Tiger Woods To Play Greenbrier Classic, Tourney Expects Spike In Ticket Sales
Greenbrier Resort Owner Jim Justice yesterday confirmed golfer Tiger Woods “will appear” at the PGA Tour Greenbrier Classic in West Virginia July 5-8, according to Zack Harold of the CHARLESTON DAILY MAIL. Justice said that the resort “likely would stop selling tickets if sales increase more than 10 percent over last year's turnout.” The event in '11 “drew about 217,000 spectators.” Greenbrier Classic Dir Tim McNeely said that the event’s “security procedures also would be changed to accommodate a star of Woods' stature.” Tournament organizers “will meet with PGA Tour officials in coming months to discuss changes.” Justice said, "When Tiger comes to an event, it changes the entire security and everything. It's a complete different level of a lot of different things.” He added, "It will probably be virtually invisible. Frankly, we have a really significant security effort already.” McNeely said, “We've been working with his agent for a while, trying to figure out what his schedule's going to be for this summer. Whether you like him or you don't like him, he's the most noticeable name in all athletics today. There's no question about that." McNeely: "To have him here for a week, and have people to be able to go out and see him play ... that's really good" (CHARLESTON DAILY MAIL, 5/15). This year will mark Woods' first appearance at the Greenbrier Classic and Justice said, "He doesn't play many new venues. We were persistent. I give a lot of credit to our tournament team, and I've talked back and forth to his agent many times." He added that Woods “is intrigued with the history of The Greenbrier, and is impressed that the tournament was given the PGA Tour's Best in Class award last year” (CHARLESTON GAZETTE, 5/15).
ADVANCED NOTICE CAN HELP TOURNAMENT: Golf Channel's Gary Williams notes Justice puts a "lot of energy and a lot of money" into The Greenbrier because it is in an "isolated, remote location," and Woods "giving them this advance notice will help people maybe try to find a hotel room." Williams: "It’s not that the people don’t want to go, the populous there is very, very small. Anywhere around The Greenbrier, it's just the mountains. ... All the players, the officials, they all stay right on the property and outside of The Greenbrier itself." Meanwhile, NBC's Jimmy Roberts said the "interesting thing to me is that both he and Phil (Mickelson) are playing and yet this is an event really without a title sponsor." Roberts: "The Greenbrier, I suppose, is backing this whole thing and trying to encourage people to come to the resort. But how long do you think an event without Tiger and without Phil goes without a real title sponsor?” ("Morning Drive," Golf Channel, 5/15).
DOES TIGER STILL MATTER? ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser noted Woods has finished no better than 40th in three straight events following The Players last weekend, and he "may not be relevant today." But he added, "You have to wait (until) all four majors are played out to make a judgment based on his future” (“PTI,” ESPN, 5/14).