The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

July 16, 2011

Justice shoots down rumor of Woods playing in Classic

By Dave Morrison
Sports Editor

— The rumor mill was in full operation Friday as the world of Twitter spilled what could be the news that The Greenbrier and  Chairman and CEO Jim Justice would love to hear.

Tiger Woods may participate in The Greenbrier Classic.

That came as news to Justice, who denied the rumor.

“There is absolutely nothing to the Tiger rumor, absolutely nothing,” Justice said, without even being asked.

“That means I have heard nothing (from Woods’ camp),” Justice said. “Surely to goodness, I would have been the first to know that. It would be great news, and we would love to have Tiger. But as far as Tiger committing, there is nothing to it.”

The PGA Tour event is scheduled for July 28-31 on the Old White TPC course at The Greenbrier, located in White Sulphur Springs. 

Alan Shipnuck, a senior writer with Sports Illustrated, started the uproar on his Twitter page Friday morning, tweeting: “Rumor alert: two good sources tell me Tiger is planning to return to action at Greenbrier Classic (July 28-31). Akron follows, then the PGA.”

Of course, there is still time for Woods, who has been out of action since withdrawing after one round at The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in May, to commit to the tournament.

“The players have until the Friday prior (on July 22) at 5 p.m. to commit,” said Lynn Swann, director of public relations at The Greenbrier.

“Obviously, we would love to have him. We have an impressive field already, but he would certainly add to that.”

Woods has taken time off the PGA Tour to recover from injuries to his knee and ankle.

The former No. 1 golfer in the world finished in a tie for fourth at The Masters in early April, his last full tournament.

In other Greenbrier Classic news, Justice said he is reconsidering the $1 million hole-in-one prize on No. 18.

Especially in light of The Greenbrier pro emeritus Tom Watson getting a hole-in-one Friday at the British Open.

Last year, the $1 million hole-in-one on the par-3, 162-yard finishing hole drew a buzz, among the players and the fans, and with good reason.

Any ace on the hole would have given the player $250,000 while $750,000 would have gone to the tournament’s immense charity base. Plus, each fan sitting in the stands on the 18th would have received $100.

“We had decided not to, and really we haven’t had much time to think about it with everybody in the world calling about that Tiger rumor,” Justice said. “We’ll reconsider it, but as far as making a commitment to that, we haven’t.”

Lucas Glover, who has already committed to The Greenbrier Classic, is currently tied for the lead at The British Open, after shooting an even-par 70 Friday. He is tied with Darren Clarke, both at 136.

— Jim Workman contributed to this report.