When the field was released Friday evening for the Greenbrier Classic, there were a few players absent from the list that were originally expected to be in. However, not absent from that list was Phil Mickelson – the sixth ranked golfer in the world.
“We did not have Phil (Mickelson) last year, so we’re excited to host him and his family,” said tournament director Tim McNeely. “And they too are going to enjoy the Greenbrier and the state of West Virginia and our hospitality.”
Sure, it would have been nice to have Tiger Woods as well, but the tournament did fine without the golfer in 2010. It should do the same in 2011.
“For a first year event last year – we had a fantastic field. But I’ve got to tell you, our field this year is even greater,” McNeely said. “We have a lot of winners from the tour this year…We have a number of guys who are just doing great things on tour. And let’s not forget Tom Watson who knows this course pretty well and is still playing some great golf – wouldn’t that be a fantastic story?”
Along with Watson, some of the other notables in the field include world No. 21 Retief Goosen, world No. 40 Gary Woodland, Sergio Garcia, John Daly, Davis Love III, Anthony Kim and Stuart Appleby who won last year’s classic with a 22 under par.
A big draw, meanwhile, for a lot of those players is all of the extra activities available for the players’ families.
“They play in a lot of great places and a lot of great cities and stay in a lot of fantastic hotels,” McNeely said. “But when you look at the Greenbrier and what it has to offer, the players and their wives truly get to take vacation during the week of the tournament and enjoy themselves and their families.
“We have a lot of events set up for the players and their wives during the week – a lot of good family events, bowling, movies, private dinners and just a lot of fantastic little things that make their week here in West Virginia special,” McNeely continued.
McNeely noted they have around 90 children in for the Classic accompanying the tour pros – a number that’s more than double from 2010.
Regardless, there’s no doubt McNeely and his staff will have their hands full over the week keeping everything in line and making the tournament run smoothly.
“The hardest part is trying to anticipate problems before they happen, whether it be from security or traffic or any other logistical detail that might come off wrong,” McNeely said. “We want this to be a Greenbrier five-star experience for everybody involved, including the spectators, the volunteers, the players and everybody that visits.”