Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

April 23, 2014

Justice was confident in Greenbrier Classic

BLUEFIELD, Va. — Why not in West Virginia?

When Jim Justice approached the PGA about possibly placing a tournament at The Greenbrier, his request was met with doubt.

He believed, few others did.

“I probably did, I was probably kind of a lone wolf in that because the PGA was really genuinely concerned about who is going to come,” said Justice, the owner of The Greenbrier. “Can you can really pull this off in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia or can you really pull it off in West Virginia and western Virginia, who is going to come?”

Those questions have been answered by the large number of spectators that have made the Greenbrier Classic one of the fastest growing and most popular events on the PGA Tour.

“I have always really been a believer that if you put your heart and soul and passion behind it, then the people in this area will support you,” said Justice, who was at Fincastle on the Mountain on Tuesday evening to serve as a guest speaker during a fundraiser for Bluefield State athletics. “I also believe in the people in our area here.”

Enough so to bring the best the PGA has to offer to The Greenbrier, with the fifth annual event slated to be played on July 3-6.

“We deserve good stuff,” Justice said. “Why do we have to drive all over the world and take our money and go way out of state to maybe see a professional golf event or see a professional football team or on and on and on.

“To me I am really into trying to do what I can in my little world to try and bring and try to make as many good things happen for our people as I can.”

While golf is the headline event for a full week of activities that will begin on June 30, The Greenbrier will also feature its usual concert series, which this year will include Jimmy Buffet on July 5, and that will be preceded on July 4 by Maroon 5, which includes Adam Levine, who was recently tabbed by People Magazine as the ‘sexiest man alive’.

“The concerts are going to be pretty special and these young ladies probably like who is coming from the standpoint, sexiest man alive, that is pretty good,” said Justice, in joking with several women in the room during a pre-banquet interview.

“It will be an exciting time.”

The fun will continue later that month and into August when the New Orleans Saints will conduct their training camp at The Greenbrier, a function that may have been hatched when Saints’ head coach Sean Peyton served as a caddie during The Greenbrier Classic last July.

“That is really neat, it is really neat from my standpoint,” Justice said. “Just think our people can drive and watch a professional football team practice all day or for ever how many hours you are there for nothing.

“It costs nothing to go to those practices and that is really neat to me.”

Plenty of construction has been taking place at The Greenbrier to prepare for the Saints, who will reportedly train in White Sulphur Springs from July 18-Aug. 16.

Yet, Justice said all should be fine, and the facilities will be ready when the Saints come marching in.

“People would have never believed it,” Justice said. “There are parts of it I don’t even believe, but as far as getting it done, it has been a big challenge, there has been a lot of pieces of equipment moving around over there, but it is getting done.

“In fact we are a little ahead of schedule. We have got to have the fields done by May 10, completely sodded, done, the end.

“It is really moving, there are a lot of people over there working really hard.”

—Contact Brian Woodson

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