Expect some low scores this week at LIV Golf Greenbrier. But don’t expect anybody to match The Old White course of 59 – even though it’s already been done twice at the Greenbrier Resort.
Of the nine professional events held here in the previous decade, 11-under 59s were shot by two different players. Not only were conditions perfect, but the par-4 16th was not nearly as difficult as it will play this week at 507 yards.
“They added a new tee on 16 and it’s a totally different hole,” said HyFlyers’ Cameron Tringale, the only player in this week’s 48-man field who played all nine previous Greenbrier events. “Used to be driver, wedge. Now it’s a good drive and maybe a 5-, 6- or 7-iron. That hole’s definitely much tougher.”
Iron Heads Captain Kevin Na, one of three former Greenbrier champions returning this week, was in the field when both 59s were shot (by Stuart Appleby in 2010 and Kevin Chappell in 2019).
“It’s got to be soft,” Na said. “The greens were soft that year, and right now I think the greens are slightly on the firmer side. Not super-firm, but it’s firm enough where a 59 is a bit of a stretch.
“But LIV guys, any guys could do it on a certain day … and if the greens are a little bit soft, I think guys will shoot some low numbers.”
The Old White course doesn’t favour one particular style, which should widen the list of potential winners this week.
“I can tell you that it doesn’t just favour the bombers, which I think is great,” Na said. “I think when you have a golf course that all different kinds of players can win, it tells you it’s a great golf course.”
With that in mind, here are the picks for our top five players and top four teams at this week’s LIV Golf Greenbrier.
FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH
1. PATRICK REED In his first 15 regular-season starts since joining LIV Golf, Reed has produced seven top-5 points finishes – including his runner-up last month in London. But he’s still looking for his first LIV win. That should change this week.
2. CAMERON SMITH Won in London but didn’t have the kind of performance he was hoping during his title defense at the Open. Oddly, it was the putting stroke that let him down at Hoylake. A rare blip on the greens that won’t last.
3. JOAQUIN NIEMANN Has three top-10s in his last five LIV starts, but he hasn’t been in top form this season. Perhaps returning to a course in which he won four years ago will get him to the next gear.
4. SEBASTIAN MUNOZ He’s finished top 5 in three of his first nine starts and has a top 10 in another start. But this is more about his track record at the Greenbrier – top 10s in both previous visits.
5. BROOKS KOEPKA He’s never won a non-major on American soil between August through December. Does that mean anything? Probably not. He’s a threat every time he tees it up. A late-season surge this year could net him the Individual Champion bonus.
- Contemplated putting Cameron Tringale in the top five based on his course familiarity as well as his recent form (top 10s in his last three starts).
- Henrik Stenson was the best LIV performer at Hoylake and also played well in London. It was just a year ago he won at Bedminster, the site of next week’s LIV event.
- Bryson DeChambeau has played better of late, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if he makes noise on Sunday.
- Just 11 of Talor Gooch’s league-leading 137 points have been accumulated on US soil.
FOUR TEAMS TO WATCH
1. TORQUE Despite three wins this season, Joaquin Niemann’s team still trail the 4 Aces by 39 points. Plenty of incentive remains to catch last year’s champions, and Niemann and Munoz have good vibes here.
2. RANGEGOATS Former Greenbrier resident Bubba Watson loves it here, although his track record isn’t that great. The course may fit Talor Gooch and Harold Varner III a little better. The Goats have been the league’s most consistent team the last six events.
3. 4 ACES Dustin Johnson’s team are coming off a big win in London and are one of only two teams in which all four players in the line-up have previously competed on The Old White. (The Crushers are the other team.)
4. IRON HEADS Tough to ignore a team in which two of its four members have posted wins here. Their only podium finish came in Mayakoba when Danny Lee won. It may take another individual win to get them there again.
- Majesticks have finished fifth in two of the last three events and finally seem ready to contend.
- Now that Ripper has a taste of the podium, it’ll be interesting to see if they can build on it.