off at the 2011 Greenbrier Classic this week. As he heads in West Virginia, Mickelson will be putting behind him what had happened at the Open Championship 2011 in England. He could have won and added the Open title in his major bag but was edge out by Darren Clarke. Despite the British weather throwing all its elements, the “Lefty” started the final round with only five strokes behind the leader Clarke. At one stage of the final day, in the ninth green, Phil caught up.

However, he blew his chance when he lost focus at the 11th hole when he missed a 3-foot par, in which he called it a “dumb mental error”. Although he had another birdie in the 14th, it was not enough to seize Darren Clarke to win the Open 2011. The 41-year-old finished T2, carding 2-under par 68 at 278. Mickelson has to avoid similar “dumb error” and needs to play well here if he wants to overtake Nick Watney on top of the FedExCup standing. A win or second place result will make this happen. Fresh from a week off from the tournament, Phil Mickelson is the bookmakers favourite at 9/1 to win in the second year of Greenbrier Classic 2011.

Tom Watson skipped the U.S. Senior Open to play at the Old White TPC to honour his commitment made to Jim Justice, the owner of the golf course. The Pro Emeritus One is in form of the late. Two weeks ago at the Royal St. Georges, he has once again shown why he is a legend. On the par-three sixth green, the “Old Guy” and five time British Open champ made an astonishing hole-in-one shot in Kent.

A beautiful 4-iron hit into a 160 yards, with the ball bouncing once before it went straight into the cup. The 61-year-old finished T22, 6-over par 72 in the final round. Last week, at the Senior British Open, the eight-time major winner Watson carded 5-under 67 in the final round to finish T3. Tom Watson is the oldest to tee in Greenbrier Classic and he is offered at odds 11/1 to finish in top 10.