Greenbrier Classic 2014: Winners and Losers from the Old White TPC
The Greenbrier Classic at Old White TPC is in the books, and we're now just two weeks away from the third major of the season.
In White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, Angel Cabrera's holed 178-yard approach shot at the 13th hole Sunday gave El Pato a three-stroke lead that, despite a pair of bogeys to follow, was enough to propel the Argentinian to a two-stroke victory over the surging George McNeill.
Who else joined Cabrera and his brilliantly struck approach shot in the winner's column this week?
Keep reading to see.
Winner: Saturday Movers
Yes, Angel Cabrera did great things Sunday at the Greenbrier Classic. However, it was his Saturday 64 that put him in position to take down Billy Hurley III.
Cabrera carded seven birdies against just one bogey to finish with the round of the day. He hit 85 percent of fairways for the round and 77.78 percent of greens and gained a ridiculous 5.5 strokes on the field with his putting.
While the inspired stretch from the 11th through the 13th Sunday opened the door of victory for Cabrera, his Saturday 64 nudged it ajar.
Losers: Notable Cut-Missers
As with any tournament, a number of notable golfers missed the cut at the Greenbrier Classic this year—most notably, Vijay Singh, who as of yet has not qualified for the Open Championship. And as the embroiled Fijian is playing the U.S. Senior Open next week, he has no chance of punching his ticket with a top-10 finish at the John Deere Classic.
Also missing the 140-stroke cut:
- Nick Watney: 141
- Rory Sabbatini: 143
- Jimmy Walker: 145
- K.J. Choi: 150
Winner: George McNeill
In the midst of a serious illness in the family, as per Golf Channel's Jason Sobel (via RotoWorld), McNeill went out and nearly shot 59 Sunday. In the process, he earned himself a spot at the Open Championship in two weeks thanks to his second-place finish. He also made a 30-spot jump in the FedEx Cup standings (to 29th).
McNeill aced the par-three eighth hole from 219 yards. He added seven birdies to the aforementioned "1" on his scorecard en route to a Sunday 61 that saw him hit nearly 89 percent of greens in regulation.
The showing was spectacular under any circumstances. But given what McNeill and his family are dealing with, the Naples, Florida, native's Sunday score is even more impressive.
Loser: The Ice Bucket Challenge
What is the deal with this stupid thing? Sure, it's great to see your favorite golf professionals letting loose, but there's no need to see the likes of Bud Cauley, Rickie Fowler or Luke Donald shivering in swim trunks.
While it didn't technically take place at the Greenbrier Classic, you surely saw the Ice Bucket Challenge on your various social media feeds during the course of the tournament.
For those who aren't familiar, the premise of the "#IceBucketChallenge" is that Person A accepts the challenge as it's been presented to him or her. The challenge consists of pouring a bucket of ice water over his or her head. Then, Person A challenges Persons B, C, etc. to complete the challenge or (and here's the kicker) donate...wait for it...$100 to the charity of Person A's choice. And while you're at it, do something interesting, like eating fire or juggling knives.
While this whole thing is a "viral sensation" not worth dignifying here, one can only think that the first pro to accept the ridiculous challenge and donate $100 (go crazy, make it $1,000) to charity will be the first to do anything worthwhile.
Suggestion: All the pros who have been challenged ought donate to the SEAL Legacy Foundation regardless of whether they dumped ice water on their heads.
Winner: The SEAL Legacy Foundation and the US Navy
Kudos to Billy Hurley III. The Naval Academy graduate doesn't devote the prime real estate on the front of his visor to a golf equipment or financial services company. Instead, Hurley's hat bears the logo of a charity: the SEAL Legacy Foundation.
Commentators didn't hesitate to mention the foundation, and it got a lot of well-deserved publicity this week.
Wondering what the foundation is all about? Here's some info from its website:
The SEAL Legacy Foundation is dedicated to supporting the United States Navy SEAL community. As operational deployments across the world continue to increase, the SEALs and their families need our support now more than ever. These soldiers, their spouses and their children all make daily sacrifices to defend our nation. The SEAL Legacy Foundation works to preserve the SEAL Legacy of NO ONE LEFT BEHIND. The Foundation focuses support on Education, Funeral, Health & Wellness, Living and Quality of Life expenses for the SEALs and their families.
Loser: Jonas Blixt
2013 winner Jonas Blixt didn't fare nearly as well this year. It didn't have to be that way, however. Blixt opened with an impressive 64 that included eight birdies. Unfortunately, he followed up the 64 with 73 in the second round thanks to five bogeys.
Ultimately, the Swede finished tied for 35th in his bid to defend his title.
He'll take consolation from the fact that he'd already qualified for the Open Championship. That, and Peter Kostis devoted some airtime to comparing Blixt's swing to the great Sam Snead's (using the Konica Minolta BizHub SwingVision, of course). That's exciting, right?
Winner: The Greenbrier
Owner Jim Justice has done great things to return the Greenbrier to prominence after purchasing the bankrupt resort in 2009. Defying any wisdom that might suggest the opulent Federalist-style complex was merely a relic of a bygone era, the unique venue seems to be thriving.
The PGA Tour has a distinguished history at Greenbrier. Indeed, Snead was once emeritus pro at the course. With the return of a tour event to the Greenbrier in 2010 and with the decision to move the event from the last week in July to this one, the Greenbrier Classic is in a position to thrive.
The masterpiece of classic course design that is the Old White Course was on prominent display this week. Cabrera and Co. took advantage of generous pin positions with the Appalachian Mountains looking on in what is beginning to seem like a well-positioned week of relaxation at the resort with a little competitive golf before the pros head overseas for the Open Championship.