By CAM HUFFMAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS —
The Greenbrier now has both of the most famous Watsons in golf — and plenty of green jackets to hang in its closets.
The historic resort announced Tuesday that 2012 Masters champion Bubba Watson has joined the team of professional golfers representing the resort. Watson will join Greenbrier pro emeritus Tom Watson — an eight-time Major winner, including a pair of Masters championships — 2012 U.S. Senior Open champion Kenny Perry and 2012 U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson as a member of “Team Greenbrier.”
He’ll display The Greenbrier logo on his bag while participating in all professional tournaments, pro-am events and public golf exhibitions.
“The Greenbrier, to us, is all about family,” Watson said Tuesday, while enjoying a mini-vacation at The Greenbrier with his wife, Angie, and 16-month-old son Caleb. “Everybody here has treated us great. The family atmosphere, the history here, the beauty here, how could you not want to be a part of it? It’s a dream resort, and hopefully Caleb will grow old here and his kids will grow up here, as well.”
Greenbrier owner and CEO Jim Justice has quickly developed a close relationship with Watson and said he was thrilled to have him as part of the team.
“He’s got Caleb and Angie, and they’re the greatest,” said Justice. “His values are rock solid and grounded and what I think The Greenbrier ought to be all about. He’s a good person with incredible talent. He’s got a good personality, he engages the crowd and that’s what we’re all about.”
Watson said it’s an honor to be associated with the other members of The Greenbrier team, as well as former pro emeritus Sam Snead, who won a record 82 PGA tour events, including three Masters titles, and three-time Masters winner Nick Faldo, who now owns a home on The Greenbrier property, in representing “America’s Resort.”
“For me to be associated now, in a roundabout way, with Sam Snead and Tom Watson is an honor,” said Watson, who saw the property for the first time in July when he played in The Greenbrier Classic, the resort’s annual PGA tour event. “I’m young and haven’t done anything in my life like they have. It’s a thrill and a dream come true.”
Watson has also purchased a lot and plans on building a home at The Greenbrier Sporting Club. He’s spent the last few days researching different plans for his home, which he would only reveal is “on the mountain,” and he hopes to have the construction finished in time for next year’s Greenbrier Classic.
“I need a place to stay,” he said with a laugh. “They make you feel at home here, and I love it. Then, when you add in four beautiful courses to play golf, it’s great. It was easy to fall in love with it. There’s the pools, the bunker, horse rides, walking trails, and in bad weather the bowling alley and the indoor pool. It’s some of the best food I’ve ever had.
“I’m not used to snow, so that part is a little different. But I want to spend some winters here, and obviously Christmas here. During the summer, it will be perfect.”
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Taking full advantage of the new partnership, The Greenbrier will rename the back tees at The Old White TPC Course — the home of The Greenbrier Classic — the “Bubba tees.” Golfers who play the course from the back will have the opportunity to try to break 90 to get their name entered into a raffle. Two winners will be drawn and given the opportunity to play the course with Watson and Justice.
“Somebody might three-putt on 18 just so they don’t have to take a chance,” joked Watson, a four-time winner on the PGA tour.