Greenbrier Classic, The Old White TPC, West Virginia
The next stop on the PGA Tour is the Greenbrier Classic, now renamed A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier, at White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. The tournament is going to be played at the old TPC Course, another classic course that was first opened to the public in 1914.
The course was originally designed by Charles Blair MacDonald and most recently had some renovations after the flood in 2016. The players will encounter a 7200 yard+ Par 70 similar to the course they played the Travellers Championship on, but a lot less difficult.
The fairways on the course are fairly generous and will not challenge too many players. They curve both ways, though, and so players will need to both fade and draw the ball. Both the fairways and the greens are Bermuda grass. There is some water but it is rarely ever in play off the tee.
The greens are much more challenging than the fairways and have a decent bit of undulation to them. The Wolf expects players to club down from the tee because of the short distance and then use the wedge to find their way on to the greens.
The weather is a bit of a mixed bag according to the current prediction with thunderstorms expected on Friday and some rain to be seen on Saturday as well.
Xander Schauffele won the tournament last year, Danny Lee won it in 2015, Angel Cabrera won it in 2014, and Jonas Blixt won it in 2013. The field for this tournament is relatively weak especially now that a full 156 players will be competing for the first two rounds. The top-70 plus ties will make the cut and move on to play the weekend.
Winning this tournament requires gaining strokes off the tee and then getting to the greens in regulation. There are a couple of Par 5’s on the course, one of which is reachable in two shots. That is one of the areas where players can attack but in general, there should be plenty of birdies around.
Distance is not going to be much of a factor this weekend. Instead, players who are on top of their wedge games are the ones that the Wolf expects to shine.
Stats that Matter
The Wolf is looking at the following stats for this week:
- Par 4 Scoring
- Ball Striking
- Strokes Gained: Putting
Xander Schauffele was 1st for Greens in Regulation, 6th for Strokes Gained: Putting, 15th for Driving Accuracy, and 15th for Driving Distance when he won the tournament last year. His final total was -14 (266), a number that the Wolf thinks will be broken this year.
Danny Lee had a total of -13 (267) in 2015, Angel Cabrera had -16 (264) in 2014, and Jonas Blixt won with a total of -13 (267) in 2013. Rain may soften the course up and allow the players to really be aggressive with their approach to the green resulting in better scoring opportunities.
A weak field and a course where it is very likely to see a first-time winner allows the Wolf to take some risks this week. For the favorite, Webb Simpson at $17.00 looks very good. Simpson is having a terrific season so far and has already won the Players Championship. He also finished T10 at the U.S. Open and stood out amongst the carnage.
He has also had a couple of poor outings, though, missing the cut at the Travelers Championship and the Fort Worth Invitational. The Wolf thinks he has the form and the game for this course to run away with this tournament. Simpson is 17th for Par 4 Scoring, 8th for Strokes Gained: Putting and 124th for Ball Striking.
For the value pick, the Wolf likes Brian Harman at $26.00. Harman is another player with excellent recent form. He finished T6 at the Travelers and was T14 at the Fort Worth Invitational. He does not, however, have the greatest course history here and has a best place finish of 65th in 2013.
The stats are firmly in favor of Brian Harman, though. He is 36th for Ball Striking, 7th for Strokes Gained: Putting and 9th for Par 4 Scoring. The Wolf thinks Harman may well rectify his record at this course this year.
For the long shot, the Wolf is going with Aaron Wise at $67.00. There are a lot of things going against Aaron Wise like the fact he is obviously short on experience and that he veers being spectacular and terrible very frequently. Wise has already recorded his first PGA Tour win at the AT&T Byron Nelson this year, finished T2 at the Wells Fargo Championship but has since missed three consecutive cuts.
The Wolf thinks that this course is relatively easy and can be negotiated well by someone with the obvious talent of Aaron Wise. He is 33rd for Ball Striking, 34th for Strokes Gained: Putting and 42nd for Par 4 Scoring.
Tournament By Country
72 Hole Match Bets