The Greenbrier Classic
The Old White TPC
White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
The Old White TPC
Yards: 7,287 as per the scorecard
Par: 70 (34-36)
Greens: Bentgrass; 7,000 square feet on average
Rough: Kentucky bluegrass at 3”
Water Hazards: 10
Course Architects: C.B. McDonald (1914); PGA TOUR Design (2010-2011)
Winner’s Share: $1,134,000
FexExCup Points: 500 to the winner
Defending Champion: Ted Potter, Jr. defeated Troy Kelly on the third playoff hole to win for the first time in his career on TOUR.
Dates: July 4-7
Notes: This is the fourth edition of The Greenbrier Classic. Course history buffs should remember that this track was overhauled in 2010-2011 after the player mauled it in 2010.
There have been 27 tournaments this season. The Stars and Stripes have won 22 of them but Australian Adam Scott and Englishman Justin Rose have the two biggest trophies, the Masters and U.S. Open, respectively.
There have also been 10 first-time winners this season. There have also been just two multiple winners, Tiger Woods (four) and Matt Kuchar (WGC-Match Play; Memorial). There were only nine first-time winners in 2012.
Past champions in the field include:
2010 Stuart Appleby
2011 Scott Stallings
2012 Ted Potter, Jr.
The winners on TOUR have been Johnson, D (28), Henley (24), Gay (41), Woods FOUR times (37), Mickelson (42), Snedeker (32), Merrick (30) Kuchar TWICE (34),Thompson, M (27) Brown (29), Streelman (34), Points (36), Laird (30), Scott (32), G-Mac (33), Horschel (26), Ernst (22), Bae (26), Weekley (39) English (23), Rose (32), Duke (44) and now Haas (31). The young folks (30 and younger) now have 10 victories; the 30-somethings have racked up 14 victories, and the “old folks” (40 and up) have three wins on the year. Angel Cabrera, 43, finished T13 for the “oldies but goodies” this week but that didn’t cover the T5 for recently-turned 40-year old Stewart Cink.
Rank and File
There are 11 of the OWGR top 50 in the field this week as of Monday lunch.
For the second week in a row the TOUR stops at one of the newer tournaments on the schedule. The Greenbrier Classic was established in 2010 and like the AT&T National last week it has had a quirky early life. In 2010, Stuart Appleby blistered the course to the tune of 22-under-par en route to the inaugural victory. Oh, and he closed with 59 to beat Jeff Overton. Yes. 59. On Sunday. On TOUR. The Old White Course was ranked 42nd-easiest of the 52 courses used on TOUR that year. The Greenbrier had PGA TOUR Design come in after the 2010 tournament to shrink the fairways and restore the greens to their original design architecture. The course, renamed The Old White Course TPC, played the 13th-toughest in 2011 as Scott Stallings defeated Bob Estes and Bill Haas in a playoff. After two tournaments, the winning scores were 22-under and 10-under. Year three brought an interesting correction as Ted Potter, Jr. and Troy Kelly posted 16-under to reach a playoff that Potter, Jr. was victorious. In three editions we’ve seen low scores, high scores and the exact median of the first two years. We have also seen two, first-time winners as Stallings and Potter, Jr. broke their maidens in West Virginia.
Each year at The Greenbrier Classic we have seen that it takes a minimum of 18 birdies to win. Stuart Appleby bagged 21 on his way to victory in 2010; Scott Stallings needed 19 to post 10-under in 2011 and last year Ted Potter, Jr. racked up 18 to Troy Kelly’s 20. Jeff Overton made 25 birdies here in 2010 to set the tournament record.
C.B. McDonald’s design gives the players a chance to attack the greens if they place their tee ball in position A. Wayward tee shots will bring in bunkers, creeks and trees and those balls off the fairway will be harder to control on the severely-contoured greens. The contours of the greens keep the Stimpmeter at an attackable 10.5’ and this will favor aggressive putters. The more greens they hit, the more birdie chances they will have to make and with only two par-fives, I’ll look, again, for guys who score well on par-fours this week. The Old White TPC provides an interesting finishing duo of holes as the par-five No. 17 is over 600 yards and the final hole is a 175-yard par three. Quirk-a-licious! Since this is only the fourth edition of this event and only the third under these conditions, I’m relying more on current form than course history.
Best 10, Plus One
Webb Simpson: His worst finish when finding the weekend in 2013 has been T32 and those were at his home course, Quail Hollow, and the U.S. Open so to say Simpson is playing well is an understatement. His last time out on a par 70, TPC River Highlands, he bookended rounds of 65 to finish T5 at the Travelers Championship. He hits plenty of fairways and ever more greens and his putting is in the top 50. He has no problems making birdies or finding his way around The Old White TPC as he’s finished T7 and T9 in the last two seasons.
Bubba Watson: He posted on Twitter that he and the family have been at The Greenbrier for a few days so he should have seen the course a few times by now! He excels at TPC River Highlands so this track should not be too problematic. Watson is fourth on TOUR in GIR and leads the TOUR in par-four birdie or better percentage. His putting has improved this year and don’t worry about scrambling this week. He’s coming off a solo fourth at the Travelers so he should contend this week as long as he and Ted Scott can get along for 72 holes!
Billy Horschel: The last course that Horschel played where he needed a ton of birdies was TPC Louisiana. Anyone remember off the top of your heads what happened that week? Yep, he won for the first time on TOUR. His last two tournaments, AT&T National and the U.S. Open aren’t exactly grip-it-and-rip-it layouts so I believe he’ll be geeked to get out and ram in birdies all weekend. He’s third in birdie or better conversion and all his numbers are off the charts, including seven top 10s (T1 on TOUR in 2013).
Bill Haas: Last week’s champ is looking to continue his hot stretch of golf. After watching him light up Congressional last weekend to the tune of 15 birdies, I can’t wait to see what he brings this week. He was eight-under heading into Sunday here last year before a quiet 72 knocked him back to T33. He’s T4, MC (U.S. Open) and won in his last three starts so his form is without question.
Graham DeLaet: His worst finish in his last seven events was T26 at THE PLAYERS and DeLaet enjoys golf in West Virginia. In eight rounds here in two tries, he’s been under par in six of those, including a 64 in round three last year in finishing T12. The No. 1 ball-striker on TOUR is also fourth in birdies made in 2013. He’s done everything but win this season and he could easily be the third-consecutive first-time winner at this event.
Phil Mickelson: Sure, he’s missed the cut in consecutive attempts in West Virginia but this is the first year he arrives with finishes of T3, MC, T2 and T2 in his last four starts leading into the event. He’s first on TOUR in birdie or better percentage and first in scoring average. He’s also 11th in total putting. There’s no way he plays poorly THREE times in a row here, RIGHT? RIGHT? Hello?
Ryan Palmer: A double-bogey on his final hole last Sunday at Congressional turned a 67 into a 69 but I’ll focus on his five birdies on instead. He’s long, hits plenty of GIR and is 24th in total putting so he should be in a happy place this week. He’s missed one cut in eight starts since April began.
Scott Stallings: The 2011 champion will have great vibes as he looks to add his second green jacket here in 2013. Stallings had a natural correction over his last two events as he finished T53 at the U.S. Open and MC last week at Congressional. He’s a player that’s pleasantly surprised on some of the tougher courses this season but he was known as a resort course bully before that. Welcome back to the resort!
Roberto Castro: After coming off of his best finish on TOUR, second, last week at AT&T, Castro couldn’t be happier in how the schedule falls in 2013. After finishing T29 last year at AT&T he backed that up with rounds of 63 and 64 to finish T7 here last year and I see no reason for him not to be able to replicate that form this year. The second year player has made six of his last seven cuts and will hit most fairways and most greens this week. If his putter remains hot as well, he’ll contend on Sunday. He’s another solid young player that is showing up more and more as he gets comfortable on TOUR.
Jimmy Walker: He tore it up here when it was easy in 2010 (T4) and found a way to fire 62 in 2011 after they toughened it up so I’m not too concerned about his MC last year. He’s 14th in scoring average and third par-four birdie or better percentage. He’ll bomb-and-gouge with the best of them this week. He’s also first in par-four performance. His funk should be over this week.
Scott Piercy: Don’t look at his result at the U.S. Open, but rather his results leading into it if you want a read on Piercy this week. The second Texas swing broke him out of a spring slump as he finished T5 at HPBNC, T26 at CPIC and was T16 at a tough Memorial. He’s 21st on TOUR in birdie average and in 12 rounds here, he has exactly ONE score over 68.
Form and Function
These players just missed out but should not be dismissed.
Jordan Spieth: The kid is 19 and has five top 10s on the season. The reason he has done so is that he hits tons of fairways and plenty of greens, good for 28th in the ball-striking category on TOUR. It might be too much to expect for him to post back-to-back top 10s but he’s already done it once this year (Puerto Rico T2 and Tampa Bay T7). His back nine last week on Sunday kept him off the “big” list this week, but it wasn’t by much. It’s a question of “when”, not “if”, for young Spieth.
Morgan Hoffmann: All right, kid, let’s see what you have. He’s finished T9 at the Travelers two weeks ago and T8 last week at Congressional so he’s shown his chops and two different kinds of courses. That tells me he’s dialed in. He played his three final rounds last week six-under par so that proves he’s dialed in.
Russell Henley: He kills par-fours and can really putt it so his game works just about everywhere. He’s also 11th in the all-around ranking.
Jeff Overton: He led the tournament with 25 birdies here in 2010 and made 19 more last year so to say he likes this course would be accurate. He MC last week at AT&T National but a closer look reveals that he fired 68 on Friday with six birdies with a triple so he’s ready to break out.
Brendon de Jonge: In three tries around The Old White TPC, de Jonge racked up 23 birdies in 2010, 19 in 2011 and 17 last year so you know he can get low. He’s second on TOUR in birdies made in 2013 even though his total putting is 116th. He was third in 2010, T4 in 2011 and T52 last year.
David Hearn: He was T12 last year and T18 in 2011 so he’s played the “redesign” just fine. His current form is also on point as he’s played the weekend in four consecutive events. He kills par-fours and is fourth on TOUR in total putting. Let’s hope he and DeLaet didn’t have too many Molsons on Canada Day!
Chez Reavie: I like players that are playing well and Reavie fits this profile as he’s made the cut in his last five events. He only has one finish outside the top 27 in that stretch (T43) so that tells me he’s moving in the right direction. He wrapped up last Sunday at Congressional with 5 birdies and 68. He plays par-fours and threes extremely well and was T18 here in 2011, his only appearance.
Patrick Reed: Another youngster that’s found a vein of form recently, Reed has fired a round of 64 in two of his last three outings. He’s also banged out six weekends on the trot and that’s his best run of form as a pro.
Brian Davis: The good news is that he’s 11 for his last 12. The bad news is that he has exactly one round under par from eight in three tournaments at The Old White TPC. His current form trumps his career output, barely.
Ken Duke: He was in the conversation last week for another top 10 until a final round 76 blew him up. He was in the conversation here last year, 11-under, before 70 Sunday stalled him out. He’s in fine spirits and feats on par-fours so I wouldn’t hesitate filling your roster out with him this week.
Andres Romero: He was one of the four, co-54-hole leaders last weekend at Congressional before limping home with 75. That was his worst round in his last four tournaments. Romero was T4 here in 2011 but last year kind of sums up the chance you take if you go with Romero: He opened with 65 and backed it with 75. I’ll take the form over his last two weeks and hope it all comes together THIS weekend.
Richard Lee: This Lee didn’t garner as much attention last week as D.H. but Richard has been steady-as-she-goes for most of 2013. He hits most fairways (26th), plenty of greens (49th) and he’s ninth in total putting. He put four rounds at par or better in his first trip here last season. If you need a steady pick, here you go.
Take It Deep
Off the radar but are worth a flier
Martin Flores: He opened with 64 and closed with 67 here last year on his way to solo sixth. He’s made the cut in four of his last five including T21 last week.
Brendan Steele: Don’t look at his stats just know that he’s finished T13 at the Travelers and T16 last week at AT&T National. Straight form play.
Shawn Stefani: This course might play too easy for Stefani. He’s had his successes this year on the tougher tracks but he has made five of six cuts. He putts well enough to hang around. Ted Potter, Jr. part II?
Gary Woodland: He WD with back problems at the Travelers and that always makes me nervous. He rallied last week for his third top 18 finish in his last four starts as he posted T16 at Congressional after playing the weekend one-over. He was T4 here in 2011.
Brad Fritsch: He’s made five cuts in a row but his best finish in that stretch is T51. He’ made 14 of 18 on the season but only has one top 25 to show for it. Charlie Beljan part II?
Tom Gillis: He’s played the weekend in five of his last six and if the grizzled veteran could get out of his way on Sundays, he could be inside the top 125. His 76 at HPBNC dropped him to T12 and his 77 last week dropped him to T34 after beginning the round one shot out of the lead. He’s been knocking…
Just because they have well-recognized names doesn’t always mean you have to panic to fill your roster out with them…Also, it seems at least one of these guys will hit the top 10 EVERY week. I’m not scared.
Aaron Baddeley: I’m not picking on him but it’s now eight in a row.
Charlie Beljan: He had a nice ride here last year but in his last eight, he’s missed six cuts, has WD once and his only finish is T43. I HAVE FOUND YOUR WINNER.
Nick Watney: His T61 last week was a step in the right direction. He was goofing around like this last year before he went and won at the Barclays.
Daniel Summerhays: His T5 here last year looks great until you see he has one top 25 this season in 18 events.
Louis Oosthuizen: He’s returning from injury. No, thanks.
Rookie of the Week Last Week
I keep an eye on the youngin’s each week to see who is making the most noise.
Sony: Russell Henley WIN
Humana: David Lingmerth P2
Farmers: Brad Fritsch T9
WMPO: James Hahn T16
AT&T: James Hahn T3
NTO: Luke Guthrie T21
WGC-Match Play: Russell Henley 2nd round
Honda: Luke Guthrie 3rd
WGC-Cadillac: Russell Henley T28
Puerto Rico: Jordan Spieth 2nd
Tampa Bay: Jordan Spieth T7; Shawn Stefani T7; Ben Kohles T7
Arnold Palmer: Ben Kohles T14
Shell Houston Open: Robert Streb T22
Valero Texas Open: Ben Kohles T37
Masters: Russell Henley MC
RBC Heritage: Russell Henley T6
Zurich Classic: D. H. Lee T8
Wells Fargo Championship: Derek Ernst WIN
THE PLAYERS: David Lingmerth. Great back-to-back weeks for the rookies on TOUR!
HPBNC: Morgan Hoffmann T5
Colonial: Jordan Spieth, yep, him again, T7
Memorial: Russell Henley T6
FESJC: Patrick Reed Fifth
U.S. Open: David Lingmerth T17; special mentions for Hideki Matsuyama T10 and Michael Kim T17.
Travelers: Morgan Hoffmann T9
AT&T National: D.H. Lee T3; Jordan Spieth 6th; Morgan Hoffmann T8
SEASON TOTAL: $2,962,571
HTOC: Steve Stricker (2nd; $665,000)
Sony: Charles Howell III (T3; $324,800)
Humana: Tim Clark (MC)
Farmers: Rickie Fowler (T6; $204,350)
WMPO: Jason Dufner (MC)
AT&T Pebble: Hunter Mahan (T16; $94,250)
Northern Trust: Bill Haas (T3; $343,200)
WGC-Match Play: Charl Schwartzel (T33; $46,000)
Honda: Lee Westwood (T9; $156,000)
WGC-Cadillac Championship: Matt Kuchar (T35; $68,500)
Tampa Bay: Jim Furyk (T7; $148,892)
Bay Hill: Sergio Garcia (WD after three rounds)
Shell Houston: Jimmy Walker (T50; $14,838)
Valero: Cameron Tringale (MC)
Masters: Phil Mickelson (T54; $18,320)
RBC Heritage: Luke Donald (T3; $336,400)
Zurich Classic: Bubba Watson (T15; $102,500)
Wells Fargo: Webb Simpson (T32; $37,073)
THE PLAYERS: Nick Watney (MC)
HPBNC: Jason Day (T27; $46,565)
Colonial: Kevin Streelman (MC)
Memorial: K.J. Choi (T21; $58,202)
FESJC: Ryan Palmer (4th; $273,600)
US Open: Graeme McDowell (MC)
Travelers: John Rollins (MDF; $11,041)
AT&T National: Billy Horschel (T61; $14,040)
The Greenbrier Classic: Graham DeLaet
GolfChannel.com Fantasy Challenge
(I play as “Glass” for ALL fantasy games)
Mike Glasscott (Rank: 3,288; $14,581,426)
Group 1: Billy Horschel
Group 2: Jeff Overton
Group 3: Chez Reavie
Group 4: Stuart Appleby
Ryan O’Sullivan (Rank: 5,653; $13,361,369)
Group 1: Webb Simpson
Group 2: Graham DeLaet
Group 3: Charlie Wi
Group 4: Chad Campbell
Ned Brown (Rank: 2,059; $15,245,588) “Pure Spin”
Group 1: Webb Simpson
Group 2: Scott Stallings
Group 3: Morgan Hoffmann
Group 4: D.H. Lee
Rob Bolton (Rank: 11,963; $11,862,157)
Group 1: Webb Simpson
Group 2: Graham DeLaet
Group 3: Gary Woodland
Group 4: D.H. Lee
Ned said, “…
Phil Mickelson-- Mickelson has missed the cut in both of his tries here, but he is coming off of back-to-back T2 finishes, so I'm going to use him this week.
Bill Haas-- He looked great last week as his cruised to his fifth career victory on the PGA Tour.
Bubba Watson, Boo Weekley, Gary Woodland
Jimmy Walker-- Walker is in a mini-slump right now, but he finished here with a T4 in '10 and '11 and I can see him breaking out of his slump here.
Webb Simpson-- He looked good last time out in his T5 finish at the Travelers and his history here is solid with a T9 in '11 and a T7 last year.
Graham DeLaet-- This is his first time at the Greenbrier, but he is hot right now with a solo third at the Travelers and a T6 at the AT&T National.
Scott Stallings-- He burned me last week, but he was one of the hottest players on the TOUR prior to the US Open and he did win the championship here in '11.
Peter Hanson, Andres Romero, Charlie Wi, Bob Estes
Jordan Spieth-- He looked great last week at the AT&T National and I loved the way he fought back after he fell out of the lead on the weekend.
Billy Horschel-- Another player I was impressed with last week was Morgan Hoffmann. I would use him in here, but I'm already using a rookie in Group C with Spieth. Instead, I'll use a conservative pick with Horschel, who prior to last week had racked up three straight top 10 finishes.
Charley Hoffman, Russell Henley, Ken Duke
Points last week: 126
Points this year: 4,211
Overall Ranking: (653; 99th percentile)
And the analysis doesn't end here. Rotoworld's Rob Bolton and I will be co-hosting a one-hour live chat WEDNESDAY at NOON ET. We will be breaking down the field at the The Greenbrier Classic and answering your questions. Simply return to the golf home page to join in on the chatter. Don’t forget to follow Rob (https://twitter.com/RobBoltonGolf) and Glass (https://twitter.com/GlassWGCL) on Twitter.