By Cam Huffman
BECKLEY, W.Va. — The world’s biggest golf star has made his Independence Day plans, and he’ll be celebrating America’s holiday at America’s Resort.
While in the woods turkey hunting Wednesday morning, Greenbrier Classic chairman Jim Justice received a text message confirming that 14-time major champion Tiger Woods will be making his second appearance in the PGA Tour FedEx Cup event when it’s held June 29 through July 5 on the Old White TPC.
“It’s really hard to call a turkey in while you’re hooping and hollering at the top of a mountain,” said Justice. “This just makes the tournament monstrously bigger. We’ve worked really hard and been in touch with Tiger multiple times and extended the kindest invitation to him that you can. We’re just ecstatic that he’s decided to play again this year.”
Woods, an 11-time PGA Tour Player of the Year, last played in the event in 2012, missing the cut after rounds of 71 and 69. But the overall experience was a good one, and the 39-year-old has been planning on making a return when healthy.
Tiger Woods, left, laugh as he walks down the 12th fairway with resort chairman and CEO Jim Justice during The Greenbrier Classic Pro-Am on The Old White TPC.
“He loves the golf course,” said Justice. “Tiger is a student
of the history of golf, and he absolutely loves the golf course. It’s not the run of the mill Tour course. It has all the traditions of C.B. Macdonald and Seth Raynor. And he loves the people. The people here are really, really good to him. I can’t say enough about how many times he’s commented about the people. And of course he loves the resort.”
Woods has won 79 times on the PGA Tour — second only to former Greenbrier pro emeritus Sam Snead, who won 82, but his last win came in 2013 as he’s battled injuries and a new swing the last couple of years and been in and out of action. His most recent appearance came in The Masters earlier this month, when he came back after a two-month layoff and finished 5-under-par to tie for 17th.
“He’s been going through the process of getting his game back to where he wanted it,” said Justice. “He had a great performance in the Masters. It was just unbelievable coming back from 12 or 15 weeks off.”
Justice said he’s been pleased with the player fields the Greenbrier Classic has been able to attract over the years even without Woods, but he said getting the man that was named the Associated Press Athlete of the Decade in 2009 and was ranked No. 1 in the world from June 2005 through October 2010 just helps add to the buzz of the tournament and could likely draw other superstars.
Woods isn’t the only big name who will be spending the first week of July in Greenbrier County.
On Tuesday, The Greenbrier Classic announced that country music super couple Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton will be performing together as part of The Greenbrier Classic Concert Series on July 3, and another concert announcement is expected soon.
“Blake has become a mega star, and Miranda just won every award known to man,” said Justice. “To have them perform together is huge for us.
“This is going to be another great Greenbrier Classic, and we’re looking forward to it.”
Weekly badges, which include seven days of golf and both concerts are on sale now for $129 per person. They can be ordered online at www.greenbrierclassic.com or by phone at 304-536-5322.
— E-mail: [email protected] and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH