The Greenbrier Classic: Tiger Woods Now Targets Sam Snead's Mark
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Eighty-mile per hour winds whipped through the Allegheny Mountains last Friday night.
The mid-summer storm made the Old White course at the Greenbrier Resort look like a Boy Scout campground gone bad. Tree limbs became kindling scattered across the venerable course. Power lines dangled from the weight of heavy trees. Sam Snead Boulevard, the main street of the town, was unplugged.
And, that was before Tiger got to town.
Tiger Woods won his 74th career PGA TOUR victory last week, eclipsing Jack Nicklaus (with 73 wins), leaving only Sam Snead (who has 82 wins) with more career wins.
In just its third year, the Greenbrier Classic field has grown muscles that easily make it the strongest field in the tournament's three-year run.
Why has Tiger shown up in a place that features no real resemblance to a major?
"The only thing that I know about West Virginia has come from Sam Snead or my old college roommate." He added, "What sold me is watching the tournament last year on TV. I wanted to play last year, but was hurt. And, this year with the way it fit the schedule, it has worked out perfectly."
But, don't let his lack of familiarity with the tournament get confused with his lack of knowledge about Sam Snead.
He first met Snead when he was five years old, growing up outside of Los Angeles. Snead was in town playing in a charity event at Calabasas Country Club. Tiger was paired with Snead for the last two holes.
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"I can remember hitting it in the water on the par three 17th," Woods remembers. He says, "He told me to just pull it out of the water, but that is not how my dad taught me to play." Woods played the ball from the hazard and made bogey. He still remembers the scorecard from that day. "I went bogey, bogey and he went par, par. So he got me by two."
As Woods tees off this week, the only scorecard he is now concerned with is Snead's 82 wins.
The course also recovered from the storm, as power to most of the area's homes and businesses have been restored. Many of the players have commented that they did not recognize storm damage to the course.
The Greenbrier Classic begins Thursday with some notable names in the field: U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson, Steve Stricker and Bill Haas.
Robert Hartman is a Bleacher Report Contributor. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand.
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