The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest Sports

April 25, 2010

PGA credits Beckley native White for event

After nearly three decades of working with the PGA, Beckley’s own Carlton Palmer “Slugger” White II will have an excuse to come home this summer.

In fact, PGA officials gave credit to White for starting the dialogue which led to bringing The Greenbrier Classic to the FedEx Cup schedule beginning this year.

The event will take place July 26-Aug. 1 on the Old White Course at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs.

White has worked 29 years for the PGA Tour, as a vice president of rules and competition and as a tournament director.

White also played on the PGA Tour from 1976 to 1979.

“We’ve always been great friends,” said Greenbrier owner Jim Justice, who was a high school golf teammate with White at Woodrow Wilson High School. “Our dads really pushed us and we had a great relationship. I talked to him every day from the time I was 10 to 16.”

White was a senior when Justice was a sophomore at Woodrow.

“We played a lot of golf together, probably 45 or more holes a day,” Justice recalled. “We loved the game.

“We probably had the best golf team to not win a state championship,” Justice added.

“We had Slugger, who went on to play at Ohio University, I went to play at Tennessee (and later Marshall University), Bill Martin played at Washington & Lee and Mike Luchini and Gary Sutphin both went on to play at West Virginia University.”

Could a 16-year-old Justice and an 18-year-old White have imagined that they would one day be instrumental in bringing a PGA event to West Virginia?

“We were both dreamers,” Justice answered. “Slugger always knew that he was going to do something special.

“From the time I was 30 or 35, people would ask me, ‘What’s your dream?’ And I would say, ‘I will own the Cincinnati Reds when I’m 59 years old.’ Well, I didn’t do that. But this is as special.”

The two friends had an opportunity to play some rounds at The Greenbrier as youngsters.

“The Greenbrier was like Emerald City to us,” Justice said. “We didn’t get to go to The Greenbrier. When we played in the State Amateur, that’s when we came.”

Last summer, Justice approached his high school teammate about the idea of bringing PGA golf back to The Greenbrier.

“When he heard that I bought The Greenbrier, Slugger called me and said, ‘Jimmy, what are you doing?’” Justice said. “And I said, ‘Slugger, I’m not going to let you off that easy.’ I said, ‘Slugger, now you’ve got to help me. We’ve got to get a PGA event here.’

“Slugger said that it would be a tough nut to crack, but he went to work and got the right people at the PGA involved,” Justice added. “He was an integral part from day one.

“We just said, ‘We can do it,’ and it took off. By the grace of God, we’re here.”

Slugger’s father, Carlton P. “Cotton” White, was very involved in the community in Raleigh County. He was a former justice of the peace, constable and assessor in Raleigh County.

He was also a former manager of the American Legion Post 32 baseball team, a lifetime member of the Elks Lodge, the Loyal Order of the Moose, No. 1606, and Beckley Masonic Lodge No. 95, AF and AM. He was a member of American Legion Post No. 32 and a member of Black Knight Country Club, and was an avid golfer himself.

He was also a professional boxer and was inducted into the West Virginia Boxing Hall of Fame.

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