The storms that rolled into the northeast threatened the Greenbrier Classic after knocking down up to 80 trees at the Old White TPC, but play will go on as usual.
The Old White TPC, built in 1914, is the oldest course to host a PGA Tour event. The Greenbrier was on the brink of bankruptcy recently but renovations that took place between 2002 and 2006 helped attract the tour and the rest is history.
Players will be playing to a par 70 on a rather short course totaling 7,274 yards. Driving accuracy will be important as the fairways are tight and greens will be firm. The Old White TPC is one of only two tracks that finish with a par three, the other being East Lake, host of The Tour Championship.
Last year it took a playoff to decide the winner as Scott Stalling defeated Bob Estes and Bill Haas on the first playoff hole. In its first year here, the course ranked second easiest of the 14 par 70 tracks on tour and that was certainly justified after Stuart Appleby put up a Sunday 59 to card an overall score of 22 under par. Last year after it was lengthened and the greens done over, The Old White TPC ranked 13th out of 51 courses in difficulty. The tee to green game is where it will again be won.
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are in the field this week. They are the only two players ranked in the OWGR top 10 but also teeing it up are two of the past three Major winners, 2011 PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley and 2012 U.S. Open Champion Webb Simpson. Other notables include Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson and Steve Stricker to name a few.
Tiger Woods is the huge favorite this week. Last week, he was favored with no value heading into the AT&T National and he came away victorious. With even worse value this week, we will stay away from Woods as winning in consecutive weeks is tough enough let alone doing the second one on a course he has never played before.
Webb Simpson took the week off last week so he comes in fresh. After winning the U.S. Open, he played very respectable in Cromwell with a T29 at the Travelers. He finished T9 at the Greenbrier Classic a year ago after missing the cut two years ago.
Jim Furyk is getting excellent value this week. He is coming off T34 last week after a Sunday 69 which came after his meltdown at the U.S. Open two weeks before. He has three top four finishes this year including a runner-up at the Transitions Championship. He finished T9 in his lone appearance here in 2010.
Jeff Overton has had an up-and-down year but his last two events have resulted in a T13 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic and a T22 at the AT&T last week. He was the victim of Appleby’s 59 here two years ago, finishing one stroke off the lead. He followed that up with a T49 last year but we know he can go low here.
Carl Pettersson is 12th on the money list and 10th in the FedEx Cup standings yet is getting long-shot odds this week. He is a winner already this year and even though he has missed his last two cuts, he has taken the last two weeks. He finished T18 here a year ago.
Jimmy Walker will get the second long-shot look this week. He has missed only four cuts all season and has three top 10s to his credit even though all of those were early in the season. He is coming off a respectable T32 last week, though his history on this course is the main factor. After a T4 in 2010, he came back last year with an identical finish.