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BlogGreenbrier Preview and Picks

A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier

July 5th – 8th, 2018

The Old White TPC

White Sulphur Springs, WV

Par: 70 / Yardage: 7,286

Purse: $7.3 million

with $1,314,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Xander Schauffele

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 23 of the top 100 and 8 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with no players from the top-10, #12 Bubba Watson, #20 Phil Mickelson, #21 Webb Simpson, #24 Xander Schauffele, #26 Brian Harman, #31 Tony Finau, #33 Kevin Kisner and #46 Russell Henley.

Last year the field included 8 of the top-50 players from the World Rankings.

The field includes 7 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2018.  Those players are #3 Bubba Watson, #8 Phil Mickelson, Patton Kizzire, #10 Webb Simpson, #11 Tony Finau, #20 Brian Harman and #23 Aaron Wise..

The field includes six of the seven past champion: Xander Schauffele (2017), Danny Lee (2015), Jonas Blixt (2013), Ted Potter, Jr. (2012), Scott Stallings (2011) and Stuart Appleby (2010).

Eleven players playing in A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier have already won on the PGA Tour this season. Ryan Armour (Sanderson Farms Championship), Patton Kizzire (OHL Classic at Mayakoba, Sony Open), Austin Cook (RSM Classic), Sean O’Hair (QBE Shootout), Ted Potter Jr. (AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am), Bubba Watson (Genesis Open, WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Travelers Championship), Phil Mickelson (WGC-Mexico Championship), Brice Garnett (Corales Putacana Resort & Club Championship), Scott Piercy (Zurich Classic of New Orleans), Webb Simpson (The Players Championship) and Aaron Wise (AT&T Byron Nelson)

Ten players in this year’s field have played in every Greenbrier Classic/A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier since its inception in 2010. Those players are Ricky Barnes, Jonathan Byrd, John Daly, Brendon de Jonge, J.J. Henry, Charles Howell III, D.A. Points, Webb Simpson, Cameron Tringale and Johnson Wagner.

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the Greenbrier Classic field is our performance chart listed by the average finish.  Another way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the Greenbrier Classic field in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the Greenbrier Classic field.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

 

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the The Greenbrier Classic

Player Quicken Loans Travelers U.S. Open FedEx St. Jude Memorial Fort Worth Byron Nelson The Players Wells Fargo Zurich Classic Texas Open RBC Heritage Masters
Tony Finau
(214.33 pts)
DNP DNP 5
(140)
CUT
(-6.67)
T13
(24.67)
DNP DNP T57
(0)
T21
(9.67)
6
(20)
DNP DNP T10
(26.67)
Webb Simpson
(182.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T10
(80)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP Win
(66)
T21
(9.67)
DNP DNP T5
(23.33)
T20
(20)
Bubba Watson
(170 pts)
DNP Win
(132)
CUT
(-20)
DNP T44
(4)
DNP DNP T57
(0)
DNP T28
(7.33)
DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
J.B. Holmes
(168.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T2
(100)
DNP 3
(60)
T13
(24.67)
DNP T42
(2.67)
CUT
(-5)
T42
(2.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Xander Schauffele
(153.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T6
(120)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T2
(50)
T72
(0)
DNP T73
(0)
T32
(6)
T50
(0.67)
Brian Gay
(145.33 pts)
T8
(50)
DNP T20
(60)
T12
(25.33)
T44
(4)
DNP 12
(12.67)
T72
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T70
(0)
DNP
Jimmy Walker
(145 pts)
T60
(0)
DNP T56
(0)
DNP DNP T20
(20)
T6
(20)
T2
(50)
DNP T25
(8.33)
4
(26.67)
DNP T20
(20)
Andrew Putnam
(140.67 pts)
T27
(23)
DNP DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP T20
(20)
T42
(2.67)
DNP T82
(0)
T15
(11.67)
T8
(16.67)
DNP DNP
Charles Howell III
(140.17 pts)
T17
(33)
DNP T25
(50)
T26
(16)
T65
(0)
DNP T9
(15)
T17
(16.5)
T21
(9.67)
DNP DNP T55
(0)
DNP
Russell Henley
(139 pts)
DNP T6
(60)
T25
(50)
DNP T29
(14)
T58
(0)
DNP CUT
(-5)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP T15
(23.33)
Ryan Armour
(130.33 pts)
2
(100)
T56
(0)
DNP DNP T23
(18)
T14
(24)
T59
(0)
CUT
(-5)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T55
(0)
DNP
Brian Harman
(120 pts)
DNP T6
(60)
T36
(28)
DNP DNP T14
(24)
DNP CUT
(-5)
74
(0)
DNP DNP T23
(9)
T44
(4)
Joaquin Niemann
(106.33 pts)
T17
(33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T6
(40)
T8
(33.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP 6
(20)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
Ryan Blaum
(93 pts)
T23
(27)
T12
(38)
DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T6
(20)
T77
(0)
T84
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Anirban Lahiri
(87 pts)
T13
(37)
T9
(45)
DNP DNP T37
(8.67)
T58
(0)
T26
(8)
CUT
(-5)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T58
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Ben Crane
(83 pts)
T13
(37)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T8
(33.33)
T53
(0)
DNP DNP T31
(6.33)
T11
(13)
DNP DNP
Phil Mickelson
(81.67 pts)
DNP DNP T48
(4)
T12
(25.33)
T13
(24.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
T5
(23.33)
DNP DNP DNP T36
(9.33)
C.T. Pan
(74.67 pts)
T17
(33)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP T20
(20)
T32
(6)
T46
(2)
T76
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T23
(9)
DNP
Jamie Lovemark
(72.83 pts)
74
(0)
T19
(31)
DNP DNP T37
(8.67)
DNP DNP T17
(16.5)
CUT
(-3.33)
T10
(13.33)
T30
(6.67)
DNP DNP
Richy Werenski
(72.17 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T26
(24)
CUT
(-20)
T4
(53.33)
DNP T74
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
T23
(13.5)
CUT
(-3.33)
T25
(8.33)
T11
(13)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Ryan Moore
(65.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T13
(24.67)
DNP DNP T30
(10)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP 7
(18.33)
T16
(11.33)
T28
(14.67)
Patrick Rodgers
(65.67 pts)
T53
(0)
T26
(24)
T41
(18)
DNP T8
(33.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
T53
(0)
CUT
(-5)
T34
(5.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Kevin Streelman
(65.67 pts)
T32
(18)
T33
(17)
DNP DNP T44
(4)
76
(0)
DNP CUT
(-5)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T8
(16.67)
T7
(18.33)
DNP
J.T. Poston
(62.33 pts)
T27
(23)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP T20
(20)
T26
(8)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T30
(6.67)
DNP DNP
Joel Dahmen
(61.33 pts)
T23
(27)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T20
(20)
T16
(11.33)
DNP T16
(11.33)
T25
(8.33)
T75
(0)
DNP DNP
Abraham Ancer
(59.33 pts)
T4
(80)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T57
(0)
T52
(0)
T42
(2.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T58
(0)
DNP DNP
Kevin Na
(58.67 pts)
T64
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
4
(53.33)
T6
(20)
T46
(2)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Tyler Duncan
(57.67 pts)
T41
(9)
T33
(17)
T56
(0)
T37
(8.67)
DNP T71
(0)
T26
(8)
DNP T84
(0)
T7
(18.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Danny Lee
(56.5 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T15
(35)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
T14
(24)
DNP T7
(27.5)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T51
(0)
T55
(0)
DNP
Scott Piercy
(53 pts)
DNP DNP T45
(10)
WD
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T32
(6)
CUT
(-5)
DNP Win
(44)
CUT
(-3.33)
T16
(11.33)
DNP
Alex Cejka
(52.33 pts)
T32
(18)
T33
(17)
DNP DNP T40
(6.67)
T66
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T27
(7.67)
T31
(6.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Fabian Gomez
(52 pts)
T32
(18)
T19
(31)
DNP T45
(3.33)
DNP DNP T32
(6)
DNP T84
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T50
(0.33)
DNP
Seamus Power
(50.33 pts)
T53
(0)
T36
(14)
DNP T12
(25.33)
DNP DQ
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T27
(7.67)
T10
(13.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Vaughn Taylor
(50 pts)
DNP T47
(3)
DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP T20
(20)
T59
(0)
CUT
(-5)
T42
(2.67)
DNP T16
(11.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Bill Haas
(48.67 pts)
T71
(0)
CUT
(-10)
T36
(28)
DNP T57
(0)
T14
(24)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-5)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T75
(0)
T7
(18.33)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the The Greenbrier Classic

Player Quicken Loans Travelers U.S. Open FedEx St. Jude Memorial Fort Worth Byron Nelson The Players Wells Fargo Zurich Classic Texas Open RBC Heritage Masters
Matt Every
(-40 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T55
(0)
DNP
Zhang Xin-jun
(-33.33 pts)
T64
(0)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T70
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Smylie Kaufman
(-33.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Robert Streb
(-32.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
80
(0)
T52
(0)
T53
(0)
CUT
(-5)
T42
(2.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Talor Gooch
(-31 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T13
(12.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Martin Piller
(-30.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
T77
(0)
T21
(9.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Mackenzie Hughes
(-30 pts)
DNP T42
(8)
CUT
(-20)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
T42
(5.33)
DNP T57
(0)
T59
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Geoff Ogilvy
(-29 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T32
(6)
CUT
(-5)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Patton Kizzire
(-28.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T74
(0)
T64
(0)
DNP CUT
(-5)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
Billy Hurley III
(-27 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T47
(3)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP 81
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

Three weeks before the Greenbrier Classic in 2016 a massive storm devastated the Greenbrier Valley. On June 23, 2016, 14 inches of rain fell in a span of 12 hours.  It turned the Greenbrier Valley into something that hasn’t been seen since Noah’s Ark’s was used.  The flooding devastated not only the area but wipe away the golf courses that were a part of the Greenbrier resort.  The floods were so biblical that 26 people in the state of West Virginia lost there lives that day and once the water resided the resort’s Old White course suffered extensive damage and was impossible to fix in such a short length of time.

When things finally dried out, it was determined that a total restoration was needed.  They hired Keith Foster, who does nothing but work on existing clubs in making them better and more playable.  This was not only a big job, but time was short because they had to seed the course before the winter.  At the same time, Foster needed to redo the course with the same Seth Raynor features that it had before the flood.  Along with rebuilding the course, he also updated it by repositioning 20 bunkers which brought the course more to the level of the best players in the world.  It was like redoing the Mona Lisa and making sure that nobody could tell the difference.

The big question will be if the course played like it uses to or if the changes will alter the way the players will attack the course? The answer was easy, yes the course played as it did in the past, the greens were perfect and every part of the tournament last year never showed the signs of the total destruction from 2016.

Players picking their spots:

We are getting to the part of the summer in which players have to be very choosy about where they play.  In the next 11 weeks, there are 12 events.  Out of those 12 are two majors (British Open & PGA Championship), the WGC-Bridgestone and the four FedEx Cup events.  So that means for every top player, they will try to play in seven events in 11 weeks which is a lot.  So events like this week’s Greenbrier may be a great event to play in, but the top guys have to be smart.  So for Greenbrier, John Deere, Canadian Open, Quicken Loans and Wyndham Championship they can’t possibly get great fields because of that.  So this is an excellent stretch for those on the bubble to get into the top-125 because fields for these events will go down the list of exemptions and with the Barbasol Championship and the Barracuda Championship lots of opportunity to climb up the ladder.

2014 was a perfect example, Geoff Ogilvy was 151st in the FedEx Cup race after the Canadian Open.  Things didn’t look very good for him, but he won the Barracuda Championship, which climbed him to 84th which got him into the playoffs.  He missed the cut at the Barclays which dropped him to 100th, right on the bubble to play the next event, the Deutsche Bank Championship.  He was runner-up climbing to 24th, was able to get into the Tour Championship and like that finished the FedEx Cup race 29th on the list.  So anything can happen in the next few weeks.

Player of the Year???

This is a concise discussion, I can’t pick a player of the year winner right now.  Not going to pick Masters Championship Patrick Reed or U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka.  You only have five multiple winners, Bubba Watson (with 3 wins), Jason Day, Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas and done of them did any good in the majors, so it’s a non-story so far.  But as we said there are two majors, a WGC event, and four FedEx Cup playoff events and we know someone will break out of the pack.

Tournament information:

Most of the tournaments on the PGA Tour are in major cities across the world.  Of course there are some exceptions to the rule as the Hyundai Tournament of Champions is played in the small community of Kapalua, Maui, the Mayakoba Golf Classic is played in a resort in Mexico, the Puerto Rico Open is in the small town of Rio Grande and the Verizon Heritage is on a small island in South Carolina.  But on the whole, most PGA Tour events are played around big cities so that it can draw bigger crowds and getting corporate sponsors easier.

So, in a way, the Greenbrier Classic is an anomaly.  Played in White Sulphur Springs, which is in the Greenbrier County, the total population is just 2,463.  The nearest big city is Roanoke, Virginia if you call 94,000 the population of Roanoke a big city, which is 40 miles from Greenbrier. So the folks that are paying the bills are not looking to attract big crowds to this tournament.

Making things even more intriguing is the fact that the Greenbrier Resort, which has been an American hallmark resort for over 200 years, was almost eliminated just nine years ago.  Despite having a beautiful facility that catered to big money who liked the reputation of having at least one employee for every guest, in some respects with all of the competition from other resorts the Greenbrier was close to becoming as extinct as some of the dinosaurs that wondered our lands millions of years ago.

But this never happened.  Nine years ago when it looked like Marriott was about to buy it, break it up into little pieces and shutter what made this resort famous, a man by the name of Jim Justice came in on a white horse.   He bought the resort, and it’s four courses and 6,500 acres for 20 million dollars by buying the stock of the holding company that owned the debt of the hotel.  It was a bold move by Justice, who was born and bred in West Virginia and is from up the road in Lewisburg.

Now for Justice, $20 million is like pocket change for some of us as he was born to a wealthy family who made their money in coal and farming and Justice made even more money in the 50 business’s that he owns.  But he didn’t stop with spending $20 million, Justice wrote more checks in sprucing up the resort and building the Underground Casino Club that had a star-studded opening this week.

Justice realizes that he needed to promote tourism, and he has gone out of his way big time to do that.  It’s been reported that he spent $80 million on the underground Casino Club and he opened up his checkbook to make sure that the PGA Tour would come to town, not only for this year but for six years.  With this significant investment of golf, he will be able to showcase his resort and make it as well known as Pebble Beach was during the U.S. Open or even Kapalua is during the playing of the Hyundai.

After six years, the investment paid off.  The Greenbrier Classic produced a lot of good vibes about the resort and had propelled it to the top of the charts.  The only negative that came out is the field could be better, but for many, they love spending fourth of July at the Greenbrier.

For the time being, Justice has very little to do with Greenbrier as he is the governor of West Virginia.

Course information:
  • The Old White TPC
  • White Sulphur Springs, W.V.
  • 7,287 yards     Par 35-35–70
  • Many will remember Greenbrier as the site of the 1979 Ryder Cup matches and the 1994 Solheim Cup matches, but both of these were played on the Greenbrier Course, which was initially constructed and opened in 1924 and was redone by Jack Nicklaus in the 70s.  The course that holds the Greenbrier Classic is the Old White Course, a course design by C.B. MacDonald and Seth Raynor and opened in 1914.  One of the elements of what has happened in the last year, the course was , but Keith Foster came in and made sure the holes were restored to the same levels as when Charles Blair Macdonald and Seth Rayner did a decade ago.  Foster was able to redo the slop of the 8th green giving it the “redan” look.  The same with the 13th with the return of Prestwick’s “Alps” and on the 15th hole the “Eden” look from St. Andrews.
  • Now the course was built at the time for the Old White Hotel and stood on the grounds between 1858 and 1922.  One of the first golfers to play The Old White was President Woodrow Wilson in April of 1914.  Now many people won’t remember this, but the course first held a PGA Tour event back in 1921 when Jock Hutchison won the White Sulphur Springs Open.  In the 50s, the PGA Tour came back to Greenbrier as in May the Greenbrier Pro-Am was played on the Old White Course as players like Cary Middlecoff, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, and Dutch Harrison were winners.
  • The course features generous fairways and challenging, undulating putting greens. Every hole has a distinct and well-defined strategy that allows for either a very challenging approach to the green, or one that has less risk, and a higher chance of success.  Many of the holes were design after famous Scottish holes. The 8th hole was styled after the Redan at North Berwick, the 13th after the Alps at Prestwick and the 15th after the Eden at St. Andrews.
  • Despite not having a regular tour event, a small pro-am was held on the course and over the years most of the famous players of the last 50 years came to play it.  In 2006, the course went through restoration and today plays at 7,287 yards and to a par of 70.  The course has two par 5s, both of them on the back nine, and it’s always interesting to see if the course holds up as the best players in the world play it.
  • The only real negative came the first year the event was played.  The course was not severe enough for the pros of the PGA Tour.  Officials knew it, players knew it, and when Stuart Appleby finished his round with three straight birdies to shoot 59 and win the event, the whole world knew that the Old White wasn’t up to snuff for the best players in the world.
  • So with the approval of Greenbrier owner Jim Justice, who again took out his checkbook, the course was closed right after that 2010 event.  With the help of renowned architect Tom Fazio,  all the greens were reseeded, one green is new, and new tees have been added to several holes to stretch the course to 7,287 yards, an additional 256 yards.  Fazio not only lengthened several holes, he added and eliminated trees.  He also reshaped fairway bunkers but more importantly brought in rough in the fairways and made sure that the greens were firmer.
  • Since then the course has played more robust as the best round in the last five years is 61. With the new restoration of the course, it will play a lot tougher this year. Yes, there will be a lot of low scoring again, but I don’t see anyone shooting below a 61 with the changes, and I can’t see low scoring.  To show you the difference, the first year the scoring average was 68.536, shot and a half under par.  In 2013, the scoring average was 69.868 which is just a notch below par meaning the course was a shot and a half tougher than the first year.  For those wondering, The Old White was the 25th toughest course on the PGA Tour.
  • In 2014 the scoring average was 70.101 the first time the course played over par.  The Old White was the 26th hardest course on the PGA Tour.  In 2015 they played the tournament in perfect weather, and the scoring was 69.168 the 35th toughest course on tour.  With the year off and reconstruction of the course, last year the course played to a 69.86 average making it the 27th toughest course on tour, so it’s about the same as previous years.

DraftKings tips

*Here are the guys that cost the most on DraftKings this week:

  • Tony Finau – $11,500
  • Phil Mickelson – $11,200
  • Bubba Watson – $11,000
  • Webb Simpson – $10,700
  • Russell Henley – $10,400
  • Xander Schauffele – $10,200
  • Joaquin Niemann – $9.700
  • Brian Harman – $9,500
  • Charles Howell III – $9,300
  • Jimmy Walker – $9,100
  • J.B. Holmes – $9,000

Have to say this, because of the nature of the field with only two top-20 players in the field and a bunch of non-marquee players the highest price players, the tendency is to avoid them.  But last week we saw Francesco Molinari, and Tiger Woods do well, so we can’t prevent these top money players.  I don’t like Tony Finau at $11,500, but his last start was a 5th place finish at the U.S. Open.  Still, I am not going for him even though he was T-7th last year and T-13th in his other Greenbrier start.  Phil Mickelson at $11,200 is also ridiculous, especially since in 4 starts he only made the cut once, last year T-20th.  Bubba Watson at $11,000 seems reasonable with the fact that he has won 3 times this year, but his best finish was T-13th in 2015.  Now the reason both Mickelson and Watson are playing is their close relationship with The Greenbrier, so in a way, they are hired guns this week, and I will not pick them.  Now Webb Simpson at $10,700 seems like an ok choice. He has played well in three Greenbrier starts including a 3rd in 2014.  The only problem, he missed the cut at the Travelers but was T-10th at the U.S. Open.  Russell Henley at $10,400 is also high in my book, he finished T-6th in his last start but why I like him the most he was T-5th last year and 5th in 2015, so he will be my top pick.  As for Xander Schauffele at $10,200 I would avoid him, young defending champions have a tough time, and Schauffele has missed three cuts in his last four starts.  But in his previous five starts, he also has a T-6th at the U.S. Open and T-2nd at the Players. Still, he won’t be my pick.  Joaquin Niemann is another story at $9,700, he has done well, and I could see him winning this week.  Brian Harman at $9,500 is always a good pick but be careful this course may not suit his game.  Charles Howell III at $9,300 is a toss-up, he does make lot’s of points and birdies, does make the cut but that it’s and at this price, it’s too much in my mind.  Jimmy Walker at $9,100 is ok, does make cuts and was runner-up in this event once.  Last is J.B. Holmes at $9,000 I usually would say no to him because of the chance of him shooting 80, but has a good track record at the Greenbrier and was 3rd at the FedEx St. Jude, T-2nd at Travelers but missed cut last week.

*Players in that $7,600 to $8,900 price range, which ones are worth the money?:

Like Danny Lee at $8,800, he won in 2015 and was T-9th last year.  I know he has missed the cut in three of his previous four starts, but he has some Greenbrier magic.  Kevin Streelman at $8,600 is a solid choice, nothing fancy but does make a lot of cuts.  Anirban Lahiri at $8,300 is also a good choice, first time at Greenbrier but has been very consistent this year.  Jamie Lovemark at $8,200 is an excellent choice, he was 3rd last year and has been consistent in the previous three months.  Brian Gay at $8,100 is also a choice, yes he has a terrible record at Greenbrier but has had a great season, and I have to think that good play will show up this week.  Ryan Armour at $7,700 is good, was runner-up last week. Ted Potter, Jr. at $7,600 is also a choice, he has played bad since winning at Pebble but has a good record at Greenbrier.

Some of the “bargains” this week at Greenbrier

The first name that comes to mind is Robert Streb at $7,000.  I know that he has missed the cut in his last three starts but was runner-up last year and in 2015, sorry have to go with him.  Also, you have to pick David Lingmerth at $7,200, high price for a man that has been consistent this year and had two top-tens at Greenbrier.  One person to take a gamble on is David Hearn at $6,700, yes he has missed more cuts that he has made in the last three months, but he was T-14th last year, runner0up in 2015 and T-12th in 2012.

 

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the Military Tribute at the Greenbrier:

Key stat for the winner:

Only seven events have been played, and in looking at the winners, one stat stands out.  That is scrambling which makes sense since the greens at Old White are small and if you miss the green, it’s tough to get it up and down.  In 2010 Stuart Appleby was 2nd, getting it up and down 14 of the 15 greens missed.  In 2011 Scott Stallings didn’t do well in that stat but runner-up Bill Haas was second getting it up and down 18 of the 22 greens he missed.  In 2012 Ted Potter, Jr. won the event ranking 9th in scrambling, getting it up and down 16 of 20 times.  In 2013 Jonas Blixt got it up and down 19 of 24 tries, ranking T-3rd.   So look at those that have done well in scrambling this year to do well this week.  Now in 2014 Angel Cabrera ranked T-52nd in scrambling, but it was for a good reason.  That’s because Cabrera led the field in Greens hit so that you can see the reason for the sub-par scrambling rank.  But after that things drastically changed.  In 2015 Danny Lee was T-43rd in greens hit but was not that great of a scrambling, ranking 47th  As of last year winner Xander Schauffele was 1st in greens hit and 68th in scrambling (only five worst than him).  So in making your picks look at the scrambling stats for 2018 and see if any of the top players interest you this week.

Here are some more key stats to look to for this week:

  • I know this event has only been played seven times, but the tournament still hasn’t seen a winner who led after either the first round, the second round or the third round.  It’s been a come-from-behind haven for this event, with no 54-hole leader yet able to close the deal on the final day. Three of the seven winners have come from at least four shots back – Jonas Blixt (2013), Ted Potter Jr. (2012) and Stuart Appleby (2010).  Now for  2011 winner Scott Stallings he was one back of Anthony Kim.   Angel Cabrera in 2014 was two shots back.  Last year Schauffele was two back going into the final round, and Danny Lee was one back in 2015.
  • Of the 152 players in the field (before Monday qualifying), only 65 have won on the PGA Tour, and only eight have won a major.  So this could be the week to shine, as was the week for Scott Stallings in 2011, Ted Potter, Jr. in 2012, Jonas Blixt in 2013, Danny Lee in 2015 and Zander Schauffele last year.  Look for that eager player ready to finally break out and win for the first time.
  • Going on the theme that no wins could be an advantage at the Greenbrier, look at the 47 players that finished 5th or better in the history of the event.  Of the 47, only 15 of them had won on the PGA Tour.  So this may not be the week for those like Webb Simpson, Phil Mickelson or a Bubba Watson.
  • The par 4s are some of the best in the country so playing them well is essential.  Stuart Appleby was 15 under in his 2010 win, Scott Stalling was 3 under in 2011, Ted Potter Jr. was 10 under in 2012,  Jonas Blixt was 4 under in 2013, Angel Cabrera in 2014 was 11 under while in 2015 Danny Lee was 5 under.  Last year Xander Schauffele played the par 4s in 7 under
  • Is putting important?  For four of the seven champions, it is as Jonas Blixt was first in 2013 while Stuart Appleby ranked 3rd in number of putts while Ted Potter, Jr. was T3rd in 2014 and Danny Lee was T-4th in 2015.  As for Scott Stallings he was T53rd in 2011, and 2014 winner Angel Cabrera was T-29th.  Last year’s winner Xander Schauffele was T-49th in putting last year.
  • Weather will play a factor. The tournament will have to dance around a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. Some days, the forecast calls for scattered thunderstorms, a summertime fact of life at White Sulphur Springs.  The worst days will be Friday.  Temperatures will be in the high 80s each day with high humidity, good news no wind all week.
  • One thing to remember, this time of year it’s hard to predict the weather because there could be pop-up thunderstorms in the afternoon.

Who to watch for at the The Greenbrier Classic

Best Bets:

Webb Simpson

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T14 CUT 3 T41 T7 T9 CUT

Guy has the game to play well on this course.

Joaquin Niemann

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T29

This kid is ready to win and it could come this week.

Bubba Watson

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T70 T13 T16 T30

Playing the best coming into this event, the only problem his track record is not the best for Greenbrier.

Best of the rest:

Tony Finau

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T7 T13

Likes playing at Greenbrier, has a good record on the course.

Kevin Kisner

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
CUT T2 CUT CUT CUT

Guy is looking to turn his game around and this is a good place for it.

Jimmy Walker

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T18 CUT T2 CUT T4 T4

Another that plays well at Greenbrier.

Russell Henley

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T5 5 T30

A pair of 5th place finishes in his last two Greenbrier starts

Solid contenders

J.B. Holmes

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T9 T22 T23 T27 CUT T16

Good track record at Greenbrier plus was 3rd at the St. Jude.

Brian Harman

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
CUT T65 T69

Always a consistent player that will do ok on this course.

Danny Lee

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T9 Win T16 CUT

Like his track record at Greenbrier, that could carry him over the top.

Xander Scauffele

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
First time playing in this event

This was the start of his great run that ended with him winning the Tour Championship. Could he do it again, possibly.

Charles Howell III

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T45 CUT T52 CUT CUT T32 T9

May not be top-three material but can always make a cut and get you a top-ten finish

Long shots that could come through:

Jamie Lovemark

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T3 85 CUT

Was 3rd last year and been consistent of late.

Anirban Lahiri

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
First time playing in this event

Another consistent player that is visiting Greenbrier for the first time, think the course will suit him.

Robert Streb

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
2 T2 71 T41

Been runner-up the last two years.

Sorry Phil but not this week:

Phil Mickelson

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T20 CUT CUT CUT

The odds are better on him missing the cut that playing well. The course doesn’t suit his game but he is a good ambassador for Greenbrier.

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