Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

June 30, 2014

Golfers, celebrities again on their way to The Greenbrier

BLUEFIELD — Bubba is coming back to southern West Virginia this week. So are Vijay, Angel, Webb, Jonas, Jase, Doc, Buzz, Hot Rod and a fast guy named Denny. Jimmy is bringing his guitar and Parrotheads, too.

PGA Tour golfers, coaches, big-name musicians and TV personalities are converging on eastern Greenbrier County for the fourth Greenbrier Classic golf tournament in White Sulphur Springs.

The gates of The Greenbrier Resort will swing open at 8 a.m. today for members of the general public who have bought admission badges. Golfers may begin practice rounds today for the PGA Tour competition that runs Thursday through Sunday.

The 156-man field for the tournament includes the No. 3 and No. 6 golfers in the World Golf Rankings, Bubba Watson and Jason Day. Day, a 26-year-old from Australia, will be making his first appearance in the Greenbrier Classic.

Tom Watson, a 39-time winner on the PGA Tour, will return, as will Sir Nick Faldo, who has won three Masters and three British Open tournaments.

Other notables include former Masters champions Vijay Singh and Angel Cabrera, Webb Simpson and last summer’s Greenbrier Classic champion Jonas Blixt, who finished second at this year’s Masters.

The other three tourney winners, Stuart Appleby, Scott Stallings and Ted Potter Jr., are planning to return as well.

Four spots in the field will be filled during open qualifying today.

The golfers will be in competition for a share of the purse listed as $6.5 million on the tournament website.

Today’s events also include a Fellowship of Christian Athletes 5-kilometer road race, and an afternoon pro-am.

Wednesday’s pro-am is scheduled to include the head football and men’s basketball coaches at Virginia Tech and Marshall. Frank Beamer, Buzz Williams, Doc Holliday and Dan D’Antoni will take in a round of golf.

Tony Gibson, defensive coordinator for the WVU football team, and WVU assistant basketball coach Ron Everhart are also on the list of attendees. Former WVU football coach Don Nehlen and ex-Marshall football coach Bob Pruett are to join them, along with Mountaineer basketball legend “Hot Rod” Hundley.

NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin, who is reportedly building a home at the resort, will leave his fireproof suit behind in favor of golf attire for Wednesday’s event.

The pro-am has also attracted comedian and actor George Lopez, country music singer-songwriter Charles Kelley, and Jase and Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty — who are scheduled to be paired up with Bubba Watson and Greenbrier owner Jim Justice.

The PGA event gets down to business on Thursday. Gates will open at 7 a.m., and The Golf Channel will carry live coverage starting at 3 p.m. The same times are to be in effect for Friday’s second round.

On Saturday and Sunday, The Golf Channel begins coverage at 1 p.m. and will hand the broadcast off to CBS at 3 p.m.

The tournament is to conclude, barring weather problems, at about 6 p.m. Sunday with an awards ceremony at the 18th green.

This year the showcase course at The Greenbrier, the Old White TPC, is celebrating its 100th year of operation. The renovated layout will test the skills of the PGA professionals with 7,287 yards of challenges, set up for a par of 70.

Away from the golf course, Maroon 5, which has won three Grammy Awards, will perform on Friday night starting at about 9:30 p.m. at the state fairgrounds in Fairlea. Transportation will be provided by shuttle buses.

Independence Day fireworks will cap off Friday night’s show.

Jimmy Buffett, a pop music legend, will take the stage on Saturday night at approximately 9:30 with his Coral Reefer Band. Buffet’s fans have called themselves “Parrotheads” for a generation.

— Contact Tom Bone at; Twitter @BDTBone

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