Davidson said the rough has been grown out for the Open to go along with added length, offering a good mix of old and new golf, putting an emphasis on precision off the tee box.
"It's the oldest country club in the state and the golf course in some form or fashion has been here since 1902," Davidson said. "You can see the old corridors of the old course from 80 years ago, where the holes used to go. It's very flat for West Virginia. There are a few holes over on the Ohio River that are absolutely gorgeous. The tree line and corridors are up and it's going to put a premium on driving the ball straight."
Davidson said he and some 60 volunteers that will help this week are excited to finally show off the new holes and the historic course, and when play begins at 8 a.m. it will be the culmination of more than a decade of work.
"We've been in contact with [the WVGA] since 2002 trying to get a date," Davidson said. "We were building our new holes, then we got flooded and had to wait a year to reopen them, then we had other renovations we were trying to get through and it was like, 'Come back and see us.' Finally about three years ago we got this date penciled in. I'm pretty sure how things have gone so far we shouldn't have any problem getting it back."
While Davidson may be putting his golfing on the back burner this week, most of the field will not be of the same mindset.
Davidson predicted a seventh Open victory for David Bradshaw and said that while his home course offers unique challenges and beautiful scenery, the same formula to win golf tournaments anywhere will apply here as well.
"Like any golf tournament, it's the guy that can roll it in from 10 feet," Davidson said. "You're going to have to convert on those birdie opportunities you get and then the par saves you need. The guy that putts well is going to be the one that hoists the trophy at the end of the week."
Tackett said Bradshaw is the clear-cut favorite, but provided a few dark horses as well.
"John Ross and Bob Friend," Tackett said. "Those two guys are wily veterans. They don't get in trouble. They're very smart. Ross is someone to watch out for. Just like Steve Fox. He's 59. He's plenty long enough, great short game, unbelievable ball striker - it's just a matter of having a belief that he can put it up there. Scott Davis, Ty Roush - it's not a two- or three-horse race."
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, ryan.pr...@wvgazette.com, or follow him at twitter.com/Rpritt.