Hole-in-ones at The Greenbrier are cash money for patrons

Matt Cohen | Site Editor

Is this the greatest promotion ever?

Greenbrier owner Jim Justice knows the way to the hearts of spectators this week: if you’re sitting in the grandstand on 18 when someone makes a hole-in-one, you’re going to get paid. The offer was a hit last year, and Justice brought it back for this year’s event.

On Thursday, Justice had to go into his pocket early. Playing in the fifth group, George McNeill flushed a pitching wedge from 137 yards, earning $100 apiece for each of the spectators in the grandstand.

“A lot of new friends on 18, yeah. They were all thanking me as I walked off,” McNeill said. “I stole a line from Bubba Watson, I said, ‘You’re welcome.’”

George McNeill

Justin Thomas

McNeil wasn’t the only one to become a crowd favorite Thursday. Just hours later, Justin Thomas made an ace with a pitching wedge on the same hole. While McNeill’s hole-in-one paid $100 per person, Thomas’ shot paid out $500 to each fortunate spectator.

“It looked really good the whole way. As soon as it landed I said, ‘Go in,'” Thomas said. “You could see everyone was just going crazy. It’s all the more reason for them to get excited than just to see an ace.”

The hole-in-one promotion continues for the rest of the tournament, and the next ace on No. 18 will pay $1,000 to every person in the grandstands. The total tab for McNeill’s ace was $18,900, plus $25,000 to the charity of McNeill’s choice, while Thomas’ hole-in-one meant $173,500 in cash and $50,000 to charity.

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