Greenbrier Classic decision looms for PGA pros
Now, especially in southern West Virginia, we await The Decisions.
We're moving closer to the inaugural PGA Greenbrier Classic, set for July 29-Aug. 1 in White Sulphur Springs, and, so far, no word from the world's No. 1 player, Tiger Woods. No word from No. 2 Phil Mickelson. None from No. 3 Lee Westwood. None from No. 4 Steve Stricker.
So far, the top catch for the Classic is No. 5 Jim Furyk. It's a good start, but the catch would look more delicious beside Woods and Mickelson, Westwood and Stricker and, say, Ernie Els and Luke Donald.
No, it's not time for those involved in the Classic to panic. Word is, there will be a flood of invitations accepted a couple weeks prior to the event.
Yet some that closely follow golf say they'd be surprised if Woods and Mickelson play at The Greenbrier because of the tourney's date in relation to the British Open.
Here's the deal. The John Deere Classic is wrapping up today. Next week is the British Open at St. Andrews Links (as well as the Reno-Tahoe Open for the B-listers).
After that is the RBC Canadian Open in Ontario. Then the Greenbrier Classic.
If you thumb back to last year, you'll see Tiger Woods won the Buick Open, the tournament that held the Classic's current slot. So, southern West Virginians can breathe a sigh of relief, right?
Not necessarily. See, last year, Woods was on top of the golf and financial world and was in the midst of a $7 million endorsement deal with Buick. He pretty much had to play in the event.
There weren't, however, many other golfers currently at the top of the world rankings involved. In fact, of the top 10, only Woods and - there he is again - Furyk played.
Classic director Tim McNeely said he isn't aware of a problem, although he mentioned some golfers may opt to stay overseas to compete in the 3 Irish Open at Killarney Golf & Fishing Club in County Kerry, Ireland.
"I haven't been told that by the players or agents,'' McNeely said. "We're two weeks after the British Open. If we were a week before or after, that might be a problem.''
"We start a three-week stretch that includes us, the Firestone and the PGA Championship. With our proximity to Akron, some of the golfers are excited two events are fairly close to each other.
"Plus, we're one of the last events golfers can get Ryder Cup and FedEx points. So it's a pretty important stretch to a lot of guys.''
That was the initial thought here when the Classic was announced. The West Virginia tournament is a stop worth 500 points in the FedEx Cup Series race. The event ends just 25 days before the four-event Series playoffs. (Last season, Woods won the $10 million bonus with a win and two runner-up playoff finishes.)
Guess we'll see. The World Golf Championship-Bridgestone Invitational is at the Firestone Country Club in Akron the week after the Classic.
The hope from here is Greenbrier owner Jim Justice, McNeely and company can land the big fish. The latest?
"Nothing yet,'' McNeely said. "No news is good news, I guess. Those types are usually late commits. I hope they do come, though, love what they see and what the Greenbrier has to offer and come back.''
Later, he added that "it's hard to read, especially the minds of Tiger and Phil, how they pick their schedules. Neither of the agents have said no.''
And Decision 2010 rolls on.