The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest Sports

July 9, 2013

Classic puts state on display

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS — An injury kept Tiger Woods from ever arriving. The altitude and some questionable decision making kept Phil Mickelson from staying, and a sore elbow kept John Daly from finishing.

Still, even after a Sunday afternoon thunderstorm drove some fans away and caused the trophy presentation to take place in the dark, the 2013 Greenbrier Classic was a huge success.

If you don’t believe me — I grew up in Greenbrier County so I am admittedly a little biased, since I’ve always been proud of my home state and home county — ask Jim Nantz. The 54-year-old Charlotte, N.C., native has been the voice of the PGA TOUR on CBS since 1986, and while presenting the trophy to new champion Jonas Blixt Sunday, he couldn’t contain his excitement.

“Thank you to the greatest fans I see all year long, the fans of West Virginia,” he said, calling The Greenbrier a true American treasure. “You’ve made this the best event on TOUR.”

Nantz wasn’t alone in his praise. Beckley native Slugger White, the PGA TOUR’s rules and competition expert, had pride oozing out of every pore of his body as he addressed the crowd with the sun setting behind the picturesque mountains.

“You talk about a miracle, this was a miracle tonight,” he said, referencing a final round that most said could not be finished after a three-plus hour weather delay. “West Virginia shined like it always does.”

The winner? Of course he enjoyed every moment.

“It’s just really cool to be here and just enjoy the facilities and everything,” said Blixt. “And then to actually win, yeah, it’s really cool.”

His only complaint was that he didn’t get to enjoy the area more.

“I kind of wanted to do a lot more things,” he said. “But I kind of had to focus on something else.”

Bubba Watson loved it so much he’s considering building a home on the property. Nick Faldo already has. Tom Watson, Kenny Perry and Webb Simpson all proudly display the logo while out on TOUR, and players who have no connection at all are spreading the word whenever they can.

The Greenbrier has returned to its roots and is once again a golf destination, and the fans who lined the fairways and treated the golfers like royalty deserve a lot of credit for that rebirth. Those of us fortunate enough to call these hills home, know the beauty of the clouds hanging in the mountains after a summer storm. We understand the hospitality that you’ll find from the people here, and love the recreational opportunities that the area provides. We’re fully aware that family comes first, and we certainly know how to throw a party.

Now, thanks to The Greenbrier Classic, the secret is getting out, and more and more people want to become a part of it.

Greenbrier chairman and CEO Jim Justice said it best when he called The Greenbrier a magical place. But he wasn’t crediting David Copperfield for making it that way.

“We can do a lot of nice stuff,” he said. “But if you don’t show up, we don’t have the greatest show on earth.”

Sorry, Ringling Brothers. When you can find a way to get a 63-year-old sports icon (Tom Watson), a country music superstar (Kenny Chesney), a 19-year-old college student competing with the best in his sport (Michael Kim), a legendary rock band (Aerosmith), a Masters champion who owns a General Lee (Bubba Watson), a billionaire high school basketball coach (Jim Justice), an emotional Swedish champion (Jonas Blixt), the NBA logo (Jerry West), an NFL commentator (Cris Collinsworth), a Super Bowl-winning coach toting a young golfer’s bag (Sean Payton), a college football icon (Frank Beamer), the host of a television reality show (Chris Harrison), fried green tomato sandwiches, peach tea and thousands of appreciative fans all together in a town with a population of fewer than 2,500 people, you can have your title back.

Until then, it belongs to The Greenbrier Classic.

— E-mail: chuffman@ and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.

Text Only
Latest Sports
  • 072514 Loomis The Greenbrier impresses Payton, Loomis

    When a deal was finalized on March 13 to bring the New Orleans Saints to The Greenbrier for three weeks of summer camp, Saints officials never doubted that the facility would be ready a little more than four months later for the first practice.


    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072514 WV Open 1 Hess Former Mountain Lions playing well at Open

    In sports like basketball or football, home field advantage can be the ultimate difference maker. The same can be said in golf.


    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072514 WV Open 2 Westfall Evans leads the field on rainy day at W.Va. Open

    The wind picked up, the rain started to fall and the scores were low at second round of the 81st West Virginia Open.


    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072514 WVU Replacing Sims a challenge for WVU

    Every year, almost every college football preview publication available lists one key statistic that most use to evaluate the prospects for any given football team — returning starters.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • WVU rifle coach competing in native Scotland

    West Virginia University rifle coach John Hammond is competing in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games in his native Scotland.

    July 24, 2014

  • 072414 WV Open.jpg Familiarity with Cobb helps Hess take lead

    It wouldn’t be a stretch to say Kenny Hess is comfortable playing the Cobb Course at Glade Springs Resort.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Golf and motocross are Jude’s passions

    Motocross and golf have very little in common.

    July 24, 2014

  • WVU’s Worley clear starter at cornerback

    There were few bright spots in West Virginia University’s 4-8 football campaign last year, and even fewer on the defensive side of the football, where the Mountaineers gave up more than 455 yards and 33 points per game.

    July 24, 2014

  • How to discover and love Major League Soccer

    When I began my soccer fandom following a missions trip to Brazil in 2000, I didn’t know what my next step was. I knew I loved watching the game, but there weren’t a lot of options for seeing it in the U.S. I knew of Major League Soccer — mostly from my friend and current FC Dallas beat writer Drew Epperley — but it was hard to find.

    July 24, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    Tiger Woods finished near bottom last weekend at Royal Liverpool, drawing out his drought of major tournament wins. Despite the disappointing showing, Woods' return to form remains a matter of when, not if.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Saints Training Camp