PGA TOUR: There's Justice for Golf Fans at The Greenbrier Classic
Featured Columnist Andy Reistetter is on-site this week at America's Resort: The Greenbrier for the PGA TOUR's inaugural Greenbrier Classic.
There's really Justice for Golf Fans at The Greenbrier Classic.
His name is Jim Justice the new owner of The Greenbrier America's Resort.
Okay the Wyndham Championship is being progressive later this season in allowing fans to bring their cell phones inside the gates for use in designated areas during tournament competition…
But, Jim Justice is likely to give away CASH to the fans here at the Greenbrier.
When asked at yesterday's media conference what he hopes the spectators take away with them, the hometown hero replied, " I hope they take away a lot of money."
Then he announced for the first time what could likely be the fan-friendly PGA TOUR story of the year.
"I haven't told you (the media) this. We've got it set up now that if the pro makes a hole-in-one, we're giving away $1 million."
"We're giving $1 million: $250,000 to the pro and $750,000 goes to the charity."
Holy gunsmoke this is a shot across the bow to other tournaments!
But what about the spectators?
"If a hole-in-one is made, everybody that's sitting in the stands around (the) 18 (green) gets $100. Every single person."
Talk about taking something a little odd or unique for your tournament, a finishing par-3 hole and turning it around to becoming a huge promotional tool.
There are lots of seats around the 18th green by the way.
Two things are for sure.
One —the grand stands will be full.
Two —the media will be the first ones to get a seat when the sun comes up on Thursday morning!
But hold on, wait a minute, there is more from Mr. Justice of the Alleghany Mountains of West Virginia.
"If the second hole-in-one is made, same kind of deal. $250,000 to the pro, $750,000 to the charities, but $500 goes to everybody in the stands."
Tomorrow's article by this golf writer will be about every shot hit into the 18th green!
Seriously take a seat at the 18th on the Greenbrier because there is more.
"If a third hole-in-one is made, $250,000 to the pro; $750,000 to charities; and $1,000 to everybody in the stands.
Everybody that's sitting in those seats will get a card. If they get up and leave, or go to the bathroom, they lose their card.
Well maybe there are some potential downsides to this gift-horse promotion.
Be like Ivor Robson the starter on the first tee at the British Open.
Long days with no bathroom breaks.
"That's all there is to it," says the man who only recently on the 4th of July spent $2 million on the party alone to open up his Casino Club at The Greenbrier.
Let's do the math on this one.
A family of four sitting in the stands and happens to see one ace. Benefit $400.
Family sees two aces. Benefit $2,000.
Family of four sees three aces in a day's entertainment. Benefit $4,000.
Talk about being "priceless" family entertainment incognito?
How about starting the college fund?
Let's look at the other side of the equation- how deep are Justice's pockets to make an offer like this?
"You give everybody in the stands (1,600) bucks (a day), four times (for the four days of competition), that's $6.8 million to go in the stands."
Do the reverse math folks, that's a little over 1,000 seats for the seating of entrepreneurial golf fans young and old alike.
Get 'em while they are open.
Toss in the million dollars per hole-in-one and that is another $12 million enchiladas.
"You know, you would have to have an armed guard out there," realized Justice as he ruminated the possibilities of giving away almost $20 million in "fore" days.
"I hope that will generate some real live excitement. There will be a lot of cheering going on for the pros and everything, and I hope they make a beau coup of hole-in-ones, and I hope we have a lot of fun with it."
And I thought free beers for birdies on the 18th hole on the Nationwide Tour was a big and popular deal?
"What I really hope they take away from the whole thing is just the little touch of happiness, and a little touch of joy. Not necessarily that I got Davis Love's autograph or that I saw Jim Furyk make a long putt.I want them to get a little bit of the magic of the Greenbrier and West Virginia."
DL3 —make an ace on 18.
Fluff —make sure you club Furyk right.
How realistic is making a hole in one on the 18th at the Old White Course at The Greenbrier?
The home hole is 162 yards short and these are the best players in the world, each with four swings at making a lot of folks happy.
Heck I am so excited that I would like to get up there, and give it a swing for the hometown folks.
The green has an oddity about it in that it has a two foot ridge in the shape of a horseshoe smack dab in the middle of it.
There will likely be three difficult hole placements in the back, and only one in the front where the horseshoe ridge may act as a backboard.
Most aces in one PGA TOUR tournament to date?
Likely eight at last year's RBC Canadian Open where in Round 2 Briny Baird, Arjun Atwal, Casey Whittenberg and Leif Olson all aced the same hole, the 15th.
Baird, and Atwal are here this week as well as this year's Canadian Open champion Carl Pettersson.
Just a little bit of magic for Justice's Juiced up Jurists.
Justice grew up nearby with the PGA TOUR's iconic Rules Official "Slugger" White.
White helped make a PGA TOUR event at Justice's Greenbrier resort a reality in less than one year.
White also joked that he would "get a big funnel out there" with "an eight-inch cup."
Now let's not put the wealthy guy out of business the first year.
In the early 1950s George S. May was the preeminent promoter in the golf business if that is what one would call it back then.
It was his idea, and his broadcast that put the game of golf on television for the first time in 1953 in Chicago.
That was before Palmer even cashed his first professional paycheck.
Incidentally he did so right here at The Greenbrier in the 1955 Sam Snead Festival.
Talk about being a pioneer!
Jim Justice could be the modern day George S. May.
Let's see if there is any Justice for the golf fans at The Greenbrier Classic this week.
On this the 30th anniversary of Caddyshack…
Good living and good golfing my friends!
Andy Reistetter is a freelance golf writer. He follows the PGA TOUR volunteering and working part time for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, and The Golf Channel.
He resides in Jacksonville Beach, Florida near the PGA TOUR headquarters and home of The PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach.
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