As first-year events go, it's hard to find a better course than The Greenbrier's Old White, where the PGA Tour is staging the first edition of its brand-new Greenbrier Classic this week. The battle for FedExCup supremacy is as strong as ever as this is the 33rd of 37 official FedExCup Regular Season events. The PGA Tour Playoffs for the FedExCup will ensue following the final Regular Season event of the season, the Wyndham Championship.
The Greenbrier is an award-winning resort located in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia. As a National Historic Landmark, the Greenbrier’s original of three courses, Old White, will measure 7,031 yards and play to par 70 this week. Originally designed by Charles Blair MacDonald in 1914 and recently restored to its original design by Lester George, the course has hosted some of the game's greatest players, including Sam Snead, Tom Watson, Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Lee Trevino.
World Golf Hall of Fame member Sam Snead, the winningest player in PGA Tour history, was the resort’s professional for 29 years and served as Golf Professional Emeritus from 1993 until his death in 2002. Tom Watson, also a World Golf Hall of Fame member, became the Greenbrier's second Golf Professional Emeritus in 2005.
The field is headlined by Jim Furyk, who hasn’t played on the PGA Tour since missing the cut at the British Open. He is resuming his playing schedule this week and is No. 5 in both the FedExCup and in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Kenny Perry, who was born and raised in Kentucky, is expected to be a crowd favorite in neighbor-state West Virginia this week. With five wins in 2008-09, Perry is still seeking his first win of the season. This week, Perry is dedicating his play to the 29 families affected by the April mining disaster in West Virginia. He has pledged $2,000 for every birdie he records during the tournament. In response, Greenbrier owner James Justice will match Perry’s donation. Funds raised through the Greenbrier Classic will be donated to the families through the West Virginia Council of Churches.
There are numerous players with local ties competing this week. Besides Kentuckian, Kenny Perry, J.B. Holmes was born and raised in Campbellsville, KY, and has won in the last two even-numbered years (the 2006 and 2008 FBR Opens. Brendon de Jonge is a native of Zimbabwe who attended college at Virginia Tech. His best performance this year was a tie for third at the Puerto Rico Open. Johnson Wagner is another Hokie who is looking for his second career win. His first came at the 2008 Shell Houston Open. His top performances this year were ties for 12th at the HP Byron Nelson Championship and the St. Jude Classic.