Greenbrier notebook: Count Furyk as a Mountaineer fan
"One of my close friends at home grew up in Morgantown, spent a couple of years at WVU, and I've been to about three football games in the past few years,'' said Furyk, who is from West Chester, Pa.
"There is a great atmosphere in Morgantown. Obviously, the whole community lives and dies with every play in every game. That's fun no matter where you're at.''
Furyk said he and his family and friends take several college football trips a year.
"I'll go on probably about three or four football trips a year to see some games,'' he said. "I've never been to a Texas A&M game or a Notre Dame game, and they have similar atmospheres.
"Those things I put on my list. But Morgantown is a fun place to hang out. I've actually been given a couple of pictures from people who have taken pictures with me tailgating at the games, so it's kind of been fun.''
Furyk said he noticed how loyal West Virginians are to the Mountaineers during Wednesday's Greenbrier Classic pro-am.
"I'm shocked at how many blue and gold shirts with WV written on them I've seen,'' he said. "They're like three hours away. It is amazing.
"I've found one Virginia Tech hat all week, so the Mountie fans have them definitely outnumbered. And I hear [Tech] is closer. Like Virginia Tech is only two hours away. It's amazing. There's a lot of blue and gold out there. I'm surprised, because it's clear on the other end of the state.''
Leave it to a speed demon to be slow to the first tee.
NASCAR star Denny Hamlin made it to his 1:10 p.m. tee time just in time to snap a couple of photos before he was thrust into Wednesday's pro-am.
Playing with partner Webb Simpson and fellow amateurs Todd Fishon and Bob Cochran, Hamlin, a lefty, slapped his first drive a good length, but left and into the rough.
Hamlin flew in from Charlotte, N.C., and may or may not have been feeling the effects of a night of partying, according to his flight buddies.
"We didn't really give ourselves much time on the driving range," said Hamlin, who drives the No. 11 FedEx for Joe Gibbs racing. "It was kinda boom-boom and we were off."
Hamlin picked up golf after his NASCAR career began. He said he has about three days off per week, and with his spare time he's taken up the sport, which he says is one of the most challenging sports to conquer. FedEx also sponsors the FedExCup on the PGA Tour.
Other sports notables at Wednesday's pro-am were Louisville men's basketball coach Rick Pitino and former Tennessee Titans tight end Frank Wycheck.
Gaston Caperton, the former West Virginia governor, participated in the pro-am.
"If people see my golf, they'll wonder what I'm doing here,'' smiled Caperton. "I'm just a little nervous about my play. I don't play very often. I haven't played for a year or so. I picked the wrong place to start, didn't I?''
Caperton was paired with PGA Tour regular Brad Faxon and two other amateurs.
"It's just great to be here to support this wonderful tournament and see the Greenbrier come alive on an international basis,'' said Caperton, a two-term governor from 1989 to 1997 who now serves as president of the College Board, which administers the nationally recognized ACT and AP tests.
"[Greenbrier owner] Jim [Justice] has done such a fantastic job coming in here buying this place and turning it around. I admire him and his family so much for the contribution they're making to this community and West Virginia. I'm here to celebrate them.''
As good as it gets
Slugger White says the Greenbrier Classic is progressing as well as any other tournament on the PGA Tour.
White, a PGA Rules Official and close friend to Justice, said he couldn't properly find the words to describe how well the tournament has been handled so far.
"I've only ever opened one other inaugural event, the International at Castle Pines, but I can honestly say that there was no stone unturned there, and the same can be said here," White said. "It's the epitome of what we're looking for."
White said golfer Jonathan Byrd, among others, told him how scenic it was to play in the mountainous terrain - somewhat of a rarity on the PGA Tour.
"What we have is special,'' said White. "It's first class. Just being from this area, I'm excited for the state."