The Old White TPC at The Greenbrier plays host to the fourth annual Greenbrier Classic this week.
The Old White TPC is one of only two tracks that finish with a Par 3, the other being East Lake, host of the Tour Championship. It’s a Par 70 that that stretches 7,274 yards and, as with most tour layouts, driving accuracy will be important as the fairways are tight and greens are firm.
Three years ago, the course ranked second easiest of the 14 Par-70 tracks on tour and that was certainly justified after Stuart Appleby put up a Sunday 59 to card an overall score of 22 under par. Two years ago, it ranked 13th out of 51 courses in difficulty and was 27th out of 49 tour stops and the fifth easiest Par 70 last year.
The finishes have been some of the best of late. Two years ago, Scott Stallings defeated Bob Estes and Bill Haas on the first playoff hole. Last year, Ted Potter Jr., after closing eagle-birdie on the final two holes, defeated Troy Kelly on the third playoff hole. We can expect more drama this week with another wide open field in play.
Tiger Woods was the main attraction last year but he missed the cut by one stroke as did Phil Mickelson, who has missed the weekend in both of his appearances. Woods is not playing this week but Mickelson is back, among seven of the Top 30 players in this week's world rankings.
Recent major winners Webb Simpson, Bubba Watson and Keegan Bradley are also playing. Just three players have Top-10 finishes two out of three years here, Simpson (2011-12), Brendon de Jonge (2010-11) and Jimmy Walker (2010-11).
Webb Simpson (+1,200) is the co-favorite along with Mickelson this week and for good reason. He’s coming off a T5 at the Travelers, which was his fourth Top 10 of the season, including three Top 5s. He has not been able to nab his fourth tour win but finishes of T7 and T9 at the Old White TPC the last two years has him in good position.
Graham DeLaet (+2,200) looks to be close to his breakaway victory on the PGA Tour. He has made 15 cuts in 18 starts and that includes 10 Top 25s and five Top 10s. Two of those have come in his last two starts with a T8 at the AT&T last week and a solo third at the Travelers. He finished T12 at the Greenbrier last year.
Brendon de Jonge (+4,000) missed the cut at Congressional last week but he is still having a very solid season with eight Top 25s including three Top 10s. He has yet to win on tour but, if there is a place it will happen, this could it. He is 3-for-3 at the Greenbrier including a solo third in 2010 and a T4 in 2011.
Jimmy Walker (+5,500) is another player that is still seeking his first PGA Tour win. After 15 consecutive cuts made to start the season, he has missed the weekend in each of his last two starts but he is poised for a rebound here. As mentioned, he is one of only three players with two Top 10s here, a T4 in both 2010 and 2011.
Gary Woodland (+5,500) shares long-shot odds with Walker and is playing his best golf of the season. He has three Top 20s in his last four events with the lone non-Top 20 being a withdraw from the Travelers because of a sore back two weeks ago. He came back with a T16 last week and he finished T4 here two years ago. Recommended tournament win five pack at the Greenbrier Classic (all for one unit)
Webb Simpson (+1,200)
Graham DeLaet (+2,200)
Brendon de Jonge (+4,000)
Jimmy Walker (+5,500)
Gary Woodland (+5,500)
2012 Record to date after 36 events: +51.6 Units
2013 Record to date after 24 events: -30.4 Units
Hyundai Tournament of Champions -5 Units
Sony Open in Hawaii -5 Units
Humana Challenge - 5 Units
Farmer Insurance Open +3.5 Units
Waste Management Phoenix Open +19 Units
AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am -5 Units
Northern Trust Open -5 Units
WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship +25.66 units
The Honda Classic -5 Units
WGC-Cadillac Championship -5 Units
Tampa Bay Championship -5 Units
Arnold Palmer Invitational -1.5 Units
Shell Houston Open -5 Units
The Masters -8 Units
RBC Heritage +27 Units
Zurich Classic of New Orleans -5 Units
The Wells Fargo Championship -5 Units
THE PLAYERS Championship -5 Units
HP Byron Nelson Championship -5 Units
Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial -5 Units
Memorial Tournament -5 Units
FedEx St. Jude Classic -5 Units
U.S. Open -6 Units
Travelers Championship -5 Units
AT&T National -5 Units