By Cam Huffman
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS —
The Greenbrier Classic begins today in White Sulphur Springs with practice rounds and a Pro-Am. Gates will open at The Greenbrier resort at 8 a.m., and PGA TOUR players will be out on the Old White TPC Course all day getting a feel for the historic course that will host the four-round FedEX Cup Tournament Thursday through Sunday.
Today’s Pro-Am will begin at 1:30 p.m. and include many of the top players who have already arrived in Greenbrier County.
“We’re ready to go,” said Greenbrier chairman and CEO Jim Justice. “There have been a lot of great people doing a lot of work, and it should be a great tournament.”
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Not only has The Greenbrier Classic put together an impressive field, it also appears as though many of the top golfers are playing at the top of their games.
Phil Mickelson, the highest-ranked player in the World Golf Rankings in the field at No. 6, has finished tied for second in his last two tournaments, the FedEx St. Jude Classic and the U.S. Open. The four-time Major Championship winner has finished in the top 25 in seven of the 13 events he’s played this season.
Mickelson is playing in his third Greenbrier Classic this year and is determined to make the weekend for the first time.
Bubba Watson will be making his Greenbrier Classic debut and is sure to draw a crowd with his pink driver as one of the most popular players on TOUR. The Bagdad, Fla., native blew a late lead at the Travelers Championship in his last tournament, finishing fourth in the event, but he’s made the cut in 11 of 13 events this season, including three top 10s.
The last two winners on the PGA TOUR — Ken Duke (Travelers Championship) and Bill Haas (AT&T National) — will be part of the field. In fact, the top three from the AT&T National — Haas, Roberto Castro and D.H. Lee — will all be walking the fairways of the Old White TPC.
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The final four tournament spots will be determined today at the qualifier on the Cobb Course at The Resort at Glade Springs.
The top 50 players from Thursday’s pre-qualifier, as well as PGA TOUR and Web.com Tour professionals not already in the field, will play an 18-hole stroke play event, with the low four qualifiers joining The Greenbrier Classic field. In event of a tie for the last qualifying position, there will be a hole-by-hole sudden death playoff.
— E-mail: chuffman@
register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.