2017 Greenbrier Classic could be in jeopardy after West Virginia flooding

Workers remove debris and structures at the Old White Course at the Greenbrier Resort.

2017 Greenbrier Classic could be in jeopardy after West Virginia flooding

PGA Tour

2017 Greenbrier Classic could be in jeopardy after West Virginia flooding

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Record rainfall and flooding in West Virginia caused the cancellation of this week’s Greenbrier Classic. Now, the question turns toward the tournament’s future. If the greens can’t be re-seeded by Sept. 15, the 2017 tournament is unlikely to be held either.

“It’s too early to tell, but the weather will have to cooperate,” said Cal Roth, senior vice president of agronomy for the PGA Tour.

The Old White TPC, host course for the tournament, incurred extensive damage from flooding that killed at least 23 statewide. Damage at the Greenbrier was deemed “beyond reasonable repair to conduct the tournament,” Tour officials said. The tournament, scheduled for July 7-10, was canceled on June 25.

“I’ve witnessed a lot of natural disasters to golf courses, but nothing to this extent, nothing even close,” said Roth, noting the destruction to the tournament course located in the Allegheny Mountains in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.

The Greenbrier and the Tour already have devised a plan to address cleanup, repairs and renovation work. The holes closest to Howard’s Creek – notably Nos. 1-3 and 14-18 – sustained the most damage. All of the greens will be re-seeded to ensure consistency. Bunker work and the sodding of tees can be completed later in the fall, but the re-turfing has a tighter September deadline as the grass will be dormant through at least March.

The Greenbrier Classic, which is in the midst of a six-year contract through 2021, is scheduled to be played July 6-9 in 2017.

In other news, the Greenbrier Resort reported it will reopen to guests on July 12, after being forced to close for more than two weeks because of the unprecedented floodwaters that damaged parts of the historic resort.

“We had some major damage in different parts of the hotel, and it’s taken a lot of work to get the Greenbrier back to the standard that our guests expect,” Jim Justice, the resort’s owner and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “But my dad once told me that if you can’t get it done in 24 hours a day, then you’re gonna have to work nights. We’ve worked a lot of nights, because we know just how important it is to have the Greenbrier up and running and guests coming here to visit.”

Since the flooding that swept through the region on June 23, Greenbrier has housed and fed more than 700 displaced flood victims.

The 710-room resort features five courses on its sprawling grounds. Roth said it is possible that if the Old White isn’t ready in time, a “Plan B” for hosting the Tour event could include using one of the other courses – perhaps the Greenbrier Course, site of the 1979 Ryder Cup and 1994 Solheim Cup, which is situated on higher ground – but no such discussions have taken place.

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