With Tiger Woods out until The Open in two weeks, another all-time great will take his place this week at the A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier. Phil Mickelson will tee it up this week in his first post-U.S. Open tournament, and he’s not the only multiple major-winning lefty who will be in attendance, either. Bubba Watson is also in the field following his victory at the Travelers Championship a few weeks ago. During a down July 4th sports week, those two should provide a bit of fireworks for fans in West Virginia.
Let’s take a look at this week’s contest.
What: A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier | When: July 5-8
Where: Old White TPC — White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
Ranking the field (odds)
Field strength — A: Goodness!
Three stories to watch
1. Mickelson speaks (probably)! We’ll get to see Lefty for the first time in public since his wild U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills a few weeks ago. He’s a big advocate for this event, and even though he isn’t holding a pre-tournament press conference (which would have been aired alongside Independence Day coverage for all fervor it could have stirred up), he won’t be able to avoid questions forever. I’m maybe more excited about this than the actual tournament!
2. New Norman: Oregon Ducks star Norman Xiong will play for the first time as a pro this week. I watched him at the NCAA Championship in May in Stillwater, and his swing is almost unfathomable. I can’t wait to see how it holds up against the best in the world.
Day 1 of prep in the books @GBRMilitary. The golf course @The_Greenbrier looks amazing! Can’t wait to for my first pro start in a few days on @PGATOUR! #produck #CallawayGolf #travismathew pic.twitter.com/UY5TFmQ6K7
— Norman Xiong 🐼 (@NormanXiong) July 2, 2018
3. Open qualifying: Last week Bronson Burgoon, Abraham Ancer, Sung Kang and Ryan Armour locked up spots in The Open Championship with their finishes at the Quicken Loans National. Events that are part of the Open Qualifying Series (which includes the Greenbrier) give out a handful of invites to the top players in a given week who aren’t already qualified so it will be intriguing to see who has a big Sunday and sneaks in this week.
- 2017: Xander Schauffele
- 2016: No tournament
- 2015: Danny Lee
- 2014: Angel Cabrera
- 2013: Jonas Blixt
A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier picks
Winner: He might be a big game hunter only, but repeating at the site of your first victory with a boost to your Ryder Cup odds also might count as big game. I’m in this week.
Top 10: It makes sense that he’s found success here given how relatively demanding this course is off the tee. I also like that he’s coming off that final pairing at Shinnecock. Another guy with potential Ryder Cup implications.
Sleeper: Not the real Duck I wanted to pick, but I can’t find legit odds on Xiong. Bet on talent in lesser field events like this one, and Wise has as much of it as anyone.