The PGA Tour stops this weekend in White Sulphur Springs, WV for the Greenbrier Classic. Old White TPC has hosted the tournament since 2010, and it gives up some low scores. As you’re choosing guys for your lineup, you should be thinking to yourself, “I can imagine this guy shooting at least -10.” If you can’t, you’re choosing the wrong guy.
Like any shootout, there is no huge secret to success, and no one way to win. You need to make birdies. You do that by driving well, nailing your approach shots, and sinking putts – no tricks. A course like this one just gives you the canvas to do just that: wide fairways, level lies, shallow bunkers, and straightforward greens.
The course isn’t long, so you don’t need to be huge off the tee, but it doesn’t hurt. Bubba has proved that in his two appearances, where he has eight straight rounds under par. A pitching wedge is usually easier to control than a 6-iron. But no matter where a player’s drive leaves him, there are two things he needs to be able to do: attack pins, and hit your putts.
The ability to pull those two things off, to me, come down to one thing: confidence. And confidence can come from two places: comfort level with the course, and recent success. So those are the two things you want to look for as you build your lineup, but you only want to look at the positive side – don’t look for people playing poorly lately, or people who have missed cuts here before.
Case in point: Kevin Kisner. He’s played here three times before, and he has missed three cuts. At a lot of courses, that might be enough for me to write him off immediately. But he’s also made seven straight cuts this season, a stretch that has included four top-ten finishes and a T12 at the US Open (and none of the seven outside the top 38). At a course that can yield consistently low scores, that kind of recent hot streak will give a guy plenty of confidence to overcome those past difficulties.
Conversely, you have Webb Simpson: in his last seven, he’s got one missed cut and four other finishes outside the top-40. But in his last four trips to this course, he’s had three top-ten finishes, including a solo-3rd last year. And that, too, breeds confidence. To me, that kind of track record on a course like this makes me look at the T2 he has last month at the Wells Fargo and think, he’s still got it in him. Well, if it is, it’s as likely to come out this weekend as any other.