Although Sir Nick Faldo and eight-time Major Champion, Tom Watson will tee it up at The Greenbrier Classic on Thursday morning, I don’t expect the two old-timers to be a factor on Sunday when they are giving the trophy away.
Even though The Old White Golf Course in White Sulphur Springs is the direct opposite from what the players saw last week at Congressional, it will still provide a pretty good test for those showing up to play.
Old White is one of the easiest par 70 layouts on the PGA Tour, and since the makeover before the 2010 season, it is still a shot-makers golf course.
Both par fives are on the back nine, and the par three where the tournament ends is still one of the easiest finishing holes the pros have to deal with throughout the year.
With time running out for Ryder Cup qualification, you can bet Captain Tom will have his eye out for some talent that is playing well enough to help him out when he goes to Gleneagles in October. He is at the point of the season where he needs some of our young talent to step up and make the team.
With many of the top PGA stars in Europe this week to prepare for The Open Championship, it leaves the somewhat conservative field a chance at Greenbrier for another new winner on the 2014 golf season.
Brenden Steele has been one of the hottest players on the PGA Tour since the US Open, and has done everything except win. He finished T5 at both The Travelers Championship, and The Quicken Loans last week and this could be the week he solves two problems. Get his first win since the 2011 Valero Texas Open, and punch his ticket to Hoylake with one of the four spots available this week. The 31 year-old from Idllwild, California has never played in an Open Championship, and I think 2014 will be the year he breaks through.
The Old White Golf Course is made for Steve Stricker, and even though he has played an abbreviated schedule for some time now, could be a threat to hoist a trophy this Sunday. He hasn’t played the Greenbrier since a T22 finish in the 2012 event. He has finished in the top 25 in his last three starts including a T 21 at Pinehurst.
After his final round meltdown at Congressional last week, Patrick Reed has to come into White Sulphur Springs on a mission. He has to be hot about his performance on Sunday after holding the 54 hole lead by two strokes and totally giving away the tournament. It was the first time that he didn’t win a tournament after taking a lead into the finale’. If he indeed wants to be one of the top five players in the world, he needs to come out with guns a blazing at Old White.
Keegan Bradley has Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson over a huge barrel. Watson needs for Bradley to play himself onto the the Ryder Cup team, and with Tom in the field to keep an eye on his prospects, maybe this will be the week that the 2011 PGA Champ can break through with that much-needed win. It’s an excellent opportunity for Bradley to take that weight off Tom’s shoulders, and let him get back to making room for his three captain’s picks.
Kevin Na has to win one soon…..right? He’s played well enough to have a win in the bag already, but seems to find a way to mess up the works during the week. Na hasn’t played since his T 12 at Pinehurst, so he should come into this event all rested up and ready to win. Kevin had a P2 at the Memorial a month ago, and finished T7 in his last appearance at Greenbrier in 2012.