McIlroy, Woods, Mickelson on Justice's Greenbrier radar
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Jim Justice wears many hats.
The Greenbrier resort owner coaches the Greenbrier East boys and girls basketball teams and is putting the finishing touches as organizer of next week's Big Atlantic Classic basketball tournament. Oh, and he's also finding time to begin piecing together this year's PGA Tour's Greenbrier Classic.
The fourth edition of the Classic could once again feature some heavy hitters in golf. The event will take place July 4-7 at The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs with a $6.3 million purse.
"We're working on Rory [McIlroy], we're working on Tiger [Woods] again and Phil [Mickelson], we're working on everybody,'' said Justice during an interview after East defeated host Charleston Catholic 59-47 Tuesday night in a girls basketball game. "Rickie Fowler and the guys that haven't been there.''
McIlroy was No. 1 in this week's The Official World Golf Ranking with Woods second and Mickelson No. 22. The last two years Mickelson failed to make the cut and play on the Classic's final two days along with Woods last year in his first crack at the historic The Old White TPC.
"I do too,'' said Justice of wanting to see the top players all four days in the Classic. "Phil came in this time without his family dialed in and he was ready to go. I played the pro-am with Tiger and he missed one shot, shot 66 and God, he played unreal. I don't know. It just happens.''
The last several Classics have produced the first PGA Tour wins from little-known players. After Stuart Appleby's inaugural win in 2010, the next two - Scott Stallings (2011) and Ted Potter Jr. (2012) - earned their first Tour victories.
"It's great for them and it's great for golf,'' said Justice. "There's more and more youngsters doing well, but in every sport we need our almost reverent heroes. We need 'em. Tiger's been missing in action. He's made a few little blips on the screen.''
Justice said he's looking for another exciting Classic, which has had the last two winners decided by a playoff.
"[The players] love the history and love the challenge,'' he said. "Of course now it's longer and the scores are reflecting right where they ought to be.''
Justice said the entertainment lineup is also taking shape.
"Kenny Chesney is going to be there on the Fourth of July,'' he said. "We're working on one and we're really close on one other one that's a really big one.''
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at email@example.com or 304-348-4811.