And then there were 149


AP Photo
Carl Pettersson has five victories on the PGA tour.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Two more top-50 players in the world rankings were added in the latest - and largest - release of commitments to next week's Greenbrier Classic. A total of 149 names were listed as of Tuesday afternoon. Throw in the four survivors of the open qualifier Monday, and that is very close to the ultimate field of 156 that will start in the first round on the Fourth of July. Scott Piercy and Carl Pettersson, two players who broke into the top 30 of the final FedExCup standings last fall, were among the many new players listed. They could be two of 29 players to participate in all four Classics on the Old White TPC. Both have won events and shot up the charts since the inaugural Classic in 2010. Piercy owns two Tour victories, the last being the 2012 Canadian Open, and has risen to 40th in the world. He finished 27th in the FedExCup playoffs and is in the top 50 in the current standings. Petterson, the 35-year-old jokingly called the "Redneck Swede," is 42nd in the world and owns five Tour victories, including the 2012 Heritage in South Carolina. He finished 24th in the FedExCup last year, raking in more than $3.5 million. Another top commitment is Russell Henley, a rookie who won his first professional start, closing with five straight birdies to win the Sony Open in Hawaii. Ranked 16th in the points standings, his purpose here is twofold - qualify for the British Open and move up one spot to the world top 50. The field listed Tuesday remains "for information purposes only." The official field will be announced at 5 p.m. Friday. But if this field stands, the Classic will have nine of the world's top 50, 25 of the top 100 and 44 of the top 150. Twenty-five of the top 52 of the FedExCup standings are expected. "It's great. The field is great," said tournament director Monte Ortel. "I've been saying all along, top to bottom, this is the best field we've ever had." Other notable new commitments, in world ranking order:
  • Kyle Stanley (65) - The 25-year-old won the 2012 Phoenix Open and owns two third-place finishes this year, including the rugged Memorial near Columbus, Ohio. He has just missed the Tour Championship (FedExCup top 30) the last two years. This will be his second trip to White Sulphur Springs.
  • Ken Duke (70) - The 44-year-old journeyman became the feel-good story of the Tour this year, winning the recent Travelers Championship in Connecticut in a playoff against Chris Stroud. He turned pro in 1994, but this is just his sixth year on the big tour. Duke finished seventh in last year's Classic.
  • He had a childhood battle with scoliosis, and once had a surgery to attach a 16-inch rod to his spine. He finally won in his 187th tour start. "I can't be more happy with Ken Duke, if you know about his story and what he's had to go through, physically," Ortel said. "It was great TV."
  • Luke Guthrie (73) - Another rising Tour rookie, he is in just his second year as a pro. He owns eight top-25 finishes, three top-10s and a third-place finish.
  • Sang-Moon Bae (86) - The 27-year-old Korean is in his second year on the Tour, but came to the U.S. with 11 international wins. He won the Byron Nelson Championship this year and will play in his second Classic.
  • Kevin Chappell (99) - This third-year pro barely retained his Tour privileges, finishing 125th on the money list (this year, points are the criteria). He owns five top-10s this year, including a second-place finish at the Memorial.
  • Josh Teater (109) - This 34-year-old Morehead State grad will be a fourth-time Classic participant and is having his best season. He has made 14 of 17 cuts and owns three top-10s, including a second on the West Coast swing.
  • Chris Stroud (111) - The seventh-year Tour member chipped in for birdie on the 18th hole to force a playoff at the Travelers Championship but lost to Duke on the second hole of the playoff.
  • Bob Estes (149) - The 47-year-old was part of the three-way playoff for the 2011 Classic but hasn't had another second-place since. He had to re-qualify for the Tour after that season but he has made 26 of 35 cuts since. He will be a four-timer at the Classic.
  • Charlie Wi (152) - The 41-year-old Korean made a late run to finish third in the 2012 Classic.
  • Jonathan Byrd (191) - He'll be a four-time Classic participant and needs a big finish. His multiple-winner exemption runs out after this season and he is 189th in the point standings.
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  • Resting a strained elbow, Tiger Woods isn't playing the next three weeks before the British Open, including the Greenbrier Classic. He is not even playing at the AT&T National this weekend, a generally high-powered tournament he hosts. One national golf writer, Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press, told Golf Channel on Tuesday he thinks Woods might have taken a second shot at Old White.
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  • Expect Bubba Watson to be on his best behavior at the Greenbrier, particularly to his caddie. As Watson muffed his way to a triple-bogey 6 late in the final round of the Travelers Championship, CBS microphones caught his scolding of Ted Scott, who suggested a 9-iron on the tee shot that went short and in the water. After Watson's third shot ran through the green, he turned to Scott and said, "So you're telling me that's the right yardage?" Scott publicly took responsibility and Watson eventually called it a team error. The caddie received more sympathy than the otherwise popular Watson, by far. Said Tod Leonard of the San Diego Union-Times: "Let's be honest: Bubba Watson looked like a jerk on Sunday. There's no other way to say it." Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, dougsmock@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock. The following 149 players were listed on the Greenbrier Classic's website as the field of competitors as of Tuesday: Robert Allenby   Stephen Ames Stuart Appleby Sang-Moon Bae Ricky Barnes Charlie Beljan Jonas Blixt Jason Bohn Justin Bolli Steven Bowditch Keegan Bradley Michael Bradley Scott Brown Jonathan Byrd Chad Campbell Pat Carter Roberto Castro Greg Chalmers Kevin Chappell Gary Christian Will Claxton Erik Compton Donald Constable Ben Crane Ben Curtis John Daly Brian Davis Brendon de Jonge Graham DeLaet James Driscoll Ken Duke Bob Estes Matt Every Martin Flores Brad Fritsch Tommy Gainey Scott Gardiner Bobby Gates Brian Gay Tom Gillis Lucas Glover Fabian Gomez Andres Gonzales Jeff Gove Luke Guthrie James Hahn Paul Haley II Peter Hanson Brian Harman David Hearn Russell Henley J.J. Henry Jim Herman Justin Hicks Morgan Hoffmann Billy Horschel Charles Howell III Freddie Jacobson Matt Jones Robert Karlsson Jerry Kelly Michael Kim Chris Kirk Colt Knost Russell Knox Ben Kohles Jason Kokrak Doug LaBelle II Scott Langley Steve LeBrun D.H. Lee Richard H. Lee Justin Leonard Michael Letzig David Lingmerth Luke List Bill Lunde Jeff Maggert Steve Marino David Mathis Troy Matteson Billy Mayfair William McGirt George McNeill Eric Meierdierks Phil Mickelson Bryce Molder Seung-Yul Noh Henrik Norlander Sean O'Hair Jeff Overton Greg Owen Ryan Palmer Rod Pampling Jin Park Cameron Percy Pat Perez Kenny Perry Tim Petrovic Carl Pettersson Scott Piercy D.A. Points Ted Potter, Jr. Alistair Presnell Dicky Pride Chez Reavie Patrick Reed Tag Ridings Andres Romero Rory Sabbatini John Senden Kevin Shields Wes Short, Jr. Mark Silvers Webb Simpson Vijay Singh Heath Slocum Joey Snyder III Jordan Spieth Kevin Stadler Scott Stallings Kyle Stanley Brendan Steele Shawn Stefani Darron Stiles Robert Streb Chris Stroud Brian Stuard Daniel Summerhays Kevin Southerland Andrew Svoboda Vaughn Taylor Josh Teater Nicholas Thompson D.J. Trahan Cameron Tringale Scott Verplank Johnson Wagner Jimmy Walker Aaron Watkins Nick Watney Bubba Watson Tom Watson Boo Weekley Mike Weir Charlie Wi Lee Williams Casey Wittenberg Gary Woodland  
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