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Fans share experiences during PGA Tour event

Jul. 07, 2013 @ 11:37 PM

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS -- Brian Lewis, Mark Rutherford and Jeff Davis didn't get to see the finish of play Sunday at The Greenbrier Classic.

Heavy rain early Sunday afternoon caused a three-plus hour delay. Competitors returned to the course at 5 p.m. to complete the $6.3 million PGA Tour event, but the Huntington residents didn't have the luxury of hanging around to the end.

They passed the idle time in the Marshall Alumni Tent and then hit Interstate 64 for the ride home. Even though there was an early departure, they enjoyed what they saw on the Old White TPC golf course at The Greenbrier Resort and the entertainment at the State Fairgrounds Amphitheater.

"You get to see the best of both worlds," Lewis said. "Too bad we have to head home. Business."

All three go back to work Monday.

The trio got their tournament tickets by playing in a Marshall University fundraiser last month on Old White TPC. For an extra fee, tickets were upgraded to include the Alumni Tent. Marshall, West Virginia, Virginia and Virginia Tech all had tents for their fans.

Rutherford went to the Aerosmith concert Saturday night at State Fairgrounds in Fairlea, W.Va.

"What an awesome show," Rutherford said. "I was getting into it. Everybody was. They rocked the house."

Country music star Kenny Chesney performed Thursday night.

"Golf and music," Davis said. "That's a great combination. It's affordable. The price and where it's located, you can't go wrong."

Jim Hamrick, 79, lives in Meadow Bridge, W.Va. His son Mike is the athletic director at Marshall. Jim Hamrick has worked as a Greenbrier Classic volunteer all four years. This week he was a course marshal on hole No. 2.

Hamrick finds time to be a spectator, too. The rain delay caused havoc for him as well. There were just two groups left to go through his station when play was suspended. He returned to his post at 5 p.m., the two groups went through and his day was done.

He said he wouldn't have been able to return Monday.

"That's the way it goes," said Hamrick, an avid golfer who is a regular in the West Virginia Senior Series. "We can't control the weather."

Hamrick served as a coach, teacher and administrator in high school before he retired. He also worked some for the WVSSAC.

This assignment is one he relishes.

"I do it for Jim Justice (Greenbrier owner and tournament chairman) and what he's done for the state," Hamrick said. "I enjoy the players and admire their game. It's fun to see Bubba (Watson) play. He speaks to everybody."

Watson and Phil Mickelson were the headliners for the Classic. Mickelson missed the cut for the third straight year. Other top names elected to bypass southern West Virginia this time. That was OK with Hamrick.

"I told people these guys aren't slouches," Hamrick said. "If they get a hot putter they can win. It's like that every week."

Louis Oosthuzien, who is from South Africa, has won the Masters and is one of the top-ranked players in the world. This was his first Greenbrier visit.

On Sunday, Oosthuzien pulled off one of the biggest shots of the week. On No. 2, a demanding 488-yard par-4, he boomed a 300-yard plus drive and holed a 6-iron from 184 yards out for an eagle.

"What a shot," Hamrick said. "I told you these guys have the game. That's so much fun to watch."



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