It is with much joy that the area of White Sulphur Springs, W. Va, returns to the PGA Tour schedule this year. A flood that wiped out a golf tournament and took the lives of more than two dozen in 2016 is now a thing of the past and The Greenbrier Classic is back.
On June 23, 2016, three weeks before The Greenbrier Classic was scheduled to begin, 14 inches of rain fell in a 12-hour period in the White Sulphur Springs area of West Virginia. The golf tournament was canceled, and for a year now the course has been undergoing major repair. While Mother Nature washed away the event last year, where The Greenbrier sits on the Tour schedule has washed out the possibility of a great deal of star players participating. There are 12 events in the next 11 weeks and two of those are major championships. One is a World Golf Championship (Bridgestone) and four are FedEx Cup Playoff events. With the top players in the world figuring on having to enter at least seven tournaments in the next 11 weeks, The Greenbrier takes a hit with just eight players ranked in the Top 50 in the world entered no player that is ranked in the Top 20 is here this week.
Despite all of that, you have one of the most famous resorts in all of America hosting this week's show. The late, great Sam Snead used to be the head pro at The Greenbrier. The Old White Course was designed by Seth Raynor and opened in 1914. Like last week at TPC Potomac, the course is heavily wooded. Tee to Green play will be important. This is only the seventh edition of The Greenbrier Classic, but in just that short time, Par 4 Scoring, Scrambling and especially Putting have proven to be the most common high ranking stats among the tournament winners. Keep in mind, this design has been tweaked over the years, and after last year's flood not much of anything remains the same. As far as another course to consider in the handicap here, a course that can possibly be an indicator of success is Waialae Country Club in Honolulu. That is the course used for The Sony Open played in January and it too is a par-70 Seth Raynor design.
Patrick Reed (+1600 5Dimes): After getting off to a very poor start this season, Reed has turned it around in the last eight weeks, recording four Top 15 finishes and a Top 10. His putting has really helped the cause as he now ranks 27th in Strokes Gained, 33rd in Putting Average and 30th Putting inside of 10 feet.
Kevin Kisner (+1809 Pinnacle): Kisner is also one of the top putters on Tour and ranks 30th in Scrambling as well. He has a Top 10 and a win on Tour in the last month. He finished 2nd here in 2015.
Bill Haas (+2200 5Dimes): One loss in a playoff and another Top 10 finish in the last five editions of The Greenbrier would put Haas high on one's list this week. He is 8th on Tour in Scrambling as well, but in what will largely be a putting contest at The Old White, Haas' stature dips to a question mark.
Phil Mickelson (+2221 Bookmaker): This should be one of the most entertaining stories to watch all week as Lefty tees it up without long-time caddie Jim "Bones" Mackay for the first time since their parting. Mickelson has not played in almost a month and has missed three straight cuts here at The Greenbrier. He has not missed a cut all season and is 5th on Tour in Putting Average.
David Lingmerth (+2716 Pinnacle): Lingmerth ranks inside the Top 20 in all putting categories I examined this week and it is showing in his recent play. He has not missed a cut in two months and along the way has recorded three Top 15 finishes, two Top 25s and added a Top 10 last week at The Quicken Loans National.
Webb Simpson (+3500 5Dimes): Simpson has played this event in each of its six years and has finished Top 10 in three of those appearances. He also has three straight 13th place finishes at The Sony in Hawaii. The putter is the challenge for Simpson, but he does rank 3rd on Tour in Scrambling.
The Long Shots
Jimmy Walker (+5500 5Dimes): Like Simpson, the defending PGA Champion also has excellent history at both The Sony and The Greenbrier. Walker has played here five times and has three Top 5 finishes.
Stewart Cink (+8363 Pinnacle): Cink has not played in this tournament before and he has not won since 2009. , this season has been tremendous for Cink as he has two Top 15s, three Top 10s and eight finishes inside the Top 30.
Geoff Ogilvy (+10274 Pinnacle): Winners of The Greenbrier carrying triple-digit odds are not all that uncommon, and on a very similar set up last week Ogilvy took 13th. He ranks 24th on Tour in Strokes Gained Around the Green.
Charles Howell III (+4500 5Dimes): For the second time this season, Howell finished runner-up, doing so last week in a playoff loss to Kyle Stanley. That marked the fifth Top 10 finish for the Tour veteran, who has not tasted victory since winning at Riviera CC in 2007. But I feel that near miss will have Howell motivated to do well this week, and even though his track record here is not much he is a very good putter, ranks 5th on Tour in Par 4 Scoring and No. 1 in Scrambling. He also is a perennial star at The Sony with nine Top 10s in that event. Because of his winning drought, I believe we are getting a better price on Howell than his actual chances may be.Talk Golf Betting In Our Forum