Louis Oosthuizen, the Classic's first PGA/European Tour draw in the current Fourth of July slot, will come to White Sulphur Springs. Other world top 50 players are Mickelson, Watson, Webb Simpson, Peter Hanson, Nick Watney, 2011 Classic runner-up Bill Haas, Billy Horschel, Scott Piercy, Carl Pettersson and D.A. Points. Simpson, Pettersson and Points are fourth-time Classic entrants.
All three Classic champions, Stuart Appleby, Scott Stallings and Ted Potter Jr., will be in the field. Jordan Spieth, who was tied for the lead Friday at the AT&T National in Bethesda, Md., will play his 15th event as the probable rookie of the year.
The Classic, the 28th of 36 events leading to the FedExCup playoffs, will have a major impact on the points race. Fifteen of the top 30 in the standings are coming, and 25 of the top 52 and any number of those fighting to stay in or enter the critical top 125.
The top 20 also is a magic number, as far as the British Open is concerned. The top five players among that top 20 at the end of the Greenbrier, not yet exempt, will win a trip to Scotland in two weeks. Most players on both sides of that line would have played in a parking lot this week.
The Classic's proximity to the AT&T National continues to pay off, with 99 entered in the the Washington area coming. Players are offered a luxury bus ride for the 246-mile drive between venues.
West Virginia Amateur champion Pat Carter is still entered, and is expected to overcome his recent eye injury. The flamboyant John Daly will be back, along with Big Break Greenbrier winner Mark Silvers and college player of the year Michael Kim.
Practice rounds and pro-am activities begin Monday, with tournament play running from Thursday through Sunday. The purse has increased to $6.3 million, with $1.134 million going to the winner.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.