–A big crowd braved the on-again, off-again rain showers to walk the Old White course and take in the first round of the Greenbrier Classic. The biggest crowds followed the heavyweight threesome of Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson and Ted Potter, Junior. Those folks saw yet another bad round by Mickelson. He had a triple-bogey on 17 and bogeyed 18 to finish his round four over and is in danger of missing the cut for the third year in a row.
–The soggy course caused PGA Tour officials to impose a lift, clean and play rule for the day. That, along with the wet greens that allowed golfers to shoot for the pins, contributed to record low scores. Tommy Gainey and Johnson Wagner each shot eight-under 62, one shot lower that the first round record and share the lead.
–As for Wagner, he had more than the soft greens going for him on Thursday. Wagner went to Virginia Tech so he had a lot of Hokie fans from nearby cheering him around the course. Also, Wagner decided to shave off his 70′s style porn stash that he normally sports. He says he’ll grow it back at some point just to irritate his wife, but trust us Johnson, you look better without it.
–And speaking of Virginia Tech, head football coach Frank Beamer is at the Greenbrier. Beamer has become a regular at the classic. Tech, the University of Virginia, WVU and Marshall are all hosting alumni events on the course.
–Even though conditions were right Thursday for low scoring, John Daly went in the opposite direction. Daly, who helped Greenbrier Owner Jim Justice make modifications to the Old White course after the record low scores four years ago, shot a disappointing five over par 75. That’s the same first-round score as West Virginia amateur Pat Carter.
–The State of West Virginia is using the Greenbrier Classic to market itself. State Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette is at the Greenbrier all week, hosting business executives from inside and outside West Virginia. Burdette says he does not expect to close any economic development deals this week, but he is establishing relationships he expects to pay off in the future.
–Chris Harrison, the host of the reality TV show “The Bachelorette,” is taking in the Greenbrier Classic. Harrison has, like many folks who visit the Greenbrier for the first time, become smitten with the luxurious resort. Harrison is also an avid golfer who frequently plays in pro-am events. He was pair with co-leader Tommy Gainer earlier this week.
–The Greenbrier has a rich history and one of the more intriguing stories occurred during World War II. The government bought the resort to use as hospital for wounded soldiers, but it also established a prison camp on the grounds for hundreds of German prisoners of war. Greenbrier historian Dr. Robert Conte says the prisoners were able to pass the last two years of the war in relative comfort, living in temporary housing and working menial jobs at the resort. Conte says over the years he’s met with about a half-dozen former prisoners who have come back to see where they were held captive.