—Tournament director Habibi Mamone confirms that next year’s tournament will move away from the current July 4th holiday week. PGA Tour sources say next season’s schedule will be out shortly and speculation continues that the Greenbrier tournament could be moved to late September or early October. If that happens, the next tournament would actually be at the start of the 2019-2020 season.
—One of the draws of this year’s tournament is that up to four players who finish in the top 12 here can qualify for The Open two weeks from now in Scotland, if they have not already qualified. Representatives of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, which runs The Open, are expected to be on hand this week at the Greenbrier.
—Bubba Watson scored a two-under-par 68 through the first 18 holes, a solid score that keeps him in contention. However, Watson was extremely disappointed with his game. “I feel miserable,” he said after the round. “It was a terrible round of golf. My score shows a couple under par, but it was really bad.” He said he had no confidence in any part of his game.
—Speaking of Watson, he hosted a pool party Wednesday night for golfers, their spouses and their children. A Greenbrier official said over 180 people turned out… twice as many as expected. The accommodations and amenities at the luxury hotel are a big draw for this tournament and golfers often bring their families. The resort organizes multiple events for the wives and children.
—One of the best rounds of the day came from young Joaquin Niemann. The 19-year-old native of Chile birdied six of the first ten holes he played, avoided any bogies and finished with a 7-under-par 63. Niemann, who is the reigning Latin America amateur champion, is projected by many as a potential star on the tour. But it was Tour veteran Webb Simpson with the best day. He shot a nine-under-par 61 and holds a one stroke lead.
—It could be a challenge to get 156 golfers around the Old White course today. The official PGA Tour weather forecast calls for an 80 percent chance of rain. However, after that rain system moves through, the forecasters predict clear and much cooler weather for Saturday and Sunday.
—West Virginia amateur champion Sam O’Dell got a sponsor’s exemption to play in the tournament. He turned in a workmanlike two-over-par 72 with four bogies and two birdies. The cutline won’t be determined until after play today, but O’Dell is within striking distance based on his knowledge of the course and history. The cutline has been at even par three of the last five tournaments.
—PGA Tour winner Hunter Mahan was scheduled to play in this year’s Military Tribute. However, he withdrew because of a family tragedy. His sister-in-law, Katie Enloe passed away after a battle with leukemia. Mahan will be attending the funeral services for his brother’s wife today in Dallas. Some of the tour players are wearing orange ribbons in support of the family.
—Golf Digest has released its annual poll of the nicest guys on the PGA Tour. Jordan Spieth, who is not at this tournament, comes in at number one. The poll says the second nicest guy on the Tour is Tony Finau—who is here.