white sulphur springs — Household names have never fared well at the Greenbrier Classic, renamed A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier last year.
Over the years, the annual West Virginia PGA Tour stop has been mostly known for its kindness to first-time winners and helping veteran Tour players get back inside the winner’s circle.
Scott Stallings, Ted Potter Jr., Danny Lee and Xander Schauffle each collected their first PGA Tour win on the Old White TPC, while last year’s champion, Kevin Na and Jonas Blixt picked up their second win at The Greenbrier. Na’s first win came in 2011.
Playing the Greenbrier Classic for the first time in 2014, veteran Angel Cabrera shot back-to-back 64s on the weekend for his first win since the 2009 Masters.
There is a good possibility that trend will continue this year when the 2019-20 PGA Tour season starts today at The Greenbrier.
While there are some big names scheduled to play in A Military Tribute at The Greenbrer, the majority of the field encompasses rookies and players looking to snap their own winless droughts.
World No. 10 Bryson DeChambeau is the favorite to win the tournament this year, being one of just two top-25 players in the field.
Nicknamed "The Scientist" for his analytical approach to the game, DeChambeau has won five times on the PGA Tour, his last coming at the Shriner’s Hospital for Children Open last fall.
He will also be representing the United States at The President’s Cup in December being played at The Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Melbourne, Australia.
Marc Leishman is the other top-25 player in the field. The native of Warrnambool, Victoria, Australia, has four wins on the PGA Tour and five International triumphs.
Leishman’s has not played the tournament since 2015 and has missed the cut three times in five appearances.
Although they have slipped some in the rankings, the tournament has always attracted some solid professional players.
Hometown favorite Bubba Watson is looking for his first-ever win on the Old White TPC. He will be playing along side past champions Kevin Na and Scott Stallings. Watson has played the tournament every year since 2013 and has played well enough to make the cut each time.
Two-time major winner Zach Johnson is in the field for the first time. Johnson is looking to get a jumpstart on the new PGA Tour season after a disappointing finish last year where he missed the FedEx Cup playoffs.
He is paired with Jason Dufner and Jimmy Walker who have both won the PGA Championship. Walker also has three top-5 finishes at A Military Tribute.
Oklahoma State standout Viktor Hovland will lead a talented group of rookies this year. Hovland was the low amateur at The Masters in April prior to playing in the Big 12 Golf Championship also held on the Old White TPC.
Joining Hovland in the rookie field will be Korn Ferry Tour standouts Scottie Scheffler, Doug Ghim, Tom Lewis, Maverick McNealy and Kristoffer Ventura.
A name that should be familiar to fans of A Military Tribute is Robert Streb. Streb has played every year since 2013 and has never missed the cut, finishing second two out of the last three years.
Joaquin Niemann has also shown he can go low on the Old White TPC. In 2017, he opened with back-to-back 68s before falling back with a 75 Saturday. Undaunted, the native of Santiago, Chile fired a 64 on Sunday. Last year he finished tied for fifth.
So, who else in the field might find themselves slipping on the green jacket, given to the winner on Sunday?
Jason Kokrak is a player who can really go low, while Russell Henley and Sungjae Im are players to watch. Harold Varner III led after three rounds last year before stumbling on Sunday. Varner could makes amends this year on a course he really seems to like.
West Virginia Amateur champion and Bridgeport native Mason Williams will tee off at 2:15 p.m.
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