Storm pummels Greenbrier; Justice vows Classic will happen
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 email@example.com or 304-348-5119.