The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

July 2, 2012

Spectators in for a treat

Impressive field, plenty of festivities await Greenbrier Classic fans

By Jim Workman
Assistant Managing Editor

— If, in fact, the third time is the charm, spectators at this year’s version of The Greenbrier Classic will be treated to one terrific event.

The field of 156 golfers begin arriving for practice rounds and a pro-am today for the PGA TOUR event.

Gates open at 8 a.m.

“It’s going to be really special,” said Jim Justice, chairman and CEO of The Greenbrier. “It certainly does have the potential to be the best one yet. We’re sold out this year ... we’re ready.”

The field is impressive.

Tiger Woods is making his first trip to White Sulphur Springs.

Phil Mickelson and Tom Watson return this season, but both failed to make the cut in their first Greenbrier Classic attempts in 2011.

U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson is making his third Classic appearance.

Other notable commitments include Johnson Wagner, Dustin Johnson, Ben Curtis, John Huh, Steve Stricker, Camilo Villegas, Vijay Singh, Davis Love III, K.J. Choi, Jim Furyk and Carl Petersson.

“The field is just unbelievable,” Justice said. “It seemed like they (commitments) just kept coming and coming. I don’t know how much better it can get.”

Tuesday will feature more practice rounds, with gates opening at 8 a.m., and an afternoon youth clinic at 1:30 p.m.

On Wednesday, gates open at 7 a.m. with a pro-am morning flight and an afternoon pro-am flight teeing off at 12:30 p.m.

That evening, The Greenbrier Classic will celebrate the Fourth of July with its first show of the Greenbrier Classic Concert Series. Winners of The Greenbrier’s Got Country Class competition, The August, take the stage at the amphitheater near the fairgrounds in Fairlea at 7:30 p.m.

Headliner Toby Keith with special guest Lionel Richie are scheduled to perform at 9 p.m.

Fireworks will follow.

West Virginia and The Greenbrier’s Old White TPC will be on display for a national and international television audience Thursday and Friday with the first two rounds of the FedExCup tournament on The Golf Channel with Saturday and Sunday third- and fourth-round action broadcast on CBS.

Gates open at 7 a.m. for the first two rounds and 8 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The Greenbrier Classic Concert Series returns Friday with Rod Stewart and special guests The Fray beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Bon Jovi is the concert attraction Saturday night, rocking the stage at 8 p.m.

Stuart Appleby won the inaugural Greenbrier Classic while Scott Stallings claimed the 2012 event. Both are back in attempts to once again raise the glass-and-crystal Springhouse trophy Sunday at approximately 6 p.m.

Appleby won with a bogey-free 11-under 59 in the final round, defeating Jeff Overton by one stroke. It was only the fifth sub-60 round shot in PGA TOUR history.

Stallings, a PGA TOUR rookie in 2011, claimed his first career tournament in the event last season. He held off Bob Estes and Bill Haas in a playoff to seal the win.

Both Appleby and Stallings are searching for their first Top 10 finishes in 2012. Each has two Top 25s, however.

Overton, Haas and Estes also return to The Old White TPC this week.

The course is a par-70 (34-36), and 7,274 yards long.

The total purse of The Greenbrier Classic is $6.1 million, with the winner cashing a check for $1,098,000.

It’s also an opportunity to move up in the FedExCup standings, with the champion picking up 500 points.

— E-mail: jworkman@