The last time I stepped foot in the building was for the visit of Hal Greer a year ago, at a reception in Greer's suite. My thought was that it was nice enough, but could stand an update. But don't ask me, for I would just as soon stay at the Holiday Inn and Suites down the street.
I sat with an out-of-town MU fan on a Charlotte-to-Charleston plane ride and brought up the subject. He said he stays there on visits to Huntington, but wouldn't recommend it to friends.
A sample of one, yes, but a telling testimony. MU needs a top-line hotel near its campus, and the only candidate may not be delivering.
Today, we shall have golf.
Last week, Gazette colleague Tommy Atkinson tracked down Greenbrier East basketball coach Jim Justice and asked a few questions about the work of Greenbrier resort owner Jim Justice. One and the same man, of course.
Justice talked about his pursuits of top talent for the Greenbrier Classic, both on the course and on the concert stage. As you may know, Kenny Chesney is your Fourth of July country act. You know somebody else big is going to play here - Springsteen? Justin Bieber?
The latter would be a frightening prospect, coupled with a possible debut by Rickie Fowler. For starters, "The Bieb" and Fowler combined would supply one large quantity of hair. A truckload, maybe two.
In a couple of trips to Columbus, I've seen the mob Fowler attracts and it's impressive. I'd call it Tiger-esque, only with dozens of pink-cased smartphones. You will see a spike in the girls 12-19 demographic, for sure.
Classic officials might consider posting "No Squealing During Backswing" signs around Old White.
I put almost nothing past Justice when it comes to this golf tournament (Big Break Greenbrier was pretty cool, by the way). I'd bet on his landing Phil, Bubba and Rickie, and perhaps Tiger again. As for Rory McIlroy, I'll let others ask that question with wide eyes.
I know good and well it's not happening.
And not because he is the No. 1 player in the world, and has been for 24 consecutive weeks. Knowing his home country (Northern Ireland) and checking the European PGA Tour schedule, it's not a difficult conclusion.
Schedule-wise, the Greenbrier Classic sits in a good position to attract Americans and Australians, who are really Floridians with funny accents. The Classic is three weeks after the U.S. Open and two weeks before the Open Championship. The AT&T National, the week before in suburban Washington, seems to work in the Classic's favor. (More tradition with Tiger Woods sponsoring, yet an easy drive to White Sulphur Springs.)
The Classic suffered two tradeoffs in moving to the Fourth of July. One was a loss of volunteers, though I figure that base will be rebuilt. The other was a great difficulty in attracting Europeans - the ones that did come in 2012 were more Americanized players such as Carl Pettersson. (Owner of my favorite golf nickname, the "Redneck Swede.")
On the European Tour, the Irish Open comes a week before the Greenbrier. It carries a smaller purse than the corresponding stateside event, but there is zero chance McIlroy misses it.
So would McIlroy, or any European for that matter, jet to America, play one tournament and jet back to prepare for the British? Bloody unlikely, even if Justice offered an Ulster-to-Lewisburg charter.
By the If you missed it, the Classic's purse has bumped from $6.1 million to $6.3 million. The winner's share shall be $1.134 million. That's more than 20 other PGA Tour stops this season, including the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio.
Just don't tell Jack Nicklaus.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.