Latest 'Mr. 59' set to tackle The Greenbrier
Call him the Limbo Man. Or Mr. 59. Or, perhaps more correctly, Mr. 59 IV.
Just a few weeks back, July 8 to be exact, Goydos joined an exclusive club by shooting a 59 in the first round of the John Deere Classic on the par-71 TPC Deere Run Course in Silvis, Ill.
Only three other PGA players had ever done so: the original "Mr. 59,'' Al Geiberger in 1977; Chip Beck in 1991; and David Duval in 1999. All were on par-72 courses.
Goydos' 59 came out of the blue after four months of rather poor play. He recorded eight birdies on the back nine at the Deere Classic, a feat he called a "nuclear bomb.''
So what better golfer to approach concerning the scores this week?
"Will there be low scores? Yes,'' Goydos said Tuesday at The Greenbrier. "Does that mean this is an easy course? No. There are just a lot of good golfers. That said, the course doesn't show its teeth on Tuesday. You go out [for practice rounds] relaxed, ripping it. We'll see what happens on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.''
Goydos is certainly one to watch. At age 46, this is his 450th career tournament. He won the Bay Hill Invitational in 1996 and the Sony Open in 2007. This year, he's 54th in the FedEx Cup rankings and has three top-10 finishes, including second place in the Deere Classic. (One may remember that when Goydos shot the 59 in the first round of that event, eventual winner Steve Stricker shot a 60.) He's won over $1 million four years in a row.
Goydos is also the perfect man to approach about the status of the Greenbrier Classic. He's here. Jim Furyk will be here. Matt Kuchar is here. John Daly was puffing on a smoke on the practice tee.
Where, though, is everyone else?
"Word of mouth is a big part of it,'' Goydos said. "Guys don't like to be guinea pigs.''
It doesn't get much more honest than that, eh?
"I had my own reasons for playing here,'' Goydos said. "It fit well in my schedule. But what I've found is there's a commitment here. My sense is the owner [Jim Justice] wants to make this a big-time event.
"Also, this area has been in the news and not in a good way. So I think it's an important place to be now.''
He referred, of course, to the Upper Big Branch mine disaster. It's heartwarming to know Goydos, and hopefully other golfers, understand its impact on West Virginia.
Over the long haul, however, Goydos said the magnificent resort and its setting will be key in growth.
"This will grow in popularity,'' he said. "It's a place you can take your kids in the summer. Mine are grown, but if you have kids in the 5-to-15-year age range, it's great. You can be here with them, take them horseback riding and whatever else is offered here.
"That's a big lure. When your kids say, 'Dad, are we going back to The Greenbrier?,' it's on your schedule. There are the majors: the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship. And then there's Disney. Golfers go there because of their kids. This has a chance to be along those lines.''
The event of which Goydos speaks is the Children's Miracle Network Classic at Walt Disney World Golf Resort.
"I think this field for a first-year event is good,'' Goydos said. "I think you'll be surprised how it improves.''
Goydos also said one might look back in a few years and judge the current field as significantly better.
The golfer, however, is more concerned with his play.
"This 59 stuff never stops,'' he said with a shake of the head. "Then there was the British Open a couple weeks ago. Last week, I wasn't feeling well, but had a charity event. I didn't get enough rest. I'm hoping to sleep [Tuesday night] like nine or 10 hours.
"I like the direction my game is going, though.''
Including into the record books.
"There's been a lot of media attention,'' Goydos said. "I like dealing with the media. And, at the time, I thought [shooting a 59] was a wonderful accomplishment.
"What I didn't realize was what it meant from a historical view. I don't yet comprehend it. But there will be a display of mine in the Golf Hall of Fame. I'll look at that and say, 'Which one of those don't belong?' ''
He does, of course, belong. He shot the number. He belongs.
Now it's The Greenbrier's turn. It's the resort's turn to shine.
And show that it belongs among the PGA Tour's bigger events.