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Storm pummels Greenbrier; Justice vows Classic will happen

Mike Wyatt / Greenbrier Photography
Broken glass and tent pieces litter the back of the Chairman's box on No. 18 at The Greenbrier Resort. Friday's storm pummeled the resort, bringing down more than 50 trees across the grounds.
Mike Wyatt / Greenbrier Photography At least 50 200-year-old Sycamore trees were blown down in Friday's storm, leaving the edge of the Greenbrier resort golf course in disarray.
Mike Wyatt / Greenbrier Photography : A man cuts through a large portion of trunk after numerous trees were knocked down after Friday's storm. Hundreds of volunteers, employees and contract workers have been working to clean up the grounds at the Greenbrier since Friday evening.
Mike Wyatt / Greenbrier Photography Trees fell across the course, causing damage to numerous stands set up specifically for the Greenbrier Classic, which starts Monday.
Mike Wyatt / Greenbrier Photography Workers and volunteers work to clear debris from the skyboxes that edge No. 17 at the Greenbrier Resort.
Mike Wyatt / Greenbrier Photography Workers assess the damages as trees fell and crushed numerous skyboxes along No. 17 on the golf course.
Mike Wyatt / Greenbrier Photography Debris litters the course and pooled around this scoreboard at the Greenbrier Resort.
Mike Wyatt / Greenbrier Photography One of many gigantic, and historic, trees was uprooted during Friday's storm that swept across West Virginia.
Mike Wyatt / Greenbrier Photography A huge tree fell through the double-decker stand at No. 16 at the Greenbrier resort and landed on the green, causing extensive damage.
Mike Wyatt / Greenbrier Photography The double-decked grandstand at No. 16 was seriously damaged during the storm.
Mike Wyatt / Greenbrier Photography A large tree fell on No. 16's green, causing extensive damage.
Mike Wyatt / Greenbrier Photography Crews work to clear a tree that fell on No. 16's green.
Mike Wyatt / Greenbrier Photography Greenbrier Resort owner Jim Justice said more than 250 people were working to clear the grounds after Friday's storm.
Mike Wyatt / Greenbrier Photography Crews work to clear a tree that fell across the green on No. 16.
Mike Wyatt / Greenbrier Photography Numerous trees snapped across the Greenbrier Resort grounds from high winds during Friday night's massive storm.
Mike Wyatt / Greenbrier Photography A huge tree is snapped in half from high winds.
Mike Wyatt / Greenbrier Photography A large tree feel at No. 18 landing across Howards Creek.
Mike Wyatt / Greenbrier Photography Large construction equipment was brought onto the course to help remove debris from the storm.
Mike Wyatt / Greenbrier Photography Crews work to help remove debris from across the course.

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- The Greenbrier Resort was hit hard by Friday's storm, but owner Jim Justice said he won't let the damage stop the upcoming Greenbrier Classic, which starts Monday.

"The whole place got hit pretty daggum hard," he said. "We've got about 50 200-year old trees that are down across the grounds."

Justice said the golf course was hit hardest. With The Greenbrier Classic set to start Monday, it couldn't have happened at a worse time.

"The fact that the primary damage is on the course is really unusual," he said. "It's not great, that's for sure."

Although the resort and surrounding town did not lose power, Justice said a large number of spectator and skyboxes that had been set up for the Classic are "completely destroyed. I've got a Chairmen's tent that looks like a bomb went off in it."

Some tall CBS camera locations that had been set up around the course were "torn to pieces," he said.

The green on hole 16 is in bad shape, he said, after a major sycamore tree fell. The spectators box on 16 is also completely down, he said.

"We've got another major one that fell right in front of the 18 green and all the way across Howard's Creek," Justice said. "There is debris all over the golf course."

But Justice isn't letting the storm get in the way of what he calls West Virginia's biggest economic event.

"You can look at this two ways," Justice said. "You can drop your head and walk around and mope, or you can suck it up and get to work. We are not going to let this beat us.

"We have the chance to make this into one of our finest moments," he said. "Everything will be repaired before tournament. To me, it is just not acceptable that on Monday we not have every single thing the way it was as if this never happened. That can't be a goal. It just has to be a reality."

More than 200 volunteers have been working through the night to start cleaning the debris, but Justice said they could use more help.

"As many as can come, we'll put them to work," he said.

Anyone interested in volunteering should come to the front gate of the Greenbrier after 11 a.m. Saturday or after 9 a.m. on Sunday. 

Reach Kathryn Gregory at kathryng@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5119.

 

 

 


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