If the primary reason anyone visits The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, is to relax and have a good time -- of course it is -- The Old White TPC has played its part is hosting an enjoyable tournament since debuting in 2010.
Poised to serve as the site to the sixth edition of The Greenbrier Classic -- the fifth since the C.B. MacDonald original was treated to a modernization -- the 7,287-yard track will yield low scores on top of a pleasurable experience off the golf course. With both par 5s on the inward half, it's a par 34-36=70. Although among the easiest par 70s annually, it averaged +0.101 to par a year ago, but breezy conditions in the second round inflated scoring.
A year after Jonas Blixt won with his short game, Ángel Cabrera dissected The Old White TPC. The Argentine ranked fourth in fairways hit and first in greens in regulation, but he didn't stop there. Capitalizing on his opportunities, Cabrera led the field in average distance of putts made and co-led in par-4 scoring. While Blixt arrived at the same destination -- a two-stroke victory -- his only statistical commonality with the defending champ was conversion percentage. The Swede led his field in birdies or better; Cabrera ranked fourth. This is the definition of the shootout. Hot putters will surprise, but attacking flag sticks is the objective.
The Old White TPC features a par-3 finishing hole measuring 175 yards. The first three winners of the tournament birdied it in the final round. Stuart Appleby not only won the inaugural edition in 2010 with a 2, but it secured just the fifth 59 (of six) in PGA TOUR history. Both Scott Stallings (2011) and Ted Potter, Jr. (2012) connected for birdies on the final hole of regulation, and then survived playoffs for their maiden titles. Both Blixt and Cabrera parred the closer before walking off with the trophy.
It's unlikely that Mother Nature won't factor into the proceedings throughout the holiday weekend. A reasonable threat for rain and thunderstorms populates the forecast with but a gradual tapering by Sunday. Seasonable high temperatures near or just above 80 degrees are expected. The wind may be most challenging on Saturday.