WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- Yes, Tiger Woods is in the Greenbrier Classic field, so set any speculation on that front aside.
Woods, who has fallen from his high perch in the sport in grimace-inducing style, will continue his comeback bid next week in the sixth edition of the PGA tour event at The Greenbrier resort's Olde White TPC course. The tour released a list of 150 players from 17 countries, plus 10 alternates Friday evening.
Ultimately, there will be 156 in the field. Two are held for exemptions restricted to those who came to the big tour from the Web.com Tour Finals.
Bubba Watson, a part-time Greenbrier Sporting Club resident, heads the 10 players in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking. He is fifth, followed by J.B. Holmes (13th), Patrick Reed (15th), Louis Oosthuizen (16th), Kevin Na (23rd), Bill Haas (24th), Paul Casey (35th), Keegan Bradley (40th), Webb Simpson (42nd) and Kevin Kisner (46th).
The Classic suffered a few hits, though. Brandt Snedeker (25th) was on the list of commitments; Jimmy Walker (12th) and Gary Woodland (31st) will skip the event for the first time.
In the FedExCup rankings, nine of the top 25 will play at White Sulphur Springs: Reed (fifth), Holmes (seventh), Robert Streb (11th), Watson (12th), Kisner (14th), Steven Bowditch (18th), Haas (20th), Sangmoon Bae (23rd) and Na (25th).
Defending champion Angel Cabrera is returning, as are past champs Scott Stallings (2011) and Jonas Blixt (2013). Stuart Appleby (2010) and Ted Potter Jr. (2012) are still recovering from injuries; Appleby entered the Travelers Championship and committed to the Greenbrier, but bowed out of both.
Three of the four players who have made all five cuts are returning: Virginia Tech graduate Brendon de Jonge, Carl Pettersson and D.A. Points. The other is Troy Matteson, whose status is in the bottom category.
Other notables include 12-time winner Steve Stricker, who has played the Classic as part of his limited schedule. He has played here twice, both times with wife Nicki serving as caddy. Those winning tour events this season are Bae, Streb, Nick Taylor, Watson, Reed, Haas, James Hahn, Holmes, Bowditch, Lingmerth and Fabian Gomez.
Those in the field who have won major championships include Woods (14 from 1997-2008), Watson (2012, 2014 Masters), Bradley (2011 PGA), Oosthuizen (2010 British Open), Cabrera (2007 U.S. Open, 2009 Masters), Trevor Immelman (2008 Masters), Vijay Singh (1998 and 2004 PGA, 2000 Masters), Justin Leonard (1997 British Open), Davis Love III (1997 PGA) and John Daly (1991 PGA, 1995 British Open).
Of the 20 who have played all five classics, 10 are in the field for certain: Daly, Brian Davis, Cameron Tringale, Charles Howell III, Love, J.J. Henry, Justin Leonard, Ricky Barnes, Immelman and Simpson. Virginia Tech graduate Johnson Wagner, the 54-hole leader in the 2013 Classic, is the first alternate and probably will get in, and Jonathan Byrd is the fourth alternate. Josh Teater's status has slipped to where he is the ninth alternate, and will play in the Monday qualifier.
Daly will again come on a sponsor exemption, along with West Virginia Amateur champion Sam O'Dell and Haskins Award winner Maverick McNealy. Another intriguing sponsor exemption goes to Peter Uihlein, an American who plays on the European Tour. He was that tour's rookie of the year in 2013 and finished 14th in the Race to Dubai.
Immelman and Tommy Gainey also were awarded exemptions.
Practice rounds begin Monday and resume Tuesday and Wednesday. Wednesday is the day of a celebrity-filled pro-am tournament that is to include NBA great Shaquille O'Neal, former Marshall and West Virginia football coaches Bob Pruett and Don Nehlen, former NBA coach Mike D'Antoni, current Marshall basketball and football coaches Dan D'Antoni and Doc Holliday, Virginia Tech football and basketball coaches Frank Beamer and Buzz Peterson, and "Duck Dynasty" stars Jase and Willie Robertson, among others.
Competition begins in earnest at 7 a.m. Thursday, and lasts through Sunday, July 5.
This article was written by Doug Smock from The Charleston Gazette, W.Va. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
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