PGA TOUR: The Rebirth of Stuart Appleby- A Greenbrier Classic 59!
Featured Columnist Andy Reistetter is on site this week at America's Resort- The Greenbrier for the PGA TOUR's inaugural Greenbrier Classic. Here are his comments after witnessing Stuart Appleby's historic 59 on his way to capturing the title.
Some question how a tournament can be a "classic" in its very first year.
Others wondered what had happened to Stuart Appleby, an eight-time winner on the PGA TOUR, but not a winner since early 2006 in any of his last 110 tournaments.
Both questions were answered on the first day of August, 2010 when Stuart Appleby came alive again shooting an unbelievable 59 to win The Greenbrier Classic.
Six 4's, eleven 3's, but most importantly a deuce 2 on the final hole, now the undisputed signature hole on The Old White Course at The Greenbrier.
You do the math- 24 plus 33 plus 2 is 59!
Stuart Appleby the winner of the inaugural Greenbrier Classic!
"Classic" is defined as first or highest quality, of enduring interest and style, and historical renown.
By all accounts this inaugural Greenbrier tournament was a classic!
Who would have thought such a thing could happen in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia?
Mr. Jim Justice, the new owner of The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, a.k.a "Coach" certainly did.
That's why he bought The Greenbrier a little over a year ago for a reported $20 million.
Some have said he plowed in another $25 million to stage this world class event.
This local living legend still coaches the girls' high school basketball team; hence his affectionate nickname used by most everyone in these parts of the world.
Joe Manchin, the governor came here on Thursday to award Justice The Distinguished West Virginian Award, the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a native West Virginian.
"Jim doesn't want to be known as the owner of the Greenbrier. He wants the Greenbrier to do what it needs to do to help our state and to help the people. He's more proud of the people having jobs and security than saying, Oh, Jim Justice. He owns the Greenbrier. (The title) doesn't mean anything to him."
Talk about an inspiration!
How well run and how well staged was this tournament?
Jim Nantz, the CBS Sports golf host broadcaster came down and was the master of the awards ceremony on the 18th green after the CBS broadcast was over.
His assessment of the inaugural Greenbrier Classic was a "gigantic raging success."
As for Appleby and his heroic 59, Nantz's words were the "changing, rebirth moment of a career."
It was a magical finish to witness in person.
After three straight pars, Appleby canned a 15-footer on No. 16 to tie the second and third round leader Jeff Overton at 20-under.
Overton was on the tee at No. 15 two holes and three groups behind in the final pairing.
Appleby bunkered his drive on the reachable par-5 17th hole and laid up as Overton settled for par on the par-3 15th hole.
Appleby drained a 10-foot 10-inch putt for birdie after approaching from 103 yards with a wedge.
After an eight-iron to nine-feet nine-inches on the finishing par-three hole all Appleby had to do was make the putt for a 59.
He did to finish with three straight birdies and a score of 22-under par..
Overton birdied No. 16 to get to 21-under but 3-putted No. 17 settling for a par when he needed a birdie.
A gallant effort to make a long putt on the 18th green barely missed and the tournament went to the man who shot 59 on Sunday afternoon overcoming a seven stroke deficit.
As Nantz, Justice and Appleby toasted just about everything with champagne on the 18th green the electric feeling of one of the most exciting finishes ever on the PGA TOUR never quite dissipated even hours later.
Maybe the young Overton who lost a heart breaker to a man who won it by shooting a lights out 59 said it best afterwards- "I never knew anything like this ever existed in West Virginia. I knew there were some hidden gems in the world and this is definitely one of them."
The Greenbrier Classic is indeed a classic!
Congratulations to Stuart Appleby, the new Mr. 59 for a job well done.
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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