The Greenbrier resort has a significant place in golf history. The original 9 holes were designed by Alexander H. Findlay. For the last years of his life, golf legend Sam Snead held the position of the resort’s emeritus pro; today, that title is held by the equally legendary Tom Watson.
In 1979, The Greenbrier was the site of the first Ryder Cup contested under the current format of United States against Europe. More recently, The Greenbrier hosted the 1994 Solheim Cup, the women’s equivalent to the Ryder Cup. This made The Greenbrier the first of only two locations to have hosted both the Ryder and Solheim Cups; it would be joined in 1998 by Muirfield Village near Columbus, Ohio.
It also hosted an event on what is now known as the Champions Tour between 1987–90.
The PGA Tour came to the hotel in 2010 for a regular tour stop with the Greenbrier Classic. After two years of being held on the last weekend of July, the tournament obtained the more favorable date of the first weekend in July, starting in 2012. On March 28, 2011 The Old White Course became a TPC course.
The Greenbrier is also the site of a massive underground bunker that was meant to serve as an emergency shelter for the United States Congress during the Cold War. It was code named “Project Greek Island” and Fritz Bugas was former on-site Superintendent.
But enough history about the Greenbrier what happened on day one of the Greenbrier Classic: Vijay Singh was the man to beat on day one, with a 63 early round on Thursday. Vijay carded a 33 on the front with a bogey on the 4th, but followed a nice front nine with a 30 on the back with 6 birdies and three pars. Not bad for a guy who is suppose to be on the trails of a hall of fame PGA Tour career, only gearing up for his 50th birthday and what will be a great Champions Tour career.
Speaking of old veterans, Jeff Maggert found himself in a close second with a -6 under 64 on Thursday. Reigning US Open champion Webb Simpson got off to a great start with a 65. Ken Duke (another journeyman) had a great first round with a 66. Patrick Cantlay (the UCLA star and former #1 ranked amateur) found himself under par after day one with a solid 67 opening round.
The course was set up for scoring on day one (it is the home of the last 59 on tour), and the players took advantage. The greens were slow in comparison to the last few tracks the tour players have played on, and when you give these guys a course set up to score, we get a lot of big low red numbers.
I would expect to see a little tougher course set up on Friday as a bit of greens keepers revenge. Come on you guys know what Im talking about, the superintendents lull us into a false sense of confidence only to have it dashed in nine holes. That is what makes this game so great.