The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest Sports

June 6, 2012

Greenbrier Classic headed toward a sellout

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS — In just its third year of hosting a PGA TOUR FedEx Cup tournament, The Greenbrier Classic is expected to be a sellout before the event scheduled for July 2-8 at America’s Resort.

Jim Justice, owner and chairman of the board of The Greenbrier, told members of the media gathered at the resort on Tuesday that the sale of weekly badges for the tournament and concert series have been strong and will be stopped at some point soon.

“Badge sales have been going rapidly and we’re going to reach a point in time, soon, where we have to cut it off,” Justice said.

With Tiger Woods winning The Memorial last weekend at Muirfield Village in Columbus, it has taken The Greenbrier Classic’s sales to “another level,” Justice indicated.

In 2011, during the second annual event, Justice said 217,000 people passed through the turnstiles over seven days.

“We can add another 25,000 or 30,000 (which would swell the attendance figure to nearly a quarter of a million people) and be OK, but beyond that number you wouldn’t be OK,” Justice stated.

“I’ve never heard complaint one from anybody saying they can’t see the action on the course, and it’s set up out there to handle a lot of people, but we can only accommodate so many,” he added. “I don’t like that, but like I said, we will have to cut it off.”

With the recent announcement that Woods would be in this year’s field of competitors, sales immediately surged for the tournament at the Old White TPC. Along with other big name golfers like Phil Mickelson, Tom Watson, Sergio Garcia, and past champions Scott Stallings (2011) and Stuart Appleby (2010), moving the event to the first week of July has also generated more interest among the top players on the PGA TOUR.

Tournament director Tim McNeely also confirmed that negotiations are still on going with Ricky Fowler, Bubba Watson and Hunter Mahan to join the field.

In other news from Tuesday, Justice said that he is confident that efforts to address traffic snarls as they relate to getting in and out of the West Virginia State Fair grounds for the concerts has been adequately addressed and will run much smoother this year.

He also indicated that the resort is ready and that golf course superintendent Kelly Shumate and his staff have the Old White in pristine condition for the competition.

— E-mail:  bantolini@register-herald.com

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