The PGA Tour announced Wednesday that The Greenbrier, a historic luxury resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., will be the title sponsor and host of the Greenbrier Classic for six years starting in 2010.
The tournament, to be held on the resort's Old White Course July 29-Aug. 1 next year, replaces the Buick Open. Buick ended a 51-year relationship with the Tour on Tuesday by dropping sponsorship of the Buick Open and Buick Invitational in San Diego because of General Motors' bankruptcy settlement.
Preliminary discussions with Greenbrier owner Jim Justice began roughly six months ago. PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem, who took part in the announcement at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, said Justice was instrumental in closing the deal.
"We knew going into this (economic) downturn we were going to have some turnover in our schedule," Finchem said. "We were delighted to be able to move quickly and make sure we didn't have a vacuum.
"I think the Tour players are going to love going to The Greenbrier. We are excited about this opportunity because of the enthusiasm we felt in our conversations with Jim Justice and his team. There is no doubt in our minds that every effort is going to be made to make this truly a quality event."
Justice, a West Virginian who was born and raised near The Greenbrier, set his sights on bringing a Tour event to The Greenbrier since he bought the resort in May.
"This will restore The Greenbrier from the standpoint of notoriety back to what The Greenbrier ought to be," Justice said at a news conference at his resort. "The Greenbrier is a five-star bloodline A to Z. It's been that since forever. We've lost one of our stars. We're going to get that star back."
The Greenbrier hosted the 1979 Ryder Cup and the 1994 Solheim Cup. It also hosted a Champions Tour event from 1985-87. Sam Snead, who won a record 82 times on Tour, served as Golf Professional Emeritus from 1994 until his death in 2002.
Tom Watson became emeritus in 2005.
"The Old White Course will make a tremendous tournament course in a traditional sense, and The Greenbrier will provide a great experience," Watson said.
Future dates of the event are yet to be determined, but Finchem said he envisions the tournament as ideal for the midsummer.
Finchem said the Tour will continue to talk with Buick and other "potential possibilities."
"After 50 years," he said, "we'd like to figure out a way to continue with Buick if at all possible down the road."