Tickets will be free for the 2016 Greenbrier Classic thanks to owner Jim Justice
PGA Tour

Tickets will be free for the 2016 Greenbrier Classic thanks to owner Jim Justice

Credit: Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images

It won't cost anything for fans to get in to the 2016 Greenbrier Classic.

The Greenbrier owner Jim Justice, who is also a Democratic candidate for West Virginia governor, made the declaration on Monday, making free a weekly pass that normally sells for $179.


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He also asked the West Virginia legislature to pull the state's $1.75 million funding of the PGA Tour stop.

Justice is peeved that the state legislature is unable to implement a budget for the new fiscal year, currently facing a $270 million gap with fiscal 2017 set to start July 1. The legislature went into a special session on Monday after the body was unable to come to terms on a budget deal during the annual session.

"My dream has always been to change the image of and bring opportunity to our state, and that's why I wanted to bring the PGA Tour to West Virginia," Justice said, according to the Associated Press. "The budget mess we're in now is exactly what's wrong with politics. I am not going to let politicians delay the budget or bash me over the greatest economic/PR opportunity West Virginia has ever seen."

The billionaire Justice, who made his money primarily in the mining industry, said he is requesting the state pull out its money because of the criticism he had been on the ugly end of from Republicans who hold a majority in the bicameral legislature. GOP lawmakers contend the sponsorship was already on the chopping block for cuts that could balance the budget.

"We're facing some of the toughest budgetary times that we've ever faced as a state," said Senate President and Republican gubernatorial nominee Bill Cole. "Personally, I'm glad he did it, and it takes it off the table as political fodder."

Purchasing the 200-plus-year-old resort in a 2009 bankruptcy sale, Justice brought the PGA Tour event to his resort a year later. The tournament is played on the resort's Old White course, which also became part of the TPC network.

In the last several years, Justice has surrounded tournament week with a concert series featuring high-profile acts. Justice said that concert series won't happen this year.

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