Greenbrier notebook: Volunteers making it work (VIDEO)
"They don't just volunteer for one day. There are people working two and three days. They love being out there," said Rick George, who stopped by Jim Justice's skybox on Thursday.
"And they all love big Jim. It's driving Rick crazy," teased Justice, whose Chairman's sky box overlooks the 18th green on the Old White Course.
Justice seems to be everywhere. He was at the opening ceremony for the Greenbrier Classic at 6:45 a.m. Thursday. A fife and drum was on hand.
He was next spotted climbing into the bright red wagon pulled by eight Clydesdales that paraded throughout the grounds for several hours.
Cathy Justice played a key role in the plantings throughout the grounds. She became involved, her husband said, when she realized the landscape designer had picked Knock Out Roses to plant and they wouldn't provide the color punch needed.
"Cathy studied all the flower beds and selected the different things," Justice said. He said she knew what flowers would and wouldn't work in sunny and shady areas.
Justice was standing beside the 18th green -- you know, the one with the $1 milion jackpot should a golfer hit a hole-in-one on it -- just as a shot just missed the tee for the pay-off. The pay-off includes money to spectators who view the shot, so a large groan went up in the crowd as the shot just missed. "I love it," said Justice, to onlookers surrounding him. "I want it to happen!" (SEE RELATED VIDEO ABOVE).
Volunteer Dave Ahlquist of Hedgesville said he was glad Justice bought The Greenbrier. He said he signed up for multiple shifts "because I want to help make it go."
Two exhausted women who had finished their volunteer shift as the temperatures climbed higher stopped by the entrance/exit to the golf course.
Said one, "Number 6 hole has to be Allegheny County, Va."
William Bird of Scott Depot said the concerts were a draw for him. "Reba's my woman," he confessed, adding that the country singer put on a great performance Wednesday night.
Speaking of concerts, Smokey Robinson performed Tuesday night in the Colonial Hall in the resort. His performance was for the tournament golfers and their families.
Traffic headed east on the West Virginia Turnpike was backed up for several miles at the Mossy exit toll both at about 6 p.m. Thursday. Going west, traffic came to a grinding halt about two miles from the Sharon toll booth.
In other traffic-related news, when a car crashed into a utility pole Thursday afternoon in Lewsiburg, it caused a slew of Internet problems for county residents and Greenbrier Classic guests.
The accident happened at about 5:30 on U.S. 60 westbound, just a couple miles outside Lewisburg, according to a Greenbrier County dispatcher.
The Casino Club at The Greenbrier has given the PGA Tour golfers one reason to pray for a late afternoon tee time.
The casino's sport-coat dress code, however, has been a point of contention for a few. Davis Love III's caddie, Jeff Weber, said that the rules requiring a jacket to get into the club after 7 p.m. have deterred many a golfer who didn't bother packing one.
Brett Wetterich was deterred by the dress code, but more so by his financial temptations.
"If I go, it'll be before 7," he said. "I can't gamble with the sports jacket on ... they'll squeeze everything out of me with that on."
Todd Fishon, vice president of casino operations, said he's lent out the entire catalog of sport coats in the 40 through 44 sizes to golfers who wanted to attend but forgot - or didn't pack - a coat of their own.
Among the golfers Fishon has seen at the Casino Club include Sergio Garcia, Sam Saunders and first-round leader Erik Compton. Compton broke even at the card table with his buddy Saunders, who is Arnold Palmer's grandson.
Staff writers Mike Balducci and Davin White contributed to this report. Reach Rosalie Earle at ea...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5115.