After severe flooding canceled the 2016 edition of The Greenbrier Classic, the PGA Tour event at The Old White TPC in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va., returns this week.
The Old White TPC also returns with a new look. The par-70 resort course underwent a renovation that included re-surfaced fairways and greens (bentgrass), re-done greens, re-shaped bunkering and reduction of the course yardage to 7,286.
With all the changes to the course, it’s hard to take too much stock in past history here. Players who can drive it far, hit greens and work well on and around the greens should contend. Length could be especially useful considering the forecast calls for some rain.
Here are my top 20 fantasy-golf options for this week’s Greenbrier Classic:
1. Bill Haas: Many thought last week would be his week. He still tied for 13th, his fourth straight top 25. Ranks ninth on Tour in greens in regulation percentage and very good around the greens.
2. Patrick Reed: Finally buying into Reed, who has six top 25s in his last seven starts, including T-17 at Quicken Loans. Ranks poorly in GIR but his putter has earned him a lot of his dough (27th in strokes gained-putting).
3. Kevin Kisner: Hasn’t teed it up since T-58 at U.S. Open. T-6 and a win in two starts before that. Great putter who is also a top-50 player in GIR percentage on Tour.
4. Charles Howell III: Returned after 11 weeks off to lose Quicken Loans in a playoff. Not bad. Great at finding greens, decently long off the tee and solid short game. He’s back.
5. Tony Finau: Have a feeling that he’s going to challenge for a victory very soon. T-29 finish at Quicken Loans was his fourth finish of T-29 or better in last five starts. Long off the tee (11th in driving distance) and hits lots of greens (sixth in GIR).
6. David Lingmerth: Doesn’t hit a ton of greens, but putter has been so good, as he ranks 17th in SGP. Six finishes of T-26 or better in last seven starts, including T-5 at Quicken Loans, where he led after 54 holes.
7. Phil Mickelson: Will be well rested (and maybe a little rusty) as he’s not played since solo ninth in Memphis. Course is a great fit for his stellar short game.
8. Russell Henley: T-27 at U.S. Open and T-46 at Quicken Loans since two straight MCs. Top-25 player in GIR and SGP.
9. Keegan Bradley: Up to 20th on Tour in GIR percentage. Still not a great putter, but back in world top 100 after T-8 at Travelers and T-5 at Quicken Loans.
10. Stewart Cink: Great combo of GIR (13th) and SGP (20th). Has made 12 of last 14 cuts with 10 finishes of T-28 or better during that span. Hasn’t played since T-46 at U.S. Open. Last time he took two weeks off he tied for 10th at Colonial.
11. Webb Simpson: T-8 finish at Quicken Loans was fourth top-16 finish in last seven Tour starts. Not the best of putters, but he does rank 13th in strokes gained-around the green.
12. Danny Lee: Six straight made cuts, including T-22 at Quicken Loans and T-3 at Travelers. Plus, he’s the 2015 winner of this event. Ranks 24th in SGP.
13. Gary Woodland: Length and GIR are strengths while his game around the greens is sneaky good. Finishes haven’t been great recently – T-50, T-49, T-40, T-75 – and he did WD from Quicken Loans.
14. Xander Schauffele: Good ballstriker who has been putting a lot better lately. Five straight cuts made, including his T-5 at U.S. Open and T-35 last week at Quicken Loans.
15. Sung Kang: Not the best around the greens but very solid in just about every other facet of the game. Has made 11 straight cuts and tied for fifth last week at Quicken Loans.
16. Kevin Streelman: Playing great golf right now – T-17, T-8, T-13, T-18 in last four starts. Doesn’t wow you with his stats, but you can’t argue with results.
17. Harris English: Short game has been solid, though he doesn’t rank too highly in GIR (163rd). Made four of last five cuts, including T-22 at Quicken Loans.
18. J.B. Holmes: Followed strong U.S. Open showing (12th) with T-68 at Quicken Loans. Not hitting greens or putting great this season, but he has a lot of length and is creative around the greens.
19. Graham DeLaet: Had a bad putting week at Quicken Loans, where he missed the cut. But he’s still a top-30 player in GIR, SGP and driving distance. T-10 at Memorial and T-26 at Travelers before the MC. One of worst on Tour around the greens (199th out of 201 in SGAG).
20. Bubba Watson: Has probably more experience on the new-look Old White TPC than anyone in the field. And even though he missed the cut at his beloved Travelers, his game fits this event a little better.