The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Other Sports

March 14, 2014

Greenbrier becoming a haven for sports fans

The Greenbrier has long been the home of great golf and fantastic golfers. Whether it was hosting the 1979 Ryder Cup or the 1994 Solheim Cup, or its long association with golfing legend Sam Snead, who served as the head pro and eventually pro emeritus for more than 50 years, The Greenbrier has been a well known destination for golf enthusiasts for years.

That’s only increased over the last four years as The Old White TPC Course has become the home of The Greenbrier Classic on the PGA Tour. The resort now has Tom Watson, another legend, as its golf pro emeritus and residing in a house overlooking the grounds is golf and television star Nick Faldo. The Greenbrier has an association with Webb Simpson, Bubba Watson and others, giving the younger generation favorites to follow.

But with yesterday’s announcement that the New Orleans Saints will be moving a portion of their training camp to the White Sulphur Springs resort for at least the next three years, The Greenbrier has now become a sports mecca for sports enthusiasts around the state.

Like basketball? The Greenbrier has the NBA logo. Jerry West, a Cheylan native, not only owns a house at The Greenbrier, his Prime 44 West restaurant is one of the most popular dining facilities at the hotel, complete with memorabilia from the hall of famer’s playing days at West Virginia University and with the L.A. Lakers. Walk into the restaurant or onto the golf course on any given day, and there’s a good chance you might run into the NBA legend.

Tennis more your style? For the last two years The Greenbrier has hosted The Greenbrier Champions Tennis Classic, bringing the likes of John McEnroe, Pete Sampras and Ivan Lendl — three of the sport’s biggest stars — to the resort.

Now, with the addition of the New Orleans Saints training facility, sports fans can get their fill of top-notch football from the likes of Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham, by taking in a practice free of charge in late July or early August.

There’s been boxing at The Greenbrier — Evander Holyfield fought “Tank” Williams in 2011 — and for the outdoorsman the resort has everything from fly fishing, to hunting and even off-road trails.

Basically, the only major American sport that isn’t covered with a trip to The Greenbrier is baseball.

 No matter how you look at it, the happenings at The Greenbrier are great for southern West Virginia. It showcases the beauty of the land and the appeal of its people that has been kept a secret for so long.

And for you baseball fans, just give it time. Based on what’s been happening the past few years, Pirates or Orioles may be invading Greenbrier County before you know it.

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