No Tiger, no Phil, no problem
No, there will be no Tiger and no Phil. But tournament officials are still hoping for plenty of thrills at next week's $6 million PGA Greenbrier Classic.
It's now official that neither of the world's top two players, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, elected to play in the inaugural event at The Greenbrier resort.
In fact, the Classic's entry deadline of 5 p.m. Friday came and went without many more recognizable names joining the 156-player field (see list, Page 5B).
But some of the sport's top names will tee it up in the 72-hole, four-day event starting Thursday at the par-70 Old White Course in White Sulphur Springs - players like Jim Furyk, who's currently No. 5 on the PGA money list, 20-time Tour winner Davis Love III, two-time major winner and fan favorite John Daly and seven-time Tour winner Sergio Garcia.
Tournament director Tim McNeely was all smiles following the entry deadline.
"I think we have a fantastic field,'' he said. "Yes, there were a couple specific guys we didn't get, but the main thing is that we do have a fantastic field. I'm very proud of our field, and very excited about our field.
"For the few guys who weren't able to come this year, hopefully they hear how wonderful it is from a resort standpoint and from a golf course standpoint and Tour standpoint. I'm not disappointed at all with the field. Actually, I'm encouraged. We have nine guys who have won majors, which is pretty good.''
Daly, near the top of the leaderboard after the first round of last week's British Open, received a sponsor's exemption into the field, since he was outside the top 125 players on the Tour money list, who are automatically eligible.
Some other ways to break down players in the Greenbrier Classic field:
Also, there are some players with state ties to follow.
Barry Evans, the golf professional at Berry Hills Country Club, received an exemption for winning the Tri-State PGA section championship last August, and will be joined in the field by reigning West Virginia Amateur champ Jonathan Bartlett of Lewisburg, who works for The Greenbrier's Sporting Club.
Two five-time winners of the State Open could also gain spots in the Classic during Monday's qualifier at Glade Springs' Cobb Course in Daniels - Bakerton's David Bradshaw and Grafton's Brad Westfall. The top four finishers all earn positions in the field.
The PGA released an entry list of 150 names Friday evening, and four other spots will be filled following Monday's qualifier.
McNeely said the final two spots will be sponsor's exemption awards, which will be determined over the weekend.
"We'll get some information together,'' he said, "research it [today] and whittle the list down.''
Among the list of 10 alternates on the PGA's official entry list was Australian Steve Elkington, a 10-time Tour winner, including one major - the 1995 PGA title.
Practice rounds are scheduled to begin Monday, and the tournament starts Thursday, with the first players teeing off at 7 a.m. The winner earns $1.08 million.
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickr...@wvgazette.com.