Greenbrier notebook: A U.S. Open here? Don't put it past Justice
But Greenbrier owner Jim Justice, a man proven to make things happen, already has secured a six-year contract for the Greenbrier Classic and has said playing host to the Open is a long-term goal.
But would the 7,031-yard Old White meet the PGA Tour standards for toughness and modest numbers? After all, Graeme McDowell played par golf and won the championship at Pebble Beach earlier this summer.
"They'd have to lengthen it a whole lot,'' said J.B. Holmes, who shot a 10-under-par 60 on Saturday. "It would be tough to have a U.S. Open here at 7,000 yards. They could definitely tighten up the fairways and make it more difficult. It's possible, but they'd have to make a lot of changes.''
Another potential obstacle would be finding hotel rooms for a U.S. Open crowd.
'Not much teeth' to course
Jonathan Bartlett, who won the West Virginia Amateur championship at The Greenbrier last month, found the Old White Course inviting on Saturday morning.
Not that he took full advantage of it. He missed too many putts but saw plenty of opportunities.
"The course played real easy this morning. I mean really easy,'' said Bartlett. "It was the easiest day by far. There wasn't much teeth in the golf course today.''
In a topsy-turvy round, Bartlett bogeyed two of the first three holes, reeled off three straight birdies on the front nine but, after having played the back nine in 4 under on Friday, was 2 over on the final nine holes Saturday.
He finished the day at 1-over 71 and 1-under 219 for the tournament. Although he made the 36-hole cut, his 71 did not qualify him for today's final round. "I'm not even close,'' he said.
Poor putting doomed him, he said.
"I'm about last in the field when it comes to putting," Bartlett said. "I hit the ball pretty good; I just can't make anything. Normally I'm a decent putter, and I don't have 34 and 35 putts a round. To shoot decent scores, you have to have 30, 31 putts or maybe down in the 20s. I'm just giving shots away left and right.''
The 33-year-old Ocala, Fla., native and Lewisburg resident sells real estate for the Greenbrier Sporting Club and earned his sponsor's exemption into the Greenbrier Classic by winning the West Virginia Amateur.
Making the cut in this tournament makes it easier, he said, for the Classic to continue the exemption for the State Amateur winner.
"I think it helps that I made the cut. So I wasn't just wasting a spot,'' he said. "Obviously, I would love for that to happen and have the opportunity to play for that again and do this all over again, but that's up to Mr. Justice.''
A cut after 54 holes
Eight players who made the 36-hole cut will not be around for today's final round, thanks to the PGA Tour's "MDF" rule.
To accommodate television, the PGA Tour limits the field for the final day. If more than 78 players make the cut (85 made it this week), the field is reduced to the top 70 and ties for the third round.
Ricky Barnes leads the list heading home, missing by a stroke at 4-under 206. Bartlett also is out at 1-under 209.
"They do it for TV purposes to make sure they can finish at the scheduled time," said John Bush, a PGA Tour official. "If the field is large, it's sometimes hard to get that many players to finish in that TV window.''
The seven professionals listed as "MDF," or "made cut but did not finish," will receive paychecks and pension credits, just as if they played today and finished last.