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Greenbrier Classic


The Greenbrier Classic golf tournament, part of the PGA Tour, took place at the White Sulphur Springs resort every summer beginning 2010. The Greenbrier’s owner, Jim Justice, led the effort to attract the prestigious sporting event, which replaced another PGA tournament, the Buick Open.

The Classic was played on the Greenbrier’s Old White golf course over four days. The tournament began with 156 golfers who played on Thursday and Friday. Those golfers who made “the cut” played again on Saturday and Sunday. In 2013, the winners shared in a total purse of $6.3 million. The winner also took home a trophy shaped liked the resort’s springhouse.

Televised nationally, the Greenbrier Classic attracted some well-known professionals, including Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Greenbrier Classic winners have included Stuart Appleby (2010), Scott Stallings (2011), Ted Potter Jr. (2012), and Jonas Blixt (2013). The tournament was part of the FedEx Series, a competition in which PGA players earn points and qualify for playoffs leading to the FedExCup.

Unlike some other PGA Tour events, the Greenbrier Classic allowed golfers to stay on the property where they were competing. Many of the golfers arrived with their families, and special activities were planned for the children who attend. The Classic also featured music concerts held in nearby Fairlea on the grounds of the West Virginia State Fair. The golf tournament and the concerts attracted thousands of spectators. In addition, about 2,000 volunteers helped the resort stage the Classic each summer.

The Greenbrier has hosted other professional golf tournaments before, though they were not official PGA events. In the 1940s and 1950s, the Sam Snead Festival featured some of golf’s greatest players, including Arnold Palmer and Ben Hogan. In 1979, the Greenbrier hosted the Ryder Cup, which pits teams of professional golfers from America and Europe. In 1994, the resort hosted the Solheim Cup, a tournament for female professionals.

On June 23, 2016, Greenbrier County received nine inches of rain in one day, leading to widespread flooding of both communities and the Old White course. Without time to repair the course before the event, and with the general devastation in the region, the 2016 Greenbrier Classic was cancelled. It returned in 2017, and it was renamed A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier in 2018. In 2019 it moved to September, which led to sparse attendance. In 2020 the resort and PGA mutually agreed to cancel the remainder of the contract through 2026.

Written by Becky Calwell