An eyebrow-raising revelation from a few pros: This tournament is played at elevation, and it makes a difference.
That seemed to come out a little more last year, as Tiger Woods described his adjustment (or lack of) to the Old White TPC. That sent the media, particularly those whose mission is to merely to chase Tiger, scurrying to figure out just how high the course is above sea level.
A trip to Google Earth tells the story: The high Alleghenies immediately surrounding the Greenbrier property top out at 2,500-3,000 feet, and they seem to be higher. They tower over the course to provide scenery you won't find at the Tour's other Eastern stops.
Down on the course, the elevation ranges from 1,800 feet at the creek near the 15th tee to 1,900 feet on the No. 6 tee, at the course's northeast corner. That's high enough to ensure the Greenbrier Valley has legitimate winters, and usually allows for cooler summer weather than we have in Charleston.
But what is the practical effect for the Tour pros? The plus side is easy: Those sluggers can spank the ball off the tee even farther.
Still, they aren't used to it. With only three Tour venues at higher elevation - Reno, Las Vegas and the mountains near Tucson - most competitors haven't played at any elevation since at least February.
Club selection becomes difficult, as mental distance charts must change. I have heard a lot of golfers remark about many approaches being "between clubs," not easy to judge.
And then there is putting, believe it or not. Woods brought up the additional challenge of "putting into the mountain" as a variable.
To which I thought, "Which mountain?"
Finally, the weather will be more seasonable this week. Greenbrier County is generally 5-10 degrees cooler than Charleston, and that will be the case. You won't sweat out the 97 degrees of last year's final round.
Not even close. We're looking at highs in the upper 70s, maybe 80, but with a price: a 40-to-50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms each day.
After last year, I'll take that. And an umbrella.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.